Wednesday, 31 October 2012

More micro fishing for gobies.

A few weeks ago Jake and I went to Ravensheugh beach to target turbot. When we got to beach Jake saw some small fish in a rockpool. After a while we agreed they were gobies and tried to catch a few. Jake almost managed to get one but it fell of his #20 hook as he was lifting it up. After a fruitless hour or so searching for turbot on the beach at the mouth of a small stream I returned to the rockpool and after a lot of perseverance I managed to catch one of them. At this point I realised I didn't have my camera with me so I popped it into my empty water bottle. I then caught a second and then I caught a tiny dragonet. Jake then returned having worked his way along the beach a fair bit and back along again.

I worked the stream whilst Jake wandered along the beach.

We popped the tiny fish into a small rockpool to look at them and I took a couple of pictures using Jake's camera. Still unsure about the exact species of goby I had caught we headed off as Jake wanted to try for bass at Torness Power Station outflow.

At the time I thought they may be painted gobies due to the saddle markings. But it turns out they were two spotted gobies. You can just make out the spots.
Still not sure quite how I hooked this dragonet. It was about the size of my thumbnail!

A short walk back to the car and a drive down the coast and we were at the outflow. Once there Jake soon caught a few bass, first of all using a Hansen Pilgrim spoon and then, after losing that, on a Lunker City Ribster fished on a jighead.

One of a few bass Jake caught, much to the annoyance of others who weren't catching that many.

I meanwhile had been exploring and had spotted some more gobies in a large sandy bottomed rockpool and when we left I told Jake I'd like to get some smaller hooks and return to find out what they were. Jake visited twice in the last week and had managed to catch some two spotted gobies confirming the identity of the two I had caught and had also caught a small goby that we were pretty sure was a common goby.

Jake and I were reasonably certain he'd caught his first common goby and would later have this confirmed.

On Monday some new Gamakatsu 6315 #26 hooks to nylon arrived so yesterday we headed down again to catch a few more and get confirmation. Upon arrival I headed straight to the rockpool to get started. Jake went to try for a bass. The only rod I had with me was the "beast tamer". I was focused on goby hunting and nothing else!

My Ron Thompson Ice Fishing Pimple Lux 60cm Medium. 2 foot of goby stopping power!
Weapons of micro destruction!
Ultra fine wire hooks to increase my chances of hooking the tiny fish.
Tiny pieces of Power Isome and Gulp! Sandworm were the lures of choice. Split shot was placed a few inches above to help keep it down as it was fairly windy.

It took me a while to get them interested in my tiny chunks of Power Isome and Gulp! Sandworm but just after Jake came over to see how I was doing I managed to catch a two spotted goby, my 29th saltwater species on lures this year. Jake hadn't managed any bass but he then spotted a small flounder in the rockpool and soon had it hooked on a pink Ecogear Minnow SS. That's the first time I've seen one caught in a rockpool! I then moved along a bit to a spot where Jake had whipped the gobies up into a frenzy by jigging his brightly coloured lure around. After jigging my Isome around lightly amongst them I managed to catch a small goby. Careful examination would confirm it as being a common goby. A new species for me and my 30th saltwater species on lures this year. I was over the moon having reached my goal for the year.

Isn't he cute.
Rockpool flounder caught on the Rockfish UL.
Ecogear Minnow SS proved to tempting for this stranded flounder.
My first ever common goby.
Nine soft ray fins in the second dorsal fin along with other features confirms this as a common goby. Sand gobies have at least ten.

I had a small clear plastic tank with me that gave us an opportunity to study the gobies closely. We examined them carefully admiring their markings and subtle colourations before we both took turns with the "beast tamer" catching some more. Both of us ending up with one two spotted goby and three common gobies each.

Viewing gobies like this lets you see every detail.
Note the pale blue markings on this common gobies
The examination tank. This enabled us to take our time and confirm that all the gobies we'd caught were two spotted gobies or common gobies.

A few of the bass anglers took an interest in what we were doing too and had a look at our catches before I released them all again. Micro fishing is great fun and it's strange to think that it's taken us so long to investigate the gobies as we've spotted them there before. We just assumed they were sand gobies I suppose. In future we'll be investigating any gobies we spot as there are quite a few more species in the U.K. for us still to catch!

