Friday, September 26, 2014

With a little help from my friends.

On Monday night I was in two minds about where to go go fishing on Tuesday. It was either a day's fly casting practice with the chance of a tiger or golden trout, or a return to Burntisland for another attempt at catching a Yarrell's blenny. In the end I did what all good anglers do, I asked my mate Lee to decide for me and a session in saltwater was the result. Checking the tides I noted that high water was at about half past three. Perfect for a lazy sod like myself so after a lie in I grabbed my gear and headed over the Forth Road Bridge, arriving at the harbour at about noon.

Walking around to the spot I was going to fish I was surprised to find it already taken, but pleasantly so as it turned out to be Col, the angler who had recently caught a Yarrell's blenny there inspiring my own attempts. Sitting down next to him I quickly rigged up an Angleworm on a drop shot rig. It was nice to have some company but as we chatted away it quickly became apparent that whatever fish that were down below us were not really in the mood, gently nibbling away and proving difficult to hook. We persisted with our lures for a short while but soon both decided to switch to some bait. Col had some worms with him that he had dug in the morning and I had a few raw prawns. This switch didn't seem to produce many more bites but they were a bit more aggressive and I caught a small coalfish. The conversation soon turned to Yarrell's blenny and we were discussing my chances of catching one. Were they a species that live a solitary existence? Was there possibly a small group of them resident in the harbour? Maybe they only moved into the harbour to breed at this time of year? As we exchanged our thoughts Col was next to catch a fish and low and behold it was the one we were talking about. 

Col's second Yarrell's blenny from Burntisland Harbour. 

I was very excited to see this strange looking blenny in the flesh for the first time. It has an odd looking head with interesting structures on top of it as well as on the first two rays of its dorsal fin. I reasoned that Col catching two from the same spot meant that I had a pretty good chance of getting one too. I carried on fishing around the same area and then caught a couple of goldsinny wrasse. The second one had some unusual dark flecks on it. 

I've seen this type of "peppering" on a few long spined sea scorpions before but never on a wrasse. 

Things were still quite slow though and Col decided to try fishing over the back of the harbour wall to see if he could catch a ballan wrasse. I certainly wasn't moving from Yarrell's corner though! Pretty soon Col's rod had a nice bend in it and he was soon catching a few ballans. I wasn't getting many bites but when I finally got a positive one I managed to connect with it and soon had a huge smile on my face after quickly swinging a little pink and brown blenny up the harbour wall and into my hand.

My first Yarrell's blenny. A rather funky little fish.
In case you are wondering why it's called Yarrell's blenny, this is the Victorian naturalist William Yarrell who first identified the blenny and named it after himself.

I was over the moon and shouted over to Col to let him know, popped the fish back and then joined him up on the harbour wall. By now he had caught a few more ballans and landed a corkwing just as I climbed up beside him.

Col really likes corkwings. Who can blame him they are pretty fish.
Corkwing wrasse really like ragworm. Who can blame them they taste amazing!

Pretty soon I caught a few fish too. A ballan wrasse was followed by a couple of long spined sea scorpions and a couple of goldsinny wrasse.

I wish I had visited Burntisland earlier in the year for a few more of these.
A specimen long spined sea scorpion. 
This goldsinny wrasse had a nice golden mark on its flank.

As high tide came and went things went very quiet so we started fishing inside the harbour again. The action was almost non existent though so after a while I called it a day and left Col who kept fishing away. It had been a very enjoyable day in his company and I was very grateful that he had discovered Yarrell's corner and shared that information on his blog.

On the way home I popped into Leith Docks for an hour or so. It's normally a fairly grim place but the area opposite me was brightened up by a ship, a crane and a few other things.

Who said Leith Docks was fairly grim? Oh, I did. 

Keen to see what the murky water might throw up I went with an Angleworm on a drop shot rig. Casting it out and slowly working it back I soon caught a few chunky little coalfish.

Leith Docks are full of these little plump coalfish. 

That was all I caught with no surprises turning up but having caught a new blenny species earlier in the day I couldn't have really cared less! Once again a massive thanks to Col for sharing his original capture, giving me additional info and showing me how to catch one in person. Thanks to Lee too for being decisive when I was dithering. Finally thanks to William for discovering the species and giving it such an imaginative name...

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Really nice too see scott, and glad you got that wee pink bas### ticked off. Thanks for the tips as well.

    1. Cheers Col. The only problem with catching a new species is that it means there's one less to catch! :-)

  2. Very cool blenny guys. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    1. Yeah they are pretty cool. Off out to try and catch more in a couple of days. :-)