Monday, 31 December 2012

Blank busting blenny bashing bonanza!

Jake and I headed out today to end the year with a session targeting mullet. The wind and the mullet had other ideas though and while we waited on conditions improving Jake fished for bass and I did a spot of blenny bashing. No sign of any bass but the blennies were very obliging to say the least. In no time at all I was into double figures and decided to get a few photos of one particularly feisty little fish.

Looks harmless enough.

After a few photos were taken I picked it up to put it back and it decided to have a chomp on my finger. This is normal for blennies but usually they let go almost straight away and this one didn't want to let go. This had me in fits of laughter and its grip was so strong that it was still holding on when I went over to show Jake. When it finally decided to let go it had left a little mouth shaped imprint on my finger.

This blenny obviously got out of the wrong side of his rockpool!
I'll live.

After much hilarity Jake then decided to join me and soon had a few blennies taking his small chunks of Gulp! Sandworm. They seemed to be especially aggresive today, fighting over our lures and we soon had caught a load more, obviously exercising caution when handling the bigger ones to prevent losing any digits.

A short while later and with the tide almost fully in we decided to try for mullet again. Despite putting in large quantities of groundbait and seeing one or two very small mullet they just didn't seem to be around in any great numbers or feeding with any great confidence so after a couple of hours we called it a day with the only action coming when a box of jigheads fell out of Jake's pocket and into a deep rockpool. Luckily he managed to reach down and grab it though thankfully.

The humble blenny has saved us from a blank a few times in the past and today was no different. I definitely have a soft spot for them due to their aggressive nature and almost cheeky character and to be honest, whilst I'd have liked a mullet or two today, it was kind of nice for a blenny to be my last fish of 2012. Not sure Jake feels the same way mind you!

Tight lines, Hutch.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Mullet, mullet, mullet! What's all the fuss about?!

After Jake's first mullet session whilst I was away down south freezing my ass off with fellow fishing addict Martin Allison catching our first Zander and a second successful mullet session he'd had I just had to get myself into a few mullet too so I could see if they were as much fun as Jake's raving accounts made them out to be! I've caught them before but the methods employed to catch and then lift one up a 50ft Portuguese cliff don't really allow you to experience how they fight so armed with feeder rods, floats, bread and a few cans of sardines off Jake and I went. We arrived at the mark and after making up some groundbait and throwing it in the mullet soon started appearing and worked themselves up into a feeding frenzy. It didn't take long at all for them to start bashing our bread flake hook baits around and after a bit of movement on my stick float I soon had one hooked after resisting the temptation to strike until my float had gone under for a second or two. Drag set very lightly the little fish had us both laughing as it put up a very spirited fight and made run after run only stopping to thrash about wildly. Letting the rod tip and drag do all the work I played it out a bit before guiding it into a gully and using a wave to land it.

My first ever golden grey mullet. Lovely looking fish and put up a great scrap for its size.
Golden markings on the gill plate give this species its name.

Shortly afterwards I caught a second golden grey mullet which also gave me the run around before being landed, again using a gully and wave to assist me. The mullet were giving Jake the run around and perhaps my decision to employ a tiny #16 treble hook had aided me in hooking the fish. Jake's persistence with the #10 Drennan Specialist soon paid off though when he hooked one of the better fish that we had spotted amongst the shoals of smaller golden greys. After carefully playing the fish for about five minutes, during which time I nipped and got my landing net, the mullet was ready to be netted, or so we thought before it made another run! It did this a couple of times and this seems to be indicative of mullet. Where they get the stamina from I don't know and it's hard to think of another species that has such tenacity. They just don't know how to give up! Obviously the light tackle you must use to protect your light hooklengths prevents you from applying any sort of pressure but even so the fight you get from them is superb. 

Finally in the net. A nice thick lipped mullet for Jake.
A satisfied angler!

