Sunday, 24 June 2018

Surprise silver

I did some prospecting today trying to find new areas to target Bass from my kayak. It was a fantastic day to be on the water but pretty crap tides to be fair. I fully expected it to be hard work and I was right. I tried deeper on the reefs and also the shallower areas along the transitions between weed and sand  trying to keep myself in as much flow as possible. It was in one such area where the tide was pushed between a couple of rocky areas being exposed as the tide dropped.There was a nice strip of sand between them that looked fishy. I hooked and lost what felt like a really nice fish. I presumed it was a Bass but ten minutes later sitting in the same spot the hooks stuck and after a great scrap I had a nice Sea Trout in the net. I then hooked and lost another one. Funny old game this fishing as I've only ever caught one tiny one down here before.
I had a lot of small reef Pollack and a few Launce to make up the numbers. Hard work in the sun but hopefully it will pay off in the long term.
Now this would  certainly make a nice livebait....

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Is the bug back?

I'm on a forced lay off this weekend having damaged my back washing my drysuit. Of all the ways I could have hurt myself this happened simply leaning over the bath.The area in question is where my hip joins my spine, a common injury amongst gardeners I'm told. Painkillers and a physio have helped a little and I'll use Sunday to sort some kit out and get ready for a few sessions later this month. I've decided to put some time in to my Bass fishing again,mostly from my Outback. I didn't catch a Wrasse till December last year so I can hopefully set some time aside for a few session on these as well.
A nice fish from July a few years back.
When I've been speaking to Craig recently it's rekindled my interest in targeting Bass. He's on that daft journey, up at all hours, and with a fly rod. In Scotland I'm not sure there is a tougher but at the same time realistic saltwater challenge like it.I'll see if the bug bites me next time out, if I can pinch some flies from him I might have a crack as well....

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Tope and Smoothound Video

Smoothie operator

The next trip on my yak, the targets were again Tope and hopefully Smoothounds. I fished 7am to 7.30pm. The Mackerel were hard to come by but I did have a string of nice Herring to add to the bait stocks. Not that it mattered a lot, I had one Tope run about 4pm but it dropped the bait. Saturday was more of a smoothie day, I've never caught so many. The gear I was using was on the heavy side but it was still great fun.
Most were on the small side. I only had 3 that were slightly better, seen here in the picture above, bottom right.
I had one hook, one hook length and no light leader. Somewhere between me cutting the hook length and tying the hook on, the tub I had some bits in disappeared, still got the lid....30 odd fish with this ,20 crabs and 4 squid is a proper economical use of resources. Species, Mackerel, Coalie, Herring, Tub Gurnard, Grey Gurnard, Whiting,LSD, Smoothound. A great days fishing.

Bass blank

The following day after my Tope session, I had my first shot at Bass from the shore with my mate Craig. Sadly we didn't catch any Bass. Craig had a small Pollack and I hooked and lost a rare Scottish Garfish. It was great to see though. I did have one in roughly the same area 4 years ago in May, not sure if the numbers are there to target them though ?
Since then Craig has been on a mission( with some success) I'll be back at it some time soon.
I don't know too many anglers that have caught one in Scotland but they are around.

A few Tope

I only had one proper attempt at Tope last year and kind of missed the early run of pack Tope. With a settled forecast I intended to put that right at the start of June.

I was on the road for 3.30am after a double dunt of coffee, launched for 5.45am after a quick call to Belfast coastguard to log my trip. I started fishing the last of the ebb. Nothing around in terms of mackerel I picked up a few Launce and some Coalies to supplement my frozen bait and then dropped the anchor. It was a cracking morning, calm and windless, not another person to be seen on the water. I knew where I should have been but I wasn't in the mood to be fighting the tide too much so, I was here.

After a couple of hours I had dropped a Huss after it spat the bait as I went to lift it out, from there, it was just a wall to wall dogs. I was kind of regretting my decision to fish this area but had a move further off shore as the tide started to flow. I picked up a few fresh Mackerel which proved to be the turning point of the day. As I waited, the bottom seemed paved with Whiting ,they came up 2 and 3 at a time if the feathers hit the deck. I then had an absolutely howling run, thankfully the hook didn't stick as a sizeable seal popped up down tide. Having just got over that, a Gannet hit the water like a rocket about ten yards from my yak. I shifted around in my seat to check I hadn't soiled my drysuit and put a fresh bait down.

I then had a couple of decent hours fishing with three Tope and a nice Thornback before it went quiet. I wrapped it up for about 1pm after trying inshore unsuccessfully for a Bass. Species for the day,Coalie, Launce, Whiting, Mackerel, Grey Gurnard, LSD, Tope ,Thornback and Pollack.

The Haunting

I had a shot locally for Pollack around the middle of May, a mid-week evening session on a lovely night. The area was all but devoid of Pollack, two small fish in 3 hours. A guy I met on a kayak last time out, he was in exactly the same place he left me on my previous visit. I had put him on some fish using my marker float as he didn't have a finder. As I was catching fish I could hear him shout “dinner dinner”. I later found out by speaking to him he had been out the day previously, that day, the next day and was intending to fish this spot on the Monday as well. The calm weather has a lot to answer for, this guys been haunting the place in his blue/light blue camo tandem. Revive the Clyde bollocks, the Clyde is Alive? All that's been done there is put more general pressure on one of the few decent marks easily accessible by a kayak. I've made the odd mistake myself but responsible and social media? Marks named and battered all over Youtube,? Not too clever in my book.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

A weekend to forget

Setting off with the best intentions a pothole put an end to the first Bass trip of 2018 on Saturday morning. The roads are truly a disgrace at the moment. Two tyres in two days, I'm now spending more time looking at the road than what's going on around me on it. Three hours to get a new tyre and I had missed the tidal window that might have produced a fish or two.
More patches than a ship full of panto pirates
Having already replaced an alloy due to a crack 6 months ago I thought the same thing had happened again as result of the sudden deflation. The price to replace it was eye watering. 19 inch low profile run flats,no spare or space saver isn't a solution for the roads at the minute. My car is a company brief, as much as it's a great car I probably would not spec it with these if I had the choice.

