Saturday, 1 June 2013

Losing the rag.

Recently I went down to St Abbs with our friend Ad the Friday before he and Scott headed west to go Skate fishing. Ad was really keen to target flounder on LRF gear and although he had been catching them on bait in Aberdeen the conditions had been against LRF tactics. When we arrived at St Abbs it was the complete opposite of what we are used to though with the water being very cloudy and a bitter north easterly wind had made it very rough and cold! This being the case we had to go straight for 7g dropshot rigs to have a hope of keeping in touch with the sea bed. Ad rigged his with a section of pink Isome and I went with some natural Gulp! Sandworm. We worked our lures right around the harbour and we couldn't buy a bite, this really was not what I was expecting!

After another half hour or so I finally felt a gentle tapping at my lure followed by a feeling of weight as a fish grabbed hold. I struck and set the hook and the fish stayed deep trying to get back to the bottom. With the fish staying deep at first I thought it was a flounder, then as it came up in the water I thought it was a coalfish only to see a large short spined sea scorpion break the surface. This was my first short spined of the year and he fought surprisingly well in the deep water as he bore down for the sea bed. After a few pics he was released and we carried on our search.

My first short spined sea scorpion of 2013
Say "Bluuuuurrggghh"!
Sunset over a rough St Abbs.
With the light going we headed over to the harbour lights.

By this time it had begun to get dark so we moved to under the harbour lights as this can be a good place to get the evening influx of coalfish. We had been fishing a short while when Ad noticed a weird eel like fish swimming on the surface. Whatever it was the creature was swimming about cruising in the surface layers and kept swimming into the weed at the edge of the harbour wall as well as wiggling about in the frayed mooring ropes. What was it though? Launce or perhaps an eel? Nope too blunt at each end. Lamprey? Hmmm, they certainly looked weird enough! I was jigging a small metal for coalfish and we kept seeing more of these odd creatures, some were very big too with the biggest about 18 inches long. No matter how we tried they just didn't seem to notice the lures, we tried jerking it past them, letting it hang stationary in front of them but they just didn't react to anything we did. Eventually as I was working the lure past one I appeared to catch it! It was quickly hoisted up to a chorus of what is it, what is it! We were absolutely amazed to find it was a rather large king ragworm!

Another crazy St Abbs capture, ragworm, I could have sworn they were fish!

Crazy, they really had us fooled as I could have sworn they were fish! We surmised that they were perhaps breeding and trying to lay there eggs in the weed and rope fronds maybe that was why they were in the harbour being so active. It also pointed to the fact that there were no fish about as I doubt they would have lasted two seconds with a pack of coalies hunting about. It was also great to see them as it perhaps explains why the flatties at St Abbs can get so big especially if they have access to such big king rag!

It was late by this point so we called it a day, but it was a truly surreal experience seeing and catching those ragworm. It was also interesting to see how they swim so freely and certainly shows why an Isome mounted on a jighead is taken with such confidence by the resident fish! Hopefully next time Ad comes down we can put him on to some LRF flounder until then he can console himself knowing that they are probably getting fatter feeding on those juicy ragworms!

Tight Lines, Schogsky.


  1. Love the sea scorpion shot. Such a cool fish!

    1. Sure is Ben, the short spines grow quite big up to two pounds!
      I really hope to meet one this year!