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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Rock fishing Rubh na Dunain. Effort = Reward!

Its been a while now that I wanted to fish the more remote headlands of Skye such as Idrigill point and Rubh na Dunain. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance due to the weather being all over the place for the past couple months! Last week though the sun reappeared over Skye and the winds died down.. Now was my chance! The only negative factor was the big tide around the full moon but still I knew it would be worthwhile to fish in one of those areas.
On Thursday I decided to try at Rubh na Dunain.. It was the easiest hike (still took me about 1.5h) and the potential for big fish was obvious. After making the trek I reached the point of the headland and started fan-casting about in order to get a feel for the depth and morphology of the bottom. It wasn't as deep as I thought (although I reached shortly after low tide) but there were thick kelp forests around with some reef sticking up here and there... I was fishing with my Light shore jigging setup and a combination of 30g metals and 4" softplastic shads on 20g cheburashka.
Things were very quiet at first even though I was making long casts and covering a large area. I then targeted the gullies in front of me and started getting some fish, albeit of average size.
It was clear that they weren't feeding properly yet as they only nipped at the lure and especially on slow presentations with the softplastics.
I kept covering ground and moved to a high rocky finger overseeing the entrance to the bay, with shallow kelp filled bottom that dropped suddenly about 30-40m out. As the water started picking up speed now, I clipped on a 30g Hayabusa Jack eye D-slide metal and started to cast towards the drop off and working the jig in a lazy rhythm, with some straight retrieve mixed in especially when I reached the kelp fringe. This soon proved productive and I started getting bites and fish on! These fish were fighting well and I was amazed to see just how well conditioned and fat they were.. Their bellies were full to bursting!
As the bites dried up and the water rose-up more, I speculated that the fish might have moved inside the bay, especially since I noticed fry about and a shoal of mackerel..
I set up on the next rocky finger inside the bay and it was there that I hit gold! I changed to a softplastic (4" long John paddletail) and started getting fish after fish! And these were serious pollock.. Hard fighting and over 55cm most of them. But their girth was remarkable and haven't seen pollock in better condition anywhere..
This was the day that I realised I made the right call when I bought my LSJ setup as I'm sure I would have lost half the fish had I used typical spinning gear. Unfortunately I was quickly getting pushed off the best spots but I let as may casts as i could (got wet feet in the end obviously) and I was rewarded with more pollock and a surprise wrasse towards the end.
By now it was getting a bit late and knowing I had to face the long walk back I decided to stop as I was feeling 'full' and satisfied from the day's action. There's a ton more of water needing to be explored there and a 2 day session might be a better solution.

Rubh na Dunain.

Lovely looking ground...

Checkout the belly on that!

Such a fat fish!

Eye of a predator.

A bit of variety...


And the video of some of the session.

As in most places the legwork usually provides better results but I think that in Skye this is magnified due to the remoteness of many of these areas. Admittedly most of the time I wouldn't like to be hiking in such treacherous ground with the typical Skye weather but on a lovely sunny day like that it really is amazing...
God I need a boat!

Tight Lines!

Gear Used
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: YGK G-Soul X3 PE1.5
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 20lbs.
Lures: Hayabusa Jack eye D-Slide 30g, 4" Lucky John Long John paddletail on 3/0 offset hook and 20g Cheburashka.

Friday, 19 August 2016

A quick and eventful LRF session.

