Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013. A very fishy year.

Well 2012 was a great year for me fishing wise. I knew when it came to an end that it would be hard to top but I think it's safe to say I actually did it by quite some way because 2013 was absolutely phenomenal! I had a great time and fished all over the UK, as far north as the Shetland Islands and as far south as Jersey. I also got my first taste of fishing in the Mediterranean and did a fair amount of it whilst on holiday on the Greek island of Crete. Over the course of last year I caught almost three thousand fish and over one hundred species including over fifty new ones. For the record here's what I caught...
  1. Annular Seabream x 13 *
  2. Baillon's Wrasse x 36 *
  3. Ballan Wrasse x 212
  4. Bass x 2
  5. Black Seabream x 3 *
  6. Black Scorpionfish x 1 *
  7. Black Goby x 34
  8. Blue Runner x 9 *
  9. Bogue x 23 *
  10. Bream x 26 *
  11. Brown Trout x 5
  12. Buchichi's Goby x 6 *
  13. Chub x 16 *
  14. Cleaver Wrasse (Pearly Razorfish) x 1 *
  15. Coalfish x 535
  16. Cod x 71
  17. Comber x 9 *
  18. Common Blenny x 188
  19. Common Carp x 9 *
  20. Common Dragonet x 24
  21. Common Eel x 1 *
  22. Common Goby x 2
  23. Common Pandora x 1 *
  24. Common Two Banded Seabream x 6 *
  25. Conger Eel x 1
  26. Corkwing Wrasse x 297
  27. Cuckoo Wrasse x 15
  28. Dab x 8
  29. Dace x 40 *
  30. Damselfish x 9 *
  31. Derbio x 4 *
  32. Dusky Grouper x 2 *
  33. Dusky Rabbitfish x 5 *
  34. European Barracuda x 1 *
  35. F1 Carp (Common/Crucian Hybrid) x 1
  36. F1 Carp (Common/Goldfish Hybrid) x 14
  37. Five Bearded Rockling x 1 *
  38. Flapper Skate x 1 *
  39. Flounder x 15
  40. Garfish x 1 *
  41. Ghost Carp (Common/Koi Hybrid) x 1 *
  42. Giant Goby x 11
  43. Goldblotch Grouper x 2 *
  44. Golden Orfe x 3 *
  45. Golden Tench x 1 *
  46. Goldsinny Wrasse x 31
  47. Greater Sandeel (Launce) x 3 *
  48. Greater Spotted Dogfish (Bull Huss) x 1 *
  49. Greater Weever x 1 *
  50. Grey Gurnard x 13
  51. Grey Wrasse x 1 *
  52. Grayling x 10
  53. Gudgeon x 12
  54. Haddock x 4
  55. Horse Mackerel (Scad) x 3 *
  56. Ide x 9
  57. Leopard Spotted Goby x 2
  58. Lesser Spotted Dogfish x 10
  59. Lesser Weever x 10
  60. Lizardfish x 14 *
  61. Long Spined Sea Scorpion x 67
  62. Mackerel x 85
  63. Madeira Rockfish x 13
  64. Marbled Rabbitfish x 9 *
  65. Minnow x 3
  66. Mirror Carp x 14 *
  67. Ornate Wrasse x 24 *
  68. Painted Comber x 7 *
  69. Parrotfish x 4 *
  70. Perch x 220
  71. Pike x 7
  72. Plaice x 10
  73. Pollock x 121
  74. Poor Cod x 46
  75. Pouting x 102
  76. Pumpkinseed x 1 *
  77. Rainbow Trout x 1
  78. Rainbow Wrasse x 11 *
  79. Red Band Fish x 3 *
  80. Red Gurnard x 1 *
  81. Red Porgy x 3 *
  82. Roach x 243
  83. Roach/Bream Hybrid x 9
  84. Rock Cook Wrasse x 7
  85. Rock Goby x 15
  86. Rudd x 57
  87. Rusty Blenny x 3 *
  88. Saddled Seabream x 5 *
  89. Salema x 11 *
  90. Sand Goby x7
  91. Sand Smelt x 19
  92. Salmon (Parr) x 7 *
  93. Shore Rockling x 2 *
  94. Short Spined Sea Scorpion x 3
  95. Slender Goby x 1 *
  96. Small Eyed Ray x 1 *
  97. Striped Seabream x 1 *
  98. Tench x 6
  99. Thick Lipped Mullet x 2
  100. Thornback Ray x 3
  101. Three Spined Stickleback x 8
  102. Tompot Blenny x 61
  103. Tope x 1 *
  104. Tub Gurnard x 1 *
  105. Turbot x 3 *
  106. Two Spotted Goby x 1
  107. Undulate Ray x 1
  108. Viviparous Blenny (Eelpout) x 2 *
  109. White Grouper x 2 *
  110. White Seabream x 11 *
  111. Whiting x 13
  112. Wide Eyed Flounder x 1 *
  113. Zander x 3
* = New Species.
In the process I had the pleasure of fishing with some great people too. You all know who you are and I'm looking forward to fishing with you all again this year. Looking back it's very hard to choose highlights from so many great fishing adventures but here goes.

