Saturday, June 21, 2014

Put on ice.

I met up with my mate Nick on Wednesday and we headed down to the rocks at the back of Eyemouth golf course to try for pollock and wrasse. Arriving at the sea however we were both surprised given how calm a day it was by the slow rolling swell that was running and the slightly coloured state of the water. Undeterred but knowing that realistically this would make fishing tricky and drastically reduce our chances of catching our targets we climbed down and gave it a bash anyway. We decided to give the Savage Gear Sandeels a day off and started off with some classic pollock lures.

Still looks fishy. 
Firetail jellyworms and rhubarb and custard shads. Classic pollock catchers.

Unfortunately after an hour or so our fears were confirmed so I decided to tie on a metal to cover a bit more water. Jigging this back towards me I soon caught a couple of coalfish before moving to join Nick who was fishing in a slightly calmer small rocky gully. Changing to a drop shot rig with a 15g lead and a #6 Sakuma Chinu hook baited with a whole Gulp! Sandworm my first cast resulted in another small and greedy coalfish.

Still a fair bit of water movement as Nick seeks fish in this nice deep gully.
Gulp! Aptly named.

After another coalfish the bites dried up completely though and we decided to have an amble further along the cliff and try another spot. It didn't take long for us to find one and figure out how to get down.

No doubt this whole stretch of coast will produce fish in the right conditions. It's just a matter of finding a way down.
Climbing down was fairly easy but the uneven surfaces created by the areas warped rock layers meant a twisted ankle was a distinct possibility so we took our time.

Once down I started drop shotting again and Nick went with a firetail jellyworm fished on a jighead. I quickly caught another coalfish and was just about to work my way along the rocks to our left when Nick's rod arched over. A pollock had taken his lure at close range and had got into the kelp beneath him but applying some pressure he soon freed it and hand lined it up.

Nick proves that pollock love firetail jellyworms. 
Nick gets off the mark with a nice fish. 

We carried on working our way around the area but didn't tempt anything else so after a while we decided to head off east to explore the cliffs to the east of Eyemouth Caravan Park. We both thought the open sea there might be a little less coloured and perhaps casting a metal might give us the chance of some mackerel too. Parking at the caravan site and walking around the cliffs past the old cannons that sit on them we soon found a nice easily accessible mark and climbed down. The water was a bit cleared but there was still a long rolling swell to contend and ever so often a wave would break and water would race up the rocks forcing us to make a hasty retreat up them to safety. Starting with metals to try and catch our dinner Nick soon hooked a surprise fish on a mackerel patterned TronixPro casting jig.

This very greedy launce took a lure almost half its length!

Just to prove that this wasn't a fluke Nick promptly caught a second! Keen to catch one too for this years' species tally and to hopefully increase my chances I tied on a 12g Dennet Super Sprat in a sandeel colour. Casting this around and working it back using a slow steady retrieve it was soon taken by a mackerel. Nick then caught one too.

Dinner in hand I run back up the rocks with it away from another wave. 
Canniballistic. Nick's dinner sorted too and on a mackerel patterned metal.

I then caught a second mackerel shortly afterwards but then things went quiet again so I tied on a rhubarb and custard shad to try for pollock but sadly had no joy. With the tide now making its way up the rocks at an ever increasing pace we headed back up to the cliff top and decided to head up the coast to St Abbs Harbour to try for flounders for an hour. Before leaving Eyemouth we grabbed a bite to eat, a bag of ice to keep our mackerel fresh and Nick grabbed four bottles of Corona to quench his thirst.

St Abbs Harbour. Known to throw up some nice fish on a fairly regular basis. 

Tying up another drop shot rig and fishing a whole Gulp! Sandworm my first cast produced another small coalfish. Nick had a few casts but then settled down in the shade to enjoy a couple of his beers whilst they were still cold. I carried on casting around the harbour and was rewarded with another coalfish and a couple of nice pollock.

The harbour is normally full of coalfish. The odd pollock does turn up though. 
Probably the biggest I've had from inside the harbour. 

No flounders were biting but I was fairly happy. After an hour or so we headed back to Dunbar and I dropped Nick off before heading home to enjoy my grilled mackerel fillets with Lillian who had prepared a nice beetroot, celery and potato salad to have with it.

