Saturday, 20 December 2014

BBC Alba- Sea Trout & Salmon on the Uists

Stewart put me on to this programme shown last Tuesday on BBC Alba. It brought back some great memories of the beaches, tidal pools and lochs I fished as a teenager through to my thirties. It’s been way too long and I really should get back up there soon and wet a line with my cousin Ian who also features in this programme. Have a look here if you’re interested in fly fishing for Sea Trout or Salmon in the outer Hebrides.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Leaping forward to spring

I’m counting down the days till I can get back on the beach fishing for Sea Trout. I don’t see any trips down south for Zander filling the gaps in the months ahead so expectations will build towards February. I can target Sea Trout again after the 11th so don’t have long to wait. I didn’t wet a line for them  after the first week in May last year, never found the time so I’m looking forward to making the most of the spring action in 2015. I’m still looking for that big fish, 6 + (but aren’t we always?) Starting earlier will be interesting, no idea what that extra month might throw up. It will be over for me in May again where I’ll be looking at sea temps in the SW and opportunities for the first lure caught Bass of the year. It’s my intention to fish for both from a kayak at some point. I would be lying if wasn’t feeling a bit apprehensive, at the same time I’m looking forward to it, should be fun and it will definitely be wet.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Catch of the day

It's been 6 months since our wedding so we had a look through the pictures again today. I took my rod with me for the weekend as you do when visiting an island and quite rightly took pelters for it. When we had a few pictures taken at the beach it was an ideal opportunity to get it out.
We had a fantastic day and cracked it with the weather after a wet start.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bowing out on a blank

That’s the Bass lures getting packed away for 2014, had a 5 hour session today without a touch. It’s only been ten days since I had a couple of fish but things felt different today. The rockpools had no signs of life, shrimps, fry, tiny gobies; they all seem to have moved on. I’ve no doubt there are still some fish about which will fall to baits, might even have a try myself if I get the chance but that’s it for me using lures.

I took a final look at the rocks from the top of the hill, had a smoke and pondered what kind of winter we might have and wondered when spring will arrive in earnest. Having had a Garfish and some nice Bass in May I might start in April if it feels right.

As I walked back to the car I stopped and washed the salt water from boots  in a little burn that I walk across , my usual ritual here as it  saves me doing it when I get home.
When I neared the car I was met with the roar of diesel engines and heavy plant. I’d spotted the signs a few months back giving notice that the wood was being harvested. I stopped and spoke to the guys for a few minutes, a full winter’s work ahead of them apparently. The forest had been planted in 1960 and now it was for the chop, quite literally. What was a nice walk will be like a battlefield next year and the crafty Jay that I had spotted five minutes earlier darting between the trees will be looking for a new home. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A touch of silver frost

After feeding Dogfish for two days last weekend I was keen to get back to a style of fishing that floats my boat. The weather over the last week has been windy with a few decent interludes and plenty of rain of course. On that basis I didn’t think the forecast would hold for 4 days and let me pop my nose down into the SW on Sunday, but low and behold it did. There was some frost overnight and although I wasn’t on the road at the crack of dawn it was cold and foggy pretty much all the way to my spot.

I thought the water clarity would be worse than it was but thankfully it was OK. There was however a nasty swell that I would need to be mindful of, apart from that it was great to be back where I like to be of a morning. After about 30 minutes the mid-morning sun warmed my face and with no potential Dogfish on the radar I was a happy lad.
This Bass made me happier, as fit as a butcher’s dog it slammed the lure at close range and fought well against a pretty brutal drag setting due to the ground I’m fishing here. Landing the fish was problematic in the swell, you can see the fish has some scale damage from barnacles, after recovering in a rock pool it went on its way. My shoulder has responded to the physio really well and there were no major issue in the first hour, my bag however had to be dumped as I could feel it starting to cause a problem. When my second fish came along I couldn’t be bothered to get the camera, not much in it between them anyway. With the tides being so small today the fish did not seem to be where they normally are at the given stage of tide. It was basically downhill after a good start, actually surprised I caught any fish. I  did also spend some time in this session thinking about next year and the challenges I’ll be faced with transporting, launching and retrieving a kayak here. They are fairly substantial but they are doable. I’ll need to be fit and have some time on the water under my belt first but I can’t wait.
 I took this on the way home, a flooded field at sunset with the fog starting to roll in, stunning.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A weekend up north

