Saturday, 11 August 2012

An extraordinary week of fishing.
Part 5 : Hoping for a bonus species?

With Jake and I having already helped Ross add a few new species to his tally this year we decided to head down to a few marks in East Lothian in the hope that something unusual may turn up. First off we headed to Yellowcraig beach to explore the rockpools and gullies there at low water. I have in the past seen 15 spined sticklebacks there and some of the rockpools are very big and very deep so the chance of something strange turning up is always a possibility. Upon arrival Jake headed to fish some of the gullies that the sea was flooding into and Ross and I focused on the Rockpools. It wasn't long before the usual suspects started appearing, namely blennies and long spined sea scorpions, and greedily grabbed the Power Isome chunks we lowered into their lairs. 

No two sea scorpions are alike and they are so photogenic!

After working our way along the rocks and then back again, with lots of fish but no nice bonus catches, we met up with Jake who had also caught a few long spined sea scorpions and a nice pollock from the kelp filled gullies.

Fiesty little pollock. Good fun on LRF gear.

We had a final poke around in some large rockpools and caught a few more fish. Ross spotted a tiny fish and was determined to catch it just in case it was one of the smaller goby species or something else unexpected. After failing to hook it a few times on a #14 hook I gave him a #20 and he soon hooked the smallest long spined sea scorpion I have ever seen!

Nothing escapes the #20 hooks!
A close up for those with poor eyesight!

Next we headed to the beautiful Seacliff beach. Jake didn't think it was a great choice for species hunting but previous trips here cod fishing made me think it had potential and I was happy to take the blame should the fishing be poor. The rocks at the western end of the beach are home to the smallest working harbour in the U.K.

Room for one or two small boats only.
We started fishing in it when we got down there and were soon pulling out loads of small fish. Long spined sea scorpions, blennies, coalfish to start with and then Jake caught a small codling.

Choice of mark proving to be a good one as Jake gets the 4th species out of the tiny harbour and adds a new species to his 2012 tally in the process.

I then popped over the back and had a quick go down the sides of the gully that's cut into the rock that leads up to the harbour. There were two other anglers there and I got chatting to them both and they were very interested in my ultra light setup. As the tide began to come up over the rocks we were on we went back up to the harbour. Jake and Ross had been happily fishing away catching plenty of small fish and the two anglers stayed for a while and chatted to us. The action seemed to slow down a bit as the harbour filled up and the pressure was on when one of the intrigued anglers told me he wanted to see me catch something. I needn't have worried though. Right on cue I had a cracking bite and my rod tip arched over. I though it was a flatfish as my lure had been on the bottom but as a brought it up to the surface I could see the huge mouth of a sea scorpion appear. Quickly hoisting it up I realised it was a short spined variation. Only my third ever and a new PB.

18cm long and 3.85oz of swimming mouth.

After this I had a go just out side the harbour mouth over the now submerged gully with an Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawn. The view to the west is quite spectacular.

The ruins of Tantallon Castle sit atop the cliffs to the west of Seacliff.

It wasn't long before I was getting small bites and after getting a few taps soon landed one of the culprits, a small coalfish which was quickly returned and followed by a better fish which I knew was a pollock after it performed a trademark power dive even if it was only a small one.

Great fun on the ultra light Diaflash rod.

With the tide about to trap us on the rock we made our escape. After a few casts from the rocks onto the sandy beach trying our luck for turbot but with no success we headed off. We popped into North Berwick on our way back up the coast for a quick hour in the harbour there as we've not really fished it as much as maybe we should and again I felt it may throw up a surprise or two. Apart from a few ever obliging blennies,coalfish and long spined sea scorpions though the only other fish we caught was a flounder which followed my lure up and grabbed it very aggressively.

Doubt the predatory nature and powerful swimming abilty of this species?
Fish for them with lures in clear water to see their capabilities!

That was the last fish of an enjoyable day. No real surprises apart from the codling and the short spined sea scorpion and Ross whilst not getting any surprise species seemed to be very happy catching the tiny long spined sea scorpion!

Tight lines, Hutch.

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