Thursday, 24 November 2016

Four days in Sin City

We had a short trip to Las Vegas recently, it’s some place. Amongst the various shows, trips and fun we had a half day’s fishing booked on the Colorado River. The intention was to target Striped and Smallmouth Bass. Surprisingly, high winds put an end to that. Pretty disappointing really as I’ve no idea when I might be able to do this again. We did however get to the range (again) making the most of some other opportunities that might not come along anytime soon, or indeed at all. If you don’t agree with the current American policy/access to firearms don’t watch this video. Outside of the military, police units as well as the majority of other countries this was a one-time opportunity to shoot some classic weapons. Nothing more.

If you try it, just make sure you’re standing behind your wife when a guy you’ve never met before hands her .357 Magnum. Even more so when it was her idea to go there in the first place :0)

Four days in Sin City from Martin A on Vimeo.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Winter is here

Not having been fishing for about 6 weeks I was starting to get crabbit (grumpy for non Scots readers) I had planned a Grafham trip but the forecast for day one looked shaky for the kayak 15mph wind limit rule. Saturday looked fine but it was too far for me to travel for a single days fishing, so I decided the trip was off on Thursday morning. On checking the local forecast at 6am before setting off for yet another plan B trip I couldn’t resist having a look at Grafham. The forecast was now fine, the laptop was thumped shut and I was out the door 5 minutes later.

It was great to be back on the water, if nothing else it would be a shakedown on my new Lowrance Ti/Berley Pro combo. In my mini refit I had also added a Yakattack dogbone camera mount fitting this to the mast hole with RAM 1.5 inch wedge mount. One of the first things I noticed was the water temperature, the last time I was on here it was 16c, it was now 10c, winter is here! I then took a run over the first snag which I like to target, wow! The structure scan was impressive, it looked like a pencil drawing of a tree. When I sold my old unit I had posted it off to the new owner before realising that I hadn’t backed up my GPS marks. Initially I was annoyed about this but they were so easy to find again with this I needn’t have worried.

I picked up fish here and there, this one came from one of my marks which looks like a boulder field about 20ft square.

This one from a ridge that looked around 40ft long.
I probably ended the day in double figures but without any of the larger Perch I was attempting to target. What surprised me was the general lack of fish in this part of the loch.
When I woke up the next morning there had been a heavy overnight frost, my C-Tug was frozen to my Outback. The stove wouldn’t light so it was cold pasta for breakfast and ice cold water, not the hearty start to the day I had planned. The water temp was now 8c, the water level had also risen by about a 1.5ft due to a release of water upstream. I knew I was in for a tough day and as my mate Scott once put it, I was washing lures for most of the day. Large lures like Bulldawgs, small drop shot lures and shads- it was a balanced day in this respect.
All in it wasn’t a great couple of days fishing but the new kit worked well. I can’t say when I’ll be out next as the month ahead is busy. The weather, as ever will also play its part.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Almost normal?

It’s been quiet recently, almost normal apparently, according to my wife. No fishing over the last month has meant I’ve been able to catch up with friends and do some things I’ve been putting off for a bit. I don’t see myself being back on the water for a couple of weeks yet either.

I made this mash up recently, wish Rodney had been with me on some of these trips. It's been a year since the accident, he's sadly missed.

Mash up from Martin A on Vimeo.
I’ve  also been doing a few things in the background, sold some gear I wasn’t using as well as my Lowrance to pay for a fancy new toy. Really looking forward to using this with side scan in the months ahead.
At the minute I’m waiting for some bits and pieces to arrive for a mini refit of my Outback. It’s rubbish  having to wait for the post to arrive from abroad, just couldn’t source what I needed in the UK. I should hopefully be good to go by mid-October.

On the whole I’ve had a decent enough year, really can’t complain. I didn’t set myself any objectives, just kind of drifted along.  Over what’s left of this year till the end of 2017 I’ll be looking at some tougher targets which should push me a bit.
I want to hit 5 from 7, Pike, Zander, Common Skate, Conger, Blue Shark, Bass or a specimen Perch. All from my kayak. I might allow myself a substitute if I don't fish for Bass, maybe a Tope. Other than the Perch and Pike I won’t be precious about the proportions of the others, but I won’t be lacking ambition on that front. Doing this from my Outback will mean a lot of travelling and a reliance on others to a point regarding involvement and planning.
To be updated over the months ahead with the best specimen (or any specimen in some cases)


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Solo down sarf

I’ve thought about going down to Grafham to fish for Zander for the last few years, so I decided I would just do it. The forecast looked great on Saturday, the full week ahead looked doable, so much so I changed my booking to four days. Monday morning came around it looked like two days- that’s what I got.