Tight lines, Hutch.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Going tiny for two spots.

On Monday I popped down to Torness to fish with my friend Ritchie, the winds had died down and conditions looked good for a change! Our plan was to search the cold water inflow for wrasse as well as the possibility of other species as well. I popped into Mike's Tackle shop on route which I really shouldn't do if I want to get anywhere quickly and after an age fawning over lovely shiny lures managed to drag myself away after only buying a couple! I arrived late morning at the inflow and met up with Ritchie. He had already had a few small coalies and due to my lateness we only manged to fish together for about ten minutes before he had to go!

After Ritchie had gone I searched all the usual mackerel holding areas but there were no sign of them at all and even the coalfish were not playing ball. The tide was dropping to low when after a couple of hours of searching I arrived at the Helipad to find the ledge below it exposed. This provided me with a perfect platform to walk onto in order to explore the edges of the structure. With the sea being calm I could see that against the walls and pilings were groups of little fish, hugging the walls and rising for tiny organisms on the surface. These small fish appeared to be the same sort that Scott and I encountered during our recent visit to Ravensheugh beach and with the fishing being so slow I decided to devote some time in trying to bag another new lure caught species. As the tiny fish were so close to the surface I rigged a #22 hook with a tiny piece of Gulp! Sandworm and just gently rested it on the surface film. The little fish were quick to come up and start pecking at the lure but as it slowly sank they became less and less interested. It was only by gently raising the lure back up to the surface that they became interested in it again until one manged to get its tiny mouth around it and I quickly lifted him out to find out my 25th lure caught species this year was a two spotted goby!

My first ever two spotted goby and lure caught saltwater species No. 25 for 2012!

I continued messing about with the tiny fish and managed to catch a further four before I moved off in search of bigger fish. Unfortunately try as I might the next couple of hours resulted in a couple of bites but no further fish and soon it was time to head home. It was slightly disappointing not to catch anything larger than 1" but it's amazing how a tiny fish can brighten your day and it won't be long before I am back to see what else the mark has to offer!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Autumnal canal session.

Last Friday Jake and I headed to the Forth and Clyde canal for a spot of predator action. We were planning on a session hunting turbot but conditions didn't look great so we headed inland instead. We arrived and quickly started fishing. Jake was drop shotting whilst I opted to fish a variety of small soft plastics on 3.5-7g jigheads. Jake was keen to try and catch my old friend Tony "Scarfish" Montana the perch and we started in the spot where I've caught him twice before. Fishing was tough however with very little action until we moved along and began fishing from a long pontoon. Jake caught a few small perch fishing down between the pontoon and the edge of the canal and then caught a tiny pike which had both of us in fits of laughter.

This small perch took a Gulp! 1" Minnow.
As did this slightly bigger specimen.
How cute is he?

I meanwhile was still trying larger lures and having little joy apart from a long piece of tough rubber that I managed to bully up from the bottom with my Shimano Speedmaster Dropshot rod.

This rubber plank found my Savage Gear Soft 4 Play irresistible!

We then decided to head in the opposite direction, past where we had started, but again there were no signs of any fish. I scaled down a bit and rigged up a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad and after working my way along a pontoon slowly jigging it just off the bottom I managed a tiny jack myself so avoided a blank.

Blank buster.

Shortly afterwards a kingfisher arrived and flew back and forth across the canal, landing on pontoons and tree branches. I tried to sneak up on it and get a picture but failed miserably. Still it was nice to see one as they are beautiful birds and a it was a little reminder that fishing isn't always about catching fish!

Tight lines, Hutch.

"Auk"ward Fishing.

