Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ling time no see.

When my mate Ad asked me if I fancied a weekend staying in Oban and fishing a few spots nearby I reluctantly had to tell him I wouldn't be able to. Having used up all my holidays at work I couldn't book the time off unfortunately. I did however agree to drive through and spend a day with him, his girlfriend Katie and his mates William and Martyn fishing on Loch Etive and on Sunday I drove through early to do so. Arriving at the small stone jetty before they did I spent thirty minutes or so with my ultra light gear trying to tempt the rising trout with a small lure fished on a jighead.

A misty morning on Loch Etive.

I didn't manage to catch any of the trout that were splashing about but did manage a few coalfish and a codling before everyone arrived, we got everything loaded onto the two boats we had hired for the day and headed out onto the loch.

A bit of fun on ultra light tackle before the main event kicked off.

I was in a slightly bigger boat with Ad and Katie and William and Marytn were in the other boat. First off we tied up to some buoys in Airds bay and it didn't take us long to start catching a few spurdogs and dogfish on luminous hokkais and muppets baited with mackerel and squid.


The smallest spurdog I've caught.

This good start didn't last long however and it went very quiet after an hour so we headed north up the loch and tried a few spots there. Drifting near the quarry Ad caught a grey gurnard but apart from that there wasn't much happening.

Gurnards are pretty cool fish.

My one little target for the trip was to try and catch a ling so we drifted over a rocky area where Ad was sure there would be some having caught some there on a previous visit. After a few drifts over the areawith not much happening I eventually felt a few knocks and wound in hooking the fish responsible. I suspected it was a cod but when it came into view I realised I had got lucky.

It had been a couple of years since I last caught one so I was quite chuffed to catch this small ling.

That was it for a while though apart from the odd mackerel which we kept for bait. The afternoon was very slow indeed and despite moving around we just couldn't seem to find any fish. Heading back to where we caught the spurdogs in the morning William and Martyn caught a few grey gurnards and a poor cod. With our time running out we decided to drift in the middle of Airds Bay.

We were all hopeful of catching a few more fish before we had to head back in.

Things remained quiet until William and Martyn drifted over a pack of feeding spurdogs and seeing them boat a few of them we quickly headed over closer to where they were to get in on the action. We ended up catching about a dozen between us.

All of them were quite small but it was nice to end the day with a few of them.

The last one I caught was very small so I stupidly let my guard down and tried to handle it with one hand, only gripping it behind the head. It promptly did a manoeuvre similar to the one a dogfish normally does given the opportunity, wrapping itself round my arm and moving backward, driving its second dorsal spike into my arm, tearing a small but rather deep little gash into my wrist in the process. Just as well it was time to head in as I couldn't stop it bleeding.

 Ouch! Having now experienced what the dorsal spine of a small spurdog is capable of I thought about what a larger fish could potentially do if not handled carefully. As a result I now have an increased amount of respect for them.

Back on dry land and with my wound soon patched up I said goodbye to Ad, Katie, William and Martyn as they headed back to their hostel. I decided to visit a nearby pier for an hour or so to target gobies before driving home. The last time I fished their I caught one that I didn't quite recognise but accidentally dropped it back into the water before I could get a photograph so I was keen to see what might turn up. When I got to the pier the sun was getting quite low and what little wind there had been dropped off making the loch look quite nice.

The remains of an old pier. A snaggy home to many mini species no doubt.
This part of the pier is still in use and the sandy loch floor next to it contains lots of small gobies.

Using a split shot rig, a #18 hook and a tiny piece of Angleworm I had soon caught a dozen gobies but they were all the sand variety. Tying on a jighead I turned my attention to the trout that were once again splashing around as the sun began to set. As with the morning session the resident coalfish were much more obliging and a single pouting also took my lure. 

I think this was my first pouting from Loch Etive.

The sun had soon gone, it was getting a bit cold and with a 120 mile drive to make I called time on a good day's fishing. It was nice to catch up with Ad again and join his fishing party for the day. The fishing may have been slow in the afternoon but it was nice to catch a few spurdogs and a ling, adding another species to this year's tally, especially as it's one that I hadn't caught for a while. I've been invited to do some cod fishing up around Aberdeen with Ad over the winter and I think I'll almost certainly take him up on his offer. Something else to look forward to.

Tight lines, Scott. 

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