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Saturday, 11 January 2020

Close but no cigar! Opening 2020 account.

On Thursday I had an opening in the weather and decided to open my 2020 account.
In light of the previous sessions surface action, I was keen to try and get a topwater pollock in January, something that I've not managed before.
I picked a lighter setup for the day (Akilas Mobile 80H - Stradic Ci4 2500f) and went out on my Honwave T32 sib.
The area is a favourite of mine near Staffin with depths of 8-16m.
Conditions were looking good with an overcast sky and light wind. The tide was almost all out and in retrospect, I should have set off a bit earlier...
I started straight away with the Mechanic Lures Autowalker 115s in lemon back. It didn't take many casts and I had fish blowing up on it! Unreal stuff for January!
Most of the strikes were so violent that they would propel the lure several meters away without getting hooked! I changed to another auto walker rigged with trebles but lost that lure on a wind-knot after a few casts...
I tried with a pink-back patchinko imitation but it appeared that they wanted the lemon-back autowalker in the end.
I interspersed the topwaters with various softplastics just so I could catch some fish but after anchoring on a new spot Id start with the topwater as this was my goal for the day.
Amazingly, one of the fish on softplastics came up with a long leader sticking out from its mouth and I'm wondering if its a fish that I or my friends have lost in the past couple months!! I tried to check out the lure but it had it all swallowed up. The fish seemed fine though, so I just trimmed the protruding line some, and let it go.
I've only managed to get a few of the topwater strikes on camera than the ones I had throughout the day but even though I fished hard till sundown, I just didn't manage to get fish in the boat! On several occasions I hooked up, only for the fish to shed the hook on the way in... So frustrating but also exhilarating seeing them hit like that in the middle of winter.
I blame the softer rod but also my rusty hands for this and I feel that I've had my last chance on the topwaters...

Nevertheless, it was a great first day out and I have high hopes for this year. And what a year its meant to be with the expected arrival of my first baby in a few weeks! I know that this will affect my ability to go out and fish but priorities are priorities!
Heres a video of some fish and blowups of the day.

Tight lines everyone!


Saturday, 4 January 2020

And just like that, its 2020!

Well, 2019 is behind us now and what a year it was! Quite possibly my most successful year fishing wise. Variety, numbers and sizes were pretty good and I'm hoping 2020 will be similar.
Even though it has been such a great year, the weather, especially towards the end of it, was anything but. The constant wind and rain have kept me indoors but nevertheless, I did manage a couple quick sessions before the year was out.
Conditions were far from ideal but what surprised me was the willingness of the fish to hit topwaters! I've had big shoals of chunky coalies but also pollock hunt high in the water column and just freely come up for a swipe on the surface. Something that has made me very happy although again, I just didn't have even remotely good conditions for an outing. What is more surprising is that they're willing to hunt so actively in plummeting water temperatures (8.6-9C now). I do hope to get out soon and catch a topwater pollock in January as I've never managed that!
Below some pics and videos of the last sessions of 2019.

Wee boat doing alright.

They're in great condition just now!

Coalies too!

Tons of them OTT

A wee surface hitter

Some of the coalfish were quality..

They love the Autowalker!

And the Videos

I have been very pleased with my new wee SIB (Honwave T32) that I've paired with my old 2stroke and for quick outings closeby, it's all that's needed and much easier to assemble/handle than the bigger one. Although the bigger boat is much more fun and I do prefer the solid floor when fishing.
Anyway onwards and upwards for 2020 with many more fish to come!

Tight Lines and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Shite weather but hungry fish!

Yesterday was the first day I managed to get out and do some fishing in December! We've had some horrific weather the past couple weeks with constant storms and winds of up to 80mph! Even the roof of my shed was blown away and I had to rebuild it!
Nevertheless yesterday I had return client Rob, come up for a session! It was touch and go weather-wise but seeing the conditions in the morning, we decided to go ahead and launch.
Even though we had a great couple sessions last time Rob was up he didn't have enough and this time he wanted to get some big ones on the fly from the sib and if possibly OTT on surface lures too.
Considering the conditions on the day, I thought that it could be tricky doing either of these!
Air temperature was 4C with intermittent rain and N-NE wins. There was some swell as well but it wasn't too bad.
We reached our spot after a short run. We would be fishing the start of a kelpy bay with depths of 8-15m.
We started fishing with softplastics but it was all fairly quiet at first. It was an hour or so after HW and there was little current. I played around with lures, switching to metals and other sps and after about 30mins, the bites started coming... They were good fish in excellent condition.
The bite started to develop, and we had fish taking our lures quite high in the water column. It was time for topwaters! I put on an Autowalker 115s and after only a couple casts, I had a blowup and then I hooked up to a nice fish! Took a while to land it but as soon as I did, I gave the rod to Rob so that he had a go. It wasn't long till he had a couple fish jump on it and then a hook up on a consecutive cast! It was another good fish and Rob was chuffed to get one on topwater as it was something we came close to doing last time but didn't manage to.

