Saturday, 11 January 2014

Jake's School of Fish.

Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of teaching my friend's twin boys how to fish. The boys had got a couple of LRF starter sets from Art of Fishing and were keen to use them. So after showing them how to set up their rods and reels we headed off to Dunbar harbour to try them out.
The weather whilst dry was overcast with a strong onshore wind. This made fishing the main harbour with light jigheads nigh on impossible as the wind would catch the line and blow the jig heads about uncontrollably. I went through to the old harbour as this offered some protection from the strongly gusting wind and after a discussion about safety we tackled up. The boys each had a Ecogear pocket in kit so we rigged a 2.5g shirasu fine jighead on each of their rods and rigged a small section of gulp sandworm.
Whenever I teach someone to fish from scratch it's imperative that they actually catch a fish as this shows them what it's all about and sows the seeds of confidence for future trips. With this in mind I was confident that the local hoards of coalfish would oblige. We started by simply opening the bail arm and dropping the lure down the wall a rod length out. Once the lure touches the sea bed a couple of turns of the reel handle hops it off the bottom and a few twitches of the rod tip gets the lure working.

That was all it took and straight away the boys each hooked a coalfish which was hauled out to shouts of jubilation and big grins!

First cast, first fish, ever!

The next couple of hours flew by with a steady stream of wee coalies for the boys who were really enjoying the non-stop action. Together they caught and released over 60 fish between them and with the resident seal making an appearance they were really enjoying their first go at fishing.

Finn and Joe caught fish after fish

A brief pause to check out the local seal.

Sammy made short work of any coalies that were slow to go back.

Bonus flounder, whilst showing the guys how to do it I managed to winkle out this little flattie.

In between helping the boys I also managed to wet a line and using my go to dropshot rig I soon caught a host of coalies and a bonus flounder. The boys were impressed with the flounder and they wanted to catch one too, so we decided to head down the coast to my favourite flounder spot. On the way we grabbed some lunch which for the boys seemed to consist of biscuits and Mountain Dew. By the time we reached St Abbs the "dew" had kicked in and the boys were bouncing madly about garbling nonsense and bickering with each other. However the icy blast of gail force winds soon calmed them down, or at least drowned out there dewed gibbering so I couldn't hear it! Unfortunately the strong swirling wind made it impossible to fish as well as being eye wateringly unpleasant, so we quickly piled back into the motor and headed back to Dunbar.

We only had about 20 minutes of fishing time before we had to go but the boys were straight in again, catching the little coalies. We did a bit of casting practice and while I was helping Joe his brother Finn shouted out " got one, got one!"
I looked round to see Finn's rod buckled over into a fish and watched with horror as he cranked the fish right to the top eye and lifted the flapping flounder out onto the land. The rod stood up amazingly well to this brutal treatment and Finn clutched at a really good flounder. It must have weighed over a pound. Needless to say Finn was really pleased, what a great first flounder! It also gave him bragging rights over his brother which we had to put up with all the way home!

First flounder and biggest fish of the day for Finn.

The next lesson was a few weeks later and I picked the boys up with the instruction of "no Mountain Dew" we set off to try St Abbs .The boys were as keen as mustard to try and catch more flounder and with that in mind we headed to my flounder hotspot. Unfortunately for us a family of anglers had set up right where I wanted to fish. We had a wee chat and they informed us that despite being there for hours they hadn't caught anything.
I couldn't believe it, had the ravening hoards of coalies disappeared? It hardly seemed possible as a couple of weeks before they were shoaling so thickly you couldn't get a lure past them to reach the bottom dwelling flatties. I warned the boys not to expect a fish every cast like the last time as fishing wasn't always as good as their first session.
We all went with the same set up as before, although this time I encouraged the boys to rig up the lure on the jighead themselves and we set about casting around to find the fish. This took me about 30 seconds much to the suprise of the other anglers as my dropshotted Gulp! sandworm was pounced on by a wee coalie. This was unceremoniously hauled out and put back and I quickly followed it up with a couple more whilst Finn and Joe also caught and released their first fish of the session.
From then on the fishing completely dried up and try as we might we couldn't find any actively feeding flounder. A couple of hours passed and the boys were getting pretty demoralised by the lack of fish the wind had got up too, so we decided to call time and head to Dunbar to see if the fishing was any better.

We arrived at the old harbour with the tide quite far into the ebb, which meant we wouldn't have much time to fish before the water levels got too low. I set about casting and searching for the fish whilst the boys practised their casting. It didn't take long to find some wee coalies and I caught and released a couple whilst getting the boys to fish the same area where I was catching.  I encouraged them to fish the area for coalies whilst I moved off trying to work the sea bed for flounders. This paid off after only a few casts as I felt the characteristic plucking of a flounder bite and struck into a beefy flattie which put a good bend in the light action rod. I landed this to much excitement from the boys and they took a couple of glory shots .

A nice flounder always puts a grin on my face and I had two in quick succession

Whilst I released the fish the boys got back on with excitedly fishing, however their excitement and over-keenness soon resulted in a healthy wind knot for Finn. I did my best to sort it out whilst Joe steadily fished on he was keeping calm and methodical with his approach, doing his best to cast and work the lure. I advised Finn to copy his brother and not rush with his casting and I began to search for more flounder. I was working the channel that leads out the harbour when again I felt the bite of a flounder and struck into another nice one. After a good wee tussle I landed a nice flounder of about a pound which I quickly released and recast to the same area. This resulted in another flattie again around the pound mark!

Another flounder for me, love it , love it ,love it!

This flurry of flounder had sent the boys into overdrive and again Finn suffered the mother of all wind knots which stopped him from fishing and me too as I had to try and untangle it for him. Joe meanwhile had been watching where I was casting and how I was working the lure and he began to cast accurately to the flattie hotspot.
I was busy untangling when I heard Joe say "I'm getting bites". I told him to just keep reeling slowly and if he felt weight on the line, strike. I had barely got the words out when he gave a little strike and his wee rod hooped over as a big fish tore around on the end of his line. It was actually stripping line off his wee reel during the fight and he worked the fish to the edge of the wall like a true pro. As the fish rose up we could see it was a really good flattie and the size of it had us all babbling with excitement. It was a bit tricky to land but I had seen the punishment Finn's rod had taken with his flattie so I went for bust and swung the fish up the wall with the rod. The rod was in one piece as the fish touched the deck and we all gave a resounding cheer. This was the biggest flattie I had seen this year and was really, really fat. It must have weighed around the 2lb mark, what a first flounder for Joe!

Now that's a flounder!

An excellent first flattie for Joe, it must have been 2lbs.

It had been a tough old session but this really was the perfect end and I felt really happy for Joe as he cradled his first flounder for the camera. A few pics were taken then we released the flattie watching as it scooted away across the sea bed. After this we packed up and headed back with Joe having the bragging rights this time and rightly so! This was to be our last session of the year as the boys were due to head back up to Skye, however they would be doing so with the ability and confidence to fish by them selves.
I can't wait to see how they get on!
Tight Lines

1 comment:

  1. The young ones faces says it all keep up the good wrk regards george