Monday, 13 August 2012

An extraordinary week of fishing.
Part 6: Portpatrick LRF and Port Logan rock hopping.

Last Saturday the three of us headed down to the Mull of Galloway to continue our week of fishing with a spot of harbour LRF, a spot of rock hopping and also a boat based species hunt. Three and a half hours later, after stopping at the Glasgow Angling Centre to get some tackle rigs for our boat trip, we arrived at our first mark, Portpatrick harbour. It was RNLI lifeboat day and the harbour was very busy with lots of people enjoying the warm weather and entertainments. Avoiding the hordes of wetsuited kids flinging themselves into the harbour we tackled up and started to fish. Scott went to the end of the harbour wall, Ross positioned himself at the foot of some steps and I fished a gap between a pontoon and the harbour wall. I rigged up a 1.8g #10 Decoy Rocket jighead with a small pink Power Isome. I cast out next to the pontoon and the lure was instantly seized by a little coalfish. I seem to be magnetically attracted to coalfish and it was quickly landed and released. A few more casts around the pontoon resulted in a couple more coalfish so I switched my attention to the harbour wall. Scott meanwhile had already started catching a string of different mini species.

Scott's first fish of the day, a long spined sea scorpion.
Followed quickly by a few rock gobies.

Scott and Ross were both fishing tiny sections of Power Isome on #14 hooks and split shot setups. Scott caught a few more long spined sea scorpions and rock gobies and then started catching poor cod higher up in the water column. Ross was busy concentrating on the bottom of the steps and was getting a lot of attention from blennies. I too was enjoying a bit of a blenny bashing and lost count of how many I had! Scott quickly caught one, his 250th he would later discover, then moved round the harbour to a sandy bay to hunt for flatfish so I moved to where he had been getting the poor cod. Ross and Scott were both definitely getting more bites on the smaller hooks. I joined them and attached #16 hook to nylon to the eye of my jighead. This was rigged with a little section of power Isome whilst the jighead had a red Gulp 1" fry. As soon as I had dropped it down I was getting little bites and quickly hooked the culprit all be it on the jighead!

A poor cod. My 20th species on lures this year!

I caught and released a few more and also picked up a couple of mini pollock. Ross meanwhile had seen a tiny fish and was absolutely intent on catching it. Some time later he managed it, a small sand goby on a #20 hook and split shot rig. I moved over to where Scott was and he had been catching sand gobies too. I joined in and quickly had one too!

One of Scott's many sand gobies.
I get in on the act with a specimen sand goby.

We carried on around the rock that form the northern side of the harbour mouth, but apart from a long spined sea scorpion for Ross the bites dried up and there was not much action. We then decided to head south to Port Logan to fish off the rocks at the back of the harbour. Deeper water and heavier ground meant that we switched to our standard pollock and wrasse gear. I rigged up a Lunker City Ribster on a 10.5g #2/0 Lunker City Football jighead and began to fish around the rock fingers and gullies. Ten minutes later I had a take and felt the unmistakable pull of a pollock. The fish ran towards me and tried to dive under a ledge, luckily I managed to bully it up over it and a nice 2lb pollock was landed!

Pollock love Ribsters!

I began to work my way over the rocks with Scott and Ross also starting to move around exploring the area. I found a deep gully and cast out into it and began working the Ribster down the gully. After a couple of casts I saw a small pollock chasing the lure only to turn away at the last minute. I dropped the lure straight down and began jigging it a bit in the hope of attracting the fish back. I felt a couple of pecks at the lure then a better bite, then everything went solid as the fish took my lure under the ledge! Annoyingly I lost the lure to the fish so on went another Ribster. Again I dropped it straight down and the fish was still interested, a couple of taps then an almighty bite. I struck but didn't hook up and lifted the lure to find the tail section missing! This could only be one thing, wrasse! I called Scott over and as he made his way I hooked and lost another fish. Scott arrived to show me how it was done and no sooner had he dropped his lure down he was getting interest. I carried on trying to winkle out a wrasse. Suddenly Scott's rod arched over and began bucking about. Scott found this very amusing and in a fit of laughter quickly landed a nice little ballan which had fought well above its weight!

This small ballan put up quite a fight after aggressively taking Scott's watermelon Ribster.

Scott then moved off to explore some other areas, whilst I carried on trying for the wrasse at my feet. I sacrificed a couple more Ribsters to the wrasse who bit them clean in half without getting hooked, before I got fed up of them abusing my precious Ribsters and changed over to a Keitech Sexy Impact mounted on a 7g AGM Football jighead. I dropped it down and tapped it on the sea bed, a couple of pecks then bang! Fish on! With the drag locked up the fish bent the rod right over as it made a powerful dive for the kelp. I held on and lifted into the fish, it made a couple more lunges and then came to the surface. I managed to land it with the help of a wave and there lay my prize! I was extremely pleased as wrasse on lures is still quite an exotic experience for me.

Keitech Sexy Impact does the damage.
At 36cm and 2lb this beat my previous PB ballan wrasse by 1cm and a few ounces.
Wrasse are beautiful fish and the variation in colouration and markings is mind boggling. Lovely eyes too!

I thanked the fish for being such a good sport and then carefully released it, pleased when it disappeared at top speed back down into the kelp below. With time up I made my way back over the rocks to see what Ross and Scott had been up to. Both had been getting bites with a wrasse destroying a couple of Scott's lures but avoiding capture and Ross had hooked and lost a small pollock. My wrasse however was to be the final fish from Port Logan and with that we made our way to the Clashwhannon caravan site where we would be spending the night.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

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