Monday, 13 August 2012

An extraordinary week of fishing.
Part 8 : Species hunt aboard "Go West".

Last Sunday morning and we headed up to Port Logan again to meet up with local skipper Spike whose services and boat "Go West" we had chartered for a days species hunting. We were keen to see how we would do on lures and had taken a wide selection with us to try although Ross and I had also smuggled aboard some ragworm to use should the lures not be as effective as we were hoping. We would also be targeting tope in the afternoon so first up we fished for mackerel to use for bait for them. After a few drifts we soon found a shoal of two and soon had enough in the bait box so we headed to a pollock mark. Spike dropped the anchor and we were soon casting out various soft plastics. Jake of coarse stuck with his beloved Slug-Go whilst Ross and I tried a few different lures. We were all soon into pollock and enjoying catching them on our light gear. Jake was catching the most fish and got the best pollock at 6lb 4oz but unfortunately the skipper threw it back after weighing it before we could get a photo of Jake with it.

Best pollock of the day. Worst photo.

Before we left this mark we tried for wrasse. Bites on the Power Isome and Gulp! Sandworm tipped Sabiki rigs were few and far between although after a while Ross managed a female cuckoo wrasse. After a while I gave in and tipped half of my Sabiki hooks with small pieces of ragworm. Quite quickly I had a few bites and when I hooked a fish I was willing it to be on the soft lure tipped hooks but it was on one of the ragworm pieces.

A female cuckoo wrasse took Power Isome on a sabiki rig.
Soon I repeated the feat but on a small section of ragworm.

It went a bit quiet after that and Spike suggested a move, so we headed north and tried a few drifts over a sand bank to target flatfish and gurnards. We caught a few fish here starting with a grey gurnard on Gulp! Sandworm tipped Sabiki for Jake followed by one for me on Power Isome tipped Sabiki.

Another new lure caught species for Jake.
A smaller one for me too to add to my 2012 tally.

We also picked up a few fish on bait too, I had a nice coalfish and a ballan wrasse. No sign of any flatfish though which we probably would have had if we had fished a running ledger setup close to the bottom. We then headed out into the bay to target tope. Rubby dubby made up, dropped down with the anchor and our mackerel head sections ledgered down tide, the waiting game began. Whilst we waited for runs we fished the bottom for other species. Ross managed a few more grey gurnards and then caught a red gurnard.

A lovely brightly coloured red gurnard. The only one of the day.

Ross had a tope pick up his bait and go on a short run before dropping it again. I managed to hook a whiting on a set of unbaited Hokkai but as I was lifting it into the boat it shook itself free. With no further action on the tope rods despite regular fresh bait offerings we decided to end the day with a few cod species. We headed further out to sea and drifted over some ground that holds a few. It wasn't long before we were catching whiting, haddock, cod, grey gurnards and a few lesser spotted dogfish.

After dropping one on lures this one took a small strip of mackerel on a Hokkai rig.
A double hook up with the whiting. This dogfish also took a mackerel strip.
Some angler hate them. I like them. Lovable little rogues!
Ross gets a grey gurnard on a sabiki rig tipped with Power Isome.
Ross catches his first ever haddock on a mackerel strip.

Time was up and we headed back to port. Eleven species in total caught and whilst some of them had been taken on bait the lures had accounted for a few of them too with all three of us also ticking a few new species off our 2012 wanted list! Jake had to head home at this point so Ross and I bid him a safe journey home before he headed up the road and we headed back to the caravan. We did intend heading out again at night but all the fishing had caught up with us. Having a generously portioned meal in the Clashwhannon Pub was lovely but just made us even more tired and we were falling asleep watching TV in the caravan so we had an early night so we could be re-energized for the following day as it was my birthday and I fancied a spot of wrassing to celebrate before Ross and I would head home too.

Tight lines, Hutch.

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