With the weather and sea state so changeable of late its been hard to get to our favourite sea marks. So when finally we had a break in the weather and an afternoon free Scott and I headed down into East Lothian to Skateraw and the Torness Power Station inflow. The plan for me at least was to continue my drop shot exploration for wrasse at the inflow, Scott wanted to search amongst the shore line and boulders for different species as well as spying out likely looking conger spots. Upon arrival I headed straight for the walkway where I had been catching corkwings and quickly rigged up a drop shot rig on my LRF set up. This consisted of a #8 hook rigged with a section of Gulp! Sandworm attached to 6lb leader via a palomar knot and 30cm below that a 7g drop shot lead was clipped on. Fishing from the walkway can be pretty uncomfortable, the railings are shoulder height (for me at least) and I have to hold the rod at eye level to work the lures properly. Every ten minutes or so my arms went numb from keeping them raised and I had to reel in and get the blood flowing again. I searched through the seaweed in the hope of wrasse but there was a distinct lack of bites from the kelpy areas so I began to work along the gantry fishing the cleaner ground. Bites were much more plentiful here with fish taking the lure on the drop these turned out to be the usual coalfish which kept me entertained!

The coalfish were again present in numbers!

After catching a dozen or so coalies I had a much larger bite and struck into a much more powerful fish. The throbbing of the rod tip quickly told me the fish was a mackerel and they really do fight well on light gear!

Mackerel on light tackle are just great fun to catch, they fight hard and are tasty too!

I carried on targeting the mackerel from the gantry and within about half an hour I had manged to land a further three. I had swapped over to my heavy spinning gear and put on a 14g Hansen pilgrim lure which was doing the business. I was still concentrating on the mackerel when I had a big bite and the rod hooped over, this was followed by a rather sad "awk awk" noise and I caught sight of a guillemot who had become entangled in the line whilst chasing the lure. I gently guided it towards the shore and had to climb over the shoulder high railings to get down to free the bird. At this point Scott, fresh from his gully hunting exploits, pitched up to lend a hand and after a quick photo my little feathered friend was released, a bit ruffled but otherwise ok.

Not the wrasse I was looking for!

Scott had manged to get a few long spined sea scorpions from the gullies including one that he told me had an almost lichen like texture to its skin. He then turned his attention to the mackerel. He decided to give my new heavy major craft rod a go and was soon firing out the Hansen pilgrim in search of them. Pretty soon he had caught a brace of them including a real jumbo which put up a good scrap considering it was caught on my heavier gear!

Coming in a variety of colours this dark green specimen took a Gulp! Sandworm section.
When I saw this photo I realised what Scott had meant about its lichen like skin. Quite odd.
Scott took a shot of it in a rock pool. It shows perfectly the great camouflage the fishes colouration provides.

I meanwhile had continued to drop shot off the gantry and managed to bag a couple more mackerel and coalies before we had to call time. Although the corkwings were not present it was still a fun session with the mackerel providing great sport on the LRF and HRF gear and a tasty meal or two.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Back to bass.

Last Friday I decided to go and have some fun hunting for bass down in East Lothian. The plan was to try dropshotting along the reef in the hope of maybe picking up bonus species as well as the local bass. I arrived at the mark at slack water just as it was beginning to flood and the conditions were quite calm although the sea was still very grey and cloudy.

I rigged up my LRF gear with a dropshot rig. This consisted of a three foot length of fluorocarbon leader, half way up I attached a #6 decoy mini offset hook via a palomar knot. This leaves a tag end of about 1.5' to which I attached a 7g dropshot lead. I rigged it with a whole medium pink Isome and began to cast around the reef, little jigs on the rod would have the lure hopping across the sea bed. This was interspersed with pauses whilst shaking the rod tip causing the Isome to wriggle and writhe in the current. I carried on fishing in this manner for at least a couple of hours but it was very quiet indeed! I began to fish rather mechanically and when I had a sudden single bite I wasn't ready for it and the culprit ripped the Isome of the hook and made off with it. I quickly re-baited and began to search the area, my senses much keener after some fish activity. A couple of casts later again the same thing happened, a very sharp quick bite resulting in the Isome being stolen. This happened a couple more times and try as I might I could not connect with the culprit, I have a feeling it could have been bream as the bites were so sharp and they really didn't feel like bass or wrasse. With the fishing so slow I decided to amuse myself in amongst the huge boulders by catching blennys, a dozen of the little blighters later I was ready to get back to searching for bass.

