Sunday, March 23, 2014

I smelt a fish and I liked it.

I headed up to Dundee to fish the Tay Estuary today. Smelt, or sparling as they are known in Scotland, frequent brackish water, a few are usually caught from the Tay's banks at around this time every year and with a few being caught recently I decided to head north to see if I could catch one. Before setting off I knew I would need a large slice of luck but I was happy to give it a go, it was forecast to be a nice day and as I drove up I just had one of those feelings you sometimes get that things are going to go your way.

Arriving at about eleven, I quickly set up two rods and clipped on three hook flapper rigs. Six #4 circle hooks baited up with small strips of mackerel were soon on the muddy bottom held in place in the current by uptide leads. It didn't take long at all for my rod tips to start registering interest and a small flounder was soon landed.

First cast and a flounder took one of my mackerel strips.
I can't promote the use of circle hooks enough. I love them and almost all of my fish were nicely lip hooked.

This set the scene and the action was fairly constant with a few more flounders soon following over the next hour or so until I landed a sea trout to break up the flatfish onslaught. After that the flounders kept coming for the next couple of hours until I caught what I was after, my first ever smelt and my first new saltwater species of the year.

An odd looking fish with an odd smell too. They smell strongly of cucumber!
A nasty little mouth full of sharp teeth, even its tongue had a tooth on its tip!

Its vicious mouth reminded me of the lizardfish I caught last year while on holiday on Crete. Anyway, I was extremely pleased to catch it, popped it back and carried on fishing, catching more flounders.

A steady flow of flounders kept coming.

By half past four I had run out of bait and had caught a total of twenty eight flounders, with a few double shots and a single triple shot helping make up my tally. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's fishing and the most flounders I've ever caught in one session but the smelly smelt was the fish that had really made my day.

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Well done catching the Smelt Scott, sounds like you had an action packed afternoon.

    1. Thanks Brian. Yeah it was non stop despite the water being heavily coloured. Back to three bearded rockling hunting during the week. :-D