I changed direction that evening and headed north for a few hours for Sea Trout. I lost one but blanked. I'm not feeling the motivation to fish for them this year for some reason. I might have a shot from my Outback at some point this season but outside of this  I'm done for the year.

I had a launch on Monday, poor tides but I thought it might be worth a shot. The plan was combine a spot of Bass fishing with lures and maybe a Thornback or early Tope.

When it came to catching, I had an estimated 3 or 4 pound seagull with the first cast of a surface lure for 2018, awesome.
 It's always a pleasure to release them high into the wind and see them fly off, just like Kes. I might even have had a tear in my eye. I think we'll call this one a draw.

Between catching dogfish and farting into my drysuit not much else took place.
Early days down there, must do better next time out or they'll be a melted kayak on a beach somewhere.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Scotia Fishing

If you follow my blog you might recall me catching up with my mate Callum at the start of last year. I had never fished for Grayling before so we had a day on the river to remedy that. Callum coached me through a session on the french leader and I managed to land a couple of fish. In February this year, I was delighted that he managed his first magazine cover shot. Well done sir, cracking shot!
The one and only time I'll feature on the front cover of Trout & Salmon for sure. Here is some video of the cover fish, as you can see,he's not bad with video equipment either.Press play and the clip will work.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Grass cutting can wait

For another day at least. Thankfully it stayed dry so I can catch up with what needs done at home on Sunday.

Today was a matter of just picking away it the opportunities. It's been two months since I've been afloat on my Outback, it certainly feels it tonight.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

A little bit of spirit back

So I didn't think about fishing again till Tuesday. I had a few beers and tried my hand at windsurfing. I was staying at Dakhla Spirit basically a windsurfing hotel. Over a dropping tide the shallow lagoon started to reveal a few features that caught my eye. It was maybe 5/6ft deep at high tide with a sand spit with what looked like deeper water on both sides. I took walk down that evening with low tide just before dusk. There were still a few windsurfers speeding past, so rather than getting involved in that I went back to the hotel, read my book and drank a bottle of wine.

I was ready not long after dawn the next morning and the walk to the spot was maybe 500/600 yards. I thought it looked pretty fishy, much like an estuary without a river at the head of it. On the outside edge there was some light flow with tide emptying from the bay. Casting the 28g jig around I was counting to 15 on the outside and about 12 on the inside before touchdown so it had a some depth. I had been getting a lot of hits and put it down to Garfish as they're usually the culprits. Sure enough I picked one up after about 20 mins.
Following on from this I sussed out the main culprits were cuttlefish. I was cursing I didn't have a jig for them with me as I've never caught one. I'm also pretty sure with some bait here you could score with a multitude of species.

After about 30 mins I had a couple of hits when things went solid and something went off on a tidy run, hunkered down, and went off again. It certainly had some weight to it and I soon realised it was a ray of some description. After nice scrap I could see some colour and it looked bigger than I was expecting it to be. I've been here before with a nasty big southern stingray so I fumbled in my bag for pliers, getting done with a stinger was all I needed. I had realised it was hooked it in the wing, what I didn't appreciate was that it was a pair of rays with the other one following it. As I edged it into the shallows its mate pegged it. After careful inspection it seemed not to have a stinger. I managed to get the hook out and encourage it back out to sea with the butt of my rod through the shallows. After that I had a couple of garfish and moved to the end of the sand spit.If anyone finds themselves here take some salt as the beach is jammed full of razor fish, these would be a great bait here I would think.

Cow Nose Ray, probably 5/6kg's
After that I had a couple of gars and moved to the end of the sand spit

 This looked a cracking spot for a predator hunting. I caught site of a decent fish that turned away just as the lure came over the edge and I'm pretty sure it was a big bream of some description. I adjusted my position so that I was bringing the lure along the edge more at the end of the retrieve, giving any fish following the lure more of a decision to make. And that's exactly what happened with this little fella, he came up over the edge and at the last minute smacked the lure.
A meagre example of a Leerfish given my expectations. But for 3 days and a morning fishing, for 4 rods, the fact is ,it was the only one that was  seen caught.

I then took a walk to the outside shoulder of the spit and did a spot of jigging. I only had one hit here but it was another new species for me. It's jack of some sort or maybe a scad  ? Scott will be along to tell me at some point( probably a False Scad). I did find an identical picture of the fish online but on further inspection I'm sure the anglers ID is wrong.

I tried again the next morning and did have a few gars. I hooked something that I played for a couple of minutes but never got to see before the hooks pulled. It was fast and had weight but I'll never know what it was. What was interesting were the pairs of cow nose rays cruising the surface. This kind of explained how I had foul hooked one as I was working the lure pretty shallow at the time.

One final note on the first part of the trip. I sent Ali a link to the first post. He pointed out that I had lost patience and some of my kit was wrong, namely my rod. I agree with both points in fairness . But I stand by what I've written.

I wont travel to another continent and accept anything less than 100% commitment, organisation and planning for my money. A guide can't put fish on the beach for an angler to catch and I'm not expecting anyone to wipe my arse. I'm fine with that. I've occasionally used the services of a guide abroad and once in Wales I know what I should expect. This wasn't it. You see Ali, I've been at this game a few years myself.