Friday, 25 April 2014

Hard to spot a two spot.

Here's an easy report to make ,all be it from a few weeks ago!
I popped down to corkwing corner hoping to search it out for pollock and codling. I thrashed the area with a variety of lures but there were no larger fish on the prowl. After a couple of hours I decided to have a scout about the rockpools to see what I could find.

The first thing I noticed was how they had changed since the storms,large car sized boulders now covered what were once deep pools. I rigged up a #12 -1 gram jighead with a section of EcogearAqua  Aji straight and began to search around the boulders. Normally I would have expected Long spined sea scorpions and blennies but the pools were barren. As I worked my way along the shore I found a deep pool and my eye was quickly drawn to a uniform line of diamond shapes on the sea bed. It looked like it could be a goby of some sort all be it about 3" long. I was curios as to what it was so I rigged a #22 hook New Zealand dropper style  with another tiny sliver of the Aji straight and let it flutter enticingly down towards the fish.
The fish caught sight of it and scooted away under the rock!
Not put off I persisted in jigging it around the boulder, sure enough the fish came out again 20 minutes later and pounced on the twitching sliver.
I quickly swung it to hand and was surprised to see it was a huge two spotted goby, with stunning pronounced markings.

The pretty diamond markings were so uniform that the fish stuck out like a sore thumb!

Most certainly my biggest two spot so far and the most colourful.

I grabbed a picture ,released the fish and continued making my way along the stretch of rocky fore shore. No more fish made an appearance and I wandered back to the car thoroughly hating winter!
Ahh well at least its spring now and the fishing will most certainly pick up.
Tight Lines

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A brownback beats the blues

As The weekend rolled up I had made plans with Ritchie to head down to his yard at Eyemouth and try some of the nearby rock marks. We knew it was still quite early to be hitting the mark but with a good spring tide and the ebb coinciding with evening it gave us our best chance of some winter fish.
With cod, pollock and coalfish the target I decided to take my HRF gear and my LRF gear.
My HRF gear comprises

Rod : Shimano Yasei Red Drop Shot 2.7M
Reel :Shimano 3000
Line :Sunline Super PE 20lb
Leader :16lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

and my LRF gear comprises.

Rod :GraphiteLeader Corto EX 7'10" 0.5-8gram Tubular tipped.
Reel :Shimano Technium 3000
Line :Pontoon Exteer braid PE. 1
Leader :6lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

Tactics wise I decided to go with a drop shot set up on my heavier gear which is something I rarely do as I tend to go with a jighead/soft lure approach for most of my pollocking. I had been really impressed with the wriggly nature of the ZMan finnesse Shadz, which look really good on a dropshot rig and as I had them in a classic cod colour (white) I was pretty confident no self respecting codling could resist!

I picked Ritchie up and we made our way down the rocks to the lovingly called "Dollop" which has been the home of some memorable big pollock catches in the past. While relatively easy to get to it does involve a climb up and over some large pinnacles of rock. Whilst I lumbered over them clad in my breathable waders a flailing buttock caught on a chunk of rock. I decided that brute force was the way out of this minor predicament and strode free from the snaggy chunk to be rewarded with a sad little "scroinch" noise. Hey presto I had made my waders considerably more breathable with a handy six inch tear at the said buttock area.
Cursing my foolish approach and newly installed bum flap I made my way down to find Ritchie, with his trousers in tact busting out some LRF moves.
We were fishing a deep kelp fringed channel between two wee islands and had planned to move onto one of the islands when the tide dropped enough for us to do so. I began to fish the shoreside entrance to the channel casting into it and working the lure back along the kelp fringes. My retrieve was very slow with lots of pauses allowing the lure to act weightless , tiny twitches and shakes of the rod make it wriggle and writhe.
After about 10 Minutes Ritchie had caught a wee coalie on a 2.5g jighead and Tict Lizard tail. I continued to avoid the temptation to break out the LRF gear and concentrated on working the channel in the hope of a bigger fish.
After about 45 minutes I managed to snag up and lost my end tackle, not really a problem as this is par for the course on this mark. I quickly tied up another dropshot rig using the rather clever Savage Gear Inline dropshot hooks ,16lb Fluorocarbon leader and 14gram dropshot weight. While rummaging through my tackle bag I stumbled across an unopened packet of XL Isome in peach colour. I thought I would rig one up as they were the closest to hand  and recast along side the seaward edge of the gulley.
As I slowly worked the lure back I felt a tap followed by a sensation of weightlessness, I dropped the rod tip momentarily before striking into the fish. The fish instantly swam towards me and I had to reel like crazy to catch up with it, then as I applied some power it made a crash dive towards a ledge of rock. It was pretty obvious to me from the fight that it was a pollock and it was soon confirmed as the fish wallowed on the surface allowing me to land it with the help of a wave. Although not a monster it was a decent size around 2.5 - 3lb and one of the earliest pollock we had caught from this mark.

An early pollock for this mark, could the winter be over?

The first pollock of 2014 fell to dropshotted XL Isome
After a couple of pictures we released the fish and got on with searching the gulley again. By now the tide had dropped enough to allow Ritchie to scarmble on to the Dollop itself. I rigged up another Z-Man Finnesse Shadz and continued to work the channel.