Next it was my turn to hook a slightly better fish. Once again I had to be very patient playing the fish and allowing it to take line freely when it wanted to. Again the spirited nature of the fight had us both smiling and this time the fish also made a few attempts to get down to the rocky bottom directly below us, presumably to try and throw the hook, so I had to lift the rod tip up and tighten down ever so slightly to stop it in its tracks. Jake's turn with the net and after a couple of failed attempts I slipped the fish over it.

I've caught them in Portugal before but this was my first U.K. thick lipped grey mullet.
Thick lipped.

That would be the last mullet of a great fun filled session. Catching these two mullet species added to my species tally for the year so that was a great bonus too. Once the tide flooded over the platform we had been fishing from the mullet disappeared. Jake turned his attention to bass but had no luck. I on the other hand discovered that blennies love bread too, catching eighteen of them in about an hour before we headed off.

A few days later we returned for another fix but this time from another spot as we were fishing over high tide this time. Once again it wasn't long before we had the mullet feeding on our groundbait and a few free crust offerings. I was first of the mark with a nice thick lipped mullet. This one was a bit tricky to land as we were fishing from some large boulders and it made a few attempts to get into them every time I brought it close. Jake readied the net and after a few nervous moments the fish was in it. After that though we struggled for a while until Jake decided to drop hooklength from 8lb to 4lb and try one of my deadly little trebles that I had been using. This would see him catch three thick lipped grey mullet in fairly quick succession.

My smile says it all! But why the hell didn't we do this sooner!
Jake's hat says it all. Mullet are best, f**k the rest!

Well now I know why every now and then Jake has raved about mullet and even more so since he started catching a few! I now understand how frustrating it can be yet how thoroughly enjoyable it is fishing for them! What I don't understand is why in over a year of fishing together we never actually targeted them until now! I guess we just got a bit too focused on our lure fishing, something that I've tried to address over the last few months as I still enjoy bait fishing. I hope Jake won't mind me saying that whilst he normally isn't interested in bait fishing he's definitely glad he decided to replace the Slug-Go's with a few loaves of Warburton's Toastie bread and couple of cans of sardines for a session or two targeting the hard fighting mullet and whilst he says he wants to target them on the fly whether or not he can resist the addictive and almost hypnotic nature of staring at a float waiting for it to go under is another matter entirely!

Tight lines, Hutch.

Maddening, Marvelous, Mullet!

A few days after my first visit I managed to get back to the mullet mark for a couple of hours in the afternoon and began the same procedure. I mixed a tin of sardines with a loaf of bread and mashed it up with water, before throwing in a few tennis ball sized handfuls. Within minutes I could see the swirls of mullet feeding on the bread. This surprised me somewhat as it was really quite rough with a good swell running. The mullet didn't seem to mind though and were happily feeding on the bread. I pinched a small bit of flake onto the shank of the hook and cast into the feeding fish, almost straight away the float sailed under and I struck into the fish. It came to the top pretty easily and I suspected it wasn't a mullet. Indeed it turned out to be a small bass that had been gorging itself on bread, I quickly landed and released the little blighter where upon friend of the blog Frazerio turned up.

I carried on with my mullet mission while Frazerio concentrated on the bass. I was getting a lot of dips and knocks on the float but I always like to wait until the float actually goes under when fishing for mullet. It didn't take too long before it did vanish under the surface and I struck into another fish and this time there was no mistaking its fight, mullet! It thrashed on the surface, stripped line on powerful darting runs and then tried to get into the rocks beneath my feet before it was landed by Frazerio lending a hand with the net. They really are such a hard fighting fish and I gazed down at my prize, my first thick lipped grey mullet this year, splendid. The fish was about 1.5lbs and I released it after a couple of photos, which were hard to take as the light was dimming rapidly!

I love fishing for these "grey ghosts", they are a real challenge!

Frazerio had now been persuaded to try for the mullet and so I lent him a stick float and some shot so he could try for them too. I managed to hook and lose a couple more fish before I struck into another fish. This was smaller than the first but still gave a ridiculously good fight for its size but I managed to coax it into the net in the end. It turned out to be a rather large golden grey mullet, a real specimen in fact! I quickly unhooked and weighed it. It came in at just over 13oz, a new Scottish record and a personal best for me!