One of my goals this year is to fish locally more often and to be honest I'm failing miserably on that front but I'm keen to fish around Eyemouth again with Nick when the conditions are better so that'll be a small step towards my target. That being said I'm off to begin a eleven day fishing trip tomorrow starting in Dorset, then heading to Cornwall for a few days fishing aboard Bite Adventures out of Penzance before flying over to Alderney next Friday with my mate Ross. Oh well, fishing locally will just have to be put on ice too I suppose!

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A swell time.

Hoping to get another fix of powerful pollock action I went down to St Abbs Head on Sunday with workmates Stewart and Adil. It was overcast but dry and we arrived to find a light swell running. Not ideal conditions for catching pollock but we were still keen to try. With Stewart and Adil sharing a rod and taking turns to fish we starting off fishing Savage Gear Sandeels, one of my favourite lures for pollock. Searching the water we had no luck locating fish and lost a couple of lures to the kelpy bottom before I switched to an HTO Shore Jig, replacing the assist hook with a treble.

Adil and I fish whilst Stewart watches for rogue waves.

Casting out, a few Guillemots near where the lure entered the water disappeared. Reeling quickly to get it away from them I felt a few of them attacking it before the inevitable happened and one of them got itself  hooked. It would have been a real struggle to land it but with my line wrapped around its wing I eventually got it close enough for Adil to try and scoop it up with my telescopic landing net. However when we eventually got the bird into it and Adil tried to lift the net up from the water there was an almighty crack as the handle snapped. The two pieces still barely joined together Adil managed to grab the top section and handed it to me. A towel was then used to keep the bird calm and under control whilst I quickly untangled it and set it free. My 4m landing net now down to under 1m I knew we might struggle to land a big pollock but we'd just have to worry about that if it happened.

The tide now flooding and taking care not to cast too close to any more guillemots I caught a few coalfish when I changed from a straight retrieve to a bit of jigging, ripping the lure up before lowering my rod tip slowly to feel for bites as it dropped back down again. Adil switched to a metal too and soon hooked a coalfish. His celebrations were premature however as when he got it to the surface it managed to throw the lure and the tension in his rod tip propelled it up into him narrowly avoiding his "tackle". Quite lucky not to be injured Stewart and I found this near miss quite hilarious. Once he stopped laughing Stewart then had a turn fishing and soon caught a few coalfish. After I had caught a dozen or so I decided to try using the assist hooks but this resulted in hardly any hookups so I put the treble back on.

Coalfish will attack lures "on the drop". Jigging metals is therefore an effective way to catch them.

Adil taking the second rod again finally hooked and landed his first coalfish of the session and then I hooked a fish at range that put up a fairly good fight. I thought it was a small pollock at first but it turned out to be a big mackerel that was quickly dispatched so Adil could have it for his dinner. By now it was early afternoon and still keen to find some pollock we decided to climb back up and go and try another spot.

Adil and Stewart take their time climbing back up the rocks.

Soon back up on the cliff tops a short walk along past the lighthouse and we were soon making our way down to the second mark. A walk down a fairly gently sloping grass bank followed by a short climb down the rocks took us to it and we were soon perched on a rocky ledge above the water. We tried a few different lures but there seemed to be even less fish here with only a few coalfish being caught and the loss of the only two metals I had with me that were fitted with treble hooks meant that catching them became more difficult.

Fishing away it was soon Adil's turn to get a laugh at our expense when, despite being fairly high up above the water, Stewart and I managed to get a bit of a soaking when waves broke on the rocks below us and the spray from them came up and caught us both out.

Drying out and with soft plastics on jigheads being fished on both rods it had gone quiet for a while when my pearl white Reins Rockvibe Shad was taken by a big pollock fairly close in. It immediately headed for the kelp below, stripping line from my almost locked up drag two times and managing to get into the thick weed beneath me. Applying pressure it had just started to come up through the weed when it thrashed violently and everything went slack. I reeled in to find the fish had thrown the hook leaving a torn and mangled lure hanging from my jighead. Pretty gutted to have lost a nice fish at my feet but hopeful that more might start biting we soldiered on but that was the last action of the session and as early evening arrived we called it a day.

The view to the east from our rocky ledge. More ground begging to be explored.
On the way back up we passed this rock covered in Guillemots. Casting metals near them whilst they are on the water is asking for trouble!

It had been a good days' fishing and we'd all had a right good laugh too. The lack of pollock and losing the only one biting was disappointing but the swell and cloud cover meant conditions weren't ideal so it was good that we all caught something. None of us work on a Sunday so I'm sure we'll be back over the coming months to try again for some hard fighting pollock.