Things didn’t get off to a great start, tired from the journey it took me a little while to suss out a problem right at the start of my first day. It was either a cracked ceramic eye on a brand new rod or the same thing on my baitcaster. I bought that a year ago, this was its first trip out. 3 rigs and a lost fish later the rod was put away in disgust. Can’t say I enjoyed day one too much. I caught about a dozen Perch, picked up some info but I wasn’t sure how much further forward I was. I dropped a little Zander at the side of the boat about mid-afternoon but that didn’t provide much encouragement on the Zed front, I’ve had larger fish suppers.  I got some decent shut eye and I was ready for day two. Having carried out some late night preparation I was more organised. Not having to drive six hours to get here was a bonus. What did work well for me was my Lowrance 5 HDI. Having stripped it out of my Outback I rigged it to  a RAM mount on top of an old tool box. This held two 12v 9ah batteries, also from my Outback. I paired this to a Lowrance suction cup mount with a coating of Vaseline to assist in providing a better seal. A quick scrub of the transom with a scouring pad to get rid of the green gunge  provided a solid solution. I'm considering upgrading to a new Lowrance with structure scan. This would have been really handy on this trip, the more information you can get when fishing a new venue is always a good thing. Structure scan would  have been a great advantage.
The famous aeration tower
Some lovely Perch in here. I was somewhere between wanting to catch them but looking elsewhere. Maybe at the this time of year the best anglers on here can do broadly both at the same time. I struggled with this.
Long story short I didn’t land any Zander, certainly fished better on day two and gave myself some chances, lost two better fish, most likely  Zeds. I caught about a dozen Perch again in the process.  I fished better on day two, thought a lot more about what I was doing. I met a number of Grafham regulars, armed with experience earned and lots of electrickery catching good numbers of Perch and some Zeds.  I just wasn’t good enough for the latter on this occasion. I’m not too bothered if I fish much for the remainder of year, maybe a trip to Skye and back here. Grafham would be good again this month, would certainly save me the hassle of putting the Lowrance back in the Outback. Not caught a Zed for a year, being down here I could do the GUC tomorrow, doesn’t really hold the same prospects for big fish as here though. Up the road and a lazy Friday for me it is.

Friday, 2 September 2016


Me -Sharkatag 2012 Cairnhead SW Scotland female Tope 9lb 4oz aboard Tickety Boo with Gordon
The same fish 20th May 2016. Caught by Neil Spellacy from the shore at  Rossbeigh beach Co Kerry Rep Ireland- 19lb 5oz
Some of these fish are much further travelled -who knows where it's actually been in the last four years though. Seems to be doing well enough.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Worth a try

I decided to push up the river and explore an area that I don’t know much about. It was lovely morning and I didn’t feel as lethargic as I have on my two recent visits here.
The water level had dropped around two feet since last Monday along with a sharp drop in temperature overnight. I had a kind of feeling it might be difficult today.
I focused my attention on the left bank, it has decent depth with lots of tree roots and shade on what was a bright day. There also seemed to be enough signs of prey for Perch with fry shooting around and a few fish topping. I felt I fished it effectively searching the water and focusing on the likely spots. All I had to show for about 2.5 hours was a single jack.
I dropped back to familiar territory and started to pick up fish, pretty small but after a barren few hours in the sun they were more than welcome. They seemed to be in dour mood and most of takes were very subtle today.
I had 5 or 6 Perch like these and the rest were tiny.
I might try the area again when the water level rises- might be worth another shot.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Another plan B

My intention was to be on Skye this weekend but minor car trouble put pay to that for the time being. Another plan B operation was deployed resulting in really enjoyable local session.

The rod was bent to the butt eye on a regular basis when I found the spot. Laughing, sitting alone, floating on a piece of plastic on a Saturday night in Ayrshire-who would have thought it. Pollack are just a lot of fun.
Cuckoo Wrasse, Ballan Wrasse, Pollack ,Coalfish and Mackerel made up the species tally.
It was a nice evening for the most part, maybe should have stuck with my drysuit right enough. The ride back in was lumpy and wet when the wind kicked up from the East after the sun set.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Staying flexible

With the ragworm gone yesterday and weather still a bit up and down I dropped back to the fresh stuff today. High winds and rain in the morning led to a lovely afternoon which saw me fall asleep in the sunshine during a lull in the action. It was like two completely different days. I opted to mix it up again, drop shot worm and lure – the Perch were having both. To disprove my theory from previous bait/lure sessions the best fish of the day took a worm. Only two Bream today but my drysuit is still caked as I made the mistake of bringing this one in for a picture. Another great days fishing with a lot of action. It would be nice to get some light winds so I can go and hunt the Perch- this approach is making me lazy! I’m not too precious about it though, sometimes it pays to be flexible.
I’m reverting back to the centre camera mount next time out. Not sure if the shots I lost were down to the camera focusing on the Lowrance or the rod butt in the foreground, maybe it is was condensation? This was the biggest Perch today-typical.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A day on the float

Once or twice a year I head to this spot, normally to float fish for the Wrasse that inhibit the kelp here. It was a traditional trip for Rodney and me over the years, tragically he passed away last September. We had a lot of fun here, plenty of fish - good times. I’ve used lures and ledgered for them but there’s something about just watching a float bob in the waves. Rodney thought so too, I stuck with this method today.

