Thursday, 26 September 2013

Goal achieved : PB's all round!

Following a couple of trips to find wrasse with Ritchie, both of which saw us catch plenty of flounders, coalies, codling, and the ever present sea scorpion, we finally got back on them last week. Ritchie, who's leg was still bound in plaster, had taken a taxi to the harbour and I would meet him there. I wouldn't be able to get to the harbour until about 4pm and I was concerned that the light levels would be too dim for the wrasse. As I drove down the A1 which was shrouded in a dense sea mist Richie sent me a text to say he had his first wrasse around the pound mark. Filled with the hope of wrasse I arrived at the harbour to find it weirdly atmospheric the fog was thick but with a hot sun and blue skies above it lit up the mist and made a strange light cover the harbour. It was so thick that the dive boats couldn't get out and the harbour was pretty quiet with boat traffic. I parked up and quickly made my way to to meet the busily fishing Ritchie. He said that he had had the first wrasse fairly quickly but the action had tailed off so he was concentrating on floundering till it stepped up a bit. The water was clear and when I looked down the edge it was like fish soup, with masses of coalies and codling shoaling right in front of me

Fish soup!

I rigged up a dropshot rig with a section of Gulp! Sandworm and with a slight change to how I normally rig I clipped the 7g weight only 3" from the lure. It looked more like a stretched "Jika" rig, the wrasse were patrolling very close to the sea bed last time and I hoped this would encourage them to be more confident in attacking the lure. Getting the lure through the mass of coalies was a bit problematic as they kept grabbing it. When I did get through them I began by hopping and shaking the lure along the border of the kelp and sand. It only took about five minutes before I felt those characteristic plucks at the lure. I allowed the taps to develop and struck into a nice fish. I bullied it up from the bottom and the fish did its best to crash dive into the thick kelp. This caused me to have to play the fish with the rod above my head to counteract the bend in the rod and soon the fish was on the surface gently waving its pectorals at me. Ritchie was quickly on hand with the dropnet and we quickly guided it in and hoisted it up to my eager hands. What a stroke of luck, I had only been there five minutes and had manged to bag a beautifully coloured wrasse. It was a good size too and with my favourite colour variation on its face, a gorgeous strawberry red and white with emerald highlights, simply stunning.

Drop shotted Gulp! Sandworm did for this pretty ballan wrasse.
Brilliant! Five minutes fishing and I bag this gorgeous wrasse.
Incredible colours and a hard fighter, I love wrasse!
See ya!

I released the fish and began to search the same area with the lure which seemed to have become infested with scorpion fish. While I was dealing with yet another brazen scorpion Ritchie gave a shout and I looked over to see his rod bent into a fish. The fish was pulling hard for the kelp but he soon had it beaten and I was on hand with the landing net. Ritchie was really pleased for there in the net lay a new PB ballan wrasse, one of the best cures for a broken foot!

Ritchie's PB lays in the net.
Fantastic, a proud Ritchie holds his new PB wrasse.
Beautiful colours, it didn't half munch the jig head!

The next couple of hours were spent happily catching flounders, coalies, codling and the ever present scorpions. Being the weekend there was a fairly constant stream of tourists and I took great delight in showing some of the curious ones various fish as they were caught.

I managed another small wrasse, this one had rather distinctive green and orange colouration.
The ever present scorpions were keen on the Gulp! too.
As were the micro codling!

I was in the process of showing a dad and his son how to catch coalies when I felt a sharp plucking at the lure. "It's a wrasse!" I proclaimed to the watchers. The tapping at the lure continued and when I saw the line move I struck. Wham! The fish took off for the kelp with a powerful dive and I had to raise the rod above my head to curtail its run. The rod bent alarmingly as the fish powered down and to the side as it again tried to get onto the kelp and it almost made it as I could feel the line bouncing off the kelp fronds. I kept the rod high and kept the pressure on, this turned the fish and it began to slowly come up. As the fish rose up I could see it was a good one and my heart was in my mouth as I played the fish out. I had to hand the rod to Ritchie at this point and climb down the ladder so I could net it and Ritchie carefully guided it towards the waiting net. Yes! The fish was a belter and measured 41cm and weighed in at 2lb 7oz a new P.B. ballan wrasse. I was extremely pleased, it may or may not have been the leviathan we saw on our previous visits but to do my PB on LRF gear was doubly satisfying. We took some glory shots and let the fish recover in the net before release and when it was let go it went back very strongly.

My new PB lays safely in the net.
41cm of rock pig.
2lb 7oz wrasse on LRF gear, no wonder I am grinning!

I carried on fishing in a happy daze and although there were no more wrasse there were plenty of nice flounders landed. Ritchie managed the best one and it wasn't exactly flat as it was an inch and a half thick!

Ritchie displays a chunk of a flounder.
My biggest flounder went just over 28cm.
This was my smallest flounder.
St Abbs shrouded in mist.

When it was time to leave we left with big grins, both of us having beaten our wrasse P.B's and having had countless other fish flinging themselves at us it was truly a session to remember. As I made the short drive home I felt a great sense of achievement. Not just because I had caught some beautiful wrasse on LRF gear, but because I had caught my PB from my local area, a doubly satisfying experience.

Tight lines, Jake.

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