Sunday, 23 July 2017

The house always wins

We don’t know what cards we hold or how many hands we’ll get. The best we can do, up or down is enjoy the game while we’re at the table.
It was great to be out this afternoon. 4 Bass and the rain stayed off despite the forecast. After a week of bad news it was one of life's small victories.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Back on my Perch

After my last few sorties in the salt I fancied a trip back to the loch. I love my Perch fishing, just something about them.
Fin perfect
They didn’t seem to be as spread out as they sometimes can be, maybe the bright conditions? This hasn’t stopped them in the past but today they still seemed to be tight on structure.

Fishing huge waters it pays to have a quality sounder. It doesn't mean that when you find them you'll catch them but it certainly helps.
Top right, same feature shot from the side. It looks like a rock ridge or maybe a wall, certainly has some straight edges.
The fishing wasn't bumper , I went 2.5 hours without a fish at one point. I would find a few again and start catching them in little bursts. I threw some bait around as well as lures which helped.
My only Bream, don't mind these but they don't half smear you up. I left my sponge at home so I had it baked on my drysuit...nice!
Good fun
I think I used most of luck up on the first year fishing from the kayak but it was pretty much all I did that season. So no monsters but nice Perch just the same. I guess like any other season/species results vary from year to year.
Another scarred up Pike, this time, I think from one of its own kind. These always get me when you hook them drop shot, hope it's a monster Perch, till they hit the accelerator. 



Monday, 10 July 2017

Quantity not Quality

I had a late start on Sunday and wasn’t on the water till 1pm, just in time to catch the ebb. I decided to leave the bait rods behind for this trip, I didn’t want any distractions while searching for Bass today.  I often thought about fishing this stretch of coast from a kayak, way before owning one. On the barren days I would often wonder what it would be like, just a little further out, beyond the range of my best casting lure, on a good day with the wind behind me. Most of us have probably had a few such thoughts. There’s a lot of tide here, more than I’ve fished in so far from my Outback so I was looking forwarding to exploring the area.

I had been fishing for a couple hours with a mixture of trolling, casting and jigging and had one hit before I decided to get in the thick of it tide wise. I had the light wind at my back and the tide running about 2.5mph in the other direction, there was some nice 2/3ft waves tumbling and breaking behind me off a point which needed some consideration. I was able to hold position and fish, but it wasn’t easy on the peddles. I was sure there would be a few fish around. I changed lures and while doing so drifted further back. This did the trick on the next cast I had a Pollack, at least it was a start. This continued and I had about five or so, good fun but probably not worth the effort to keep me where I was, I’m sure on another day these might have been Bass. The tide slackened a little and it flattened out so I decided to have a troll about 400 yards offshore.

A humble Bass but I was glad to pick it up so hit the waypoint button to mark the spot.
I had a scout around the area and picked up another one about ten minutes later.
Nothing to shout about size wise but these were fish that I wouldn’t caught from the shore unlike the other Bass I’ve had so far from the yak. Anyone who hasn't caught even one of these little fellas before would be surprised how much they pull for their size. I was wishing I had the fly rod with me, next time maybe.
I explored a few reefs a mile or so away, chased a few seals out their hunting spots which is a novelty, it’s normally the other way round. I picked up a couple of School Bass but on my return to the waypoint area  again, all I could find were the same size fish, in numbers, ending the session with 14/15 small Bass and as many Pollack over the course of the day.
The two hour drive home and getting in just before midnight wasn’t any fun right enough. A small step in the kayak Bass game but an interesting day just the same, more questions than answers however, isn’t there always?


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Failing in style

With a favourable forecast and the opportunity to take a day off mid-week it made sense to try and put a Tope aboard. Having missed the seasonal pack Tope rush of late May and June it might now prove a little tricky to achieve. The word was Luce Bay wasn’t fishing that well for them and with the small tides this week I wasn’t overly optimistic.

Just minutes after launching I was catching Pollack to around 1.5 pounds which were feeding well, they had the drag working and my light rod in a nice bend every couple of casts. Before I knew it about an hour passed and I had to fight the action distraction and get on with the job in hand. Unlike my last trip mackerel appeared abundant which I thought might be a positive sign on the whereabouts of the target , after harvesting what was required I set the anchor and dropped a bait down. It wasn’t long before this was picked up and I wound down to connect the circle hook with the target, Tope on! This joy was short lived, Tope off, after the first run….

Still, can’t complain. The weather was great, lots of action to keep me busy but unfortunately no Tope. I must have dropped my first bait on the nose of what appears to have been the only one in the vicinity.

The only Bass on my session which provided a great scrap on my XLNT2 rod. The fish took a FBM on the drop, first time I've caught on this lure, it's got its fans, I'm not really one of them yet.
I had three big Thornbacks and only one dogfish, result!
Despite the look on my face I was pleased with the quality of this fish.
When the tide allowed and I could get past the Mackerel, jigging the lure on the bottom produced Grey and Tub Gurnards on a regular basis. I had an absolute monster Tub drop off next to the yak. It must have followed the lure right off the bottom and took it only a few feet down.




