Thursday, July 17, 2014

A plaice for everything and everything in its plaice?

After a week off from fishing following my return from my South Coast and Channel Island fishathon I thought I would ease myself back into things with a spot of mini species hunting. Micro species hunting would perhaps be more accurate actually as my two target species, common gobies and two spotted gobies are only a few cm long. A rockpool at the outflow area of Torness Power Station has produced both in the past so that's where I headed armed with some split shot, #22 hooks and some Gulp! Angleworm.

Arriving at the particular rockpool where they normally can be found however I discovered that it had changed considerably. The once fine sandy bottom had been replaced with a weed covered muddy silty one. I decided to try for my targets anyway and started working my way along the edge hovering my minuscule lure chunk in front of any likely looking hiding places. There was no sign of any gobies but I did catch a blenny that appeared from a crack and quickly scoffed my tiny offering.

Aggressive as ever.

Putting it back I soon spotted a strange fish that I did not recognise. Lowering my rig down the fish was spooked so I moved the split shot up away from the hook and this seemed to sort that problem. Patiently I wafted the bait infront of the little fish and it had a few pecks at it before taking it into its tiny mouth getting hooked in the process. Quickly lifting it out I was surprised to find out it was a three spined stickleback.

What on earth was it doing in there? A strange capture from a tidal rockpool with no freshwater nearby.

Popping it back I carried on working my way around the rockpool until a long thin fish caught my eye wriggling it's way through some weed. At first I thought it might be a butterfish but when it emerged from the weed fully I could see it was an eel. I dangled a fresh chunk of Gulp! Angleworm in front of it but could not tempt it and it went into a crack and stayed there. Shortly afterwards a second eel appeared further down the rockpool but again I could not get it to take my lure before it found a hole to hide in. Having found one a couple of years ago while turning over stones and having seen one the last time I visited the outflow I suspect they were tiny conger eels. This reminded me that I really need to go down at night and have a go for the bigger ones around at the inlet area.

A tiny conger eel I found two years ago under a rock not far from the rockpool I was fishing in.

Disappointed by the lack of gobies but happy, if somewhat confused, about my unusual capture I headed up the coast to Dunbar to meet up with my mate Nick for a couple of hours. I arrived first and went to flattie corner to fish whilst waiting for him. A few years ago the place was full of flounder. Now the vast majority of flatfish that inhabit the sandy corner are small plaice. I quickly caught three of them before Nick came down.

A new addition to this years species tally.

When Nick arrived we headed around to the rocks at the mouth of the harbour to try for wrasse as Nick has caught a few there recently. Drop shot rigs quickly tied we fished Gulp! close in and after a while we caught a few fish but again not the target species.

Not a wrasse. A small coalfish.
Not a wrasse either. A small pollock.

We weren't to fussy to be honest. It was a nice evening and we had a laugh when Nick told me he had Brazil in his work World Cup sweepstake only for me to check the half time score in their semi final match against Germany to discover they were being beaten 5-0. About an hour later with light fading, the full time whistle blown and Nick's £1 stake well and truly lost we called it a night and headed off.

The session had me mulling over how marks can change over time and the species that inhabit them can change too. Sometimes I wonder if the time some anglers spend trying to figure them out is really worth it. Perhaps it's better to just go fishing and hopefully catch what is there and biting. Besides, I like surprises.

Tight lines, Scott.

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