Tuesday, 25 September 2012

St Abbs : Specimen flounder.

On Sat 15th Scott and I met up with our friend Frazerio who was keen to experiment with some more LRF. The conditions were good with clear skies and sunshine, all be it with a gusty offshore wind. We decided to head down to St Abbs harbour, hoping that the head and cliffs would offer a bit of shelter from the wind.

Never mind the obligatory buddy shot, look at the ground we were about to fish!

When we arrived it was bright and sunny and the tide was just beginning to flood so we grabbed our gear and headed to the mouth of the harbour. LRF flounder was our first target and we geared up with 2.3g #8 Shirasu fine jigheads. I mounted half a 4" gulp sandworm while Scott and Keith both rigged up a section of Power Isome. We began by targeting the sandy patches in between the weeds, Scott started working his lure outside the harbour whilst Keith and I worked inside the harbour. The technique was simply a case of casting the lure over the sand and allowing it to sink on to the seabed, before retrieving ever so slowly, allowing the lure to crawl along the bottom. Rather unbelievably on my second cast I felt a tap followed by the feeling of weight on the line. I struck and was into the first flounder of the session, which tore around a bit before coming to the surface. I quickly managed to land it and get a couple of photos before I released the fish watching it dive quickly back to the bottom to become invisible again amongst the sand.

Flounder on light tackle are great sport, this 30cm one was no exception!

I was really pleased as it was a nice chunky flounder and I had only just started fishing as well! I carried on trying to fish the little sandy patches but it was quite hard to accurately target them due to the gusts of wind coming into the harbour mouth. A short while later I felt some small bites and reeled in a long spined sea scorpion .

This tubby sea corpion fell for a section of gulp sandworm and shirasu jighead combo.

I am always happy to catch scorpions as they are such a cool looking fish! I unhooked it and after a quick picture, released it back to the harbour.

Like kids in a sweet shop , we survey the scene.

Scott meanwhile was getting interest from flounders at the harbour mouth but the wind was making it really difficult to hit the sandy patches and the gusts kept lifting the line, propelling the lure back into the harbour. Keith was also getting little bites from dropping around the sides of the walls but again the wind was bowing the line making it hard to connect. We made the decision to try and escape the effects of the fresh air and a sudden influx of divers and wandered around the harbour trying to find a bit more shelter. We ambled about trying various places until we all met up near the lifeboat station. Keith had spotted a couple of fish that he couldn't identify and was trying to target them. Try as he might he couldn't get them to take. They were chasing it and nipping it but their mouths were too small to get hooked. He called me over to see if I would have any more success in persuading them to bite. I started bouncing my gulp sandworm on the bottom working it on the sandy patches between the weeds and sure enough a long thin fish came out to investigate. I couldn't tell what it was which is a good sign as it looked like it could be a new species! Scott came over to investigate and after watching it attacking the lure then just kind of lying in an S shape besides it we decided it may be a butterfish! Butterfish have tiny mouths so I quickly rigged up a #18 hook to nylon with a piece of  gulp and attached it to the eye of my jighead. The fish had disappeared by the time I had rigged up but I dropped it down and began allowing it to trundle around the bottom in the current. Within minutes I saw the dark shape of a small sea scorpion come rushing out the weeds and pounce on the lure. It was quickly landed and turned out to be a small short spined sea scorpion which seem to be rarer around here than their long spined relatives.

Short spined sea scorpions are much harder to come by than Long spined scorpions at St Abbs.

Scott had been targeting what he thought was a goby of some sort, we could see it chasing after his lure and eventually he managed to hook it. It was not the new species we had hoped and it turned out to be a darkly marked common blenny.

Not a new species, but it did make a fine comedy moustache!