At 13oz this golden grey beats the Scottish record by 2oz, I practice catch and release so will not claim it!

I hasten to add that I cannot claim it as a record as the truly out of date rules require you must kill the fish to prove how big it was, a practice that seems to be left over from Victorian times! I released the fish after a couple of photos which again proved problematic as the light was dimming rapidly. In fact I could only manage another ten minutes or so before the light had become too dim to fish with any degree of accuracy, so deciding to go out on a high I called it a day. I left Frazerio still trying valiantly for the grey ghosts and I don't think he will need much persuasion to come back on another mullet mission, and for what its worth neither will I!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Silver, a sliver and grey ghosts!

A couple of weeks ago I met up with friend of the blog Ritchie in the hope of hitting the bass again. We had arranged to meet at the mark at dawn and fish a few hours up until lunchtime. The weather for once had decided to support our fishing endeavours and it was calm, crisp and clear skied with a rising tide. I met Ritchie at the mark where he had been working his lures for about an hour and despite his efforts had only had a couple of bites but no hook ups. I rigged up my Savage Gear Dropshot XLNT with my go to lure, 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner mounted on a 10g football jighead. After about an hour I finally found some bass who wanted to play managed to catch and release three fish, the biggest just over 38cm.

The only usable shot of the bass I caught as my camera was playing up!

As we searched around the rock fringed bay I noticed some small silver fish shoaling in the shallows and after a bit of observation concluded that they may well be sand smelt. Sensing an opportunity to up my species count I found some #28 hooks to nylon and tied one directly to the 2/0 hook on the Slug-Go (New Zealand dropper style). I rigged it with a tiny section of Isome and gently lowered it into the shallows. The fish were not frightened of the Slug-Go and indeed they soon started shoaling around it before one noticed the tiny piece of Isome and seized it. With a yelp of glee I quickly hoisted it up and there in my hand was species #27, which was quickly photographed then released back to his rejoin his shoal.

Lure caught species #27 for 2012 the humble sand smelt

Ritchie meanwhile had had a few bites on his Slug-Go but no hook ups and soon he had to retire to go and work. I said my good byes and headed back to where we started. I had noticed a shoal of mullet nosing about and for once I had come prepared with bread and my light feeder rod. I started by breaking up some bread and throwing it in up tide of the fish and I was pleased to see them start to feed on the pieces as they floated past. I rigged up my rod with a 5g alloy stick float and had it fairly under shotted to keep it visible in the lumpy water. My hook of choice was a wide gape Drennan Specimen #12 and I pinched a small piece of bread flake onto the hook shank, leaving a nice fluffy edge to the bread. I cast out into the free offerings of bread and almost straight away the float shot under! I struck and then madly fumbled at the drag trying to free it. The fish had other ideas and instantly hit top speed before I could loosen the drag and as the rod arched over the hook bent and the fish was free. Oh well, at least they were in a feeding mood! I carried on with the drag set very loose and it wasn't long before I had hooked another mullet, all be it slightly smaller than the first. As always the mullet gave an amazing fight charging around on the surface, trying to get under rock ledges, diving and running before it was finally guided into the landing net. I was expecting it to be a thick lipped grey mullet but it quickly became apparent that it was in fact a very fat golden grey, my first for a few years.

Golden grey mullet, brilliant fun to catch!
Another fine golden grey, worth the effort for sure.

A couple of pics and the fish was released back to its shoal to continue pigging out on the bread. The next couple of hours was intensely good fun. With the mullet shoal feeding boldly on the bread I managed to hook and land a further two golden greys as well as hooking and losing a very powerful thick lipped mullet after a good seven minutes of playing it! It must have been pushing 5 lbs and every time I got him in he would run out again stripping line off the reel with ease. In the end he threw the hook when I tried to stop him running under a ledge, but I was overjoyed as the fight of big mullet really has to be the best light tackle fight out there. I packed up and headed back when the bread ran out, but it really was the most enjoyable sport I have had for a while and it seems I had forgotten how much I love catching mullet. Now that my mullet fixation has been rekindled I will be back there soon and hopefully I can try and get one on a lure of some kind!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tackle Review : HTO Rockfish UL 0.5-7g LRF rod

I first heard of this rod a few months ago on the lure forum as a couple of members were testing it, formerly known as TronixPro Rockfish UL it has since been re branded HTO Rockfish UL. It instantly grabbed my attention as it was a budget model LRF rod and they are few and far between! So when we were asked if we would like to review the rod we jumped at the chance!