The other day I was lucky to get some spectacular weather coinciding with my day off and I decided to visit a well known nearby mark to catch a few mackerel for the barbie. Admittedly I haven't done as much LRF as I would like but the weather hasn't helped at all and besides I'll be going home for holidays soon and LRF is all I'll be doing!
This mark is very close to Portree and quite pressured (especially from mackerel-feathering anglers) but on the day I was the only one there. This probably meant that the mackerel haven't shown there yet and indeed after some casts around I didn't encounter a single one...
I did find healthy numbers of small pollock though and proceeded to enjoy the action from them.
I was fishing a 2" Magbite Samba soft plastic on a #8 long shank hook and a 3g tungsten cheburashka. The pollock seemed to love it and  were all over it as soon as it hit the deck.
I caught a few fish and made my way towards the tip of the point where the kelp was thicker and the depth greater. It was there that I got a solid take and got busted on a powerful run... I tied a new leader (6lbs) and slcakened the drag... Recasted and the same thing happened again! I quickly got my heavier setup out and fished at the spot but got no takes... I resumed the LRF and changed lure to a 2" Jackall Peke Peke. Also I tied on a 8lbs leader.
After catching a few more small pollock, I got another serious take and this time fought the fish for longer but in the end It made a strong run and the braid parted!
Afterwards I realised that the braid had weakened from use... It goes to show the powerful attraction of LRF gear on fish of every size...
In any case it was a very enjoyable session that got even better when I managed a feisty little wrasse soon after!
Nothing wrong with sausages on the bbq that day.. lol
Below some pics and the video of the session.

Pure fun on light tackle!

Full of character!

Thanks for reading and more to come!

Gear used.
Rod: Majorcraft Crostage CRK-T782AJI
Reel: Shimano Stradic 1000fc
Mainline: Ygk G-Soul x3 0.3PE
leader: Toray premium fluorocarbon, 6lbs, YGK Nitlon DFC fluorocarbon 8lbs.
lure: 2" Magbite Samba and Jackall Peke Peke on a 3g Tungsten cheburashka with #8 hook.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Who needs hooks?!

Didn't do much fishing on my days off last week. as my brother visited me, but managed to get an hour or two after high tide late on Friday. Fished one of my favourite deeper marks but it was very slow and also there were creels close in not allowing for proper fishing of the area. On the way back I fished the shallows as I knew there would be fish staging at the kelp and points in the ebbing tide...
 I got a good fish first cast on the good old Savage gear sandeel and a few more decent ones followed. I alternated between sp's, hardbaits and metals and got another nice fish on a 20g metal this time that was caught in the manner you see on the photo...
Such a glutton!

No need for the assist hook!

Its the second time I catch a pollock like that! After this fish the rain started again and I headed home.

The best fish of the session..
It seems like we will be getting some good weather this week and I'm planning to make the most of it! Moreover I'm waiting for new video editing software and will start posting some videos again soon...

Tight Lines!

 Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: YGK G-Soul X3 PE1.5
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 20lbs.
Lures: Various (mainly thin profiled)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

More seatrout than mackerel...!

The past week saw me trying a few marks and carrying the light gear as well, in search of mackerel among other fish. The weather made fishing the good marks difficult and thus I had to try a couple new areas out with mixed results (as is often the case when trying out new areas). The mackerel have been in numbers in some marks but completely absent in others so far...
The first session was in the South part of the island where I tend to get them regularly but on the day I caught none! I switched to the heavier gear and managed a nice sea trout on a 6" Sluggo (?!) along with the most well behaved pollock ever...

The next day I hiked to a rocky mark that I thought I could access but after much trying I just couldn't get down to the rocks and gave up. On the way back I fished some rock ledges and finally found what I was looking for! Caught some mackerel and went home for a lovely meal...

 I have had a few other quick sessions but they didn't set the world alight... The pollock fishing is a bit slow at the moment although the surface action cant be beaten when the time and conditions are right. I will be posting a few videos soon...
What has been bugging me lately is the relative absence of wrasse. The marks I fish do hold them as Ive had them last year but they don't seem to be there now... Moreover in areas that I catch  little ones the slightly larger fish didn't show. I think that the creels may have something to do with it as they're everywhere now and I believe wrasse are prone to get caught in them.. Hopefully I'll manage to locate some soon.

Tight lines!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The cuckoos are out!

My days off didn't start in the best way this week. Issues with my car kept me home for most of the morning (turns out I had left a light on and drained the battery...) but as soon as I sorted it out, I was out fishing! This time I took my usual light shore jigging setup but also the finesse one as I wanted to 'scratch' around the bottom for extra species.I was fishing at one of my favourite deep water rock-marks and started with a 14g cheburashka and a 3" Ecogear paramax on the #2 offset hook. It took a long time to hit the bottom but I felt sharp bites as soon as it did... I struck and at once I knew I had something other than pollock on! I took my time reeling the fish in and soon enough had a chunky female cuckoo wrasse on the rocks.. I love catching these fish and persevered looking for the male to bite my lure.. Alas as is usually the case up here, the pollock had different ideas and didn't let anything else get a taste of my offerings. I got a 4-5 pounder that gave a very good fight and thought it was time to change to the heavier gear...
This saw me catch yet more pollock but towards the end I got a lovely male cuckoo wrasse!
Less colourful but still feisty!

