Saturday, 26 May 2012

A charming afternoon's fishing.

Yesterday was a stunning day weather wise and after a spot of work, unfortunately this does occasionally get in the way of fishing, Jake and I headed to Loch Lubnaig to resume our attempts to catch arctic char. The last time we fished it Jake hooked two of them on a pink Jackson Cymo vibe lure but lost both of them so we know they are in there! We headed about halfway up the eastern side of the loch and parked up, carefully and quietly crossed a field containing some large highland cow bulls and followed a small stream that was stuffed with small minnows down to the mark.

Loch Lubnaig under a clear blue sky.

We setup up our LRF gear, clipped on a pink Jackson Cymo vibe lure each, and started casting out, letting the lures sink down then retrieving them in a very quick sink and draw style but with lots of small rips and pauses to get the lure working. A slight wind blowing up the loch made it tricky to cast and stay in contact with the lures but it soon dropped off. Jake had a couple of missed bites and then hooked into a fish. He got it up to the surface and could see from its colours that it was an arctic char. Mission accomplished!? Not quite unfortunately, like the two he hooked during our last trip, with a frantic thrash it threw the hooks and bolted. A very annoyed Jake decided it was time for a smoke break but he couldn't find his tobacco so headed back to the van to look for it.

Whilst he was gone I kept on fishing and just as the lure dropped after a short rip I was hit by a fish. I played it lightly to try and minimise the chance of losing it and as it came into view I realised it was another arctic char! I was expecting it to thrash around and give me the slip but I guided it over the net and breathed a huge sigh of relief! I looked over it and admired its aubergine back and silver flanks with lovely subtle pink spots. Its fins had a nice white tinge to their edges too. A lovely looking fish. I popped it back into the net to show Jake when he returned. As Jake came back he must have seen me kneeling over the fish inspecting it and popping it into the net as he came back in a quite a hurry to see what I had caught. I gave him the news and he congratulated my success, we got a few photos and popped it back.

My first ever arctic char.

Jake was even more determined to catch and land an arctic char now and pretty soon he hooked a fish but it was a small brownie. He followed this up with another brown trout shortly afterwards. He then started working his way around the bay and after a while was a fair bit away.

Small but perfectly formed loch trout.
Lovely heavily spotted markings on Jake's second brown trout.
Jake searches out his target.

I continued to fish over the same area and looking over I could see Jake's rod bent over again. He was making his way back to the bank and obviously had landed a fish. I wondered if he had caught an arctic char as he seemed to be taking a lot of photos. A few casts later and he had hooked and landed another fish. I was happily fishing away whilst watching him and not really paying too much attention to what was happening with my lure, just enjoying the sun and the surroundings really, when I felt a take pretty close in. After a very short but again cautious fight I had landed my second arctic char of the session. I called Jake over and he came across to see what I had caught. Again we got a few photos and popped the fish into a stream and watched him make his way back into the loch.

My second arctic char. Same size as the first. This one took a brown Jackson Cymo.
Very hard to capture the pink spots in the bright light. The photos don't do the fish any justice at all.

After the excitement subsided I asked Jake what he had caught and he told me it was a couple of perch. I was chuffed for him as we'd both been having a bit of frustrating time with a long barren spell as far as perch go and now we had both busted the hoodoo!

The perch were loving the pink Jackson Cymo too!
Off the second perch goes to sulk around in the weeds again.

We had a few more casts at the area where I had caught both my arctic char and then had 30 minutes over at the point where Jake had caught his perch, a very weedy shallow area. Jake hooked a third perch but it came off as he tried to pull it through a large clump of weeds. Time up we headed back to the van. As we were leaving I spotted a load of small fish in a little stream. Jake scooped some up and it turns out they were lamprey. Never seen one before so it was fasinating seeing their strange mouths and fins. A few of them were absolutley full of eggs.

The tiny stream was full of these small lamprey.
Tiny little sucker mouth full of little razor sharp teeth! A few hundred more on the way too!

Obviously this won't be the last trip the Loch Lubnaig as whilst Jake has sorted himself out with a perch he's still determined to land an arctic char. I'm sure the next trip will see him do it!

Tight lines, Hutch.

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