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Less is more.

My workmate Stewart was off on holiday last week and wanted to go fishing. The weather looked poor at several places around the country and after much deliberation we decided to head to Skye to target pollock on lures and do a bit of bait fishing. An early start last Tuesday morning saw us arrive in Elgol at about 11:00. Parking the car it started raining so the waterproofs went on and travelling light we headed south along the cliff tops to find a place to fish.

Elgol slipway.
We weren't the only two up on the cliff.

Like much of the island the ground was covered in grasses and heather with a few small streams flowing through it making it quite boggy in places. After a while we reached a bog that was difficult to cross so we climbed down to the rocky shore and made our way along it. The rain had made some of the rocks quite slippy but before long we reached a flat barnacle covered rock platform that was a natural dead end due to the sheer cliffs to the left of it. The water looked nice and deep in front of it so we got our rods set up and as this was Stewart's first time fishing with lures I gave him a few pointers. I told him to keep tension in the line at all times to stay in contact with lure as it dropped through the water so he would feel any bites. Once down deep I told him to reel very slowly to give his Savage Gear Sandeel a nice subtle action and to add a few pauses to let the lure sink again as this is often what can trigger pollock to attack. Basically I told him that "less is more" sometimes. This advice was obviously taken in and soon did the trick with Stewart getting off to a great start catching a couple of cracking pollock.

Stewart was a bit nervous about handling the fish as he didn't want to drop them. I held this one up for him so he could take a "selfie".

Shortly afterwards I got my first pollock of the trip and after switching to a HTO Shore Jig to get a bit more distance followed it with a small coalfish. Stewart stuck with his trusty Real Pearl Savage Gear Sandeel and got another pollock and after switching back to one too and casting along to the left in front of the cliffs I had another nice fish.

I'm really enjoying targeting pollock at the moment. Can you tell?
Stewart was happy to admire his fish without handling them. Not a bad thing really and perhaps a practice I should adopt more often.
I really like my rubberised net. This smaller fish fit OK but I could really use a bigger one for the bigger pollock.

As the tide flooded it went quiet for a while then it forced us to leave our comfortable flat rocky platform. By now it was almost time to think about heading to Portree to book into our hostel. However, we soon realised that the route we had taken to reach the mark had been covered by the incoming tide.

Another escape route required.

After scouting around for a bit I managed to find what was a fairly tricky climb up to the top of the cliff. Taking our time we eventually made it up the rock face and through some insect infested heather to safety. This mark is obviously one to fish on the ebb and into the flood unless you are prepared to get stranded for a few hours or are willing to do some climbing as we did.

Looking down from the cliffs above the rock platform we had been fishing from is almost cut off by the tide.

Before heading back to the car we quickly explored a bit further along the cliffs. The water below looked very deep and yet again I found myself wishing I owned a kayak. If I do end up getting one the waters around Skye will be right up there on my list of places to use it once I am suitably experienced.

The deep water in front of these cliffs looks great for a day afloat.

With no real path back along the cliffs we followed those made by wandering livestock, successfully negotiated the large bog and soon back in the car headed off to Portree. After booking into the hostel and having a hot meal we then headed off to Carbost Pier near the Talisker Whiskey Distillery on the shore of Loch Harport. By now the rain had stopped and it was a fairly nice night.

The Talisker Whiskey Distilery. The only single malt producer on the island.

Setting up two bait rods and fishing with lures close in whilst we waited for bites things were very slow until a small shoal of mackerel broke the surface out in front of us. Tying on a metal and casting it towards them as they gave their position away I quickly caught one. By the time I had landed and dispatched it to use as bait though they had moved off out of range again. Reeling in and replacing the frozen bluey baits with fresh mackerel it didn't take too long for one of the rod tips to start going. Stewart had just retired to the car for a nap and returned to see me land a dogfish. I was quite tired too by this point and when some grey clouds started to appear over the hills behind us moving in our direction we hastily packed up and headed back to the hostel to avoid another soaking.

Up just after eight on Wednesday morning the forecast was for a dry day and we headed north to Staffin. After a quick stop for a bacon roll and a hot drink we drove along to its small harbour, parked the car and walked south along the coast to the rocks.

Many roads and paths on Skye cross fields that contain livestock. Look out for large highland bulls!
Being a well known spot to fish doesn't make the rocks at Staffin and the Kilt Rock behind them in the distance any less spectacular.