First off the rod specifications.

Length : 6'11"
Casting range : 0.5 - 7g
Solid carbon tip

The first thing that struck us was the overall look of the rod is very good indeed. The red ,black and silver whippings and overall finish were neat and tidy and the join where the carbon tip meets the matt black carbon blank is nice and neat too.The abbreviated handle is a similar length to my Graphiteleader Corto and is very comfortable as well as looking good in a low profile sort of way . There is no fore grip as such but the reel seat is set up so that its easy to rest your finger on the blank in order to feel bites.The rings are good quality and tough enough to handle saltwater and rocks. The carbon tip is ultra fine and finished in  a nice visible white but it is a very fine diameter tip, ultra sensitive but also delicate too so it will require a bit of care when transporting!The rod definitely looks the part so it was onto seeing how it performed. 

We tried the rod in various different scenarios with both fluorocarbon and braid as a mainline. Our first run through with it was exploring some vertical presentations, bouncing lures down into gullies and next to large boulders. The ultra fine tip worked as an excellent visual bite indicator, registering the tiny bites of blennies and sea scorpions very well indeed and bending right over when they grabbed the lure and made off with it.

Next test was casting and seeing how it registered bites at distance, this we did down at St Abbs  with flounder as our target species. It really does cast little jig heads as well as any of my more expensive LRF rods, which was great for getting to the resident flounder. The rod allows you to feel the contours of the bottom well allowing you to differentiate between rock , sand and weed and when the bites come they are transmitted directly to the hand with the fine tip also giving a great visual indication. There were a few flounders where we got to observe the take and we found that they were able to suck the lure into there mouth while we still had tension on the line. This allows the fish to inhale the bait with confidence as there is hardly any resistance, however we could still feel these bites and I don't think any were missed ! Once the fish were hooked the action of the rod came into play, it has a regular fast action when working the lures but a nice soft action when playing a fish. It certainly has more of a through action when compared to my some of our other LRF rods , this however makes playing fish rather pleasant as the through action cushions the light line very well from head shakes and sudden dives and controls the fish in a soft but firm manner.

A lot of flounders were caught on the rod from 0.5lb to 1.25lb and it was great at registering bites and playing the fish in, I also "swung in" all the fish to land them and the rod coped well with it. I would stress however that due to the ultra fine tip it would be preferable to have used a drop net and I would advocate the use of one just to keep that tip safe. It is also a great little trout rod too and before the season had ended I managed to have a quick session fishing soft plastics for trout. The rod casts and works the 1g jig heads well but came into its own for hooking and landing the trout, where the soft action really worked at keeping the trout hooked no mater how they tore about in the current!

Overall I have to say that there is nothing that compares to this rod in it price range. It is a genuine little LRF rod designed for the sea and it does what many much more expensive rods do at a fraction of the price. I think its a great little rod and the highest praise I can give it is that when I recently broke my GraphiteLeader Corto EX tip section, I went to my rod holdall to grab the TronixPro only to remember that Scott had taken it to Jersey. I was gutted! The rod would have done everything my Corto would have and would have kept me fishing.

That being said it won't replace my Corto but it will stay in my rod bag for friends to use and as my spare LRF rod. It certainly is an excellent rod for those that want to sample the joys of Light Rock Fishing but it also doubles as a great rod for trout and perch and there is simply nothing else that comes close in this price range.

Tronix have also informed me that they will be making a "deluxe" version of the rod with Fuji fittings and a slight redesign of the handle, they have done such a good job with this one I for one cant wait to see what the new model is like!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

XLNT Sensory Perception.

