Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Battered on boxing day -over and out for 2017

Hail, rain and more wind than was forecast. The swell was also very tricky and saw me turn back when I got to where I was heading, it was just too awkward and potentially dangerous. The fishing wasn't anywhere near as good as my last trip but I  still managed about ten fish. A quick check on Windguru  before writing this post tells me it's probably over for me  for 2017. Still, great to be out today working off the turkey and port!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Cool day and hot fishing!

A text led to a few beers late on Saturday afternoon, never a good idea before a day afloat. That said, it was great to catch up with a few friends and I was back home for 10 pm. Of course, the compulsory dull head followed  on Sunday morning. I should know better to check, and double check in these situations and I soon realised I had left my kayak seat in the garage- bellend!

As I set off again it had warmed up nicely from -6 to -3.5 but I'm not going to lie, when I went through my front door to get my seat, I nearly stayed there. I'm glad that I didn't though.

To be fair I was pretty rough, also fishing rough as it happens, I had a couple of tangles, the GoPro remote wasn't working ( nothing new there) and I dropped a lure over the side before I could attach it. I'm thinking here we go for one of those days. Unusually for today, I made a decent decision and set off for a spot I had marked on my Navionics app on my phone.
The rest of the day passed quickly  as I found the fish on three marks, two of which were new to me.
I've not had a Wrasse this year which is hard to believe. I picked one up on a lure with snow on the hills in December, a first for me.

I had a 
I had three proper lumps, kept two fish for the table, this one and a 3 pounder. I expected it to be a double but it went 9.2 The SG XLNT was bent to cork and the hook almost opened up fully on this fish.

I trashed a bunch of lures, got kelped a few times and broken once. A superb days fishing and a real motivator to get out there in the winter months.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Winter warmers

Being in the middle of a cold snap I thought I would blog three items that I would recommend  to anyone fishing through the winter. These items make my cold days on the water a little more comfortable. It might also provide a few ideas for Christmas presents!

Years ago, when I packed a flask it was the old school type, usually tartan, it would last a few trips. The first slip on the rocks and it turned into a maraca, much to the amusement of anyone in the vicinity, guess we've all been there. Moving on to a stainless steel flask these were certainly more robust but in my experience, these just leached heat, the hot contents being lukewarm just when you needed it most. Not having bothered with a flask for years I had a look around to see what was on offer these days and I came upon the Thermos Ultimate Flask.
In this case, the 900ml version.

It simply has incredible heat retention and will keep your drinks piping hot for any day trip you might undertake. I even left it in the garage by mistake before one trip, remembering it the next day, 24 hours later it was still more than drinkable. It is very robust and breaks down into various parts making it easy to clean.
It has a two part twist and pour stopper which also helps retain heat whilst in use. The base of the cup is a good design making it hard to spill. What I would say however, is if you were using this with young kids, I would be mindful of the little rubber grommet on the above right. This has came off the odd time and I've found it in the flask. It has the potential to end up in the cup which wouldn't be good. That said, maybe I hadn't pushed it on properly after cleaning.
The flask neck with the twist and pour removed
Broken down further it can be opened up and used with larger food items, or in my case, during the summer, ice cubes with a smoothie. This was brilliant, wearing a drysuit on a 23c day back in summer I can still remember how refreshing it was.

Patagonia Homepool Fingerless gloves

I've tried lots of gloves over the years, mitts. fold back fingers, you name it. Initially being kind of odd looking I didn't fancy them. Patagonia do however make gear that works. I decided to  take a chance on them anyway after yet another bitterly cold day which saw me struggling to tie knots, cutting a session short because of this. Made of neoprene material they are long and come way up over your wrist, they have an open palm and two holes, one for the thumb and the other for the pinkie.
These come right over the top on my drysuit wrist providing a nice tight fit/seal and added insulation whilst keeping the back of my  hands well protected from the biting wind. Equally, on the beach I have my wading jacket wrists fastened down tight over the top, superb as you lose a lot of heat in that area.
The palm, as I said is open, so are the fingers, so you don't  lose any grip or feel. These are the only gloves I've been able to keep on my hands without feeling frustrated wearing them. A word of warning though when it comes to sizing. These are a large and they are very tight fitting and I wouldn't say I have large hands. I don't see the small fitting an adult and I guess for a lot of guys XL would be the way to go.