There were many accessible ledges to choose from so we picked one and carefully climbed down. It was a lovely day and fishing such a dramatic part of the coast into crystal clear deep water was a real pleasure even if our Savage Gear Sandeels weren't tempting any fish. After a while we started moving along the rocks and I decided to switch tactics and fish a large Firetail Jellyworm weedless on a Carolina rig. Casting around and slowly working it close to the bottom and up through the kelp I soon hooked a big fish that had my rod bent over and made a couple of very powerful dives close in against my almost locked up drag. Just when I though I had the fish beaten however everything went suddenly slack. The fish had somehow thrown the hook. I was quite disappointed but had a few more casts with the same lure to try and tempt another one. This wasn't successful though so we moved along the rocks again. After an hour or so we reached an impassible section and climbed up and around it. Before climbing back down again we were passing some tadpole infested shallow ponds when I spotted something out if the corner if my eye that I haven't seen since I was a young boy. Once again my net came in handy.

A newt. Very cool.

Showing it to Stewart before popping it back we climbed back down to the waters edge again. By now the tide had turned and was starting to creep up the rocks. We then reached a very deep kelp lined alcove. The water was so clear you could see right to the bottom which was made up of large round boulders. I decided to tie on a weedless jighead and fished a Daiwa D-Fin shad on it. Hoping to tempt a wrasse a small ballan did appear from the weed to investigate but after a brief inspection shot off into a large crevice and stayed there. By now I was starting to wonder if we would catch any fish and decided to try a 28g TronixPro Casting Jig to get more distance and cover more water. Persisting with this eventually paid off when I had a take quite far out and Stewart netted the first fish of the day.

Finally a Staffin pollock! I was sure as the tide picked up more would follow and at closer range.

Now mid afternoon and the sun directly above us we started working our way back. Stewart being fair skinned was a bit sun burnt and had to periodically seek shelter in the shade. As we reached our starting point I caught a small pollock but any big improvement in our fortunes I thought the rising tide would bring didn't materialise. We decided to head back along towards harbour and as we got closer to it we spotted a nice looking outcrop and decided to fish it for an hour or so with our Savage Gear Sandeels before calling it a day. After a dozen casts or so my lure was aggressively taken on the drop before I started reeling in a good fish. After the obligatory three powerful dives the fish was netted by Stewart whom by this point was rather red and had kind if given up on catching anything.

Another pollock can't resist the Savage Gear Sandeel.

This capture spurred Stewart on a bit I think and he had a final half an hour trying to bust his blank but sadly his efforts went unrewarded. I managed one final small greedy pollock just before we left.

Burnt but not beaten.

Soon back in the car we made a quick stop just outside Staffin to view the Kilt Rock from the other side.

Kilt Rock in the distance with the Mealt Waterfall in the foreground.

We decided to take the slightly longer scenic route home and stopped for fish and chips in Glencoe Village. It was a lovely evening and a nice way to end a great trip. I must say I did have some reservations about going all the way to Skye for such a short trip but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The three sessions were much shorter than I would perhaps have done had I been there for an extended period but we fished three new marks on Skye and caught some nice fish even if the fishing was slow at times. Portree was a great central base of operations and in the future a longer trip might be on the cards to revisit some of the marks I've fished there now and do some more exploration. That being said I wouldn't hesitate to do a short trip again because like working soft plastics for pollock less is indeed sometimes more.

Tight lines, Scott.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A tale of two castles.

On Sunday Lillian wanted to go see Dirleton Castle. She really likes Castles. I'm not so keen but to be fair it was quite a nice one set in lovely grounds with well maintained gardens. Besides, she tolerates no end of my fishing related shenanigans so I like to keep her sweet.

Dirleton Castle.  One of East Lothian's many hidden gems.
I believe the estate agent jargon is "in need of modernisation".
My best catch to date. 

All castled out, or so we thought, the plan was to pop to the Dirleton Gallery for a spot of lunch and then head down to Yellowcraig Beach where I could mess about in the rockpools whilst Lillian did a spot of beach combing. However, we spotted a little book of sixty walks upstairs in the gallery and bought it. Having a flick through it whilst having lunch I spotted a short walk to Fast Castle, a place down the coast I'd always wanted to visit but wasn't sure how to get to. Heading back to the car I broke the news we were headed to another castle which made Lillian's day. Little did she know I still had a spot of fishing in mind.