Gordon had a slow start (he was in Jim's spot from last year ;0) - as usual I provided words of encouragement from my hotspot)
This one had some damage which is healing. There's a bull seal that has no fear- it's a very big animal. No idea if Wrasse are on the menu?
 The Ballan Wrasse were all pretty small today, nothing larger than the two here. What was strange was the incredible numbers of Corkwing Wrasse.
 I usually catch a few, today the mark was loaded. A prolific days' Wrasse fishing on the whole though. I might try again in September with some crab,there should be a lump or two about by then.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A different angle

This was the second choice venue for today as it would have been pretty sloppy this morning where we initially planned to fish. Gordon was in his SIB and I was in my Outback and plan “B” was to catch a few species again. The venue presents a few hazards so won’t name it for references in searches, if you know it, you know. If you fish it, be very careful.

Going back a number of years when it was in better condition I had some memorable days and nights on here, Conger, Wrasse and Cod including a double shot of 12 pounds and 5 pounds-happy days! It was interesting viewing it from a different angle and using the Lowrance to have a look over the detail on both sides of the structure.

The plan was to scratch around the legs. It produced 16 species the last time Gordon tried this. So, the re-match from a few weeks back was on!
The water was a really odd colour no doubt down to the recent heavy rainfall. The species count was below our expectations, possibly as a result of this. I managed  Ballan, Goldsinny, Long Spined, Short Spined Sea Scorpion, Rock Goby and Mackerel( I think I took todays honours)
I picked up a cracking Ballan Wrasse which Gordon weighed for me - 3 pounds 10oz
The fishing was ok but I wont be hurrying back for obvious reasons. The old pier is showing its age.
This will provide an idea of the structural integrity although some of it is still pretty solid.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Fishing for Unicorns

I’ve resorted to armchair angling this last week having been knocked sideways by an ear infection. Would never have known this could be such a shit thing. Feels like I've spent a week underwater with a bad hangover and a temperature over 100 for a 24 hour period thrown in the mix, just for a giggle. Not good, day 4 of Amoxicillin and still my hearing is at about 40% ?

If you’ve ever found yourself somewhere on the spectrum of becoming obsessed with one objective check this short film out,£2 on demand @ Vimeo. I can’t say that it cheered me up to be fair, but it is thought provoking. Particulary when you can recognise a little part of yourself in the storyline.
Fishing For Unicorns from Chris Rady on Vimeo.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Video from yesterday

Loch Ken -Perch, Bream and Pike from Martin A on Vimeo.

A day where one GoPro battery just wasn't enough!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Feed them- they will come

Not much I could do wrong yesterday. I decided to anchor up and let the fish come to me. The forecast indicated it would be windy and at points it was, pushing 20mph from the NW, it was a good call.  I did the same thing once last year, early season and the results were ok.  Stewart and I did the same two years ago and also from a boat last autumn. The action was non-stop when we found the fish.
The tactics were simple- dropshot worm and lure over a bed of maggots. When Stewart and I fished this spot last year we didn’t see a Bream all day. My thinking was the Perch gave them too much competition. The Bream were on the scene first, and then the Perch and they seemed to come and go in flurries. Considering dropshot isn’t a preferred presentation for this species, they scoffed the worms like there was no tomorrow. I alternated between lure and bait but the lure side of things just didn’t seem to be doing it for the Perch. When I’ve done this before and had them competing they seemed happy to hit the lure, on each occasion it’s also been the best fish of the day that’s came via this route.

By late afternoon I moved operation having had enough of the wind and the Bream. I only had one decent Perch which might have gone 2 pounds. My drysuit, rods, kayak and everything in it was a disaster zone. Messy this bait fishing! I’ve got some serious cleaning to do today at some point and I might need to take a chisel to my drysuit, Bream smear, yuk! After ten minutes, I was back in business catching fish regularly (minus the Bream) I decided to have a couple of drifts over the spot I had been feeding with a lure.

The best comes to the lure again
It was brief but brutal battle with the fish ducking for a snag, tearing off under the kayak and leaving me spinning around in the wind, just brilliant.

