Saturday, 27 June 2015

All's well...

I made time to get a trip in this weekend but I’m not sure how wise it was as I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me socially.

Arriving about 8pm on Friday night I got rigged up and on the water dodging most of the midges thanks to a downpour of rain which didn’t last.

I shouldn’t have been in too much of a hurry as it was about 11pm before I had my first fish.

I emerged from my sleeping bag when the alarm went off at 4am to be met by thick mist. I had another 15 minutes kip till it got a little lighter.

The loch was alive with silver fish jumping  and rising which had me thinking about casting a little CDC at them. There’s only so much gear you can take with you, maybe one for another morning. There was also lots of activity down below but I didn’t have as much as a bump from a fish after trying a few different methods including shads, drops shot and a Carolina rig.
Another modest little Perch obliged to break my duck. I’m going to look into this pink fleck colouring I see on most of the fish here, not a great picture but I suspect it’s due to their diet.

I reached a spot where I could see tiny fry just about making the water ripple so I cast my rig behind them and worked it towards me pausing it where I thought the edge of the shoal was.
I had 4 fish then hooked a much better one which I tried to lift in, but of course the inevitable happened and the hook shook free. I’m buying a scoop net the first chance I get, just daft not having one when you’re chasing a specimen.
This nice one sort of made up for the loss.
My second Pike of the day. All in a good session with a recovery after a shaky start. I was off the water for 10am and the traffic on the way home was much better than expected which was handy.



Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Rough with the Smoothie

Scott and I hit Luce Bay at the weekend aboard Go West with Spike. We never did get around to having a shot for Smoothies last year despite talking about it a few times so we put a plan in place to sort that out. With the boat booked about a month ago it was the usual situation on the run up to Sunday. We watched the conditions turn from being bright and flat calm on Saturday to gusting 20 mph from the west with some squalls in the mix. The Tope were very hard to find for the boats fishing on Saturday, we wondered how our day would pan out.

We set about getting our fresh bait shortly after leaving the beach. Mackerel were pretty easy to come by and with these in the box and some fresh and frozen crab we were off to the main event. This was the first part of a three day trip for Scott and the three of us chatted about the prospects for the various species Scott was chasing.  It wasn’t long after the anchor took grip that I had a decent bite and the expected Tope run produced a nice Thornback.

                                The bait must have landed right on its nose, it was really that quick.

It was then Dogfish time for us both for the next hour or so till I picked up the first Smoothie.

I think this was Scott’s first Doggie of the year and I’m pretty sure the novelty wore off fairly quickly.
Eventually working through the Doggies he found himself a Smoothie as well as some Whiting and the occasional Grey Gurnard.
Scott had a list of fifteen potential species for his trip but the next one up was a real bonus. Spike reckons he gets one or two per year.

                                                        A happy chap with a bonus Spotted Ray.
We were both happy we had crab with us as it was tough day on the Tope front with not a single run. I believe there were four boats out and one run was had between them all. An enjoyable day just the same with Scott making some progress towards his target despite not getting a Huss or a Tope. The Spotted Ray is however a bonus and definitely a harder target to catch in Scotland.







Sunday, 14 June 2015

First launch in Luce Bay

I decided to bite the bullet and go for my first Bass trip aboard Das Bite. This area deserves some respects when it comes to tides and wind direction. Before setting off I checked in with Belfast coastguard providing details of my trip and when I would return. On setting off conditions were nice and I was fishing a part of the coast I know well. I’ve had some good fishing here in the past so I was interested to fish it from another angle. There were a few terns here and there which I felt was a positive sign. Not long after setting off I marked a couple of shoals of what were probably sandeels. One of these had three or four fish of some description trailing them but none of them fancied my FBM.

I zig zagged around getting a feel for the bottom consistency and any features. I came across a spot with some fish showing and thought these might be Pollack. I put on an SG Slug and 20g head and spent about 20 mins covering the area without a touch. I then went on to set up a really nice drift which took me about half a mile along the coast at just the right angle.
Having set my drogue from the rear of the boat it was perfect, just the right angle and the right speed. Perfect with the one exception, no Bass.
 Not long after this I could feel the wind picking up and changing direction and white tops started to appear. As I worked my way back to the launch spot I got snagged trawling a Rapala. I got this loose but it was quite tricky, when I turned and went back I was side on and going into a few breaking troughs. It was time to get to the beach as I wasn’t particular comfortable with how it looked and felt. I managed to get the boat on the beach without going side on which was something I was worried about, nearly but not quite, I was glad to be in.
It’s sensible to match your limits to your experience especially when fishing alone . It looks calmer than it  actually was here.
If there were any Bass around I’m pretty sure I would have had a fish having covered the ground I know holds them. You cannot catch what is not there but I’ve gained a little more experience and my drysuit tan is coming along nicely.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Midgie hell ends well

Well, you know summer has arrived in Scotland when the unbearable scourge descends in thick clouds threating to turn your leisure time into some kind of sick endurance trial. Having been up at 3am I really didn’t need it!  That’s what happens when the wind I’ve been cursing disappears which serves as a reminder to be careful what you wish for!

Thankfully when I was about 20 yards from the shore they all but disappeared. I started to get a few hits on my shad which I didn’t convert.  I picked up the other rod which was set up with a drop shot rig and cast around the general area letting the rig settle giving it the odd shake. This worked well and I started to pick up little Perch.
It was a good start, plenty of action but when I covered the same area with various shads the hits stopped and there didn’t appear to be any bigger fish around so I moved on. This was repeated regularly. I found what looked like a tightly packed group of fish sitting on top of a pile of rocks and trawled past them without a hit. I did however take notice of two trees as a marker as well as the depth and carried on to another spot and picked my only Pike of the day. I actually lost it a minute or so before when it jumped and threw the hook, must have been properly in the mood.
I went back to the spot I’d noticed and cast roughly into the area which was about 25ft deep and kept my lure deep and slow and picked up a couple of better Perch.
The Perch just kept coming.
I felt as if I was cooking in my drysuit but despite this I had really enjoyable day, clear, warm and quite for the most part except for what seemed like a Cuckoo in every tree.
The factor 30 was running off my face in the afternoon and the 1lt of water I had with me just didn't cut it.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Here is a short walk through the sounder I’ve been using delivered in a typically American fashion. I found the Lowrance to be invaluable at the weekend when faced with a large expanse of water. Reading the shoreline looking for points, bays and reed beds is one thing.  Finding the hidden features which were holding fish away from these areas is another. It clearly didn’t take the effort out of covering the ground to find them so my conscious is clear! I found the trackback facility really useful. If I was traveling down wind for instance I was able to complete a tight turn and come back on myself, hold into the wind and cast to the target area. I won’t be buying a Navionics mapping card for the sea as the basic plotter set up is good enough for what I need it for. I just wish I could work through the menus as quickly as the product manager in the video. I’ve also just realised I can use the micro SD card from my GoPro to record  what I come across so I’ll take some data from my next trip.