Life's too short for crap coffee so I start my day with a decent one, and also one for the road, fishing or working. It has certainly seen better days but my Contigo mug ( I think it's the Westloop) goes everywhere with me. It seals between sips, really useful for avoiding ruining a shirt or tie at 6.30 am on a Monday morning. It keeps a drink hot for a good few hours normally. This one, less so as it has been battered badly, you never know ,Santa might bring me a new one.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Denmark here we come!

April 2019 is a long way off but if the time passes like it has this year the trip to the island of Fyn will be here before I know it. New faces, new places but the same fish that the guys I've hooked up with for the trip love to fish for.

As you might know, the Danes know a wee bit about saltwater Sea  Trout fishing so it will be an interesting trip. I'm under no illusion that it could be tough, my mate Jim thinks I might need my Sea Trout magnet turned up to 11( is it not always Jim?)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Rock Hard Perch

A decent day with some fish, each one hard earned at a time of year when the water temp was totally bottomed out up here. Not easy on lures.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Back in Winter

Nearly that time again. Some footage from the start of the year. Having had a few problems with laptops and cameras I've just discovered a few bits and pieces I had forgotten about.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

My last day of summer

The last day of August was a pleasant affair, nice warm afternoon down in D&G. The fishing was pretty slow till some macks turned up and started to plough into baitfish  well out of casting range. I watched as the shoal got hit a good few times and got broken down into smaller patches rippling on the surface.I paraded along the rocks watching, just on the off chance as you do. Eventually and with some luck I got my fly in the right place but it came loose. I then thought I saw a Bass follow my fly up a rock ledge just as the wave was breaking.

I'll be moving my videos from Vimeo to YouTube over the course of the winter,might even manage to create a few more before spring kicks in.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Not much to report

In terms of fishing, it’s been the quietest autumn/early winter period I’ve had for a while. Having managed a few odd sessions here and there the results have been patchy with the exception of my last trip, today, a nice surprise with more activity that I expected. With the mindset of getting some exercise rather than the possibility of decent action I was telling myself I should have gone Pike fishing even before I had wet a lure.

I had a crack at Bass again in October, good tide and a nice day to be afloat but this part of the coast either needs darkness or the start of a building sea to produce I think. Really not enough tide to interest the Bass, seemed very sterile, a few small Pollack and a couple of school Bass from a tidal crease a few hundred yards off a point.I wont be hurrying back to this area on the kayak, in daylight.
2012/2013 look to have been good years for Bass survival. Lots of these fish around wide spread, first year for a long time as I recall it.

So being into November I booked a couple of days off, more for a break than much else. I checked the sea temps and tide tables and it looked good. The minute I got afloat the sea temp was a country mile out, 26% to be precise. Not just inshore but offshore a little bit as well. Despite this I hooked a small Bass that shook itself free and had some Coalfish, Launce and Mackerel, but I have to say it was a tough day covering a lot of ground looking for signs to life.

The following day wasn’t much better. I opted to fish for Perch, the loch water level was way up and the temperature way down. Despite having some bait with me I didn’t catch a thing with it. I had four Perch of an almost identical size on one lure, fished one way. If I could have found much to target I would have ground out a better result. The truth is ,I think I was lucky to catch what I did. I managed to plot a few features for my pre-spawn sessions next year. Till then, for my freshwater escapades I think I’ll stick with Pike next time out.
Someone’s been feeding this Swan. It was almost like a dog begging for food. It was sat at eye level for a while making clicking noises. I’ve no idea what’s bad for a Swans digestion so declined it’s advances for my Snickers bar and pasta, didn’t feed it any worms either. Being encouraged to be around angler’s gear isn’t really a good idea for such a tremendous bird.

