Thursday, 31 December 2009

No fishing and bad weather

Unfortunately no fishing this month, might manage out early January for some cod. I have however been putting my fishing kit to some use in the recent few weeks, not my rods but some of my clothes.

I’ve never been a fan of flotation suits either in the one or two piece variety. When I started going to Norway about seven years ago I had a look at viable alternatives to these. I needed something which would cope with the weather, could be worn with a life jacket and which would give me freedom of movement and the ability to lair up or down. I had a look at the range of clothes from Patagonia, this is extensive and covers everything from wading in streams for trout to climbing Everest. I realised then that I could pick up pieces of kit which could be used across all areas of my fishing and also day to day…especially in the winter and that’s been particular useful this last week or two.

Outer layer (red) – Patagonia Jetstream Jacket, breathable, waterproof lightweight compressible shell.

Mid layer (blue) Patagonia down sweater, very warm and again compressible

Base layer (black) Patagonia R1 hoody, this is the best piece of clothing kit I have bought. Zips up like a balaclava and makes you look like a ninja, thumbholes to keep your wrist and hands warm and dries really quickly. I wore this lot in the summer on its own or for early morning work I would put a Patagonia long sleeve Capilene underneath it. If I had bought this seven years ago I could have done away with every other base/mid layer I have bought and now rarely wear.

Anyway from this self confessed Patagonia label junkie have a fantastic 2010, hope it brings us a lot of PB’s

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

November -Loch Sunnart Tagathon

Just had great weekend at Loch Sunnart and the Shark Tagathon, the fishing was mixed and at times poor. The banter was top drawer as was the food and welcome at the Salen Hotel. I can recommend this hotel for food and accommodation. On this trip we stayed at the An Tobar B&B about 3 miles north of Salen, lovely couple great digs, great value and a fantastic breakfast

Saturday, 7 November 2009

November- Thinking ahead

It’s the usual time of year when I start to think about next year’s objective in terms of what I would like to catch,where the I would like to go and what the available budget will be. The guys in my club are heading back to Kenya in January. This is a fantastic angling destination and pretty much has it all, just about every species of Billfish, GT’s, Amberjacks to name but a very few.

I was lucky enough to be visit in 2007.Willie Kennedy and I shared a boat on the last two days of our two week trip. The fishing went "tonto" and at one point we had five rods in with live frigate mackerel...five fish took each of the baits, Willie had 4 Yellowfin Tuna all about 50 pounds in the boat while I was left struggling with a Striped Marlin. Having done some damage to my elbow deep dropping speed jigs in 200 meters of water it was both painful and superb at the same time. When this latest trip was planned I could not commit to it. As it gets closer I cant help but feel a little jealous that I wont be there, good luck and I'm sure the fishing will be hot.

In fact I’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of good angling destinations Kenya, Cape Verde, Pacific Mexico, Florida, Portugal and Arctic Norway.

I will get round to posting some pictures throughout the winter. Next year looks like France to lure/fly fish Bass. Having spent more hours than is right to do so I think I have it down to two places so… happy days.

October- Bass,Wrasse & wasp stings

Having been busy with Bass and Mullet I had not done any Wrasse fishing this year. This was pity as last year I had set myself a target of getting a fish of 5 pounds. My intention was to target these all summer but it just never happened. Still, being a decent month to target them Rodney and I got ourselves sorted out. The weather the day prior to our session had been unsettled, wet and windy. When I woke on Sunday morning I peered bleary eyed out the window not sure what I would find.... calm and sunny the trip was on.

Long story short we had 30 or so Wrasse. Surprised the size seemed to be down on our previous trips. To be fair the pair of us seemed to be hopeless for most of trip, missing bites stumbling about the rocks like bambi on ice. In fact he broke the tip ring on his rod when connected to probably the biggest Wrasse of the trip, I could see it clearly and it would have went 3-4 pounds when the hook popped out. On top of the tip breaking… hilarious. He followed this stunt up by screaming at me and clawing at his groin area about half an hour later. He then stood on the rocks dropped his strides and killed the wasp which had climbed up his trouser leg…. absolute quality.

I had one Bass session late in the month. Being October I had visions of landing a bass bigger than my PB which is 6 pounds 6 oz. I decided to have an evening session and then a dawn session via a B & B stay. Having been reading up on lure fishing at night I gave it a go. I took two fish at dusk and then two fish around 9.30pm..Totally black, no moon with a really slow retrieve using a Feed Shallow. In addition I had six or so small Pollack. The Bass? These were about the smallest I have caught all year, in fact come to think of it this mark has produced pretty much all small fish, note to self. I did learn a few things and you definitely tune into the environment. I have to say that I did not like the seal literally sniffing about me less than fifteen feet away in the pitch black, quite spooky. That was the end of the fishing for that night. I gave it go at first light and despite what I would say were good conditions I blanked, that as they say is show business! Nice sunrise though.

September-Bass & Mullet

With some settled weather I was back pursuing mullet. The fish I took in July was 88% of the Scottish record and I knew there were bigger to be had. In fact when playing that fish there were two of its pals swimming with it which were easily the same size if not bigger. I made a few changes and some fine tuning to me end tackle, ground bait and approach. This resulted in a superb session, can’t remember if it was five or six fish but I had another fish over 6 pounds. I did have some competition from a seal and was lucky not to lose two fish. I again involved a random, pics taken by a granny out buying a newspaper. The old dear stood and chatted off and on for about an hour and a half, bless her. Thanks for taking the pics!

