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

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