So today we had decent weather. I had plenty I could be doing but opted to take a chance and drift some reefs locally. As I said at the start of this report, my expectations were low but I had a pleasant surprise. Some fantastic sport for mid-November in Ayrshire, couldn’t really ask for much more from here at this time of year.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Return of the Mojo part 2

Heading south on Tuesday at 5am was a bit of struggle. The tides were ok so I thought it would be worth the effort. Arriving and getting the gear ready it looked like it could throw up some fog again despite the wind. I took a waypoint when my feet were on the beach and logged my trip with Belfast Coastguard again, something I always do as I fish alone mostly. I gave the area a good rinsing with the Fiish, SG eel, Redgill Evo and a couple of hard lures. It looked and felt really fishy so I figured that it was a matter of finding something that woke the Bass up. Maybe a noisy surface lure would work? I decided to give old faithful a run out. On every trip, kayak or shore I’ve used it this year but failed to take a fish off the surface, unusual as it is consistent catcher. Rarer than hens teeth these days and the last I own in the top colour I clipped on the  Mag Popper.
Three casts in and I had found a solution. First off the top this year and first surface caught from the kayak, nice fish too. It really wanted the lure, in fact it was the deepest hooked Bass I've caught. With the lure out of site I had to despatch the fish. It will be salt baked and enjoyed, something that I rarely do with Bass.
It was great taking fish off the surface again, feels like its been a long time. This fish missed it twice, pausing the lure it came back on it again as they sometimes do, great fun. I had five in the kayak like this off the top, one dropped off on lifting it in.
One for the Fiish BM in white and the one below on an Evo
I've enjoyed what Bass fishing I've done this year and hopefully I can manage a few more trips  before the bell goes.
So a couple of great days fishing off the yak. The sparks back and it's all good.

Return of the Mojo part 1

I’m not going to lie; I had lost the spark to get out there recently. Having lost two close friends over the summer and with domestic projects taking up time and money it’s been hard to get motivated. On Saturday, at the last minute I decided to take Monday/Tuesday off but before then, I travelled down to Moniave with my mate Billy .We visited our mutual friends, drank too much, ate well and had a great time catching up. Just what I needed really. On arriving home I checked the forecast and got my kit sorted for Monday, for once the forecast looked great, no wind and blue sky, excellent. What was even better was that I was fishing in Ayrshire, no two hour drive each way, 30 mins from my door, tip top.

As I launched on the beach visibility wasn’t great but it would burn off wouldn’t it? I hit a waypoint on my GPS about 500 yards out and got down to reaching my spot just under two miles away. I hadn’t launched here before but considered it to be a better option at LT rather than the last time I fished this mark. The distance travelled would be longer but easier at both ends of the trip in terms of entry and exit.
The fishing initially wasn’t spectacular but I was picking up a few fish on slow spun ragworm, my favourite presentation for Pollack, deadly if they’re not in the mood for lures. I was sure I should be doing better so I tried a Bass Assassin chartreuse/lime lure trolled to cover a little more ground. They liked this, numbers improved, as did the visibility, for a little while at least.
The vis was going downhill rapidly and the sound of foghorns in the distance increased and got closer.

The fish were still on the bite but I wasn’t totally comfortable. Having had a decent enough day I changed out my battery to one with full power to mitigate any problems with my plotter for the return journey and made a start back to the launch site.

30/40 yards maybe?

As luck would have it I came across some nice returns on the Lowrance. I was past the worst of the potential obstructions so decided to have a few casts. The next hour and half was probably the best local fishing I’ve had, ever. It was a fish every other cast, 2/3 pounds, great sport. I then got kelped by two better fish. I took two waypoints at each end of the spot where the fish seemed to be holding and re-rigged with a white SG eel and began fan casting the area. The average size increased, some real quality fish for this area . It was magic, screeching drag, fish taking almost at the kayak and going back down 20ft, taking on the drop, all sorts.

Unfortunately I lost 6 images from this part of the day, the light, the fog and the hassle of changing the position of the kayak to account for the position of the sun. I've also used a filter, poor I know but it's the best I could do to get anything from these fish which is a pity.
I rocked up on the beach to find it like a scene from the John Carpenter film. I asked a dog walker if she had spotted a silver car parked (checking her hands for hooks and knives first) obviously she hadn’t, she was shouting her dogs name, it had disappeared. Lesson learned, take your launch waypoint at the very start of the trip and plot a track kids. 500 yards out won’t cut in conditions like this.

Back on the Bass next. Would they play ball?

Friday, 1 September 2017

August blues

I was extremely busy in August with my job as well as the work I’ve been carrying out on our house.  This left me next to no time to fish but I’m glad to say it’s almost at an end. Time consuming and expensive  but worth it. My trip to Grafham didn’t go as well as I would have  hoped for( no Zander) and  being the only time I fished in August it left me feeling deflated, not unusual for August as it happens as I’ve noticed a seasonal pattern here. I’ll cover that trip off in a post later in the year as I’ll be back for another beating till results improve.