I decided to change tactics and rigged up my 9'6" Major Craft Crostage 15-42g rod with a Lunker City Ribster in Arkansas Shiner, mounted on a 10.5g #2/0 AGM football jighead. By now the tide had covered the reef so I began bouncing and twitching the lure back across the freshly submerged rock. It was about half an hour before I got a couple of bites but again I had fallen into the mechanical stupor again and missed it. I cast back to the same spot and again there was a couple of bumps on the lure before the fish grabbed it proper and this time I could set the hooks! It felt good to have a fish on at last and after a couple of little runs as the fish tried to make for deeper water it was quickly landed. It was a good fish about 43cm and I quickly released it. I then realised I had forgotten to take a picture, which was pretty annoying as it taken so long to catch. Oh well it was good to get off the mark and with that I carried on fishing the same area where the bass had come from. About ten minutes later another bass engulfed the lure and I had that happy feeling of a fish on the line. Another nice bass this one going to 42cm on The Lure Forum ruler.

The Lunker City Ribster claims yet another fish.

That fish signalled the end of the session and it was great to get back into some bass after a break away from them. Although there were no fish landed whilst dropshotting, the strange bites I was receiving have really got me thinking and I hope to discover what the culprits were soon!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Monday, 15 October 2012

St Abbs : Before and after the storm.

Over the past two weeks I have been down to St Abbs a couple of times to meet up with our friend Ritchie. We have been meeting up and fishing around the harbour in the hope of wrasse but also enjoying some good flounder fishing too. On the first session I arrived before Ritchie and tackled up my LRF kit with dropshot rig, comprising of a #8 offset worm hook, 6lb flurocarbon leader and 7g dropshot lead. I rigged it with a section of red Gulp! Sandworm and began casting around the harbour mouth. There were large shoals of coalfish milling around and it took no time at all before they were eagerly attacking the lure. I enjoyed myself catching the little blighters and had racked up a fair few before a much heavier fish attacked the lure. This turned out to be a good sized flounder which did its best to try to dive into the weed before I had it on the surface. It weighed well over a pound and I didn't want to swing it up the wall with the rod as it was too heavy for it. I elected to handline it up but rather annoyingly it gave a head shake when halfway up and came off. Ritchie arrived soon after and we tried working our lures through the kelp and over sandy patches, but after a couple of hours of ceaseless coalies we decided to move further into the harbour.

The ever obliging coalfish were present in numbers!

The fishing was very slow inside the harbour but it was Ritchie who eventually got a follow off a good flattie. We were both quite excited by the sighting and we began to work the surrounding area using 2g #8 jigheads with a medium red Power Isome on mine and Ritchie was using a natural coloured Gulp! Sandworm. A couple of casts later I felt some taps at the Isome followed by the familiar feeling of a flounder seizing the lure and heading for the sand. I raised the rod and kept it from off the bottom and had to reel fast as it sped towards me and after a couple of attempts to dive into the weed I managed to land another nice flounder. It was quickly unhooked and I manged to get one picture before my camera decided it didn't have enough power! 

Another fine St Abbs flounder and another fat one!

After releasing the fish we made our way over to the back wall to try for wrasse. I went back to my red Isome on a dropshot rig and Ritchie stuck with the jighead/Sandworm combo. It only took a couple of minutes of fishing before we were both into fish, this time it was a double hook up of pollock! Both quickly landed, photographed and returned. We fished on but the wrasse were not about and soon I had to head back to Edinburgh, although Ritchie did manage to get a couple more flounder after I left.

I love the colouration of this pollock!

A week later I went back down to St Abbs to meet Richie and fish the bay north of the harbour. As we got to the shoreline it quickly became apparent that the big storm that blew up had really devastated all the kelp with big piles of it strewn about the beach. The sea was pretty cloudy and grey too and a really gusty offshore wind made fishing light very hard. We worked our way around the bay trying various methods but there was no sign of wrasse and hardly any kelp left to fish in for them. Ritchie as always was pretty quickly into a nice chunky coalie which must have been pushing 1.5lbs It put a good bend in his Troutizmo rod and a smile on his face. That turned out to be the only fish for the next hour so I decided to go long and broke out my 9'6 15-42g Major Craft Crostage rod with a 30g Nordic Herring type mini pirk. With the wind gusting behind me casting far was not a problem and I was enjoying hitting casts of 80 to 100 meters. This turned out to be where the mackerel were shoaling and we were soon enjoying catching them! I took 4 for dinner and swapped over to a Lunker City Ribster mounted on a 10.5g jighead in order to try for pollock. This however only yielded a few more mackerel and then the fishing slowed completely. As we had spent four hours at the bay we then decided to fish the last couple of hours at the harbour, hoping to find some flounder. Again the water was cloudy and the fishing very slow, I manged one nice flounder within about twenty minutes of fishing, on a dropshotted red Gulp! Sandworm but that was to be my lot for the day.

