Friday, February 07, 2014

Planning ahead.

I popped down to St Abbs Head on Tuesday to see what was around. For the first time instead of lure gear I took a beachcaster and some bait down the cliffs with me as this year I intend to fish the area quite a lot using bait to try and catch some of the unusual species that are found there. The question of what was around was soon and rather predictably answered. Coalfish, and lots of them. 

Holding my rod and employing the simple tactics I've been using of late, a running ledger and single circle hook, I caught over a dozen, mainly on strips of mackerel.

Most of them were caught before it got dark which is quite unusual because normally after the sun sets is when the coalfish really become active. As things slowed down one greedy little long spined sea scorpion tried to scoff a strip of mackerel longer than itself and got hooked. I didn't know he was there until I reeled in to change my bait.

Coalfish are very common around many East coast marks. So are these little greedy chaps.

The swell starting to build up may have had something to do with the lack of fish towards the end of the session and this along with a light drizzle appearing in front of the beam of my head torch made me decide to pack up and make my escape back up to the top of the cliff before the rocks became wet and dangerous. It was an enjoyable session and I'm really looking forward to exploring the area further and getting smelly hands doing so. 

With future trips in mind I've decided that my current bait gear isn't really ideally suited so after some thought into what I need I've ordered myself an uptide rod for the type of close range rock fishing I plan on doing down there this year. You may think a boat rod is an odd choice but I decided to get one for a variety of reasons. Being a peninsula the tide can race past St Abbs Head meaning a reasonable amount of lead can be required to hold bottom. Even in the gully I was fishing last night 8oz was being dragged around a bit so the ability to chuck around heavy leads is very useful. I also want to leave the tripod at home and hold the rod at all times. The rod's length of 9'6" and the fact it is much lighter when compared to my beachcasting rods is also good as it will be more comfortable to hold, be less cumbersome when fishing at very close range and be easy to work with in some potentially restricted spaces. Finally some of the species I want to try and catch are quite small so bite detection is also important. The uptide rod has a fairly sensitive tip that I'm hopeful will aid registering smaller bites but it also has plenty of power lower down to help get bigger fish up out of snags quickly should I hook anything larger. Of course I may get the setup and find that it doesn't meet my expectations! I hope to find out soon. 

Tight lines, Scott.

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