Having been off this week I managed to get ahead of the game on the home front and decided to head south to  D&G with only a fly rod. It’s been a very long time since I caught a Bass on the  fly, I thought I was doing well with my casting earlier this year when I was targeting Sea Trout, today I was truly pish. It’s one thing pinging lures 40/50/60 yards, the world becomes very small place with a fly rod, if you don’t know this you should try it.  Seemed to me like turning up to Turnburry with only a putter for a round. I had to re-wire my head. That's been needing done for decades anyway.  Such are the thoughts of a mainly lure angler with a flee rod in his hand.

Any fish would be a bonus and as the tide rose I thought I saw a fish chase my clouser up the rocks on a breaking wave.

Video still images are never great but I got what I needed for today. My GoPro is  now dead. Submersion in a bag of rice cured it for a wee while but it gave up the ghost today.
A couple of Bass and a handful of Pollack isn't the worst way to spend a Friday afternoon on a most rotten of neap tides.


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Windy old day with Scary Mary

I had an invite from Scott to join him aboard Scary Mary for another sortie to Luce Bay. On this occasion  we were to fish the Drummore Tope festival, typically the weather played its part, day 1 one was cancelled and day 2 looked like it might be a struggle.
Leaving the harbour conditions didn’t look or feel too bad and after catching enough Mackerel for bait we got down to business setting up a chum bag and dropping the anchor into the building sea. Right from the off we had an increasing wind against an ebbing tide which made for a very uncomfortable start to the day, in fact, the whistling in the rigging of Scary Mary seemed to increase by the minute. I don’t recall every being seasick, Scott sucked on some sweets, we both hoped for the best in this respect as today would be a test.
Not a bad start, with a decent enough Tope opening the score for Scott for the day. Some time passed, the wind increased and the rolling sideways action and stumbling about got the better of us. We lifted anchor and headed inshore, the tide would change direction and when it did it would hopefully, let us sit in one direction, frankly it was a rank rotten day to be afloat!
We set anchor in some shallow rougher ground, with not much happening I had a rummage around Scott’s boat and cobbled together a make shift lure outfit. Apart from the occasional doggie coming to the bait rods I picked up the odd Pollack and Cod on a soft plastic and lead head combo. This kept my mind off the conditions; Scott had tanned half a bag of sweets by this point. I would imagine a trip to the dentist will be on the cards pretty soon….
We agreed it was time for a move offshore again but not before this smashing red cod took my Tope bait which was a nice surprise.
Arriving back in some deeper water we wondered if we would have enough time to salvage something from the competition?
Scott got on a Huss with some length to it.
I added another species with an ok Thornback and also a slightly better one not too long after.
When the bell rang we were glad to hear it and made a run for the beach.
As it happens I think we did ok given the conditions. I didn't hang around for the prize giving, Scott did, which was a wise decision , he picked up  3rd place in the Tope section and 1st in the Huss taking home a tidy selection of tackle- well done big chap! It sounds like I narrowly missed out on Thornback prize by 2 cm. It was good to catch up with Scott again but we need to organise better weather next time, that today was brutal!
Speaking of better weather, I managed to eventually meet up with Craig on a cracking evening recently. The objective was to hopefully get him his first Bass, we did try and I was fairly optimistic but unfortunately it didn't happen. I managed one small fish so the blank was off. Next time we're out I'll be in the fly rod as well. I'm determined to get him a fish or two before the season is over.



Sunday, 23 July 2017

The house always wins

We don’t know what cards we hold or how many hands we’ll get. The best we can do, up or down is enjoy the game while we’re at the table.
It was great to be out this afternoon. 4 Bass and the rain stayed off despite the forecast. After a week of bad news it was one of life's small victories.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Back on my Perch

After my last few sorties in the salt I fancied a trip back to the loch. I love my Perch fishing, just something about them.
Fin perfect
They didn’t seem to be as spread out as they sometimes can be, maybe the bright conditions? This hasn’t stopped them in the past but today they still seemed to be tight on structure.