Galleries aren't normally my thing either but this painting was quite nice. 

A short drive later we arrived at the parking area and I grabbed my ultra light fishing gear from the car. The walk down to the castle was less than a mile but it was down a fairly steep hill. Obviously this meant the walk back up was going to be a bit of a slog.

Nice views to the north as we headed down to the castle. 

Down at the ruins of the ancient castle which are perched on the edge of a cliff I put my cunning plan into action and asked Lillian if she would be up for climbing down to the rocks below so I could have a fish. She was up for it so after a quick scout around we spotted a way down and began our decent. It was fairly steep but we took our time and eventually made it down below the castle and started rock hopping around.

The ruins of Fast Castle. The rocks below looked quite fishy.
The ruins of Fast Castle from the fishy rocks below.
I start fishing in a nice looking deep gully.
First cast produced a small pollock.

I then spotted a couple of deep rockpools and caught a few long spined sea scorpions from them before heading to the end of a long finger of rock to try and catch some mackerel for our tea. I knew there was a chance of a bigger fish taking my lure and my setup would really be tested if it did.

One of three long spined sea scorpions.
Are the mackerel in yet?

Fan casting a small metal around it quickly became apparent there were no mackerel about and when a fairly large pollock took my metal, bending my rod to a rediculous degree as it powered towards the kelp, I knew I was in trouble. I managed to gain some line back and brought the fish up but on the second dive it snapped my leader so I decided to call it a day. Quite annoyed with myself I headed back to Lillian and we made the rather hellish climb back up to the path and then up the hill to the car. Despite the difficult access it's a mark I'd like to fish again with more appropriate tackle. I'll also need to have a look through the book to see which other walks I can do with Lillian and maybe squeeze a bit of fishing into.

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guess who just got back today?

At the end of May I headed north west for four days fishing with my mates, Alan, Mark G. and Mark L. Mark G is also known as "The Baw" so to avoid confusion I shall refer to him by this nickname for the rest of the post. The plan was to fish the Applecross Peninsula for three days then head over to Skye for a day. The rest of the lads were head home first thing Sunday morning while I planned on staying behind and squeezing in an extra days fishing. I was quite excited about the trip and I was also looking forward to driving over the Bealach Na Bà for the first time. After about four and a half hours we reached the start of it.

Fair warning.
The drive up to the top of the highest road in the UK is something else.

Getting to the campsite at about noon we quickly set up our tents. "The Baw's" pop up tent was up in less than a minute. Emblazoned with a Ministry of Sound logo and a clear warning it always makes us laugh and also seems to deter other campers from pitching their tents near us.

No loud music emanates from his tent but "The Baw" does snore a bit.

Base camp organised we headed off to our favourite rock mark along the coast at Fearnmore. As we got our gear out of the car another Applecross regular named Jen, who stays nearby when in the area, was passing by and stopped to say hello. She decided to go and get her fishing gear and meet us down there. A short walk later we were on the rocks and quickly set up fishing Savage Gear Sandeels. Occasionally changing to other soft plastics and also a metal or two we were all soon catching some nice pollock which to be honest didn't seem overly fussy about what lures we had on.

The coast around the peninsula is rocky with a mixture of shallow bays and deep water at close range. Access can be an issue but a bit of exploration normally results in a fish holding spot being found.
Alan slowly retrieves his lure.
The average size of the fish ensured good sport on light tackle.
Mark's holds his first ever pollock with military precision.

Jen soon arrived and straight away caught a couple of nice pollock too. She was fishing from an elevated position and my telescopic net came in very handy to help land them. It then went quiet for a bit until I caught a coalfish and "The Baw" caught a nice red cod. "The Baw" then headed out onto a rocky outcrop and caught a pollock or two. We thought he might get trapped there by the tide which would have been rather amusing but he made it off in time.

An orange kelp cod. I think they look so much nicer than their brown brethren.
A nice plump coalfish in fine condition.
The outermost rock is now known as "Baw Island". Trespassers beware, you may not escape!

After a few hours of enjoyable fishing we headed back to the campsite, got freshened up and headed down to the pub for our tea. Over the years we've gotten to know a few of the locals and it was good to catch up with them again. The food in the Applecross Inn is superb and the atmosphere is rather special too. It's always busy and you always end up chatting to complete strangers. The views across Applecross Bay are also lovely and the sunset was particularly nice that evening.

