Friday, April 18, 2014

Somewhere old, somewhere new, something flat and something blue.

On Monday I still hadn't decided where I was going to be fishing the following day when I got a text from my mate Nick about a spot where he fancied fishing on Gullane Bents. It is a rather nice stretch of coast I've walked along before and I too liked the look of it as a potential fishing mark so we hastily arranged to meet up there on Tuesday evening to see what we could catch. With the whole day free however I went down to the more familiar and altogether less scenic inlet area of Torness Power Station in the afternoon to have a go for a Yarrell's blenny at a spot Nick caught one from a couple of years ago. I only stayed for a couple of hours, no fish were biting and the only things I caught were three lobsters who took a liking to my small chunks of bluey and got hooked on my #8 wormer hooks.

I've hooked one before but didn't land it so this was a first for me. I love the deep blue colour of their shells.

The third lobster was bigger than the first two and was big enough to keep but was completely clawless so feeling sorry for it and thinking that there wouldn't be much eating in it without the claws I tossed it back. Despite it's obvious handicap it was clearly quite a hardy, ravenous creature and was so fond of my oily fish baits that it fell foul of my hooks again shortly afterwards, being caught a second time. A quite bizarre start to my day's fishing and there can't be many anglers who have caught four lobsters in a row! Still rather bemused I headed off to Gullane Bents hoping to find some fish instead of crustaceans.

After a short drive and making a fairly long walk along the top of the dunes I was down on some exposed rocks at the tip of a peninsula with bays to either side of it. I set up a rod and cast out a plain lead to find that the water wasn't very deep and the bottom was mixed ground but not too snaggy. At this point I gave Nick a ring to let him know exactly where I was only for him to tell me that something had come up and he would no longer be able to come down. Slightly disappointed to not have some company arriving later on I promised to let him know how I fared and carried on getting ready for the session. Clipping on a three hook flapper I tied a rotten bottom between it and my lead to prevent rig losses should it find a snag. I then baited each #1/0 circle hook with a one inch section of black lug sausage and tipped it off with a strip of squid. Casting out not too far I sat down to prep a few more black lug sausages. I had just finished them and had started prepping some more squid strips when my rod tip rattled a few times. Picking it up and reeling in I felt a small fish on the end and the white underside of a flatfish soon appeared on the surface.

My first googly eyed dab of the year.
The bug eyes are always the first thing I notice but a semi circular curve in the dab's lateral line is also a key distinguishing feature.

Encouraged by this positive start I decided to fish my second rod. Unsure about what larger species would come into such relatively shallow water I clipped on a pulley rig to hopefully find out. Fishing a bigger bait I launched it out as far as I could to try and find some slightly deeper water. As the tide receded a few large weed covered boulders were exposed directly in front of me that would make retrieving gear and fish troublesome so I decided to move around the rocks a bit to where there was a gap. Before long the sun started to dip towards the horizon and low water wasn't far away either. 

The sun began to set over Fife. Time for the headtorch to come out of my bag.

As always on the east coast I was expecting darkness to coincide with coalfish becoming active if there were any around. Things went quiet though for a little while until my close range flapper rig rod tip twitched a few times signalling the interest of a fish. Thinking it was probably another dab I let the bite develop to give the fish time to take the hook into its mouth. When my rod tip moved for the third time I lifted the rod and slowly wound in to find another flatfish had taken one of my baits. 

A rather chunky flounder.

By this point I had used up all of my black lug so switched to bluey strips tipped with squid on my flapper rig. A few more flounders were landed over the next couple of hours with one even managing to get a fairly large bluey bait that I put out in my long range rod into its greedy mouth. The #5/0 circle hook still did its job though, placing itself nicely in the scissors of the flatfish's jaws. Quite pleased with a successful first visit to a new spot I packed up at about 22:30, headed back to the car and drove up the road. Obviously it is a good flatfish mark but I'm keen to return with Nick in the not to distant future to try and find out what other species it holds.

Tight lines, Scott.

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