Red Band Fish.

I caught this aboard Colin Penny's boat Flamer IV out of Weymouth. It's probably the weirdest species I've ever caught. They look strange in photos but I can assure you they look even stranger in person! The highlight of a ten day south coast adventure.

Swanage Pier.

I visited Swanage Pier three times last year to try and catch a black faced blenny. I went with my mate Lee the third time and we both had a great couple of days catching lots of fish on ultra light tackle.

A lot of very pretty Baillon's wrasse.
A few funky tompot blennies.
One or two spiky common dragonets.
No black faced blennies though! I'll be back in the summer this year to try again.

Wrasse Grand Slam.

Lochaline's West Pier is rather run down and isn't perhaps the nicest place to fish from but the deep water around it offers a fairly unique opportunity to wrasse lovers like myself. All five main UK species can be caught there and to try and do just that in one session is exactly why I paid it a visit in September.
First drop produced a lovely goldsinny wrasse.
On another hook on the same rig was a small female cuckoo wrasse.
Third wrasse species was a small ballan.
A very pretty little rock cook wrasse left me one to catch.
The only corkwing wrasse of the day after 2hrs and 58min completed my first "Wrasse Grand Slam". I plan on beating that time this year!

Cretan Species Hunting.

A fortnight on the Greek island of Crete and a very tolerant girlfriend meant my first experience of fishing in the Medeterranean was very productive. Fishing ultra light the first fish I caught was this colourful painted comber.
The cleaver wrasse was a most unexpected catch. They have tiny mouths and it was hooked at range. It is a very odd looking fish indeed.
This nice big and venomous black scorpionfish really made me smile. I wish the long spined sea scorpions that are so common here in the UK grew so big!
Just like all juvenile flat fish my first wide eyed flounder was small but perfectly formed. A species I set out to catch and I was over the moon when I got this little specimen. 
These aptly named ornate wrasse were quite abundant and super aggressive. My first experience of fishing outside the UK was superb and certainly won't be my last! 

Viviparous Blenny (Eelpout).

After my long suffering girlfriend and part time ghillie caught two of these back in late 2011 I have had a few unsuccessful attempts to get my first. After each failed attempt I would be ridiculed by her and the shame was almost becoming unbearable when I finally managed to catch one. It was also my 50th saltwater species of the year. A cool fish too.

So another year has come and gone and the species hunt starts all over again! I really love species hunting though and I'll be doing more this year. I enjoy the challenge of tracking them down more than anything and for me I'm not too fussy about what method I use to catch them once I know where they are likely to be.

The fishing I did on Crete had also given me a taste of fishing outside the UK and I'll be doing more of that this year. A one week fishing trip to Menorca in October has already been booked and I'm hoping to take my gear on a couple of holidays too. In the UK I also have a trip to the south coast on the cards including a few days on the Channel Island of Alderney with my species hunting mate Ross and no doubt I'll do a few trips to various other places around the UK as well.

All that being said I also want to spend more time fishing closer to home with St Abbs Head being of particular interest as quite a few species are spotted there by divers that I'd really like to catch. These may require slightly unusual tactics too so hopefully I can come up with an approach that works and improve my angling repertoire in the process.

Finally, I'd also love to do a bit more boat angling and would love to have a go at fishing from a kayak too. Lots to think about and plans to be made but I'm sure I'll have a great time whether going solo or fishing with my mates. Most importantly, whatever I'm up to there will always be something fishy going on.

Tight lines, Scott.

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