Every time we visit Applecross this cheeky chap can be found in the Inn. This stuffed otter has an interesting story behind it. You'll have to visit the Inn to find out about it.
Red sky at night...
...angler's delight.

The following day Alan an I were up early and went along to Toscaig Pier for an hour or so. Alan cast a metal out to try for mackerel whilst I fished Gulp! Angleworm on a drop shot rig to see what mini species were around. Unfortunately neither of us found any fish so we headed back to the campsite to see if Mark and "The Baw" were up. Everyone up, Alan sorted out some tasty black pudding rolls, made coffee and tea before we paid for our pitches and headed off to hopefully find some fish.

Blue Tit chicks chirping drew our attention to this sign outside the campsite reception building on a wall mounted cigarette bin.

As we had decided to explore a new area we headed off to Fearnmore first to seek advice from Barry, a local whom we have gotten to know over the years who is also fond of fishing. More tea and coffee were consumed and Barry pointing us in the general direction of some potential fishing spots. We headed off across the peninsula to hopefully find some deep water to fish. After crossing some boggy ground we were soon fishing from a large gently sloping rock platform.

Areas of the peninsula are marshland. Alan and "The Baw" had more suitable footwear and crossed this bog first. They then relaxed on a rock and had a good laugh watching Mark and I try (and fail) to get over quickly without getting wet feet.

The first spot we tried wasn't particularly deep and with the tide ebbing making it even shallower as the morning progressed it looked like the mark would be better fished over high water. Despite us being on the mark at what I felt was the wrong tidal state "The Baw" was soon into a pollock and I soon caught one too. Not much action after those two fish though so I headed off to explore a bit further along the rocky shore and soon found some much deeper water along at the end of the platform where it dropped off. Directly beneath the end of the ledge was a very deep kelp lined alcove that I thought might contain a few wrasse. Before trying for them however I cast out just to the right of the drop off that ran straight out in front of me to see if there were any pollock around. After a few casts my lure was slowly making its way back and was about half way in when it was taken by a decent fish. My rod buckled and the fish made a few line stripping dives before I got it up away from the kelp. My trusty 4m telescopic landing net was once again deployed and the fish lifted up.

 Hard fighting pollock are great sport.

The lads all came along to where I was and I caught two more pollock before trying down the side for wrasse. None were around though so I headed off to explore again. The tide had turned by the time I found some nice looking skeers of rock extending out with deep gullies between them. Making my way out onto one I cast out to find that the water at the end was very deep and contained a few nice pollock.

Another lovely golden fish.
The huge eyes and cavernous mouth of an efficient predator.

Shouting along to the lads they soon joined me and the action was frantic for over an hour with the average size of the pollock being rather good. Pollock are hard to beat in terms of pure power and most of the fish hooked were making surging runs to try and get into the kelp directly beneath us.

Another nice pollock for Mark.

The tide now rising quickly we were soon forced to leave the skeer and headed along the rocky shore further still to seek another pollock holding hotspot. The ground we were covering however was much shallower and apart from one or two solitary fish we struggled to find a spot that was anywhere near as good as the one I had discovered although "The Baw" found a few smaller specimens.

"The Baw's" rod bends into another pollock.

Quite pleased with the day's efforts and heading back for our evening meal I took advantage of the Inn's Wi-Fi and did a bit of research to decide where we could go do a spot of bait fishing the following day. I decided that we would head back over the pass to Loch Carron to try for dogfish and thornback rays. Another nice meal and a few drinks were enjoyed as well as another lovely if less colourful sunset over Applecross Bay.

Beautiful. Raasay and Skye in the distance.

In the morning we sorted out our bait gear and were treated to another tasty breakfast by Alan before heading south to the northern shore of Loch Carron where we found a nice looking spot to fish.

Looked good on Google Maps. Looked even better when we arrived!

We parked the cars and walked around the left hand side of the bay onto the rocks. Being a narrow part of the loch I knew there would be strong currents flowing past us at the peak of the tide but when we arrived they tide was ebbing and had started to slow making holding bottom possible. "The Baw" and I were first to get our rods setup and cast out and it didn't take long for the tip of my rod to start nodding away.

The first fish caught was rather predictably a dogfish.

"The Baw" soon caught one too and these would be the first of many. "The Baw" had a light lure setup with him and had a go for pollock in the deep water close in. After a while enjoying no luck I had a quick go with it and caught a nice red cod which shot out of the kelp under my feet and grabbed my Savage Gear Sandeel.