My club hit the shores of Loch Sunart at the weekend with 8 boats travelling up for what is always a fairly social event with average results in terms of the fishing. On Friday afternoon reports started to come in of the first incident where a pre-trip trailer service resulted in 4 nuts being left loose and wheel falling off a trailer at the Bridge of Orchy. This set the tone, I left all my clothes in my car, boat engines failed, rods got broken and someone had suspected food poisoning and passed out behind a toilet door at 1.30am on Sunday. Despite this the guys all stuck at it catching Conger, LSD, Thornback, Pollack, Whiting, Poor Cod, Mackerel and a Skate was hooked but lost. The Spurs were elusive with less than a dozen caught over the weekend despite lots of effort. Gordon caught a fish on Saturday about 12pm which was tagged and caught again 5 miles away on Sunday at 2pm which was a surprisingly quick recapture.

Gordon with a couple of fish
It’s been about 13 years since I first fished Sunart. I took my boat up there and accompanied by another boat we had a great weekend ,there was even a rogue suspected escaped Halibut caught. This style of fishing on that venue is not for me any longer so I don’t see myself returning. About 7 years ago it became much harder to get a result for what is a fair amount of effort, my hearts not in it.

I’ll now be resting up over the next few months till Feb/March as I’m currently nursing a major shoulder problem. Miles on the clock and years of fishing with what is these days a massive amounts of reps casting lures in a session appears to have taken its toll. I have physio and possibly surgery ahead of me; learning to cast left handed is also an option which will require patience I probably don’t  have.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Slow for the mo

Not much happening fishing wise for me at the moment. I have however been invited to a day on the Tweed by a client next Tuesday. I don’t have much experience fly fishing on rivers of this stature so it will be hit or miss for me but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Following on from that it will be Loch Sunart in November. This has been my seasonal pattern over the last 10 years or so fishing for Spurs along with my fellow club members in what is usually a very wet but sociable weekend.

The flights and fishing have been booked for a few weeks now for our trip to the Ebro. Scott and I will be teaming up for a lure based assault on the predators swimming around the Caspe region where we will be fishing with Lee
The targets will be Wels catfish, Zander, Largemouth and Perch. I’ve no doubt Scott will winkle out a few other species on the trip and I wouldn’t expect anything else. The last email I had from Lee he mentioned that an angler with him had a 162 pound Wels on a lure. I’ve not had a Wels before so I’m looking forward to adding that to my own species tally. A week in the sunshine catching some nice fish would be just the ticket at the moment but it’s a long way off for the time being.


Monday, 13 October 2014

For auld times sake

After yesterday’s success I fancied more of the same today. The strengthening wind forced a change of location to a part of the coast that I’ve not fished for a while. I had spotted a track on Google maps that I know leads to stretch of beach that has the scattered parts of an old wreck just about in casting distance. You can actually see it in the satellite image if you know where to look. I’ve not been to this part of the beach before so I ended up having to reverse 1/4 of mile back along an increasingly overgrown and muddy track which was leading to nowhere other than getting pulled out by a tractor. I eventually got to my destination and worked my way along the beach casting and looking for any signs of activity. Two hours later I puffed my way back to the car fishless and headed for a spot that I used to do alright on about 12 years ago. I’ve only fished it a handful of times since but it was on my doorstep back then. I climbed down to the mark and took my backpack off and found the nice smooth rock I used to sit on and began fan casting the area. I cast my mind back, as you do, and it occurred to me that it’s still the place that I’ve caught the most Bass from in a tide, this was followed up by a similar result the next day. It never did produce as much on any other visit but was always good for a fish or two. I wondered if any of those fish were still swimming around and if they were they would be old and indeed, a fair size, you can but daydream. Just at that the rod jolted over and snapped me back reality.
I checked my watch after putting the Bass back, right on the money, same stage of the tide and as it happens exactly at the same part of the rock point that 90% of the fish hit the lure. It seems some things never change.  Anyway that was it, a snag and a lost lure brought my session to a close two hours later, but at least it wasn’t a blank.