It took a while, but in the end this flounder fell for drop shotted Gulp! Sandworm.

Ritchie also managed to winkle one out but it took a good hour and a half and they just didn't seem to be around in the same numbers. All in all they were a fun couple of sessions with some good sized flounder caught and released and dinner in the form of mackerel thrown in for good measure! I know the flounder will move out of the harbours for winter, but I hope they leave it late as I will miss them when they've gone.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A golden half hour.

Last weekend, as I was passing, I popped into Mikes Tackle Shop in Portobello. I was pleasantly suprised to find Mike was stocking Ecogear Pocket In kits. These comprise of a high quality lure box, jigheads and a selection of fantastic little LRF lures. Anyway I couldn't resist buying one which contained some pink glittery minnows and grass minnows, as well as some shirasu jigheads.

Great value little pocket sized LRF kits available in three different variations.

I specifically got them for fishing for trout in peaty water as I have found pink lures really come into their own in these conditions. I was unable to contain my excitement and just had to go play with them. I managed to get a half  hour break from fatherly duties and quickly bolted off down to the Water of Leith. As I only had such a short amount of time I could only fish a 100 yrd stretch containing three pools. I was using my LRF gear comprising of a 7'9" Graphiteleader Corto EX 0.6-8g rod, Shimano Technium 3000SFC reel, 6lb Sunline Super PE braid, 6lb flurocarbon leader and a 1.2g shirasu jighead on which I mounted a pink glittery Grasss Minnow SS.

First stop, the "Cooker Pool". I began to cast across and slightly downstream allowing the lure to swing around in the current, before twitching it slowly back up stream. I worked my way down the pool and about half way down a small trout grabbed the lure as it was being worked back upstream. Unfortunately I didn't react quickly enough at first thinking it was a snag, and the wee trout threw the hooks.I carried on fishing the pool down but there were no further bites.

Next stop, the "Overhanging Tree Pool". I scrambled down a wall and crouched under the bridge, this pool requires stealth as you have to get very close to the water to reach the fish. I began to work my way down the pool on my knees so as to keep out of sight. I cast using the same tactics as before. I had only gone about twelve feet down the pool when I saw gold flashes around my lure. One flash looked like a good sized trout as it slashed but missed. I kept retrieving as the lure swung into the shallow margins. I could see the lure working its way back towards me and I could also see a smaller brownie in hot pursuit. Contrary to my instincts I sped up the retrieve a bit and this spurred the trout to dash forward and seize the lure. I struck and hooked the fish which darted off in the current, I played it gently to my hand and was very pleased to land another lovely Water of Leith brown trout. I quickly unhooked it and took a couple of pics before releasing it, not a big fish being only about 9" but fun none the less!

The "Pocket In" kit was all I needed for brown trout action, with a pink Grass Minnow SS taking this one.

Final stop, the "Pool Below the Overhanging Tree Pool". This pool was again approached in the same cautious manner. Again casting across the current and allowing the lure to swing round, before retrieving slowly back upstream. After a couple of casts I hit a snag on the other side, I manged to free the lure which hopped back towards me into a fast run. A couple of turns of the reel handle got me back in touch with the lure, where upon it was seized by another trout. Another fun fight ensued in the fast current and I landed my second trout! Another nice brownie of about 10", which was quickly unhooked and released. My half hour was up and I had to head back home, but it was great to get out and catch a couple of trout on my new lures. Even though the lures are designed for fishing in salt water I have found that there are many freshwater species that love them as well, especially trout! The trout season is now over on the Water of Leith and its been a great fun with lots of really nice brownies caught and all of them released. It has also been a great bolthole when the sea has been too rough or I only have an hour to spare to fish. I hope to turn my freshwater fishing more towards perch and pike now and I know the perch will love these pink lures too!

Tight lines, Schogsky.