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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Fussy buggers...

In March now and as usual things have slowed down fishing wise... It was very interesting to note the fish change behaviour from pre
cold front to post frontal conditions. Although Skye was largely unaffected by the snow and extreme weather that the rest of the country faced (we did get some below zero temps and strong easterlies though), that was enough to push the fish down deep near the bottom, and combined with them being in spawning mode, make them very fussy...
Just before the cold front I had a very entertaining session catching pollock and coalies on sinking pencils and vibration lures, with the latter being clearly more effective as the fish were inhaling them and coming high up in the water column to hit them on straight retrieve...
All this changed after the front passed and I didn't manage a single touch the other day on the hardbaits.. Actually, even the softplastics weren't producing as they were supposed to... Fish showed a clear aversion to loud/bright colours and only hit natural ones. But even then the bites weren't decisive and fast strikes were necessary to hook them.
Moreover it's the first time this winter that I've started seeing some pollock with worms on them as they've only now been pushed to the bottom and are less active... Also, the coalies seem to be few and far between after the cold conditions...

Pre front, well conditioned and aggressive fish...

Post frontal, natural softplastics near the bottom...

Interesting colours and markings on this one...

The areas that seem to be less affected by these conditions though tend to be deep rocky marks near fish cages and there are always active fish around them...

Active fish near cages...
I have also tried unsuccessfully to catch my first fish on the Fly, but with the current conditions and the fish staying deep its quite a challenge, so I might wait till warmer weather to get at it again...

Was asked about my stud arrangement...

Tight Lines!

Gear used.
Rod: APIA Foojin'R Best Bower 96 MLX
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X8 PE 1.2
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs
Lures: various

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Shore-slow jigging for a (probable) PB!

We had a change in weather this week, with predominantly SW systems that raised the temperature and also the wind died down a bit. I decided on a midday session with the light shore jigging setup as I wanted to try out some slow jigs but also aim for better fish...
The water was slightly milky from all the swells and I went for a chartreuse/zebra glow 40g slow jig.  There was still some swell running and I expected the fish to be further out.
I made the first cast and after some bumps on its way down from coalies, it wasn't long before the first pollock was on..
Fought pretty well but was soon landed for a pic..

Wanted some metal today!
Another cast and this time I got hit soon after touchdown... The fish  managed to shed the hook soon after and as I was nearing the kelp edge I started a constant retrieve and then got hit again!
It didn't feel too heavy at first and I began pumping it in but then it started peeling drag in such a rate that I honestly thought it was a seal and started cursing my luck!
The fish did some more runs and I was waiting for the ''seal'' to let it go until I saw that I was actually hooked on a very good pollock!
Got the net out and with a bit of faff I got her in... A proper dark and battle-scarred warrior this one!
Around 81cm and with a big belly (near spawn time) thus I'm fairly sure it was bigger than my
pre-Xmas PB!
Bruiser mama!

Superb fight as well...

After a few pics I released her and kept at it. I caught some more fish and it was interesting to note how aggressive they were as they would fight hard, bite OTD and also come up on straight retrieve too...
I avoided striking into bumps and would instead tighten up only when I felt weight at the other end in order to avoid the coalies. I reckon with a larger single assist hook I could be even more selective...
This seemed to work pretty well as I didnt get through many coalies, though I have to say that the pollock were shoaled up and dominated the spot.

Notice how darker fish from rock/kelp are...
After a while the bites died down and it was time to change spot. I targeted the deepest areas and was rewarded with a few more pollock and loads of coalies!

...Comparing to ones from cleaner ground.

It was still early in the day but thinking that I couldn't do any better that day I decided to head home a happy man.
What a place Skye is...!

Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: 40g slow jigs

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Back on the rocks!

Been having some serious winds up here and also snow, but this hasn't stopped me from making a couple outings.. Especially considering that now might be the best time for prespawn fish that are heavy carrying eggs.
My first session last week was only a short one but very well timed. Got a break in the wind and coupled with the small tide and slowing swell, I hit fish straight away!
Noticed lots of bird activity and started with a pearl Super Xlayer but after that becoming a magnet for piles of plump coalfish I decided to switch to a chartreuse (milky water from swells) Delalande Fire Eel (13cm, 20g) that brought bites from better pollock.

They love white (and large!) lures...
Very well conditioned pollock.

Throughout the session I was pestered by a persistent seal that attacked my coalies and after hooking up to something heavy, felt it it running so hard that I was convinced it was the seal again... Instead, I saw a nice pollock coming up and quickly put her in the net.
A nice fish of near 70cm and the best prize for such late winter outings...

A video of the day.

The next session took place yesterday, the tide state wasn't ideal and the wind was intensifying by the minute. Moreover the bird activity was reduced comparing to last week but nevertheless I put on a 40g slow jig and started casting out. I noticed that I was getting hits near bottom but at different areas and from smaller fish. something that shows the fish weren't concentrated in one area.
Started landing a steady stream of coalies and small pollock with the metal but it was harder to find the larger fish with it.