I worked a few trees/snags as I peddled back and momentarily thought I had hit the jackpot in extra time. About ten seconds later I realised it was a Pike.
This was one of my favourite spots for Perch last year. I’ve been here each time I’ve visited the loch in 2016 and not had a Perch. I think I’ve hooked this fish on every visit. The first time it came off, second time I think I possibly foul hooked it as there wasn’t a tooth mark on the lure. So this time after a quick picture I swam it upright in the net 50 yards away. Let’s see if the Perch relocate themselves, it’s a nice piece of real estate for a fish.
This structure extends a fair bit to the left of the screen coming together in a point and merging on the bottom. A good example of traditional sonar and downscan providng structure separation. Not so long ago this was cutting edge. When you have a look at what some people are running today it's now legacy tech. Still does a good job mind. I've saw this dotted with Perch which appear as little spots, most of the time in clusters of 3-5 fish.
A super days fishing. I'm feeling it today though, 13 hours on the kayak , well and truly rinsed.



Sunday, 24 July 2016

Not that we’re competitive

Anyone who has fished out of Port Logan knows it has the potential to deliver a variety of species. On any given day almost any fish that swims in the seas around Scotland can be caught here.
I couldn't catch Wrasse for toffee but eventually managed one, Gordon's bogey fish was a Dab.
There were plenty of Haddock  when we drifted over the right type of ground.
We lost count of the Grey Gurnard we both caught. Who would manage a Red or Tub?
I got two Tub Gurnard before Gordon pulled this one back
The solitary and unexpected tiny Ling was one of the deciders!
Poor Cod, Cod, Whiting, Pollack, Ballan Wrasse, Cuckoo Wrasse, LSD, Ling, Dab, Tub Gurnard, Grey Gurnard, Mackerel, Thornback, Plaice, Haddock and Short Spined Sea Scorpion.
So Gordon took the honours on the day with a 14 to 12 victory and a total of 16 species to the boat. With a little more time and better weather in the late afternoon we might have got the total to 20.We didn't get around to  targeting any of the main predatory species but ended up having a laugh and a great days fishing scratching around for the small stuff. It was good to catch up with Gordon again and our trip of course, was not without incident! ;0)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Doubling up

Thankfully I managed to find the time to get a trip in, two in fact Saturday and Sunday. I decided to target Bass launching  late on Saturday afternoon just after low tide. I knew the tide cycle was just about at the bottom of a set of neaps, not a great prospect but I don’t know this area from kayaking perspective so it wasn’t a bad thing first time around. As I made my way along the coast I had my first contact with a fairly large sea mammal. I did get a decent look at it and referring back to some images it looked to me like a white beaked dolphin. Not particularly common apparently and especially not so close to shore, interesting just the same.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked up on my First Pollack which took a trolled Redgill Evo. Catching a few fish seemed to spark the interest of the colony of seals as they slipped off the rocks to come and investigate what was going on. At one point I seemed to be leading a small flotilla with two heads to my right on the inside and two on my left. I made sure the drag was set as I had visions of a snatch job, Power Pro doesn’t break easily and 15 pound strain and a tight drag would possibly be enough to unseat me at close quarters.
I picked up a few of these in the slightly deeper water and rough ground.
They didn't get any bigger and this one took a surface lure closer to the shore in the weeds
Some WW2 structure connected to the Mulbery Harbour project. I could see this holding some fish but not for me on this occasion.
As the tide increased in height there were more signs of life in the bay with some bait and a few terns. I think I fished it pretty well covering the weed beds and gullies but the only Bass I saw was a small schoolie that tried to sink my lure. What was interesting was that I saw a few Sea Trout as well.
I had another troll in the deeper water and had a few more small Pollack and a little Cod for some variety.
The next leg of the trip saw me sleeping in the car on arrival and then a 5.30am start.
I was itching to get amongst some big Perch, another thing I’ve not really made a start on this year. In fact any size of Perch had different ideas as 4 hours later I was yet to have a bite! I tried all my spots, drop shot and shads and I was about call it quits. This was pretty unusual for me here to be fair but gave it another move and caught one about 4 inches- a very late start indeed. This improved my moral a little so I fished with a little more focus and went on a late run of fish before the beating was over at 1pm.
Overall the fishing was a little disappointing but I won’t catch anything sitting at home or working. Great to be out again, till next time.



Saturday, 2 July 2016

Dodging the showers

Where has the time gone, 1st of July? After work sessions don’t really cut it for me but that’s all I had time for.

Some spectacular showers on the coast tonight. Thankfully I dodged all but one, not sure how I managed this as I seemed to be surrounded by sheets of rain and black clouds to my left and right. As the sun began to set it made for a nice backdrop with the low angle of sun breaking through the cloud emphasising the grey and pastel colours in the distance. A very cold start to July as well with two layers and a shell- fantastic!
It’s been two years since I’ve been here but things haven’t changed much. I’m still a seal magnet which told me there were probably a few a fish around.
I appreciated catching a couple of Bass tonight, yep, not very large but certainly welcome.  With the pace of life at the minute I can feel the season moving faster than I want it to.  I’m not sure being relaxed about my objectives is working for me… : 0)