Fishing huge waters it pays to have a quality sounder. It doesn't mean that when you find them you'll catch them but it certainly helps.
Top right, same feature shot from the side. It looks like a rock ridge or maybe a wall, certainly has some straight edges.
The fishing wasn't bumper , I went 2.5 hours without a fish at one point. I would find a few again and start catching them in little bursts. I threw some bait around as well as lures which helped.
My only Bream, don't mind these but they don't half smear you up. I left my sponge at home so I had it baked on my drysuit...nice!
Good fun
I think I used most of luck up on the first year fishing from the kayak but it was pretty much all I did that season. So no monsters but nice Perch just the same. I guess like any other season/species results vary from year to year.
Another scarred up Pike, this time, I think from one of its own kind. These always get me when you hook them drop shot, hope it's a monster Perch, till they hit the accelerator. 



Monday, 10 July 2017

Quantity not Quality

I had a late start on Sunday and wasn’t on the water till 1pm, just in time to catch the ebb. I decided to leave the bait rods behind for this trip, I didn’t want any distractions while searching for Bass today.  I often thought about fishing this stretch of coast from a kayak, way before owning one. On the barren days I would often wonder what it would be like, just a little further out, beyond the range of my best casting lure, on a good day with the wind behind me. Most of us have probably had a few such thoughts. There’s a lot of tide here, more than I’ve fished in so far from my Outback so I was looking forwarding to exploring the area.

I had been fishing for a couple hours with a mixture of trolling, casting and jigging and had one hit before I decided to get in the thick of it tide wise. I had the light wind at my back and the tide running about 2.5mph in the other direction, there was some nice 2/3ft waves tumbling and breaking behind me off a point which needed some consideration. I was able to hold position and fish, but it wasn’t easy on the peddles. I was sure there would be a few fish around. I changed lures and while doing so drifted further back. This did the trick on the next cast I had a Pollack, at least it was a start. This continued and I had about five or so, good fun but probably not worth the effort to keep me where I was, I’m sure on another day these might have been Bass. The tide slackened a little and it flattened out so I decided to have a troll about 400 yards offshore.

A humble Bass but I was glad to pick it up so hit the waypoint button to mark the spot.
I had a scout around the area and picked up another one about ten minutes later.
Nothing to shout about size wise but these were fish that I wouldn’t caught from the shore unlike the other Bass I’ve had so far from the yak. Anyone who hasn't caught even one of these little fellas before would be surprised how much they pull for their size. I was wishing I had the fly rod with me, next time maybe.
I explored a few reefs a mile or so away, chased a few seals out their hunting spots which is a novelty, it’s normally the other way round. I picked up a couple of School Bass but on my return to the waypoint area  again, all I could find were the same size fish, in numbers, ending the session with 14/15 small Bass and as many Pollack over the course of the day.
The two hour drive home and getting in just before midnight wasn’t any fun right enough. A small step in the kayak Bass game but an interesting day just the same, more questions than answers however, isn’t there always?


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Failing in style

With a favourable forecast and the opportunity to take a day off mid-week it made sense to try and put a Tope aboard. Having missed the seasonal pack Tope rush of late May and June it might now prove a little tricky to achieve. The word was Luce Bay wasn’t fishing that well for them and with the small tides this week I wasn’t overly optimistic.

Just minutes after launching I was catching Pollack to around 1.5 pounds which were feeding well, they had the drag working and my light rod in a nice bend every couple of casts. Before I knew it about an hour passed and I had to fight the action distraction and get on with the job in hand. Unlike my last trip mackerel appeared abundant which I thought might be a positive sign on the whereabouts of the target , after harvesting what was required I set the anchor and dropped a bait down. It wasn’t long before this was picked up and I wound down to connect the circle hook with the target, Tope on! This joy was short lived, Tope off, after the first run….

Still, can’t complain. The weather was great, lots of action to keep me busy but unfortunately no Tope. I must have dropped my first bait on the nose of what appears to have been the only one in the vicinity.

The only Bass on my session which provided a great scrap on my XLNT2 rod. The fish took a FBM on the drop, first time I've caught on this lure, it's got its fans, I'm not really one of them yet.

I had three big Thornbacks and only one dogfish, result!
Despite the look on my face I was pleased with the quality of this fish.
When the tide allowed and I could get past the Mackerel, jigging the lure on the bottom produced Grey and Tub Gurnards on a regular basis. I had an absolute monster Tub drop off next to the yak. It must have followed the lure right off the bottom and took it only a few feet down.