Not long after Ritchie gave a shout and I watched him play and land a nice size coalie , quickly following it up with another couple of fish. I didn't need any more encouragement and made my way over to the dollop whereupon I lost yet another dropshot rig.

Ritchie shows off a fat coalie from a distance.
 I decided to change over to my LRF gear as it was already set up , all be it with a grayling rig! This consisted of a 6ft leader with a single dropper I rigged a 5g Xesta After Burner on the "point" and kept the size14 pink shrimp fly on the dropper.
The mini metal punched through the freshening breeze allowing me to get good distance on the cast. When the lure touches down I allow it to sink  before jigging it back with a slow retrieve. It only took a few casts before I was hit at range by what felt like a good fish. It felt heavy but fought very strangely it was easy enough to play it back to me but it kept getting lighter and heavier and felt altogether weird. As the fish came into view it quickly became apparent as to why it felt so weird, it was a double shot of decent coalies, with the bigger fish having taken the tiniest fly, typical.

Double shot on my jig/fly rig,the larger fish having taken the smallest fly.

I grabbed a couple of shots and released the fish but with the light fading fast this was to be my last fish of the session.
All in all we were really pleased to be getting in amongst the fish at this time of year as it can be so hit and miss and it was unusual to get the pollock so early in the year on this mark.I hope the pattern continues and the pollock are back in residence as its been a tough old winter without them!
Tight Lines

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Luring the Lady

Throughout the stormy weather I have been looking for alternative places to fish, as the sea locally has been in no fit state for lure fishing and I fancied something different. The salmon season had opened on the Tay and its tributaries many of which allow the use of spinning gear. This was pretty much all the encouragement I needed add to that the presence of Grayling and I was really keen to get up there and give it a bash.
Now I have spent a lot of time thinking about grayling in terms of them being a viable winter lure fishing target and although I have caught many by fly and bait I have never had one on a lure. This is mainly because of local restrictions on "spinning" on the nearby rivers as they are salmon and trout waters too.My feeling was that if I wanted to fish for grayling then I would have to buy a salmon permit in order to avoid any problems.
This has always proved problematic for me in the past as my perception of the prices of salmon tickets would be that I would need a second mortgage to go. However after a bit of research I found that not to be the case .I found a ticket for the river Ericht, which is a tributary of the river Tay.
 I set off the next day in strong winds and scattered sleet showers. After just over an hours drive I reached the river having purchased my permit on route for a princely £20..
Tackle wise I was using my HRF gear for the Salmon and my LRF gear for the grayling.
My HRF gear comprises

Rod : Shimano Yasei Red Drop Shot 2.7M
Reel :Shimano 3000
Line :Sunline Super PE 20lb
Leader :16lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

and my LRF gear comprises.

Rod :GraphiteLeader Corto EX
Reel :Shimano Technium 3000
Line :Pontoon Exteer braid PE 1
Leader :6lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

The lure of choice for the Salmon was a Megabass Vision 110 in Champagne Kinkuro  a good stable lure when the river was running high. I had set my expectations on low as it was very early in the season and I had never fished the river before.
I walked and fished for about a mile stretch on the river,swapping between vibe lures and the Vision 110, but to no avail. I saw no fish moving and the horrible gusting freezing wind was slowly beating me into submission.
I decided to switch tactics and turn my attention to my my favoured target , the grayling.
I had been messing about with different rigs for them and came up with a Czech nymph style rig incorporating a fly as well as a soft lure.

This is the style of rig I came up with for the grayling.
Borrowing from the Czech nymph approach I gently flicked the lure upstream. Then keeping the rod at  about 45 degrees i retrieved line at the same pace as the flow. This enabled me to keep a tight line to the lure so I could feel it bumbling along the river bed. As the river brought the lure past me the current caught the line and lifted the lure off up the river bed. Once it did this I stepped one step upstream and recast. Using these techniques I shuffled my way upstream working the lures and the fly on the dropper.
 It had been about 40 minutes when, as I was feeling the lure rumbling along the bottom , I suddenly felt nothing.
An instinctive flick of the wrist set the hook on a small fish. The little fish hung in the current doing that horrible "S" shape which is so adept at throwing the hook. As It came closer I could see it was silver and as I quickly swung it to hand I was elated to find it was indeed a wee grayling!

Tiny but lovely, my first lure caught grayling!


Target achieved!

It was extra satisfying to get my target on the first go with a new technique on a new venue. I was surprised that the little grayling had taken the lure, ( a Berkley Gulp 1" fish fry mounted on a 1.4gram- #10 Ecogear Shirasu Fine jighead ),I was convinced it would nail the fly first.
Pleased as punch to defy the foul weather by catching I grabbed a couple of pics of the wee "Lady of the stream" and gently slipped the fish back
By this stage the cruel wind and the wintery showers had worn me into submission and so I decided to call it a day. Ever since that trip my mind has been buzzing with possibilities and by combining fly techniques I feel sure the grayling and I will have some fun together this year.
Tight Lines