Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ruffe justice.

After getting back from my trip down south with Martin last weekend I was keen to get out again and hopefully enjoy some slightly more fruitful fishing. I checked the forecast on Monday afternoon and decided to spend Tuesday feeder fishing at Loch Lomond to resume my ruffe hunting after a short self imposed break. My mate Keith text me later that evening to see what I was up to the following day and when I told him about my plans he decided to join me. On Tuesday morning after a brief stop at Angling Active for a pint of maggots, we were soon setting up on the partially submerged and mist shrouded metal walkway of Balmaha Pier.

Let me in!
A misty start to the morning. 

We both set up swim feeders on running ledgers to #20 hooks. I also had a new faster tip for my feeder rod to hopefully show very delicate bites. I decided to fish exclusively with maggots in the feeder too as on previous occasions I've loaded it with maggots and hemp. Things were slow to start with and Keith was first in with a couple of roach before I caught one too. They are lovely looking fish indeed.

I admire a nice Loch Lomond roach. 

Things remained quite slow so we both rigged up some lures and fished a second rod to try for perch. After catching a few small ones drop shotting a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad the tip of my feeder rod started twitching away but I didn't react quickly enough and missed the bite so I put the lure rod away and started focusing on the feeder fishing again. Casting out regularly to hopefully draw a few more fish into my swim including hopefully some of my target fish. Reeling in to put a fresh maggot on the hook and fill the black cap feeder I felt a little extra weight and my rod tip gently twitched a few times signalling the presence of a small fish. Low and behold despite not seeing the bite I was delighted to discover it was my first ever ruffe!

Finally I caught one of the little buggers!
I was over the moon and my obvious elation drew a few strange looks from some passers by who were clearly puzzled as to why I was so happy about catching a small fish.

Pressure off I was in a great mood now and the arrival of some quite loud and obnoxious tourists who ruined the peace and quiet we had been enjoying all morning couldn't dampen my high spirits. Keith then caught a small perch and then things went quiet for a bit before he too caught his first ever ruffe followed shortly afterwards by a second.

Keith gets a small spiky fish but it's the ruffe's cousin, the perch.
Keith gets his first ruffe. Very decent of him to let me get mine first.

By now it was a quite stunning day and a steady stream of people were coming and going from the pier. It is a beautiful spot and it's easy to see why it attracts so many visitors.

With the mist all gone and the sun shining the view towards the highlands was spectacular. 

By late afternoon things had slowed right down on the fishing front and neither of our rod tips had moved for a while. I suggested that we fish for another thirty minutes and if we got no more bites during that time we should call it a day. With a minute or so to go I saw a very slight flicker on my rod tip and lifted the rod, reeling in I felt the weight of another small fish and my second ruffe was soon swung up to my hand.

Rather cute little fish. Being an invasive species they are not supposed to be returned but Keith and I were a bit clumsy and dropped all of ours and they made good thier escape. Oops.

We fished for a further fifteen minutes with no more action before packing up. Well, it was a long time coming and I was so happy to finally catch a ruffe. It just goes to show that even when you carefully select a venue and choose tactics wisely luck sometimes still plays a huge part in fishing. I've tried numerous times yet Keith managed to catch them on his first attempt! I was also glad to catch them because soon the level of tourist activity around the pier and the resumption of the local ferry service from it will make it difficult and sometimes rather unpleasant to fish. It also means I can move on to targeting other species as well although I'll always have a little soft spot for them!

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Nice one scott , finally got put the Ruffe to bed.result!

    1. Thanks Col! A cool wee fish. Well worth all the effort. :-)

  2. Brilliant stuff Scott . That was on the cards sooner or later. It's good to know that next time I'm at Balmaha with the van I won't need to be out of bed at 5.00am to get a spot on the pier ! :-))
    Fantastic ! Hope to bump into you guys again somewhere this season.

    1. Thanks Jim! Yeah by the law of averages I had to get one eventually. :-D

      You might still have to get up at 5am to get some fishing done before the noisy tourists arrive though!

      Didn't get your email so I still can't contact you mate. Would defo like to meet up again and would rather arrange something than leave it to chance. Can you try sending me another one? :-)