We're in!

Nice stamp of fish.

Autowalker 115s does it again!

Finally, he got his too!

Happy with getting the topwater fish, Rob now wanted to get the Fly gear out. It really wasn't good conditions for the fly, as the wind was a pain! But Rob is an experienced fly-angler and managed to cast well despite the wind. Moreover, he would let the current take the fly further out and then start his retrieve. It didn't take long for the bites to come and after a couple fish that shed the hook, he was able to get one in!
The next fish took far longer to come in and the fight was like a tug of war with the fly rod bent to the base! Soon enough Rob got the upper hand and got it close to the surface, this was a far better fish and I barely managed to fit it in the net!
We were elated of getting such a fish landed and about the general results of a day that was looking to be hard for us. I didn't have my scales with me but this may well have been a double and Rob definitely deserved it! It really wasn't easy having to persevere on the fly in conditions like that. Perseverance does pay off as they say!


Big mama on the fly!

I really do think most fly anglers are missing out!

Rob managed another nice fish on the fly but then as the tide intensified, so did the wind and the bite slowed down. It was time to head home and we were glad to get out of the wind! On our way back we were lucky to encounter a pod of dolphins that came extremely close to the boat. It was amazing to see them from such close proximity!

It was great fishing with Rob again and he's already thinking of coming back in the Summer next year as he wants to see Skye with some sun and not the usual rain and wind he's encountered so far!😆 I do hope we get some settled weather soon though as the fish are still so active and takeable on many methods.

Tight Lines!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Best fishing of the year!

The settled weather has continued and the fishing can only be described as being on fire!
Had a sib session with friends Colin and Fred and I still can't find the words to describe how awesome the fishing was!
It was a cold, overcast, morning last week but there was only a breath of wind and very little swell. We fished shallow (10-18m) kelp ledges and from the get-go, the fish went crazy for our lures. After catching some lunkers on sp's, I told the guys to get some topwaters on... Colin is more acquainted with them as he fishes for bass, but Fred had only recently given them much time.
Colin put on a Patchinko while I gave Fred an Autowalker 115s and showed him how this lure works just by retrieving it steadily. Hits were instant..
Colin hooked up to something big, as did Fred though his fish got off soon after. Colin was still bringing his fish in and Fred was in again! Unreal stuff!
Finally, I saw colour from Colin's fish and upon putting it in the net, we realised that this one was a big mama! She went to 10.5lbs and left us all looking each other in joy and disbelief. I unhooked her and Fred's fish and quickly sent them back into the water. The mayhem continued for almost 2 hours and I lost track of how many fish we got. Topwaters really shined on the day. The fish were hitting them hard and getting them deep with far fewer misses than usual. There seemed to be a significant influx of pale pollock (open ground, shoaling fish) along with the darker ones I tend to find more on this mark. The reason must have been the shoals of baitfish showing on the finder... Everything caught fish, even a big squid lure that was skipping the surface as Fred was bringing it in, when a pollock hit it mere meters from the boat!😆

On a Topwater!!!


Hungry fish.

Another nice one for Fred.

So many double hook-ups!

Stonking fish..

Some bait there...

