Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Second time lucky!

The day after my Oban visit I was still thinking about sea trout, especially since there had been some overnight rain as I was sure this would encourage more sea trout to head up the Water of Leith. My wife had sensed me twitching and fretting at the window and she took pity on me granting me 45 minutes of child free time before tea. With shameless speed I bolted out the door LRF gear in hand and headed down to the river.

When I arrived at my chosen two pools the river was running higher and was carrying some colour, in short it looked great. I rigged up a pink Ecogear Grass Minnow size SS on a 1.4g #10 Shirasu Fine
jighead and began to work the pools. In what seems to be a familiar pattern the first pool yielded nothing. I stalked my way to the second pool and kneeling down began to cast and work the lure across the little river. Every couple of casts I would shuffle a couple of feet down stream to work the lure through the whole pool.

I had got towards the tail end of the pool and was watching the lure making its way up the margins when a trout flew out of nowhere and attacked it! It hit it once and I struck, this caused the lure to jerk forward and settle on the bottom at which point the trout pounced and snatched the lure from the river bed. I struck and set the hooks and it instantly kited back into the current. It gave a classic trout fight, thrashing and cavorting on the surface before kiting back out into the current. Soon I had it in my net and as far as I can tell it's another Water of Leith sea trout.

Sea trout from the Water of Leith.
Such a pretty fish!
Even with the slight tail damage the fish was in excellent condition.

This one appears to have been in the river some time as it's quite coloured and its lower tail fin was slightly damaged  possibly from lying in the low water. Brilliant! I took a few snaps then released the fish, hopefully to get on with populating the water with its progeny. I headed back home thoroughly pleased with what 45 minutes in the right place at the right time can yield!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

No doubt : Sea trout!

About a week ago I had a job collecting some furniture from Oban to deliver to Dunbar and as always I had built some time into the job to allow me to fish! I took my LRF gear as well as my heavier setup and hoped to have a poke about Oban harbour and maybe try some of the rock marks along the way back.

Sure enough after I had loaded the van I dropped into Oban harbour to a bit we fished last summer. After forty five minutes of bouncing some dropshotted gulp sandworm about with no action I decided to move on to some rock marks to try for pollock. This also proved completely devoid of any fish that wanted to play so I decided that I would pop into Loch Etive on the way back. My primary target would be sea trout as we have had a few from Loch Etive before and I have a bit of a trout fixation at the moment!

It's spring but Loch Etive still looks wintery.

I decided to hit the small estuary where the river flows in to Loch Etive, so it was out with the LRF gear and on with a 7g hansen pilgrim. I began to work the tide races and currents searching for my target. The tide races out of Loch Etive like a river and I began to treat it like one, casting across current and allowing the lure to swing around before twitching it back in. After about half an hour of fishing my initial excitement had been replaced with a feeling that today would be an outright blank and I began to prepare myself for a fishless day. Suddenly from out of nowhere the lure was seized and a nice sized sea trout tore off in the current, thrashing on the surface then trying to head off down tide. With a loose drag and the rod tip low I gently played the fish into my waiting landing net.

A lunch hour sea trout, perfect!

Success, I was elated and a bit shocked too as I really had resigned myself to a blank, I quickly unhooked it and took a few shots before releasing the fish back to the sea. I carried on fishing and it wasn't long before I hooked a second which fought really well for its size before I had it in the net. This was a different looking fish and still had elements of its brown trout colouration but as it was caught in saltwater I can only assume it's a sea trout!

Another nice sea trout with its head still showing brown trout colouration.

I carried on fishing and made a few casts up the estuary retrieving the lure back down stream a little faster than the current while giving rapid jerks on the rod. This yielded almost instantaneous results with another trout grabbing the lure and tearing off in the current. The fish was quickly landed and again it showed another variation in colour. This one seemed to have some of its parr colouration but was starting to turn silver on its flanks. A beautiful looking fish but it leaves me scratching my head as to whether its a sea trout or not, even though it was caught in saltwater!

A brownie or a sea trout? Either way it was great to catch!

I carried on fishing for another thirty minutes or so and managed to hook and lose another two trout before I had to call time and get on with my delivery job. I drove back with a grin from ear to ear, to catch sea trout from such a magnificent sea loch is an amazing experience and to catch them whilst on a job just added to the satisfaction! Salmo Trutta is an amazing fish and whether I catch them in loch, sea, or river they always prove a worthy challenge. A challenge that is sometimes matched by trying to decide whether they are brown trout, sea trout, slob trout,or ferox trout. One thing is for certain I love catching them and can't wait to do it again!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Silver suprise!

Last week Scott and I managed to get together for a quick fish on the Water of Leith. The plan was for Scott to fish up the river until he got to my house then we would explore further upstream. As I lazed in my house waiting for him to arrive I got a text from Scott saying he had just lost a big fish that he thought was a sea trout. He was using a Gulp 1" Minnow mounted on a Decoy Rocket jighead when the fish struck and it ended up bending the hook out with two massive head shakes. I had to pop down to see, he showed me the jig head and it was absolutely destroyed, it must have been a strong fish!