Time for a few more before the sun sets on my Bass season. I’m hoping for decent weather on the run up to the next set of tides.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Grip'n & Grinning

I’ve been needing a fix for a while now having been busy with work and other commitments over the weekends recently. I snapped my 9ft HPR in the garage door in what was a bizarre accident mid-week, third tip in three years. Having never broken a rod in my life before I got this rod makes it an unwelcome PB, correction PW. If I didn’t rate the rod as much I would move on but it will be off to Century yet again next week. I stepped on to the beach today with a £29 8ft replacement, the Rovex lure Quad travel rod.  I used it in Aruba back in May while on honeymoon, really great little rod for the money, certainly for hard lures and things like SG eels anyway.

It was a pleasure to be back fishing again on a glorious October morning where I joined the otters and seals looking for their fix as well.

I positioned myself low and well back from the point where the tide was pushing past and made a few casts up-tide thinking that a Bass might be sitting behind the point of rock just out of the flow. This worked and I had two fish in 30 mins exactly where I thought they might be with both takes coming within inches of each other.

 It rarely pays to take route “A” and put yourself right on a point of rock such as this and when I fish alone I’ve got the luxury of knowing this and making the most of it.

I moved up the rock later on as the depth increased having dropped a fish in the same spot as the other two. I got another fish just as I should have been exiting the mark as I was about to get cut off. The Evo eel was barely visible as the fish had wolfed it right down, thankfully no blood and the fish went back.

 I walked for as far as the cliffs would let me and caught another fish and had one tag me almost at the end of the retrieve leaving a considerable foot print in the water. I only had the faintest of contact with it but the by looks of the displacement of water it might have been a decent fish. The tide was well up by now and I was bumping a few rocks which were now being covered and I lost an SG eel, when this fish hit I thought it was rock, it was nice to be proved to be wrong.
The sun was warm, I found a nice slopping rock and set myself down for a bit, this turned into a 45 minute kip. I made my way back along the rocks stopping here and there for a few casts but I was ready for home. The weather is about to change but I might try again on Monday; days like today will be few and far between in the months ahead.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Hobie Outback

I’ve been considering a Hobie Outback for a while and I’m well down the road in the thought process behind owning one. Given the investment of money and what would be time I’ve a decision to make I guess. It would open some doors in terms of Bass fishing in the SW Scotland; something I don’t think is being done on a regular basis by anyone.  The access it would provide for predator fishing particularly for Perch interests me a lot. It’s been 7 years since I sold my Warrior and at the moment I don’t have the ability to put a tow bar on my company car so boat ownership is out.

So, if anyone out there has 1-2 year old Outback, get in touch.

Friday, 12 September 2014

September surface action

I’ve been kicking my heels for a while after taking some time off work following on from surgery on my nose. I managed out this week on the big tides we have at the moment, no specimens but good fun on surface lures. Some of the takes were brilliant and although I’ve not fished as much as I would have liked this season this aspect of it has been really enjoyable.
I’ve three Mag Poppers left and these are showing their age. I’m sure one has a leak as the weight transfer system in the lure doesn’t always work as the ball bearings seem to stick. These are like gold dust and if you happen to come across the 105mm pattern snap them up, Bass love them.

I had a couple of fish on the Z Claw as well. I like this lure in a flat sea.

I might have got a few more fish if I stayed on well into darkness but I had to work the next day.

So I got my fix and ended up on five fish. No fishing this weekend and it will be a complete change of scenery with Zander and Perch on the GUC next weekend. As well as the usual tactics I’m going to spend some time trying for a Zed on the fly.



Sunday, 24 August 2014


There was a rare weather window this morning as well as good tides so I was on the road for 3.45am, ooof! The fish were there and I had a follow on my fourth or fifth cast as the sun came over the eastern horizon.
I could pad events out but it all ended in frustration. I had five offers, two hook ups and got owned not once but twice, once at low tide in weed and then my braid being cut off on barnacles. For it to happen twice in a morning surprised me. I hit the record button at the pause on the first run, this second run against some stiff drag was something else, you can see me thinking about turning a notch up on the drag but I felt it was fine. It’s a great noise braid ripping through the rod rings but better however when it ends in victory.

Owned from Martin A on Vimeo.

