Friday, August 30, 2013

I caught ninety nine fishes and a viviparous blenny was one.

I thought I was going to get away from work yesterday but when a colleague went home early due to feeling ill that was knocked on the head. I had planned to head down to the borders last night to target three bearded rockling but finishing at 17:00 I decided to make the shorter journey to Dunbar and try in the harbour for a viviparous blenny instead. I knew that getting through the resident coalfish would be tough and it was made even tougher when I arrived and realised that I'd thrown my reel in the bag minus its handle! Oops. Despite this I rigged up a running ledger rig, snelled on a #6 Sabpolo Wormer hook, baited it with a chunk of raw prawn and still managed to catch a coalfish on my first drop and pretty much every drop after it. Spinning the bail arm round by hand to retrieve line was a royal pain in the backside and it was really slowing me down. In amongst twenty one coalfish I caught a common blenny and a long spined sea scorpion.

There are hundreds if not thousands of these ravenous little coalfish in Dunbar harbour.
Reassuring to know that other species could occasionally muscle through the coalfish to get to my bait.

At this point I was getting slightly annoyed with my disfunctional setup and if I wanted to speed up and get through the coalfish I had to get a reel with a handle so I sent a text to my mate Nick who lives in Dunbar close to the harbour to see if I could borrow one from him. He told me I could have his son's Shimano Nexave 1000 loaded with 8lb braid. Perfect I told him. What a life saver! I quickly went off to meet him and picked it up. When I got back down to my spot a boat had returned to the harbour and a large seal was being fed a few mackerel. I hoped its presence would get rid of some of the coalfish and make targeting the bottom feeders easier but it didn't have the desired effect.

Sammy the seal isn't shy and is a big lazy bugger too. He's clearly used to being hand fed and doesn't waste his time chasing down coalfish anymore it would seem!

I set up my gear again and was soon ledgering raw prawn on the bottom once more, if it got down that far that is! After coalfish number sixty nine I caught a second long spined sea scorpion followed by a tiny pollock. Then after three more coalfish I hooked a slightly larger fish that tried to tear off into the weed on the harbour wall. I managed to stop it getting stuck in there though and swung it up the harbour wall to discover it was a nice short spined sea scorpion. A very nice bonus reward for my efforts.

A bit bigger than the last two I caught and easily identified this time.

Thinking that I may not get my target blenny yet again despite catching over seventy fish I decided that I would leave once I had caught ninety nine fish as I thought it would make for an amusing post title. After a few more coalfish I felt a bite that definitely wasn't a coalfish and I let it develop for a few seconds before lifting into it. Like the short spined sea scorpion I knew I had hooked something slightly larger and more powerful than the coalfish I had been catching and when the long eel like fish appeared from the depths I got rather excited, carefully brought it to the surface and quickly swung it up the harbour wall into my hand.

At long last a viviparous blenny! My 50th saltwater species of the year.
A slippery customer indeed and quite hard to handle.

I did a little celebration jig, admired the fish for a bit before giving it a kiss and returning it. It was quite a buzz and moments like that are what I enjoy most about species hunting. Over the moon I sent a text to some of my angling mates to let them know my good news. I carried on fishing for another thirty minutes or so until I had caught a total of ninety three coalfish giving me my total of ninety nine fish so I could still have my Jay-Z-esque post title, even if I had to change it slightly, which I obviously was very happy about! I packed up with a huge smile on my face and Nick popped down to get his son's reel back, congratulated me and asked me what was next. Hmmmm. Good question!

Tight lines, Scott.

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