Keith had also managed to winkle out another long spined sea scorpion. At this point I was re-rigging and when I returned to my position on the wall a movement caught my eye. A huge slab of a flounder cruised into view and settled right in front of me! My eyes bulged and my legs turned to jelly the fish was easily a new PB and lay just yards from me gleaming greenly against the sand. I began to babble incoherently, stuttering to get the words out to tell Scott and Keith. I madly fumbled at the jig head clumsily trying to free it from the hook to nylon and with shaking hands cast over the fish. I could see the lure crawling across the bottom towards the fish, I watched as it went right past the fish without it batting an eyelid, I cursed as the next cast tangled with Scott's line. I kept at it casting over and around the fish who would occasionally turn and watch the lure before moving forward a couple of feet and resettling. This went on for fifteen minutes or so before Scott and Keith elected to head off to try for wrasse. I couldn't let this fish get the better of me, it was huge! I kept following the fish but it stated to move into the harbour all the time ignoring my lure. Just then a couple of fishing boats came in to berth and the water got really stirred up. The big flounder had moved into the stirred up water and I lost sight of it. I guessed roughly where I last saw it and began fan casting around that area. After a couple of casts I felt a weight on the line but far from being the tentative taps from the flounder it turned out to be a little crab. I quickly reeled the crab in trying to save my precious gulp sandworm .When out of the murk rose a big green shadow and a pair of white lips snatched the crab off my lure, I watched the pair of them sink back down the crab feebly waving its claws at me as it disappeared into the flounders mouth. I kept working the lure around the area and five minutes later I had a single strong bite and the rod slammed over into the fish as it headed for the sand. I let the soft playing action of the rod do the work and just held the fish, it came off the bottom and wallowed around on front of me. It was a very gentle fight and the fish would slowly swim around shaking its head occasionally without panicking, all the time coming closer to me. I shouted over to Scott and Keith and Keith stopped fishing and made his way round to help me land it. As I waited for Keith my heart was in my mouth, it was definitely a new PB but was only attached by a very fine wire #8 hook as it continued to lumber gently around the harbour. Keith managed to put the net together and go down the ladder a bit in order to net the fish . I was truly stoked, I was totally focused on catching this fish and had manged to do it! The fish looked huge in the net and when measured came in at 45cm and weighed 2lb 8oz. A truly satisfying experience. I got a few shots of my new PB before releasing it back to the harbour.

My new PB flounder fills the net!
Gulp! Sandworm mounted on a 2.3g #8 Shirasu fine jighead, deadly!
At 45cm and weighing in at 2lb 8oz this is the biggest flounder I have ever caught.
Last shot before release, I will remember this fish for a very long time!

I took a break while Keith tried his hand at some of the other flounder that were lurking about but after twenty minutes we decided to try for wrasse off the back of the harbour. Fishing went quite slow for the rest of the afternoon. Keith manged to get into a few coalies before landing a good sized pollack on the LRF gear which turned out to be a new PB for him. Our friend Ritchie also made an appearance and managed to catch his first St Abbs wrasse. This turned out to be a really big corkwing but we didn't get to weigh it before Ritchie released it. I managed to pick up a few coalies and a nice pollack but the wrasse couldn't be tempted by my offerings.

Vast shoals of these coalfish kept coming into the harbour, the shoal is partly visible in this photo.
This pollock of about a pound was my final fish of the session.

Scott had worked the entire back of the harbour and apart from a few pollack half heatedly nibbling at his lure had had no further action. All in all it turned into a great session for me and it was a great experience to catch such a quality new personal best flounder on my favourite light gear. I look forward to trying to beat it again!

Tight lines, Schogsky.


  1. brilliant stuff,and congratulations on catching a new pb flounder, it's a cracker!

  2. nice blog you have here..i follow it.
    Feel free to visit and follow our fishing blog at; http://www.kakinginti.rumahpanjai.com

    1. Thankyou!
      I will have a look at your blog, it seems much more exotic than the east coast of Scotland!

  3. Replies
    1. Cheers Jay, it was one of the biggest flounders I have seen let alone caught!

  4. Superb fish-I caught a couple hundreds of them on lures this year, but 40cms is the magic barrier for me-lump of flounder Schogsky-well done.

    1. Thanks David! They are brilliant fun on lures aren't they!
      Broke my PB last year at St Abbs,really didn't expect to beat it again with such a big fish! I still grin when thinking about it!

  5. Thanks Brian!
    Its one of my favourite captures to date!