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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Keeping it varied!

As per the title, the fishing on my days off has been a mixture of salt and freshwater with relatively good results..
On Wednesday I decided to hit a new spot as I'm looking for sheltered areas that can offer fish in the strongest winds that we get so often up here.. This means that somewhere in the central complex of lochs (Bracadale, Harport etc) would be my best bet and thus I gave it a go...
I visited a point with easy access to deeper water though with much less kelp and structure than I would've liked... Moreover the inner lochs along with Neist tend to get the first of the mackerel and having this in mind I added a sabiki teaser along with my lure.
I started with 28g metal jigs but got absolutely nothing on them. After a while I decided to try some Gulp jerk shads that Ive recently got in mainly for night fishing.. I rigged it on a 30g Duel Salty Bait and worked it slowly on the bottom. I soon started getting bites and it wasn't long till I had a fish on! The telltale rhythmic beating of the fish's tail let me know that mackerel were here and I managed to see the fish before it got unhooked. I wasn't too worried though as wherever there is one there are usually more! Thus after a while I started getting some fish in.
They weren't caught on the main lure just the teaser, but I think that the bulky presentation along with the slower working and maybe the scent of gulp attracted the fish.. All of them were skinny even though of a good size and I suppose they need some more time and the waters to warm up a bit to start feeding more aggressively.

A new mark..


I had different plans for later in the day... For a while I have been wanting to do a night fishing session from the rocks just to see whats out there and the conditions seemed passable on the day.
Thus around 21:00 I was on the mark and decided to play with the LRF setup while waiting to get darker. I also used the heads of the previously caught mackerel (bodies obviously eaten 😁) to chum and also baited a bucktail on the heavier rod. Its been a long time since I've last bait fished but thought to do so out of curiosity...
The fish were feeding well and I had great fun catching some good pollock on the LRF gear but at some point saw the line on the heavier rod move and picked it up. I struck and felt something heavy thrashing in the deep.. After a while I got it up and was very pleased to see a nice ling on the surface! Got it up, unhooked and sent it straight back. A few more pollock were caught later and I decided that it was a productive wee session anyway and I didnt need to spend more time there. Moreover there was an annoying swell by that time and it reinforced my decision to call it a night.
I'm not gonna be rushing to buy bait-fishing gear any time soon but the catch was cool so I might actually do it again!


A proper scrap on LRF gear...

A nice pollock later on.

 The video of the session.

The next day I had arranged with my girl on a day out with a boat in Loch Morar for fishing and a picnic. It was a wet start to the day but it got better afterwards. Being unfamiliar with the Loch, the fishing wasn't record breaking stuff but we caught some lovely brownies and its definitely something I'm keen on doing again. Possibly supplied with a sounder and targeting some char and/or ferox...

Not bad!

Love brownies!

A nice one.

Cant beat a good picnic!

A very enjoyable and productive couple days.. Hopefully I'll be able to replicate them next week...

Tight Lines!

Friday, 12 May 2017

A wee road trip and finally a long net!

My last days off have been quite productive as the weather has been pretty decent and I managed to get a bit further afield. The destination was Applecross, more so for a picnic and a day trip but I did manage to have a few casts..
The drive up there was quite something and the coastline looked fishy... I checked the admiralty charts previously and although the depths weren't massive, I did mark some areas that looked interesting.
Thus after a nice picnic on the rocks, I picked up the rod and let a few casts with a metal on.
The depth was around 10-15m and very snaggy with thick kelp close in.  After finding the deepest spot I concentrated my efforts there and soon enough the polock started to show. Not monsters (though a better one got unhooked) but it was good to see the fish feeding so actively and in the shallower marks. Hopefully they should do the same on Skye too..
It was only a short trip to Applecross but I'm definitely gonna check it out again as its a very beautiful place.
A decent fish in Applecross..

Actively hitting metals in relatively shallow water..

Interesting drive.
The next day I had a short session for some little brownies in a loch (video up soon) and then headed straight for the rocky mark that made me buy my new 6m long Majorcraft Solpara landing net!

Its here!

It didn't take long to find the fish and even with this net I could only land the fish in a few spots but this is a vast improvement from before! I can actually fish with the lighter gear there and get the fish up safely now. Very pleased with my purchase needless to say...

First pollock landed with the new net!

Quite a height..

The self takes need practise..

Almost there..

Much better.
Well it definitely feels like Summer is on its way here and this means I'll soon start to fish in the shallow kelpy marks and for the summer species as well. I'll also try an explore more of those little lochs here for brownies on the UL gear! The videos will be uploaded soon hopefully...

Tight Lines!

Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft KGEvolution Basic KGS-902L.
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000
Mainline: Unitika Shore Game X8 PE 1.2
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 16lbs
Lures: various

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Postspawn session: The time for big pollock.