I also had a couple of sessions on the Bass these were however proving a little trickier. I did have some more fish off the top including the one pictured here. It does not do it justice but I was perched on a boulder in 3 feet of water trying to be quite and not splash around. The minute the popper hit the water I paused, on the first few twitches walking it back it was totally nailed. In fact the fish almost cart wheeled over itself on the take, superb fish, great fight and it took ages to revive. I also took this fish at maximum distance which was interesting over the ground I was fishing. The Caldia I picked up for the Sun fish of the week worked well. I got the 3000 size , nice reel and a sweet little drag.

Friday, 6 November 2009


August was a difficult month, wind, rain, dirty water with suspended weed. As a result the wind direction throughout the month I was sort of pushed to fish one area more often than I would have liked. The weather seemed to conspire to be at it bests (along with the tides) mid week. But regardless of this I still caught, just had to try harder and put up with more weather.

Started taking more fish off the top on surface lures such as the Mag Popper and Luck Craft Sammy. For me it’s a really satisfying and also exciting way to take fish. What I did learn this month is that sometimes the less you do and only using subtle movements with this style of fishing the more you catch. I think I had about 8 fish on the surface.

The rain put the dampeners on the mullet but they would be back on the agenda soon enough…

July- Bass & Mullet

More of the same for me in July, good sessions on the Bass. Lots of miles, some warranted grief from Lynne as a result of being completely done in come Sundays. I drive around 50k miles per year in my day job and on top of that on a Friday night I was off on my travels, come Sunday…puffed out.

As a result of this I tried closer to home targeting mullet for a couple if quick sessions to get my fix. Now not having fished them for some time I was not that optimistic. This proved to be unfounded as had some quick success with 3 fish in my first session the best being this fish picture above at 6 pounds 5 ounces. The scrap these fish provide on the right tackle is just superb. The fish unfortunately died, after a doing its best to escape I put it back in the drop net to release it. Its dorsal became entangled in the net so by the time I brought it back up and then back down it had gone. I have to say it did eat pretty well cooked by mate Rodney on his barbi. Having released all but two Bass this year it provided a decent feed for us and a nice change.

The picture was taken by of all people a bus driver who's rig had broken down. I later cropped the finger out the pic but cant find that copy, did a decent job apart from that. This random pic request to a passing stranger was to become a theme when fishing for mullet as I did this mainly alone.


When I came back from Norway summer had arrived and the fantastic spell of weather continued into June.

Not having done much Bass fishing for a couple of years I decided to re- focus my attention on these fish. Having had a static in the Luce Bay area for a few years I knew the area pretty well so sort of picked up where I left off. The main problem here was that before the early morning and evening session were easy in there was no need to travel further than 30 minutes. Not so now, indeed a round trip of 4 hours was required. The answer was simple, pick the right tides where I could which suited the venues I could fish both at dusk and dawn. With darkness falling around 11.30pm and dawn at 3.30am there was not much point in putting a tent up or investing in a B&B so got my head down in the Merc. With a portable stove for a dawn brew or an evening pot noodle what more do you need when there are Bass to be caught?

My partner Lynne thought I was nuts… think she thought I was at it. I explained that her name was Betty Bass a somewhat prickly character, fickle at times and only available at the most unsociable time of the day.

I enjoyed some very good results throughout June with up to seven fish a session and average catch of around 5 fish using lures such as the Maria Chase BW and Maria Angel Kiss, decent lures for the money. Effective colours seemed to be holo silver, green eel, pearl silver.

I also tried a few more local areas only an hour or so from my home with some success. I remember one evening taking a fish off the surface on a mag popper enjoyed that one big time, two casts later a Gannet took the lure thankfully it was not hooked. I couldn’t believe that this bird came so close in on such shallow and rocky ground, anyway it was good enough to fool a Bass and a Gannet so I must have been doing something right. So all in a good month with a few barbies and some cold ones thrown in. It was a busy month. I was also in hospital for surgery and had to take some time off work this curtailed me a little. It did however give me some time to spend money online lures, rods and more lures

May- Arctic Norway

Our long awaited trip to Norway had arrived. The planning had been done as had the homework as well as lots of spending. The crew was Les, Cammy, Jason and me. The area of our visit was the island of Vannoy around 40 miles north of Tromso. This was my fifth visit to Norway and my third to this area. High up in the Arctic Circle it had been pretty much daylight 24 hours for around 3 weeks. It was the remainder of the teams first visit to Norway so both spirits and expectations were sky high.

The targets were Cod, Halibut, Coalfish, Catfish and Haddock. Please find a link to the article Les wrote for Planet Sea Fishing.

Copy and paste this link to your browser as the hyper link wont work.

We had a great trip, superb boat in brand new Arvor AS, good accommodation and a host (Jan) who could not have done more for us.

The weather was extremely challenging for the first two days but we then broke lucky on both the weather and the fishing. We also broke a few local records for Buryosund, 50 halibut in a week including Jason’s fish which broke the local record. Stacks of Cod and I mean stacks the average size was disappointing but I believe we were unlucky on this front as its got a track record of delivering according to my research. We spent a lot of time chasing these fish. The up side and it was a big up side is that we had superb Halibut fishing ten minutes from the house.

April- Sea Trout


With spring on the way I gave myself a push in right direction. Having excelled myself as usual during the Christmas period and well into January and February I managed one or two boat sessions on Loch Etive. It was certainly good to be out and about and thanks to Scot I got a day on the water, small spurdog, thornies were as usual the order of the day for this venue.

With spring on the way and Norway booked and paid for there was plenty to look forward to.