Can never get tired of catching these...

And the videos of the session.

As I was making my way back (getting dark by now) I passed the shallow bays and the water just looked perfect for some topwater action. It was almost past the high tide mark by now and as I approached the waters edge I saw fish splashing close in.. Pollock hunting...
Straight away I put on the only surface lure I had with me (Tacklehouse Vulture) and casted towards the splashes.. The rest on the video below...

Almost night-time...

On the next day I visited Rubha Hunish as I hadn't been there in a while.
The session didn't start with a bang and things were pretty slow but after moving around a bit I decided to fish the rocks facing the wind and covered water quickly with hardbaits. This saw me get some good fish and the lures that shined were the Ima Hound 125 Sonic and the ever-productive Megabass Zonk Gataride. As I was walking and casting along the rocks (tide turned and was on the ebb by now) I identified a gully emptying out and it was there that I had non stop action for about 20mins! In retrospect I shoud've used hardbaits and even topwaters but the classic 6.5" Sluggo on a darting jighead did the damage..
Ima hound...

A very dark fish...

Megabass Zonk Gataride..

And the video.

A very productive couple of days and I couldn't ask for more!
I'm really hoping the weather improves a bit though as I want to make the hike (and fish!) to Idrigill Point and Rubh na Dunain. Two hard to get to marks that I'm sure are well worth the effort. Plus I need a bit of exercise!

Tight Lines!

Gear used:
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: YGK G-Soul X3 PE1.5
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 20lbs.
Lures: Various

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The usual fishing with a few surprises...

On my days off I covered my usual areas as the weather again wasn't the best.. It has to be noted that the pollock fishing hasn't been on fire lately, something that I've tended to note every year around mid-summer and blame the overabundance of prey-fish for the slow sport...  This time of the year fish are far more picky than usual and will feed energetically at only specific times. Usually early mornings are such a time but with the rainy weather we've been getting I just cant get my ass out of bed so early! Moreover slim profile lures are now the best type to use but even then the number of fish is markedly smaller than what it was a few weeks ago...
On a positive note though, more species have finally appeared with the mackerel especially showing in good numbers in some marks.
With that in mind I knew I had to cover a few areas to get some decent fishing and that I did!
I started on Wednesday fishing at one of the Southern marks and things seemed to be going well with pollock from the off. They soon quietened down though and the mackerel started... Moreover I caught a lovely short spined sea scorpion with the most vivid red colour I have ever seen!
Towards the end of the session I had an even greater surprise when, after changing lure to a metal, I caught a nice sea trout!
Below some pics and the video of the session.
A beauty!

And another beauty!

On Thursday I started the day by visiting a shallow kelpy mark with the intention of trying a new rod out (Lucky Craft ESGII 971 XHXXF, 9'7" 3-30g). I got this rod to be used mainly with hardbaits and after catching a couple fish I decided to head home and have a break as things were very quiet around low tide.

Later in the afternoon I visited Neist Point (after a while) but unfortunately the weather turned really bad and after a nice 2.6kg first fish, things slowed to a grind.. The rain intensified but I soldiered on for a few more fish taken at range and in deep water. Too much effort for little reward but you never know... I was again let down by my waterproofs as i got soaked to the bone again and also my smartphone stopped working... These issues will be addressed seriously soon...
Something else to add is that most of the fish came on the Hayabusa Kicktail and the biggest one on the lovely slim Hayabusa Jack Eye D-Slide (from an area already covered by another angler) and I speculate that the slim (sandeel) profile along with its exacerbated irregular fall are the cause...
A serious fighter...
The video.

A great couple days in all and I'm glad I got the camera working again!

