Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Slimey surprise.

With Scott away to the mull of Galloway on a boat trip, I headed down to St Abbs again hoping to find the resident wrasse. I had had a couple of brief forays there after my PB wrasse session but the wrasse hadn't been around, although the coalies, codling, flounders and scorpions had been in abundance. Ritchie had had his cast removed so I picked up the newly footed Ritchie and we headed down to the harbour hoping to fish the ebb. The tide was a neap which wasn't ideal for targeting the wrasse but the joys of LRF meant there were plenty of other fish to target. I rigged my LRF gear with a simple dropshot rig, I rigged the #8 hook with a gulp sandworm and clipped a lead on a mere 2" from the hook. This presentation keeps the lure very close to the bottom and it would seem the wrasse like this set up.

The Coalfish were everywhere!

The coalies were everywhere as usual and I was soon into double figures while searching the fringes of the kelp. While I was working the lure I had noticed some dark shapes moving through the kelp, wrasse! I concentrated my efforts where the fish had been and it wasn't long before I was into a proper fish. As soon as it was hooked the fish tried to dive between a rope and the wall. I managed to turn it and  then let the rod soak up its dives for cover. It soon tired and I guided it into the waiting dropnet, bingo first wrasse of the session, target achieved!
Another fine Scottish ballan wrasse

I released the fish and began to target the flatties which was quite hard as the scorpions were really on the feed and we had loads of them! Ritchie was busy hunting for wrasse when I noticed a cod carcass moving about in the clear water. The carcass was jerking and twitching as three eels writhed around it. There were two dark ones and a pale big one, I presumed that the pale one was a small conger. I cast over the top of the carcass and gently twitched the lure over where they were feeding, I saw a dark eel snake up and grab the lure. I struck and quickly got it up off the bottom whereby the eel hit reverse and hung snaking in the water. A bit more pressure and it was quickly swung up into my eager hands. Brilliant, a common eel on a lure for the second year in a row and sight fished too! After wrestling with the eel to get a photo I released it back to the harbour.

For the second year in a row I managed to bag a common eel on a lure.
It wouldn't behave for its photograph though!

I tried back for the conger but it had spooked when the eel had been hooked. We kept seeing it though and soon I manged to get a lure in front of it. I was twitching the rod gently causing the sandworm to flutter invitingly above the fish. I saw the eel slowly come up off the bottom and approach the lure. My heart was in my mouth as it got closer suddenly a small scorpion tore on front of the eel, gobbled up the lure and dived back into the kelp. Argggh, to make matters worse the wee thing would not open its little mouth and was biting down on the hook shank. It must have taken at least a couple of minutes before it actually opened its gob for long enough to unhook it and by the time I dropped the fish back the eel had disappeared.

The tide had dropped quite considerably so I moved back to some deeper water. Fishing right alongside the kelp a felt a couple of electric taps instantly recognisable as wrasse bites. I let the tapping develop and when I noticed the line move I struck and manged to bully another lovely wrasse out from its kelpy lair.

I love catching wrasse on LRF gear, even a modest size fish puts up a great fight.
I love the colours too!

We then concentrated on some more flatties and had a few, one out of the kelp itself! Ritchie manged to get a wee pollock and another nice wee wrasse from the kelp before bagging a really fat flounder that must of weighed well over a pound .

St Abbs produces some great flounders!
Wrasse and flounder in the same session, brilliant!
Ritchie displays one of the many flounder he  had caught.
A jig head and large Isome lured this handsome flounder
I have never seen as many codling as this year, winter should be fun!
My last flounder of the session.

That signalled the end of the session as I had to get back for the kids tea time, so we packed up and headed back. Both of us were really chuffed the action had been constant and the bonus eel added extra excitement. Not only had we managed to catch wrasse and flatties but we had sight fished the majority of fish, which just made the whole experience even more intense. It won't be long now before the wrasse become dormant for the winter, however with the vast amount of tiny codling about I can only surmise that winter may well provide a lot of sport with them. Here's hoping!

Tight lines, Schogsky.


  1. That's some awesome tartan on that wrasse, nice one jake!

    1. Thanks Col, a perfect description of their colours,nice one!

  2. Great reading. Great site, one the best, keep it up

  3. Great post man, Eel on a lure is something I really wan't to get this year! What was the fight like?

    1. Thanks Rueben, fighting eels on a soft rod is a bit weird the tend to reverse like mad, then hang snaking in midwater trying to swim backwards. The rod lunges about strangly with thier snakelike movement. I tend to bully them up and out before they know whats going on!