Following on from my last foray with my new rod I just had to get back and try it again! It was to be a short afternoon session and for once everything went to plan with the sea state calm, a slight offshore wind and a flooding tide combining to make it perfect. When I arrived at the mark I also had the bonus of having it completely to myself and as it is a very popular mark it was pretty unusual! I tackled up the Savage Gear Dropshot XLNT with my Shimano Aernos 3000 reel, 20lb sunline momentum, 15lb fluro leader and on the business end a 4.5" Slug go mounted on a 10.5g football jighead. I began to cast the lure, allowing it to sink slowly through the water column and when I felt it hit bottom I would jig it up with a couple of sharp twitches all before allowing it to fall back again.  The retrieve as such is dead slow all the time feeling the lure bouncing over rocks and weed, the rod is so sensitive that you really start to get a feel for the contours and layout of the sea bed. Fishing these methods with this rod is brilliantly intense and I tend to fall in to a world of concentration mentally mapping the seabed and feeling the lure working in the water. I swear you can feel the fish swim by before they turn and inhale the tender Slug go! Sure enough it didn't take long to get my first hit and again I could sense the fish gently nudge the lure before it engulfed it. I set the hooks and enjoyed a spirited fight before landing another fine bass of 45cm which after a photo was quickly released.

Another XLNT Bass

The soft tip really allows the fish to suck the lure in with minimal effort and every take was really positive. Each of the many bass I caught that afternoon had the lure deep inside their mouths and I am convinced that such positive engulfing of the lure is partly down to the soft tip. It wasn't all fishing the slug go with this rod though and when I saw a shoal of Bass smashing baitfish on the surface I quickly swapped over to a silver Toby to get the required distance to hit the shoal. Sure enough the rod effortlessly cast the metal lure beyond the feeding fish and a quick retrieve had it pass above their shoal where upon it was nailed by another feisty bass which was quickly landed before being photographed and released.

It's not just slugs with me, Tobys also have their place!

I followed it up with a couple more before the shoal moved off out of range. The few hours I was fishing were really productive and brilliantly intense falling into an almost zen like trance when retrieving, punctuated by the electric suddenness of bites and the adrenaline fuelled moments of the fight.

A calm November afternoon, if only it was always this good!

All the time the weather remained calm and mild and as the light began to dim I decided to call it a day and headed back to the car thoroughly satisfied with the amount of fish landed. The main aim of the day was working the new rod though and again it was a real joy to use and I really wouldn't have had as much success without its XLNT sensory perception!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

An XLNT afternoon.

The other week I made a trip to Stirling to check out Angling Active, a large tackle shop that I had never visited before. My main reason to visit was to get my hands on a new Savage Gear XLNT dropshot rod. I have grown tired of poor customer service and the lack of a warranty on Japanese rods so when I saw this rod at 9' with a casting range of 7-25g that perfectly fits my requirements for fishing soft plastics for a multitude of species I had to have one! With a reputation for quality and good customer service in the event of any problems with the rod and a bargain at £60 it represents excellent value!

I was desperate to go and play with my new toy so the following day I grabbed Scott and we headed down the coast to our usual bass mark to give it a run through. Scott also had a new rod to play with, his second in the Nories Rockfish Bottom series, this time the slightly heavier light version casting 7-15g. I tackled up with a 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner and mounted it on a 10.5g #2/0 AGM football jighead. Scott rigged up a dropshot rig with a Jackall Clone Fry and we began to work the fast current of the mark. It wasn't long before I got some interest, all be it from mullet, I watched in surprise as a small one of about a pound charged after the slug and started nipping at the tail! Scott too had been getting some attention from the mullet and we tried a multitude of different lures to tempt them. Scott came closest with a small metal tipped with a small piece of Isome which a mullet had a good bite at but he couldn't hook up.