Tight Lines

Sunday, 17 July 2016

My first boat fishing session on Skye!

Last week I had the rare opportunity to go on a boat with my mate Dylan. He had just bought a boat in Lochmaddy and was meant to get there by ferry and then return with the boat to Skye.
Without a second thought I agreed to go with him (obviously with fishing-stops included) and we were very lucky to have very good weather.
On reaching Lochmaddy (North Uist), the first thing that struck me, were the cliffs surrounding the inlet and the many rocks in the bay on the way to the harbour. I now knew where my first fish-stop would be later on...
After waiting for a while for the boat to arrive and getting it in the water, we jumped in and set off. The outboard was only a small one, and the trip across would take most of the day but we were well provisioned and enjoying the fine weather.
We had a sounder on board and it was my first time trying out such equipment. It was only a basic one but it clearly showed the depth and bottom contours and proved to be extremely useful..
We stopped on the first fishy looking rock and I told Dylan to get close enough so that I could let a few casts. I tied on a 30g Salty bait with a 4.5" Sluggo for a trailer and cast near the rock. The current was strong but the lure didn't have time to sink for more than a few seconds before it was intercepted by a fish! A short fight later and a pollock was on the deck. This fish was followed by many more in varying sizes. They were practically stacked around the rock and feeding actively. I couldn't believe how easy it was and to be honest I now realise the great benefits of having a boat... I do love my rock fishing but this was just pure fun and no effort!
One of many from the rocks at Lochmaddy.

Salty bait and Sluggo. lethal combination.

So much fun!

Decent scrapper!

Fish on!

Go back!
 After spending about 20mins on the rock, we decided to move as there were too many areas on the way that I wanted to cast a line at!
It took us a few hours to make the crossing and we then hit Waternish Point. This is an area Ive yet to fish, but with clear potential (as so many other similar areas on Skye!) that I just haven't gotten around it yet. We noticed large shoals of sandeels in the sonar and I started picking up some fish. The usual pollock but also s few mackerel and coalies that were trailing the sandeel shoals.
Waternish Point..

A very welcome mackerel..

..and a nice coalie!

Again we didn't spend too much time there as it was getting late by now. We headed towards Uig and after passing next to the cliffs, I identified a hump in about 30m depth and thought to make a couple casts. I had a 30g Hayabusa Kicktail on and casted out over the hump with the intention to bounce it on the bottom back towards me and over the hump. Soon after touchdown though I felt weight and habitually struck. The rod tip stayed down and after briefly thinking I was stuck, I felt the 'snag' move and heard the drag letting of line at a slow, constant pace. This was very similar to the 'thing' that took much of my line a few months ago but I thought now I had a good chance of seeing what it was..
I fought the fish for well over an hour and chased it with the boat a few times. I managed to get it off the bottom twice and on the second time I brought it to a depth of about 12m and we could clearly see it on the sonar. Moreover it seemed to have company as another shape followed it up!  The fish refused to come up though and made another near unstoppable and determined run, although it felt slower this time and seemed to spend more time in a single place on the bottom. Unfortunately we were loosing light and the wind was picking up. Unprepared for navigating at night (no lights) I tried to hurry the fish and tightened the drag more. This lead to the leader breaking at the knot and my second chance of landing the 'Skye monster' was lost...
After that I lost all appetite for fishing and we went straight to the harbour.
I'm now 99% sure it was a common Skate and I'm surprised it took the inchiku lure (there was no fish caught on this time). They are clearly more predatory than I thought. Alas it was the same setup I had as last time and its just not enough for fish of this size...
Below a little vid I took on my mobile as I'm experiencing problems with my action cam (one day I needed it!)

Regardless of the lost monster it was a great day afloat and it certainly opened up my eyes on the potential of boat fishing here on Skye. We are planning to make these outings more regular now as I'm now hooked!
Just when I though I had most of my gear sorted for my fishing here, I now realise I need more!

Tight Lines and more to come...

Rod:  MC KG Evolution KGS-902L, 2.7m, 7-23g.
Reel: Daiwa Freams 2500
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X4 PE 1.0
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 20lbs
Lures: Various (mostly inchiku type metals)