On the puffin!
At some point, Colin offered me to try his favourite rod, a Tailwalk eginn paired with a Shimano Sustain. It was a lovely combo that I could fish with all day... I say was and not is, as unfortunately the setup was lost in the most unreal incident that I've ever experienced whilst fishing...! We were all fishing softplastics for a bit and Colin and Fred were into fish, wanting to help land their fish, I retrieved my line, put the rod down with the tip over the water and the lure just hanging in the water. This proved to be a big mistake... As I was bending over with the net, I caught with the corner of my eye, the rod flying into the water at speed!! Obviously, a pollock took the static lure anc crash-dived taking the rod with it...! I was left speechless after this incident and also very deflated that I lost such a great rod and reel. I tried to retrieve it for an hour or so with a lead and hooks but to no avail. Colin
took it better than me and we decided to not let this stop us from enjoying the day. I've since sorted it out.  We kept fishing and despite the bite slowing down, the fish were still willing to take OTT. Thus we would cast metals and softplastics and after seeing interest, we'd try a topwater. This gave me a lovely pollock on the Autowalker again.
It was soon time to head back after a day that none of us would forget any time soon!

A dark kelp brute.

A pale one and a kelpie.

Autowalker does it again!

Big gob.

Even on the squid!?

And a wee video

This week, I was guiding again but from the rocks this time. Friends Ryan and Craig came for the first time to Skye and wanted to experience the fishing. Conditions were looking great although the tide wasnt ideal. We started soon after first light but things were slow to develop. The seals were keeping very close and once we started getting some fish, they became a pest by stealing them... We encountered shoaled up 2-3lbs fish and it proved hard to get through them to the bigger ones throughout the day. It kinda felt like spring in a way ie shoals of smaller immature pollock but very few bigger ones.
We did hook a few 4lbers but only managed to land a couple whole...😑
Nevertheless, it was a very pleasant day and it felt good to be on the rocks again. Was getting too lazy fishing off the boat all the time. The boys were happy as long as they were catching fish as even the ones we were catching were of good size compared to where they usually fish. It does bug me on the rare days when the biguns don't show and despite our efforts, it just wasn't happening that day. Goes to show that even in Skye you cant expect lunkers every day.
I did recommend to the lads that they come again after Xmas when the big females are in. Hopefully I'll be able to showcase them the potential of this place then...

Plenty of smaller ones..

A better one..

Seal attack signs..

Double hookup!

A chunk for Craig.

A cuckoo for Ryan.

Until next time Tight Lines to all!

Friday, 8 November 2019

Some exciting fishing on two sibs!

The weather has settled a bit the past couple of weeks and this has allowed me to get out a good few times. I had a fun session fishing around Neist Point from the sib, something I've wanted to do since I got it! It was a fantastic sunny day and I got good numbers of pollock along with a nice wrasse and some coalies. I had found shoals of tiny mackerel and after catching some on feathers, I decided to use them as bait near the bottom.
My target was spurdog but unsurprisingly it was almost impossible to get through the pollock! A large shoal was holding over a rocky reef at around 50m deep and would pick up anything dropping before it hit the bottom!

Good stamp of pollock.

Lovely wrasse!

Unfortunately, it was time to head home and I didn't manage to catch a spurdog...
The next day I went out on a new boat I got for solo outings. It's a Honwave T32 air v floor inflatable and I paired it with my old Evinrude 2 stroke outboard. I've been wanting a lighter and
faster-to-assemble combo for when I want to hit multiple spots and from 'rougher' launching areas.
In the day, the combo behaved pretty well and I got 14-15kts although I did have some issues with the boat that im trying to resolve...
The fishing wasn't bad either, with a few good pollock among a 'flood' of chunky coalies. I also got among some codling from a deeper spot. Not a bad couple of hours.

Hungry chunks!

From slightly deeper water.

 Then yesterday, we were in a small tide week and in combination with the settled conditions I was hoping the fish would be up for it. I targeted the area around Neist again and was going to do some bottom fishing for those spurdogs again, but on the way there, the pollock had other ideas...
I found shoaled pollock and coalies high up in the water column and they would often break the surface as they were feeding!
Time for topwaters! I took out a Mechanic lures Autowalker 115s and after a few casts, I had a couple blow-ups and fish jumping on it. It didn't take long before I connected to one and the fun started!
Got some nice fish and the hook-up ratio was far better than usual. It appeared that the fish were hitting to feed. Top fish was one of about 2.5kg that managed to hook me while thrashing!
After that fish, I decided that it was already a successful day and headed home. I'll get those spurdogs at some point for sure...

Autowalker does it again!

Lovely dark kelp fish.

Thats my blood...

Its been a fantastic couple weeks and I hope that the nice weather continues. I'm looking forward to my time off from work coming soon and intend to get out as much as I can.  Definitely gonna try and bait fish for some different species although it will be hard to get away from surface feeding fish!

Tight Lines