Soon the mullet drifted away and we got back to targeting the resident bass. Sticking with the Slug-Go I began to work the lure deep, little lifts of the rod tip allowed it to hop along the bottom in the fast current. This is where the solid carbon tip was very helpful transmitting the feel of the bottom down the rod to my hand. It was brilliantly sensitive and I could differentiate between kelp and softer weed as well as feel the sharp taps as it bounced over boulders. It didn't take long before I felt a fish tapping at the lure before seizing it causing the rod to arch over into the fish. Bass on and the rod came into its own with the soft tip cushioning its head shakes and the powerful butt section allowing me to apply pressure. Soon a nice bass of 43cm was landed and the rod well and truly christened.

They don't half swallow the lure sometimes!

The fish had totally swallowed the slug with just the tip of the jighead poking out a sure sign that the soft tip also allows the fish to inhale the lure with little resistance. Quick pic and back she went to be followed a few minutes later by another  bass, again with the lure right down its mouth.

Slug-Go wielding Ninja?
It's just me with another bass!

I had just released the fish when Scott came over to try his hand. He rigged up a new 7g IMA Gun in silver and began to effortlessly cast the little metal a country mile before working it back slowly with the odd pause to let it flutter in the current. Pretty soon I watched his rod bend into a fish and soon he had played a small bass into the net. Scott had a big grin on his face and was obviously very pleased at christening his new rod and the lure as well. As he can't help himself he then headed off to the rock pools to find some other species!

Small metals are great sandeel imitations.

I stuck with the bass and had soon landed a few more all taken on the trusty Slug-Go. Scott meanwhile had managed to winkle out a few blennies and a rather chunky sea scorpion that had a partially digested small blenny in it's mouth!

Not satisfied with gobbling blennies this little brute wanted a bit of Gulp! too.

By now light was fading and we had to go and whilst it was a fairly short session it was very productive and packed full of fish, so we both left satisfied at our new rods performance and I for one can't wait to get back and try it again! We'll also be back to target the mullet too no doubt.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Metal Rocks!

Yesterday, after a night of being shouted at by my nine month old daughter Eva, I found myself in the car at 7am clutching a mug of tea with one thought on my mind, bass! After scraping the ice off the windscreen I had another thought on my mind, gloves, or rather my inability to locate a pair when I needed them. Heaters on full I headed down the A1 blasting myself awake with some nice, loud Fishbone and by the time I arrived at the mark my tiredness had been overtaken by the anxious excitement I always feel before I fish. I loaded my self up with my bass gear and my LRF gear and forgoing an extra jacket headed down to the mark.

It was cold but calm with a slight offshore wind and I went straight for my go to lure, a Lunker City Ribster in Arkansas Shiner mounted on a 10.5g #2/0 Football jighead. I began working the lure around the reef, bouncing  it along the sea bed as well as jigging and twitching it through open water. After about 45 minutes I swapped over to my LRF kit and rigged up a Lunker City Swimmin' Ribster on a 3g #2/0 jighead, to see if the added vibration of the paddle tail would illicit a response. I spent about half an hour working the lure through the current, allowing it to sink nose down waggling its tail before jigging it back up again to repeat the process, I had a couple of tentative bumps but nothing I could actually strike into. I then decided to try at range with a 30g Bombarda with an eight foot trace, rigged with a tiny pearl redgill. This was launched out a considerable distance then really slowly retrieved allowing the little weightless eel to flutter provocatively in the tide. I worked this set up for a while before I switched over to a silver Toby to see if some flash would work on the bass. Sure enough as I worked the lure back in the surface layers with a medium retrieve a bass hit the lure hard and everything went solid. The fish fought well for its size and kited about a bit as well as doing the usual bass surface splashing before it was landed! I was pleased with this bass as it had been frankly quite hard work to catch, especially as all my usual methods weren't doing the job.

Old school lures still rock!

A quick picture and I slipped the 41cm of silver back to the sea. I noticed that when it was landed it coughed up a tiny sandeeel of about 1" which would be perfectly matched by a Gulp! 1" Minnow.  I quickly reached into the rod holdall to grab the LRF gear in order to cash in on the feeding bass. It was at this point that disaster struck, in my haste to get the rod I had forgotten that it still had a lure attached and as I lifted it quickly out the hook found a juice box in the bag. I watched in a sort of dumb horror as the tip folded double then with a sad little crack parted company with the rest of the rod.