A proper fish! In hindsight the fish was heading straight for a pile of submerged rocks in the middle of a small bay, think this lady’s been hooked before and she knew the layout better than me by all accounts. Owned! I cut another 10 seconds off the video as the language wasn’t great. It’s left me thinking about rod choice when fishing a mark like this, first time since I bought my HPR three years ago, maybe I was just unlucky, maybe I was just shite, suppose on this occasion well never know.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The hunt continues

In my limited experience of Loch Ken I’ve found it to be somewhat of an enigma, full of promise of big Perch but also challenging, large and dour for the most part if I’m honest. Generally when I occasionally fish here with Stewart we trawl the loch with lures which is a standard tactic on big Scottish waters I guess, good for prospecting large areas and it generally delivers some results. On a trip last year I had suggested that we should try something different, by no means a new approach but something we've not tried. This trip was to be bait and wait, bring the fish to us in other words and then try some drop shotting when the Perch found us.

We did some trawling for the first couple of hours and Stewart picked up this battle scarred Pike with wounds on its tail and mid-section. 
Shortly after this fish we set up shop and put two anchors down fore and aft to stop the boat swinging in the wind so we could present the baits and groundbait accurately. Shortly after the mix started going in Stewart was into a run of small Perch before I had washed my hands which give or take a few quite spells set the tone for the day.
This greedy little fish took a prawn and  popped up lobworm cocktail

Then the Bream arrived. I’ve only ever caught a couple of small one’s in the past so they provided some entertainment amongst the stream of small Perch.

We ended up with about 15 in total

The amount of Crayfish attacking the baits was ridculious, even with popped up baits it looked like they were climbing along the running ledger snood and pulling the bait down.

I felt a tap and lifted into this 1 pound Perch which then looked to tear off under the boat and around the anchor rope? It soon became apparent that it had been taken by a large Pike. I played the fish for a while hoping that it would stay on. After a while I was optimistic it would, just as I was expecting to at least see the fish it let go! Not happy.....

We agreed to continue where we were till 6.30pm and then trawl our way back to the car. On the last drop of the day I had this fish which I was hoping was the big Perch I was desperate to get.
Not the intended target but the biggest Bream of the day. I had one a little smaller than this take a prawn but they seemed to love the lobworms.

We had some action on the way back and I landed my first Pike of the day, followed by losing a bigger fish and then another jack.

Stewart had another Pike and a Perch  before we put the boat to bed and hit the road. All in a nice days fishing where we caught more fish than we normally would and specifically more Perch than we would have trawling.

On balance I think we were unlucky not to pick up at least a 2 pound Perch but this approach is worth exploring again in the future, with a few changes we might catch a break. Another way to go about it might be locating the Perch and targeting specifics groups of fish, for this an electric motor and some upgraded electronics would be required, or maybe a kayak..... 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A few hours on the loch

Stewart joined me on a trip to a loch we’ve not fished together on for a couple of years. We split up to cover some ground and ended up with mixed fortunes.

I found the Pike and Perch in the mood to play on a mix of lures, Abu Atoms, Savage Gear 4plays, Daiwa Duckfin / D fins shads and Senkos. Stewart managed a couple of Perch and broke his rod….ouch!

They were in a jumping mood which put a shine on a grey day.
Gravel chops!
Not massive fish but good fun this, was the smallest of the Pike
The Perch were in a finicky mood preferring to tap at the lure when it was stationary as they do at times.

We had a move about 10am and I came across a much bigger fish which I played for a good while  before it spat the hook. I then lost another fish but managed a Pike of about 4 pounds before it was time to leave.

A couple of Bass before the weather broke

I managed out a week past on Friday. The forecast over the best tides in August was pants so I squeezed in a few hours before the wind and rain blew the coast out.
Not given the Feedshallow a run out for about two years but after going through a few lures I had two small Bass on it. Great action but a poor casting lure IMO but the fish liked it. Not really a fan of lures with three trebles. I should have taken the middle one off. Normally on Bass of this size the middle treble causes damage to the fish but in this case it's where it should be.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Welcome to August