Beautiful and aggressive..

It appeared that the pollock were hard on the bottom and required slower tactics. Thus I used Xlayers and Sluggos on 20-30g wobbling and darting jigheads. The better fish started to show (again from a large area) but that damn seal didn't leave me one single fish to land! Utterly frustrating..
Another presentation that seemed to get better fish was  a long heavy dropshot with a 28g sinker and #4 Offset. I would rig curly tail lures and my intent wasn't in working them static as a normal DS but actually dragging them slowly over the bottom. As I was very high over the water, it would mean that the lure was maintaining a more or less even swimming path near the bottom. Slight accelerations and pauses would usually get the bites.

Long DS on heavy lead with a Gulp Nereis.
Again though the seal thwarted all my efforts to land a fish and I decided to give up instead of keep feeding her!
Hoping to get some settled conditions again soon and that seal to bugger off... lol

 Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: Delalande Fire Eel (13cm, 20g)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Fish and molluscs from my holidays in Greece!

As in last year I managed to spend almost a month back home in Greece! I went along with my girlfriend at the end of December and returned yesterday night. Similarly to last year my fishing time was greatly overestimated (girlfriend and too many friends and relatives 😁) but the variety of species was pretty good.
First off I had some LRF sessions in the local harbours and rockmarks of N. Iraklitsa, N. Peramos and Kavala. The weather was fantastic for the duration of my stay, in stark contrast with the polar-like conditions of the year before...
I was surprised to find many 'summer' species still around and large shoals of baitfish close in.
Unfortunately on my flight to Greece, my LRF case was stolen (!) and I had only very basic gear left... Thankfully that included a small bag of cheburashkas and some jigheads. I had some soft plastics and of course Isome and Gulp sanworms, with the latter proving the most successful bait...

A good fighter on the LRF...

Beautiful striped seabream

Weevers over sandy bottom...

Hungry goby.

The ubiquitous painted comber!

like a mirror...

This winter weather was fantastic!

While LRFing over a rocky point I noticed baitfish shoals moving about and fishing boats close to shore trolling. I wasn't sure what they were fishing for and started casting some metals on the heavier gear I had with me... I then decided to put on a topwater and picked a Lucky Craft Gunfish 95 as dusk was approaching. After a few casts I started seeing splashes and hits on the topwater from multiple fish and with a few more casts and missed strikes I managed to connect with a fish! It jumped a couple times but was soon brought on the rocks and it was a small bluefish!
Been a long while since I caught one of them and was gutted that the Gopro had no battery!

Baby bluefish were close in.

My next fishing outings took place in Southern Greece at the lovely town of Ermioni with my fishing buddy Stelios. We chose Ermioni as it offers a good variety of targets and also because my friend's contacts reported meagre results in Poros (our first choice). 
We mainly night fished and concentrated on squid and cuttlefish and also false scad.
The mollusks were more forthcoming and again it was a while since I had done any 'eging' to target them. Thankfully Stelios had an endless variety of squid-jigs and we had a lot to play with!
Most of the squid were small but my friend got one of over 800g while I got half kilo one as my largest. Moreover I managed to catch my smallest ever mollusk, a tiny musky octopus (μοσχιός)! Some cuttlefish and an octopus raised the species count for mollusks to 4...
Later in the night it was time for scad and we used 6-10g darting and Gamakatsu range swimmer jigheads with 3" Sluggos and Tiny Xlayers. The fish were not tightly grouped (possibly as there wasn't much fry in the harbour) and after covering the area with the softplastics we thought to try small metals to try deeper. Metals are not a lure I tend to use much at night but for such aggressive fish they can actually be very effective, especially if they have some 'fluo' on them. The only drawback to the metals was that they came with too small a treble and I had no assist hooks with me. This in combination with my rod having a stiff tip meant that I lost a couple fish. 
It was interesting to note the size of these false scad with all of them being descent fish...



A tiny musk octopus!


Plenty of them around..

Lovely colour..

They put up a good scrap when bigger..

False scad.

Predators of the night..
At dawn we would move at a nearby rocky point and target barracudas with jerkbaits. A pattern that seems to get results very often as the cudas target passing fish high up in the water column at that time. To be honest the results weren't that good and I only managed to get a couple small fish but they're such a cool fish even small! 
After the sunrise I fished softplastics and metals near the bottom and this resulted in a few small golden groupers.

Cuda at dawn on Duo Tide Minnow Slim.

A small cuda..
Love groupers!

On our way back from Ermioni we got a text from Stelio's friend in Poros only to find out that he went and smashed the barracudas there! We cant be lucky all the time...
After my return from Athens I started targeting some local harbours and coastal lagoons for bass but unfortunately just when I started finding the fish my time was up!
Used 3"-4" slim paddletails on 10-14g jigheads on medium fast retrieves near sundown for them and would switch to 4" soft jerkbaits on the same jigheads but worked near the bottom when it got dark. Successful lures were 4" Pontoon 21 Attira, 4" Reins Rockvibe shad and Megabass Xlayer.
The presence of bait was always necessary for the bass to be in numbers in the harbour...
Local bass from the lagoons..