Sunday, 25 June 2017

SW road trip day 2

I met another angler in the morning just about to set off, he was targeting Pike. We had a chat and I explained I was here for the Perch. Fishing the bank the day before he had no luck. We exchanged ideas on where to try and I offered him the chance of some precision fishing and presenting bait at distance.

About an hour after starting I had a look for him on the bank to see how things were going. He had nothing and it wasn’t that much better from me at that point. There was a sunken tree about 50 yards from the point he was on. Now this can be ok for some decent Perch, it can also hold a Pike or two. As I peddled out with his half mackerel he asked if I would Ghillie for him for the rest of the day, I suggested he couldn’t afford the tip as I dropped the bait about 10ft from the tree. I couldn’t have been more than 50 ft. away when he said he had a take. I thought he was joking. As I turned the yak around he struck the fish, a few seconds later it was airborne lunging around the loch. Not a big fish maybe about 6 pounds, he was delighted, so was I. I dropped his next bait off and made my way off to pastures new.

My heart really wasn’t in it after my 12 hour session the day before but I picked away at a few Perch here and there just enjoying being afloat.
I was tapping my drop shot rig around a proper nasty snag when the lure was bumped, for about three seconds I felt nice weight and I was thinking about a big Perch. The fish then realised it was hooked, it can only be one thing Esox Lucius.
And a battle scarred gnarled faced mother at that. How many times has this one been caught in its life? I'm not 100% sure but I think I might even know someone who has caught it having saw a picture of a fish with a top jaw like this.
So all in, a cracking two days fishing really, just what I needed. I'll be keeping a close eye on the forecast for another shot at Tope and from there looking at the end of July/August for my kayak Blue Shark trip, still no takers, might be solo again...


Saturday, 24 June 2017

SW Road Trip day 1

Life’s been a bit hectic recently so I took two days off mid-week. The plan was simple, just fish my nuts off. I watched my days off approaching, the forecast held in advance of my road trip, a surprise in itself. With perfect conditions for a day at sea I launched at HT 9am on Tuesday to a nice smooth sea. First stop was a shot for Bass on a spot I’ve had some nice fish from the shore. Not much happening so I didn’t waste too much time, this would be a 12 hour shift afloat and the same time slot in the evening might provide better odds.

I had some frozen bait with me but I trolled some feathers while checking out some reefs but the Lowrance was picking up nothing so after about 40 mins I decided to put the anchor down. Making do with frozen mackerel I dropped a trace over the side with a FBM on the bottom instead of a weight.
There must have been a stack of fish coming past me in the tide as the rod was buckled for about 6 consecutive drops with multiple hook ups of Cod, Pollack and two solitary mackerel. On the bait rod it was rather monotonous with a dogfish a drop, time for a move.
After checking my bearings I was now about 1.5 miles out from my launch spot when I set the pick for the second time. It was action from the outset and my half mackerel bait produced a nice Huss first drop, typically, as they do, it let the bait go at the side of the yak. I put a smaller fillet on and dropped this back down and the first Huss was aboard a few minutes later.
After another one and two letting go at the side I wondered about a move to some different ground looking for Tope.
The tide was fairly pushing past by now and the ratchet screamed off with a fish on.
I had the fish alongside and checked it out, nice little Tope I thought, another first off the yak.
As it happens it was a Smoothhound, unusual thing is that it took half a Pollack. It was also about twice the size of my previous best. It really caught me out taking the fish bait, had no spots like the others I’ve caught and was that kind of bronze colour Tope can sometimes be over a certain type of ground. At somewhere between 13-15 pounds that’s a pretty big Scottish smut. From there it was a dog and Hussfest and I ended with six of them, with the doggies chewing through my bait on an ongoing basis I decided on another move.
Even the Cod were on the Pollack baits

Just when you think things are going well something usually brings you back down to earth. In this case, it was my anchor line snapping at the carabiner? This was only the third time the new 2kg Bruce had been to the sea bed and along with ten foot of chain and 150ft of cord it proved to be a right pain in the arse….

Inshore with the light changing it was pure Pollack mayhem. I tried a reef that came up from 20ft to about 10ft over a fair size area with a nice bit of tide running over the top. If there were any Bass around they didn’t get a look in. I switched to a popper and still caught Pollack, great fun.

As I was drifting I saw a big solid red return on the sounder in about 12ft of water. I dropped the lure in and looked over the side; saw the flash of bronze flanks as the fish took and the others scattered, the white lure disappeared and I felt the line zip off the reel. Just a great way to end a good day.
With no anchor it was plan B on day two. I arrived at the loch at midnight, knackered but sated.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Another for the hit list

Another one for the kayak project. Not the Tope I hoped for but a PB Smoothound so it merits making the hit list. It's not a  great picture lifted from GoPro video, was never going to be easy with the fish writhing in my lap.