Sunday, 25 June 2017

SW road trip day 2

I met another angler in the morning just about to set off, he was targeting Pike. We had a chat and I explained I was here for the Perch. Fishing the bank the day before he had no luck. We exchanged ideas on where to try and I offered him the chance of some precision fishing and presenting bait at distance.

About an hour after starting I had a look for him on the bank to see how things were going. He had nothing and it wasn’t that much better from me at that point. There was a sunken tree about 50 yards from the point he was on. Now this can be ok for some decent Perch, it can also hold a Pike or two. As I peddled out with his half mackerel he asked if I would Ghillie for him for the rest of the day, I suggested he couldn’t afford the tip as I dropped the bait about 10ft from the tree. I couldn’t have been more than 50 ft. away when he said he had a take. I thought he was joking. As I turned the yak around he struck the fish, a few seconds later it was airborne lunging around the loch. Not a big fish maybe about 6 pounds, he was delighted, so was I. I dropped his next bait off and made my way off to pastures new.

My heart really wasn’t in it after my 12 hour session the day before but I picked away at a few Perch here and there just enjoying being afloat.
I was tapping my drop shot rig around a proper nasty snag when the lure was bumped, for about three seconds I felt nice weight and I was thinking about a big Perch. The fish then realised it was hooked, it can only be one thing Esox Lucius.
And a battle scarred gnarled faced mother at that. How many times has this one been caught in its life? I'm not 100% sure but I think I might even know someone who has caught it having saw a picture of a fish with a top jaw like this.
So all in, a cracking two days fishing really, just what I needed. I'll be keeping a close eye on the forecast for another shot at Tope and from there looking at the end of July/August for my kayak Blue Shark trip, still no takers, might be solo again...


Saturday, 24 June 2017

SW Road Trip day 1

Life’s been a bit hectic recently so I took two days off mid-week. The plan was simple, just fish my nuts off. I watched my days off approaching, the forecast held in advance of my road trip, a surprise in itself. With perfect conditions for a day at sea I launched at HT 9am on Tuesday to a nice smooth sea. First stop was a shot for Bass on a spot I’ve had some nice fish from the shore. Not much happening so I didn’t waste too much time, this would be a 12 hour shift afloat and the same time slot in the evening might provide better odds.

I had some frozen bait with me but I trolled some feathers while checking out some reefs but the Lowrance was picking up nothing so after about 40 mins I decided to put the anchor down. Making do with frozen mackerel I dropped a trace over the side with a FBM on the bottom instead of a weight.
There must have been a stack of fish coming past me in the tide as the rod was buckled for about 6 consecutive drops with multiple hook ups of Cod, Pollack and two solitary mackerel. On the bait rod it was rather monotonous with a dogfish a drop, time for a move.
After checking my bearings I was now about 1.5 miles out from my launch spot when I set the pick for the second time. It was action from the outset and my half mackerel bait produced a nice Huss first drop, typically, as they do, it let the bait go at the side of the yak. I put a smaller fillet on and dropped this back down and the first Huss was aboard a few minutes later.
After another one and two letting go at the side I wondered about a move to some different ground looking for Tope.
The tide was fairly pushing past by now and the ratchet screamed off with a fish on.
I had the fish alongside and checked it out, nice little Tope I thought, another first off the yak.
As it happens it was a Smoothhound, unusual thing is that it took half a Pollack. It was also about twice the size of my previous best. It really caught me out taking the fish bait, had no spots like the others I’ve caught and was that kind of bronze colour Tope can sometimes be over a certain type of ground. At somewhere between 13-15 pounds that’s a pretty big Scottish smut. From there it was a dog and Hussfest and I ended with six of them, with the doggies chewing through my bait on an ongoing basis I decided on another move.
Even the Cod were on the Pollack baits

Just when you think things are going well something usually brings you back down to earth. In this case, it was my anchor line snapping at the carabiner? This was only the third time the new 2kg Bruce had been to the sea bed and along with ten foot of chain and 150ft of cord it proved to be a right pain in the arse….

Inshore with the light changing it was pure Pollack mayhem. I tried a reef that came up from 20ft to about 10ft over a fair size area with a nice bit of tide running over the top. If there were any Bass around they didn’t get a look in. I switched to a popper and still caught Pollack, great fun.

As I was drifting I saw a big solid red return on the sounder in about 12ft of water. I dropped the lure in and looked over the side; saw the flash of bronze flanks as the fish took and the others scattered, the white lure disappeared and I felt the line zip off the reel. Just a great way to end a good day.
With no anchor it was plan B on day two. I arrived at the loch at midnight, knackered but sated.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Another for the hit list

Another one for the kayak project. Not the Tope I hoped for but a PB Smoothound so it merits making the hit list. It's not a  great picture lifted from GoPro video, was never going to be easy with the fish writhing in my lap.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Good idea at the time

Opportunities to go fishing this month have unfortunately been few and far between. At the last minute I decided to drive down to D&G on Friday night and left home about 9pm. The forecast for Saturday looked ok, the tides weren’t great but I thought I might take a punt on catching a few Bass at dawn and have a look on the reefs for them later in the morning. My alarm was set for 3am and on the back of 2 hours restless sleep in the car I poured myself a coffee and slipped the yak into the water before sun up.

These days I don’t see too many sunsets or sunrises on the coast. There is always something special about this time of the day on the water, today was no different. I soon forgot about the miserable nights kip in the car and I started to pick up a few small Pollack trolling to the area I intended to target two miles along the shore.


A true predator’s eye, its body will grow into it at some point….
Being high tide I spent the first hour and half or so casting to the shore and working my way along it with soft plastics and surfaces lures. It was really quite, no signs of fish at all and I felt I should be somewhere else. The gannets were having their breakfast two hundred yards offshore so I hit the pedals and took my lead from them as to where to try next. There was some rough ground in about 20ft of water that was solidly marked with baitfish and some other returns on the finder that looked interesting. Given that the sun was well up and being calm with not much tide I decided that if there were Bass around they might be where the bait was. I ended up targeting these areas of rough ground maybe a bit earlier that I intended to. The action was pretty relentless, small Pollack but good fun. As I worked my way through about 15 fish I was hoping that the next bump would be a Bass. Given the prey that was around by comparison to shoreline area, in these conditions, that’s where I expected them to be. They had different ideas and as the sun got higher and the tide dropped the bait and the fish disappeared altogether. It was time for a troll to cover more ground and find some new reefs.

A surprise Grey Gurnard decided it fancied the J13 trolled about 12ft down.
This was pretty much the story for the rest of my session. If I found some baitfish I would sure enough find some Pollack but the Bass proved elusive. My preferred method was using an xlayer on a 10g head jumping and tapping this along the bottom.
About 1pm I headed back to launch site , the 400 yard portage back to car looked no fun at all. The lack of sleep, heat, sun, miles peddled  and probably dehydration kicked in and I was grateful for some assistance from two lads from Yorkshire as they pitched in to get my rig back to the car. They said I was keen, I said it seemed like a good idea at the time, not so much now….