Eyes bigger than its plump little belly. Lovely colour too.

As the day went on more dogfish snaffled our baits and were all nicely hooked on the circles we were all using. By the time low water approached we had all caught some. A new species for Alan and Mark, they were both quite pleased.

Alan's first ever dogfish.
Another one swims off.

We all agreed siting watching our rod tips had been a nice relaxing change from targeting pollock. Having had no action for a while over slack water Alan and Mark decided to head back to Applecross. "The Baw" and I decided to fish into the flood, stayed for an hour or so longer and finished off the bait. We managed a couple more dogfish and I caught a second small cod before the currents increased in strength to the point it was almost unfishable even with 8oz of lead. Meeting up back at the Inn we enjoyed another excellent meal and a few drinks. I had turbot and it was superb.

The A(pplecross) Team.

After dinner we had a pint or two and some of the group made it known that they no longer wanted to go to Skye the following day. I was still keen to go and with the rest of the lads leaving early on Sunday morning the thought had crossed my mind to stay over there on Saturday night and fish there on Sunday too before heading home in the evening. The weather forecast for Sunday was not great though so I decided to leave the tent in Applecross and head back there on Saturday night.

Saturday morning I got up very early but was in two minds about going to Skye on my own. I had been looking forward to visiting Neist Point for a while and the chance to catch something big at such a beautiful venue was hard to ignore. That said I also didn't want to leave the rest of the lads and was a bit disappointed they no longer wanted to go. A difficult decision to make and in the end I tossed a coin. Heads I head off, tails I stay. Heads it was so I got up and set off on the the drive over to Skye. It was a beautiful day and it was a very nice journey through some breathtaking scenery.

Skye has spectacular scenery around evey corner. Driving around it is a real pleasure.

After a quick stop in Portree to pick up some mackerel I had ordered I was soon back on the road and made the last leg of the journey to Neist Point. It's a stunning place and with as little gear as possible I was soon walking down to the rocks beneath the lighthouse.

Neist Point. A stunning place.
Clouds breaking up as they meet the cliffs to the south.
The rocks along from the lighthouse were my chosen spot.
No rod rest required.

Unfortunately my bait fishing efforts proved a futile exercise with my end gear being swept into snags by the incredibly strong currents that rip past the rocks. I tried fishing lures for pollock too and after a couple of hours with nothing to show for my efforts I moved around to the Moonen Bay side of the point and tried at a couple of spots there but rather frustratingly this produced nothing either. Rather gutted I trudged back up to the car and pondered what to do. I thought about fishing somewhere else on Skye but I didn't want to spend time exploring unfamiliar ground especially on my own. I opted instead to head back across to the mainland and fish a comfortable rock mark on Loch Duich to the south of Eilian Donan Castle.

Eilean Donan Castle.
My chosen rock mark on the shore of Loch Duich. Nice spot.

Now desperate to get a bite I put out two bait rods and over the course of the next few hours I cast them around in different directions at various distances. All this effort resulted in absolutely nothing however and a sea trout jumping out of the water in front of me as I started packing up was a rotten end to a pretty miserable day fishing wise. With my tail between my legs I headed back to Applecross. On the way back I spotted two deer near the top of the pass. This cheered me up a bit.

Quite expensive.

When I got back to the campsite I found a broken rod outside my tent and was looking forward to hearing a story about a monster fish when I got down to the Inn to meet the lads. When I got down there I was glad to hear they had all caught a few pollock and the snapped rod was the result of an incredibly large one making it into the kelp and Mark applying too much pressure to try and get it out. Explaining how my day had went, with a double Kraken rum in hand to drown my sorrows, I was expecting a bit of a hard time for blanking in such spectacular fashion but the lads let me off fairly lightly and our last evening in the Inn was another good one before we headed off to our tents. With rain forecast in the morning we got up early to get the tents down to try and avoid a soaking. Packed up and on the road we headed up over the pass one last time. For now.

I'm always sad to leave Applecross but the drive over the pass always cheers me up a bit. Even more so as a driver.

Well another great fishing trip to Applecross with the lads had come to an end. We also enjoyed great food and a few hard earned drinks each night in the Applecross Inn and it was great to catch up with some of the locals too. It's a special place and I'm sure it won't be long before the boys are back.

Tight lines, Scott.