The other day, seeing as the weather was being too nice, I changed my plans and instead of a freshwater session I decided to visit a distant Southern mark that thought it would be firing up now...
Last time I was there, the fishing was slow yet the quality of fish was evident. By now as the weather has markedly improved it should be expected that the big mamas would be more active.
Thus I started the long hike to the mark and I timed my arrival there 3 hours before low tide.
As my main rock ledge was still inaccessible I started casting on a different rock further back, but thanks to using the LSJ setup I could easily hit the 'sweet spot' especially when using metals.
I begun with a 30g metal and a sabiki teaser further up the leader, as I heard the fishermen started getting mackerel and was hoping to get a few early ones myself. Instead I got a few feisty coalies and kept them for dinner.
Soon more serious fish started to appear and with the tide receding a bit more, I was able to setup on my favourite ledge and gain easy access to the deeper water.
I got some good fish on the metal but lost a few on the way up as they would get unhooked in the thick kelp of this mark...
Nevertheless, I persisted and soon I had a good pollock up. I kept working the metal but things went quiet and I put on an articulated paddletail from Illex, the Nitro Sprat Shad. This lure was immediately taken (OTD) but I just couldn't get the fish to stick on it. This happened more consecutive times and I then had to switch to a different lure. I'm not sure if its the design of the said lure or the pollock where being really funny (maybe both) but I just couldn't hook up on it.
 I put on a pearl silver Savagear Sandeel and this was hit with less force and only once. Thinking that this might be a bit 'loud' colour given the bright sunny conditions and calm, clear water I switched to a natural green Fiiish Crazy Sandeel that was taken first cast a few meters in the retrieve near the bottom! A dogged fight ensued (as so many at this time of year) and I soon had a respectable 70cm+ fish on the rocks with the lure all in its mouth! This goes to show that even on very aggressive and actively feeding fish like pollock, the bigger fish are far more wary and fussy than the smaller ones...

A beaut...

Deserves a second pic.
After releasing this fish I kept working the same area with a variety of lures but the bites dried up. It was low tide by then but I kept at it hoping the fish will come to the feed again once the current increased.
At some point I switched off the Gopro and put on a 20g metal for the usual 'last casts'... Well on the second 'last cast' I hooked up to another good fish and after another dogged fight managed to land her. A beautiful fish with a mark on the bottom lip (trying to snag me) and again 70cm+ though this could have easily been a double a couple months back...
I quickly released her as well and started on my way back with a spring on my step. It was a good session on a lovely day!
Big mama!

Below the video of some of the action.

 When the sun is shining Skye really is as good a place as any! Fishing-wise I consider this time of year one of the best for the larger fish as they are hungry after spawning but on the other hand they usually don't fight as actively as later on in the year and are slim thus not weighing as much as you'd expect..
Well hoping to get some sessions on the trout soon and hopefully the good weather will hang on a while longer!

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: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 20lbs.
Lures: Various.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The hardest yet most enjoyable guiding session ever!

Sometime ago I was contacted for a guiding session to take place last Tuesday. As so often happens up here in Skye the weather had other ideas and we had to reschedule as it was actually snowing and dropping hail for the most part of Monday and Tuesday! Temperatures plummeted and we had gale force Northerlies. Thankfully Wednesday was much kinder, flat calm and sunny skies actually (!), and we gave it a go then.
I met the brothers Zubair and Zaheer at their accommodation and after a cuppa and a chat we set off for Neist Point.
I knew the fishing would be tough as the fish surely were affected by the previous day's weather and also the large tides we're having, along with the calm sunny conditions.
We arrived a couple hours before low tide and I thought our best chances would be at a sheltered spot near low tide.
I set the lads up with metals at first and then soft plastics as the fish were hard on the bottom and not willing to chase metals. Moreover we realised that they were holding further out than usual and I employed 20-25g cheburashkas to reach those spots.
Soon enough we started seeing some fish, with coalies at first and then some good pollock.
As is the case with this mark the lads had a few fish lost due to snags or cut offs as they weren't able to stop them, but that's pollock fishing for you..!
After some fish, the resident seal took interest in our catches and we decided to move instead of offering it more free meals!

The day before...

...And after!

Zaheer with a decent one.

Zubair with another slim pollock.

The tide had turned and the current was increasing by now so I adjusted weights accordingly but it was still slow going.. Was using straight 3"-4" lures at first on Carolina rig or cheburashka and after getting some fish the bites dried up. I knew the fish were there and downsized to 3" strong scented paddletails that got hit instantly. A couple more fish followed but they were clearly not in a feeding mood as they were getting hooked barely on the lips. Thankfully the lads had brought an impressive array of cooking utensils and snacks (carrying it all the way down and then up Neist was a feat!) and we decided on having a tea break. The sun was shining, birds were chirping and we enjoyed a lovely curry and a cup of tea on the rocks... That's the life!
Afterwards we persisted for a while longer on this spot but after a couple missed strikes and some smaller fish we decided to move again.
The third spot only gave a couple more small pollock and by now the current was particularly strong. I decided that we should give the first (sheltered) spot another go but even there the current was too strong. Thus we headed back up to the car and drove to a nearby mark that is much more sheltered and less affected by the tide.

Best fish of the day..

Finicky pollock in a cracking day!