August has started like a damp squib. As I drove down on Friday night Radio 1 had just started their Ibiza weekend which reminded my I’ve not had a good night out for a while. The tunes were great, the tides were shite but the times suited me. I know better but went anyway. 10 hours fishing, 230 miles driven and the two smallest Bass of 2014 landed.
When I moved on Saturday morning things looked up at my new venue with what looked like a log swimming in the waves behind my surface lure for an excruciating yard or two but it wasn’t convinced enough to  touch the lure.  4 hours later this was the only excitement of the day other than tormenting terns and gulls anytime my lure splashed down. The weather was breaking down with some rain and strengthening wind from the wrong direction so there was not much to keep me focused on the back of three hours sleep.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A surprise, local success

The TV was rubbish tonight, excluding Hannibal of course. I decided to chuck a few lures locally with what I would describe as low expectations of success. I’ve never had a Bass locally on a lure. At this time of year there are a few fish around 15 minutes from my house, these usually fall to bait and mostly at night. I fancied trying somewhere that I’ve often thought might throw up a fish. With the wind that was blowing there would be decent movement in the sea with clear water ,that was about as good as I thought it was going to get.
Satisfied with this one

I got a shock on my third cast when the lure was thumped and I was into a decent Bass, probably described locally as a good fish. It gave a great account of itself in the waves with some nice runs. I didn’t get another touch over the next couple of hours but I was more than happy. It’s left me wondering if I’m missing a trick on my doorstep, worth exploring I guess.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Why we do it

I’m off down south this afternoon and should be in my bed at the minute. Having just arrived back home I’m wide awake after one of those sessions that reinforces the reasoning for the long drives, early starts and late nights.

I could have been back in Aruba this evening it was so warm. This was my first trip for Bass in July. I’m conscious the season is short and I know I’ve been missing out. Tonight went a fair way to making up for lost time, over four hours my itch was well and truly scratched.

The pick of the bunch, lovely fish in prime condition, deep and wide across the back. It came at the  lure twice hardly breaking the surface before I hooked it.

I noticed this fish following for a little while before committing. Nothing better than seeing that subtle ripple in the middle of the wake behind your lure. The was about the average size, pretty good and again in excellent condition.
My first fish of the evening. It flipped itself tail over head when it came up for the lure.

Just me, two Terns, Bass and a burning sun with nobody else for miles. One to hold onto for the winter I think.....

Sunday, 20 July 2014

SW boat trip Video

Tope and Huss fishing SW Scotland from Martin A on Vimeo.

A day on Tickety Boo

I joined Gordon on Saturday to fish the Sharkatag event and club boat match. We didn’t have a great start in that we struggled to find fresh mackerel for bait as did a few of the other boats in this area. We made do with what we had and set off for a mark almost closer to the Isle of Man than Scotland. The forecast was for light winds with heavy and constant rain. For the first few hours it looked like we had dodged the worst of the rain but it wouldn’t last and we ended the day in some of the heaviest downpours I’ve fished in.

The objective for the club match was to catch Tope, Spur, Smoothhound, Thornback and Huss not easy but doable.

We got on the fish straight from the off catching a fish each on our first drop. We continued to get runs and hook ups landing fish and losing a few. We had a couple of tangles on the downriggers but when the tide was running hard they were pretty handy tools to have.
GG taking the strain of a nice Tope
A 30 pound male Tope
As the tide slackened off  the drizzle stopped and we had a few drifts over a wreck where we picked up Coalies, Cod and Pollack.

We went back to the Tope and picked up a few as well as a Huss for me. With the tide now in full flow we headed back in shore in search of some easier fishing as well as the other species on the target list.
The fishing was steady enough with Tope, Huss, Dogfish, Cod, Gurnard and a solitary Smoothie for Gordon. The rain was mental, so loud on the canopy of the boat that unless you were looking each other straight in the face you couldn’t hear a word of what was being said from 2ft away.
The boat canopy was a blessing on this trip
I had forgotten how strong Huss are when you try to handle them
As usual I had enjoyable day fishing with Gordon. This was despite some curios behaviour I discovered when reviewing the video footage from the trip.
We called it a day about 6pm. Gordon was staying down there to fish on Sunday. I had packed a lure rod. I fancied catching a Perch on the way home as I was passing somewhere I’d not fished for a while. Having been up since 5am I arrived at the loch at 7.30pm and have to admit, it was a struggle to get out of the car.
On my third cast with an SG Fourplay I picked up this little chap.
The next hour passed without incident and the need for sleep was catching up on me quickly. An end to the day was called before the midges started making things difficult.