After 5 minutes of mourning I packed up and headed back as I was keen to order another tip section from Ben at Art of Fishing, which I hope will arrive soon as I am keen to get back to some LRF bass!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

More micro fishing for gobies.

A few weeks ago Jake and I went to Ravensheugh beach to target turbot. When we got to beach Jake saw some small fish in a rockpool. After a while we agreed they were gobies and tried to catch a few. Jake almost managed to get one but it fell of his #20 hook as he was lifting it up. After a fruitless hour or so searching for turbot on the beach at the mouth of a small stream I returned to the rockpool and after a lot of perseverance I managed to catch one of them. At this point I realised I didn't have my camera with me so I popped it into my empty water bottle. I then caught a second and then I caught a tiny dragonet. Jake then returned having worked his way along the beach a fair bit and back along again.

I worked the stream whilst Jake wandered along the beach.

We popped the tiny fish into a small rockpool to look at them and I took a couple of pictures using Jake's camera. Still unsure about the exact species of goby I had caught we headed off as Jake wanted to try for bass at Torness Power Station outflow.

At the time I thought they may be painted gobies due to the saddle markings. But it turns out they were two spotted gobies. You can just make out the spots.
Still not sure quite how I hooked this dragonet. It was about the size of my thumbnail!

A short walk back to the car and a drive down the coast and we were at the outflow. Once there Jake soon caught a few bass, first of all using a Hansen Pilgrim spoon and then, after losing that, on a Lunker City Ribster fished on a jighead.

One of a few bass Jake caught, much to the annoyance of others who weren't catching that many.

I meanwhile had been exploring and had spotted some more gobies in a large sandy bottomed rockpool and when we left I told Jake I'd like to get some smaller hooks and return to find out what they were. Jake visited twice in the last week and had managed to catch some two spotted gobies confirming the identity of the two I had caught and had also caught a small goby that we were pretty sure was a common goby.

Jake and I were reasonably certain he'd caught his first common goby and would later have this confirmed.

On Monday some new Gamakatsu 6315 #26 hooks to nylon arrived so yesterday we headed down again to catch a few more and get confirmation. Upon arrival I headed straight to the rockpool to get started. Jake went to try for a bass. The only rod I had with me was the "beast tamer". I was focused on goby hunting and nothing else!

My Ron Thompson Ice Fishing Pimple Lux 60cm Medium. 2 foot of goby stopping power!
Weapons of micro destruction!
Ultra fine wire hooks to increase my chances of hooking the tiny fish.
Tiny pieces of Power Isome and Gulp! Sandworm were the lures of choice. Split shot was placed a few inches above to help keep it down as it was fairly windy.

It took me a while to get them interested in my tiny chunks of Power Isome and Gulp! Sandworm but just after Jake came over to see how I was doing I managed to catch a two spotted goby, my 29th saltwater species on lures this year. Jake hadn't managed any bass but he then spotted a small flounder in the rockpool and soon had it hooked on a pink Ecogear Minnow SS. That's the first time I've seen one caught in a rockpool! I then moved along a bit to a spot where Jake had whipped the gobies up into a frenzy by jigging his brightly coloured lure around. After jigging my Isome around lightly amongst them I managed to catch a small goby. Careful examination would confirm it as being a common goby. A new species for me and my 30th saltwater species on lures this year. I was over the moon having reached my goal for the year.

Isn't he cute.
Rockpool flounder caught on the Rockfish UL.
Ecogear Minnow SS proved to tempting for this stranded flounder.
My first ever common goby.
Nine soft ray fins in the second dorsal fin along with other features confirms this as a common goby. Sand gobies have at least ten.

I had a small clear plastic tank with me that gave us an opportunity to study the gobies closely. We examined them carefully admiring their markings and subtle colourations before we both took turns with the "beast tamer" catching some more. Both of us ending up with one two spotted goby and three common gobies each.