Fishing brothers in action.

Average sized..


Tea break!

The sun was setting when we arrived on the second mark and we didn't have much time. I made the first cast to see if there was anything going and hooked up soon after! This mark hasn't got the numbers of fish Neist offers but all the pollock here seem to be 3lbs and up!
So it was that I had a nice fish landed on the rocks soon after a spirited fight. On close inspection I realised that this fish was previously caught and after a quick photo with Zaheer I let it go back.
Surprisingly no more fish were caught by the lads while I was cleaning and filleting the catch of the day and we decided to head home.
A recaught fish.

On arrival to their accommodation the brothers were adamant that I should have dinner with them and since I really cant refuse a good homemade curry, we enjoyed another lovely meal!
It was a long and tiring day but the company of such kind people, passionate about fishing, made it very rewarding.
The lads wanted me to guide them again next day before they leave but having other obligations I told them what their best plan would be and I was glad to later find out they caught some more good fish and went home happy!
It was a pleasure fishing with them and they are welcome again any time.

Passionate fishermen!
Tight Lines!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Postspawn guided trip!

Its been a while since my last trip and that is mostly due to being too busy at work and with other commitments. Moreover I'm waiting for my new rod to arrive and I just don't feel like going fishing till I get it!
Nevertheless today I had planned a guiding trip for a fellow angler and we met up on Neist Point in the morning. Bruce is getting back into saltwater fishing after a while and was really keen to get some rod bending action! Sometime back he asked me to recommend him a reel and some lures and was now ready for a first taste of Skye rock fishing.
We were greeted by a millpond sea and sunny skies in the morning. After a quick coffee/chat and leader tying we picked our gear and headed down to the mark. Seeing as we have neap tides at the moment and the conditions were calm, I decided to start off at a more exposed point.
I rigged Bruce up with a 20g cheburashka and natural colour 3" paddletail and told him how to work the lure and where to cast. After a while he started getting the hang of it and the nibbles started coming. It took more than usual to get the first fish as we lost a couple in the kelp but soon enough the first pollock of the session was on the rocks! A hard fighting 3 pounder...
We persevered but possibly due to the conditions the fish were staying further out than usual and were more picky. A change to metals shook things up a bit and we soon had a steady stream of fish coming. Also got a couple nice coalies that just cant keep away from metals!

A good coalie on the metal.

A decent first pollock.

After a while and with the bites drying up whilst nearing the high tide point, we decided to move to my favourite spot. We kept using metals and more fish started coming! By this point Bruce was doing great and I was surprised to see a man his age doing so well on the rocks, but all this rock hopping and fish pulling got to his shoulder and he decided to take a break. As I wasn't fishing by this point I decided to have a few casts with the Major Craft KGS-902L and my new Stradic FK C3000 spooled with Unitika Shore Game PE X8 1.2. I had a ribster already rigged on a 16g cheburashka and made a good cast near the rocks across the gully. After touchdown I started a leisurely retrieve and got a gentle tap after a pause. I set the hook into something heavy but other than a few clicks of drag it didn't do much! I was even more surprised after I saw the size of fish coming up and I quickly got down to the rocks and landed it. I have added blue tape on most of my rods marking the 80cm mark thus indicating a usually double figure fish and at a quick glance this fish was approx 75 cm thus around 8lbs. I quickly plunged her back into the water and with a couple swipes of the tail she was gone like nothing happened! We had a laugh about the non-existent fight with Bruce but I find this to be not uncommon especially at this time of year with the fish in postspawn etc. Needless to say we caught fish of half the size later on that fought much harder than that one...
Nice fish, crap fight!
 The weather was turning by mid afternoon and the conditions became more conducive for pollock fishing, with a slight chop on the sea and cloud cover. Bruce was back on again and this time he hit a good patch with good numbers of fish in a short time. He was fishing with a ''money minnow'' style swimbait that is very soft and has an oversized paddletail and pollock absolutely loved it. They even hit it while static..
It was interesting to note increased seabird activity with some gannets diving close in and even guillemots swimming after baitfish and occasionally following our lures!

Happy angler!

Rod bendage!

Many of this size...

A few better ones in the mix.

A nice one.

We tried a couple more spots before the day was gone and got some fish from them but it was getting colder now and considering the long walk up (with some fish for Bruce) we decided to call it a day. It felt good to be guiding someone onto fish again and it was for the most part a cracking day in good company. If only for Bruce's hurt shoulder it would be a perfect session. It was a pleasure to fish with Bruce and had a good craic. Glad to see him with a good dinner sorted!
For next week I got some more outings planned but I cant wait to get my hands on the new rod. Will post pics and first impressions as soon as I get it!

Tight Lines!

Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft KGEvolution Basic KGS-902L.
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000
Mainline: Unitika Shore Game X8 PE 1.2
Leader: Duel Hardcore Powerleader fluorocarbon 16lbs
Lures:  4"-5" paddletails on 16g-20g cheburashka, oversized paddle swimbaits on 16g jighead and Texas rig, 20g-30g metals