Monday, August 12, 2013

A very fishy birthday.

Another year older on the 6th and with my girlfriend Lillian working during the day I decided to celebrate by going fishing. Shock, horror! Canvassing a few folk the week running up to it to see who was available and wanted to join me, my mates Naz and Mark said they were and would so when my birthday arrived I picked them up fairly early in the morning. My choice of destination was St Abbs Head and after asking my two fishing pals if they were ok with it we decided to try a new mark that was a bit more tricky to access than the ones I've fished with various people so far this year. Once down the fairly steeply inclined path you reach a point where a step across a narrow but very deep gorge is required. I went over first and then Mark and Naz followed. We all agreed that it looked far worse than it actually was. A sign of our age I think?!

The view to the east along St Abbs Head. So many potential spots to fish. Some will be more difficult to get to though!

Once on the rock we were surprised to find another two anglers already there, tucked away down on a ledge near the water and were slightly concerned when they informed us that they been there for a few hours and had only caught one mackerel. We began fishing anyway, targeting pollock with a variety of lures. After an hour or so with no reward for our efforts and with locating a ballan wrasse in mind I decided to head around to the back of the rock to the channel of deep water that ran along and under the crack we had stepped over.

Looks wrassy. The cormorants nesting on the other side didn't seem to mind me fishing there either.

I had on a 5" Keitech Easy Shiner rigged up on a Texas rig with a #5/0 weedless hook and my first cast resulted in a few distinctive taps which pulled the lure around the hook so I quickly changed to a 10g #2/0 football jighead and put on a slightly smaller 4" Keitech Sexy Impact lure and dropped it down to the same spot. This quick change soon resulted in a nicely bent rod and I had to quickly pressurise the fish away from the thick kelp lining the edge of the rocks beneath me. With the fish soon beaten and on the surface I managed to grab my net and open and extend it with one hand and soon had my first St Abbs Head ballan wrasse unhooked and in my hands. I called to Mark who came and took a photo before having a go for wrasse himself.

My first St Abbs Head ballan wrasse. I hope it's not the last!

Unfortunately I seemed to have caught the only resident wrasse and after a while Mark returned to the open sea to try for pollock again. I decided to stay put, switched to my ultra light gear and fished a section of Isome on a drop shot rig. Searching the gully I was hoping for a special birthday treat. Unusual species like Yarrell's blenny and streaked gurnard have been seen in the area by divers but on this occasion a solitary long spined sea scorpion was my only other gift from the gully.

Obliging as ever.

I then returned to where Naz and Mark were only to find that they weren't there and two new anglers had appeared and were fishing there instead. It was quickly becoming obvious that it is quite a popular spot during the summer months! Walking over to the western side of the rock I soon found them however, they had taken the spot the other two angler had occupied as unknown to me they had left the mark so I climbed down too. It was a bit tight space wise but we managed to fit onto the ledge and fish fairly comfortably. This new spot saw Naz and I catching quite a few mackerel, despite us targeting pollock with larger lures. There must have been large shoals in the bay because I caught several on a Real Pearl Savage Gear Sandeel! For some reason Mark couldn't catch any and I started winding him up a bit. He finally caught one however and I think he was quite relieved.

Mark gets off the mark.

This continued for an hour or so with a few small coalfish with eyes much bigger than their stomachs also being caught on some metal lures and breaking up the steady string of ravenous mackerel. I caught a single pollock before the action dropped off again. After a while we decided to head back up.

Caught close in on a Real Pearl Savage Gear Sandeel. One of my favourite pollock lures. Note the mountain goat over my shoulder!
I lead the way back up.
Mark and Naz take a short break from the climb to catch breath and admire the views.

With a table booked for dinner later that evening with my girlfriend Lillian, my sister and her partner I had to be back in Edinburgh for about 18:00. It was only 15:00 when we got back to the car though so we decided to drop into Dunbar harbour on the way back so I could catch a birthday blenny. Sharing my rod and fishing Isome on a dropshot rig we took it in turns to catch them which was a lot of fun. Mark had never caught one before and was amazed how aggressive they are especially when his started biting him.

A birthday blenny!

Catching blennies on ultra light gear is great fun!

I then had a go at catching flounders and manged two before handing the rod to Naz who managed to catch one as well one his first cast. Mark was next and after a short time he soon had the technique sorted too and was getting a few bites before finally hooking a small but perfectly formed specimen.

One of four little flounders I caught.

Mark thinks this was his first flounder in about fifteen years.

Mark has fished off the back of the harbour for pollock in the past but has never fished inside the harbour before and as he lives in nearby Haddington he said he'd definitely be back for a few short sessions to try and catch some of the bigger ones whilst his partner does the shopping! A thoroughly enjoyable morning and afternoon's fishing over we headed off.

Later that evening I was treated to an amazing seafood dinner at Ondine on George IV Bridge. Quite an apt way to celebrate turning thirty six I thought given the amount of time I spend around the sea. Whilst the shellfish platter I had for my main course was superb, my starter of bass ceviche was the highlight of the evening and is a dish that I may even try to make myself in the future.

Grand fruits of the sea. Yum.
Chocolate truffle and a cappuccino were a nice end to a lovely meal.

All full up and with me feeling rather tired we stopped off for a drink on the way home but after one pear cider I was falling asleep, another sign of getting older I suppose!

Tight lines, Scott.

No comments:

Post a Comment