Viewing gobies like this lets you see every detail.
Note the pale blue markings on this common gobies
The examination tank. This enabled us to take our time and confirm that all the gobies we'd caught were two spotted gobies or common gobies.

A few of the bass anglers took an interest in what we were doing too and had a look at our catches before I released them all again. Micro fishing is great fun and it's strange to think that it's taken us so long to investigate the gobies as we've spotted them there before. We just assumed they were sand gobies I suppose. In future we'll be investigating any gobies we spot as there are quite a few more species in the U.K. for us still to catch!

Tight lines, Hutch.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Going tiny for two spots.

On Monday I popped down to Torness to fish with my friend Ritchie, the winds had died down and conditions looked good for a change! Our plan was to search the cold water inflow for wrasse as well as the possibility of other species as well. I popped into Mike's Tackle shop on route which I really shouldn't do if I want to get anywhere quickly and after an age fawning over lovely shiny lures managed to drag myself away after only buying a couple! I arrived late morning at the inflow and met up with Ritchie. He had already had a few small coalies and due to my lateness we only manged to fish together for about ten minutes before he had to go!

After Ritchie had gone I searched all the usual mackerel holding areas but there were no sign of them at all and even the coalfish were not playing ball. The tide was dropping to low when after a couple of hours of searching I arrived at the Helipad to find the ledge below it exposed. This provided me with a perfect platform to walk onto in order to explore the edges of the structure. With the sea being calm I could see that against the walls and pilings were groups of little fish, hugging the walls and rising for tiny organisms on the surface. These small fish appeared to be the same sort that Scott and I encountered during our recent visit to Ravensheugh beach and with the fishing being so slow I decided to devote some time in trying to bag another new lure caught species. As the tiny fish were so close to the surface I rigged a #22 hook with a tiny piece of Gulp! Sandworm and just gently rested it on the surface film. The little fish were quick to come up and start pecking at the lure but as it slowly sank they became less and less interested. It was only by gently raising the lure back up to the surface that they became interested in it again until one manged to get its tiny mouth around it and I quickly lifted him out to find out my 25th lure caught species this year was a two spotted goby!

My first ever two spotted goby and lure caught saltwater species No. 25 for 2012!

I continued messing about with the tiny fish and managed to catch a further four before I moved off in search of bigger fish. Unfortunately try as I might the next couple of hours resulted in a couple of bites but no further fish and soon it was time to head home. It was slightly disappointing not to catch anything larger than 1" but it's amazing how a tiny fish can brighten your day and it won't be long before I am back to see what else the mark has to offer!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Autumnal canal session.

Last Friday Jake and I headed to the Forth and Clyde canal for a spot of predator action. We were planning on a session hunting turbot but conditions didn't look great so we headed inland instead. We arrived and quickly started fishing. Jake was drop shotting whilst I opted to fish a variety of small soft plastics on 3.5-7g jigheads. Jake was keen to try and catch my old friend Tony "Scarfish" Montana the perch and we started in the spot where I've caught him twice before. Fishing was tough however with very little action until we moved along and began fishing from a long pontoon. Jake caught a few small perch fishing down between the pontoon and the edge of the canal and then caught a tiny pike which had both of us in fits of laughter.

This small perch took a Gulp! 1" Minnow.
As did this slightly bigger specimen.
How cute is he?

I meanwhile was still trying larger lures and having little joy apart from a long piece of tough rubber that I managed to bully up from the bottom with my Shimano Speedmaster Dropshot rod.

This rubber plank found my Savage Gear Soft 4 Play irresistible!

We then decided to head in the opposite direction, past where we had started, but again there were no signs of any fish. I scaled down a bit and rigged up a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad and after working my way along a pontoon slowly jigging it just off the bottom I managed a tiny jack myself so avoided a blank.

Blank buster.

Shortly afterwards a kingfisher arrived and flew back and forth across the canal, landing on pontoons and tree branches. I tried to sneak up on it and get a picture but failed miserably. Still it was nice to see one as they are beautiful birds and a it was a little reminder that fishing isn't always about catching fish!

Tight lines, Hutch.