...and from the harbour.

Well that was it for my fishing adventures in Greece and I'm now back in Scotland!
Time to see how them pollock are doing...

Tight Lines and best wishes for a productive season!

Gear used.
Rod: Gamakatsu Akilas mobile 80MH, Snowbee Kuroshio 4pc travel LRF rod (05g-7g)
Reel: Shimano Stradic Ci4 2500f, Shimano Stradic 1000fc
Mainline: YGK P.E Line Frontier WX8 Shore Casting Line 150m P.E 0.8 , 14lb,
Duel Hardcore x4 PE0.6
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 18lbs, Toray Excellent fluorocarbon 6.8lbs
Lures: various

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Mixed bags in the last Skye sessions for 2017!

Well its that time of the year again and Ive only got another week before going back to Greece for holidays...
Ive been out twice and had some surprising results especially for this time of year!
On Monday there were brisk Southwesterlies pushing through that significantly raised the temperatures and despite the choppy sea, I found the fish very active.
I used a variety of lures and techniques that included baited bucktails, soft jerkbaits on darting jigheads, paddletails on cheburashka, slow jigs and even topwaters! It was just as I brought my softplastics up that I saw fish following and hitting them at the surface that lead me to take out a surface lure (I keep one in my bag no matter what the season) and start casting it around. I had a couple of hits from pollock close in but the coalies were on a roll and kept smashing the little Yokozuna 105 FCM! Too bad I had the LSJ setup with me as they were in excellent condition (eating all those sprats lately)!
The metals, softplastics and baited bucktails didn't produce any monsters that day but the variety was nice with pollock, wrasse, coalies and my first codling from Neist Point that hit a 40g Slow jig at distance!
Hopefully they'll make a comeback...

The Northern angler's delight!

They wanted that lure!
The videos of the session.

Today the weather was much calmer and appearing ideal but the big tides and no wind definitely affected the fish. Moreover I saw lots of birds on Monday (including gannets and seagulls) while this time only a few cormorants were working the area. This clearly shows that the baitfish shoals weren't close in and that explains the complete lack of coalies today... Such small differences in weather and conditions mean everything at this time of year.
Nevertheless I had some steady action of pollock and wrasse (again no monsters) that showed a preference for slow/dragging presentations (Texas and cheburashka) and even the pollock seemed to be keeping hard to the bottom. As it happens I did bring the LRF setup with me this time but I only raised one little pollock to my mini topwater lure... eh well we cant have it all!

Always welcome!

Anyway I think that this is it for my UK fishing for this year and cant wait to target some of the Med's species back home. Hopefully the barracudas will be forthcoming this year!

Tight lines and Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Here comes the snow and a PB!

The weather has been cold for weeks and a few days ago the Island was draped in snow! This coincided with reduced intensity winds and small tides...
Needless to say I was raring to go for a few casts and got my chance yesterday morning.
I went out the house in the morning ready to set off but realised that everything was frozen! And moreover being a Sunday I wasn't very sure if the road to my mark would be clear... After seeing a couple neighbours struggling to get their car out, I decided to go back indoors and maybe wait till later hoping that the sun might melt some of the ice.

Imposing landscape...

Around midday I couldn't wait any longer and headed out...
The drive was a bit tricky at some points but not too bad and at last I reached my mark to find perfect conditions. Ebbing tide, overcast and with a slight breeze. I had my LSJ setup with me today as I wanted the extra casting distance and was mainly gonna use large lures on heavy weights.
I clipped on a 14cm Delalande Shadka II on a 40g jighead and started casting about.
I could feel bites near the bottom but nothing big enough to take the large lure.  After a couple more casts I connected with a heavy fish near the bottom! It bend the Solpara like never before and took plenty of line from my tight drag but fortunately didn't snag me on any kelp or rocks. some more steady pump and wind later and I got her up... I knew she was big and as soon as I thump-held her I measured her on the butt of my rod as I have some tape at the 80cm mark that is the supposed length for an 11lbs fish. She was longer than that and I was elated! Got a couple pics of her against the measuring tape and she was about 83cm and in excellent condition. A stonking fish and my new PB!
After a couple pics I quickly unhooked her and plunged her in the sea, typically for this time of year and mark she swam off strong...

A brute!

I fished a bit more catching some usual sized fish but I felt this session couldn't really get any better and called it a day.
Some notes for the day:
  • Though I saw plenty of cormorants, the gannets and gulls weren't about and along with the lack of coalies I reckon that the baitfish shoals were further out.
  • Again the big lures brought the bigger fish...
  • Definitely needing the heavier gear for these fish!
  • Used metals (mainly slow jigs) but they proved too indiscriminate and got hit by all sizes of fish.
  • Solpara rods are lucky 😉(previous confirmed PB on my LRF Solpara!)
Tight lines!

Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: 14cm Delalande Shadka II on 40g jighead.