We scrapped the plan for a recce up river and concentrated on the area where Scott had hooked his fish. He had seen another smaller trout with the big fish but try as we might we just couldn't tempt them again. The next day I had an hour free so I grabbed my gear and headed back to the same pool. I rigged up a super small Ecogear Grass Minnow in pink glitter on a 1.4g Shirasu fine jighead and began to work my way down the pools. The first stretch I fished yielded absolutely nothing, a bit disappointing as this is where Scott's fish was. Oh well, I continued to work my way downstream flicking the lure across current and allowing it to swing around below me before twitching it back upstream.

After about forty minutes I finally had a bite and hooked into a feisty little trout, with a loose drag and some gentle side strain I quickly guided it into my net and there lay what could be my first sea trout of 2013! At just 25cm it was only a small one (a finnock?) and I think it was probably one of the ones that Scott had spied the day before. It may just be a silvery coloured brownie however the only way to truly establish whether it is an immature sea trout that has over wintered in the river is by testing the scales for strontium! Either way it's a salmo trutta. With a grin from ear to ear I grabbed the camera and took a few shots before releasing the fish which shot off like a bullet downstream!

Yes! The first sea trout of 2013 graces my net, or is it a brownie?
 Urban trout, brilliant!
Ecogear Grass Minnow SS proved irresistible to this trout.
Back you go...
...thanks for the shower!

Job done and time up as I only had an hour to spare, I would have to leave my pursuit of the bigger trout for another day. Its not every day when you can decide you want to go and catch a trout, head out for an hour and catch one so I was one immensely happy angler.

I will have to get more of the little pink glittery grass minnows though as the trout love them so much they have destroyed my supply!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Note: due to conflicting opinions on whether this is a sea trout or not I have edited the post. I still believe it is a finnock that has overwintered in the river. But without the strontium test I will never be sure, still it was fun to catch though!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Trout Fever!

After months of waiting the trout season on the Water of Leith is finally open again, needless to say I have been out chasing brownies since the first day! As I've had very little time I've had to take every opportunity to see how the river is faring and over the past week I have had three decent sessions.

On day one of the season I nipped down to fish a couple of pools that had proved productive last year. I geared up with my LRF kit comprising of 7'10" Graphiteleader Corto EX rod, Shimano Technium 3000SFC reel, 6lb Sunline Super PE and a 6lb fluorocarbon leader. I rigged a 1.5g Shirasu jighead with a pink EcoGear Grass Minnow SS and began to fish the pools down the river. I began firstly by casting up stream and twitching the lure back towards me a little faster than the current, then I cast across stream and allowed the lure to swing round in the current before twitching it back up towards me. I worked my way down the pool but it was devoid of life. I approached the next pool scrambling down a wall and crouched quietly behind a willow and I flicked the lure slightly upstream. As the lure made its way back across current towards me I saw a gold flash and watched a nice trout chasing behind the lure. Just as the lure came into the margins he grabbed it, I struck and pulled it out his mouth!

I let the pool rest for five minutes and rigged up the small pink grass minnow on the jig head, cursing my over eagerness and hoping for a second chance at the trout. Keeping things stealthy I knelt and cast across the burn and worked the lure across current. I worked my way down the pool and after a few casts saw a gold flash then another followed by the electric shock of the bite as the trout grabbed the lure. I set the hook and the trout thrashed on the surface before kiting off in to the current, I began lightly playing the fish and fumbling for my camera. I have recently been messing about with taking pictures whilst playing a fish one handed, however I really should have been concentrating a bit more on landing the fish as the fish took advantage of my lack of concentration and threw the hook!

Fish on! The trout kites back into the main current.
Almost ready to land...
Or not as the case may be! Note the taught line...
Doh! note the lack of line in the picture...

I was pretty annoyed with myself as I knew I could have landed the fish if I hadn't have been busy taking photos, lesson learnt! I managed to get out again a couple of days later and decided to fish further upstream. I would only have a couple of hours so I decided I would just hit a few of the pools I knew from last year. I arrived at the first pool to find it beautifully sun dappled and running nice and clear, it looked perfect.

Springtime on The Water of Leith,

Using the same lure and jig head I began to work the lure across and downstream from me. I had got  a quarter of the way down the pool before I saw the wonderful gold flash and felt a sharp bite as the trout slashed at the lure nearly tearing it off without getting hooked. I quickly re rigged another grass minnow and flicked it back across. As the lure swung around in the current the take was instant and solid, whallop! A flick of the wrist set the hook and the trout hung in the current thrashing on the surface. To combat this sneaky trout trick I have the drag set really loose and I drop the rod tip and apply pressure from the side with the rod tip virtually touching the water. The fish then fights deeper as it's not being dragged to the surface. The trout made a few darting runs upstream but soon he was in my net, (see I told you I had learnt my lesson!).

First brownie of 2013, Ecogear Shirasu fine jighead and pink Grass Minnow put this fish in the net.
I have waited months to get back on the brownies and no wonder, stunning fish!

Fantastic, a really cracking wild brownie lean and fin perfect measuring 36cm,what a fine first brown trout of the season. I kept the fish in the net and readied the camera grabbed a few shots before releasing the fish. It went back strongly and I managed to get a load of nice shots of the fish as it headed back into the main current, before disappearing upstream.

As soon as the fish went back I started snapping away.
With the polarised filter on the lens I could see it swim back into the main current
See you next time!

I carried on fishing a few pools further up but there was no further action and my time was up so I headed back. I was elated as it's fantastic to get the trout season underway and although the fishing is very hard at the moment I cant wait to do it again!

Tight lines, Schogsky.