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Friday, 3 April 2020

Rock fishing from a remote Island and underwater lure testing.

I managed to get another day out last week as I wanted to try out some different stuff.
Firstly, I wanted to get some underwater footage of the chatterbait-cheburashka and the Umbrella rig (A-Rig) whilst fishing. Secondly, I wanted to land on a nearby uninhabited island and do some rock fishing there. Its usually a secondary mark from the SIB but I wanted to have a more thorough go at it from the shore.
The day was a bit windy with a little swell coming in, easily fishable nonetheless. I started off the sib and soon enough I had a lovely, full bellied pollock smashing the A-rig on camera! This was then followed by a couple fish on the chatterbait-cheburashka. Both presentations definitely worth further scrutiny for Spring fishing...
She came in like a missile!

By mid-ebb, I decided to head for the island and start shore fishing. I covered the area where I tend to get better results from the SIB and used mainly 30g chatterbait-cheburashkas and normal cheburaska, rigged with 12-13cm slim or curly tailed soft plastics.
It didn't take long to get into fish and I managed to land a couple average sized pollock but also got reefed by a couple too. I reached a rocky point that had a kelp covered ledge close in and then dropped into a good depth. I worked the lure near the bottom and got a bite within the first few casts. I struck hard and it felt heavy. The fish took some drag and was a proper tug of war to get it through the kelp, but I had her in the net after a few minutes.
A lovely female of 3kg that was released after a couple pics. Definitely fishing this mark again!

Quality fish.

I had another hook up on the very next cast that felt like a good fish, but unfortunately it got stuck straight in the kelp...
All in all a very successful day and it seems that this Spring, despite the mixed weather, the fish are up for it!
Below are a couple videos of the day.

Its quite amazing seeing how hard the big pollock hit the A-rig! But from watching more of the footage I'm going to play around and try and put more weight on the head of the rig, so that it falls head down and has more action on the drop and slow speeds. Also I'll try with more Texas rigged sps. I reckon its a lure that can prove useful in early summer as well when fish like tiny baits...

Playing  around...

Hopefully this lockdown will be over soon, so that I can travel further afield and target them spotted beauties!

Tight Lines!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

A few socially isolating SIB outings...

With all this Coronavirus talk and measures picking up momentum, I had a couple sessions while the weather was nice as I knew it will be a while till I'm out again next.
The fishing has been so so as the pollock are spawning and are fussy. Moreover, they are not found in all of their usual marks.
Its also, still too early for the Summer species so most sessions tend to involve a lot of moving around and changing presentations.
I tend to find most fish a little deeper this time of year and in more exposed areas with plenty of bait around.
Presentations that can draw more positive bites are fishing lipless crankbaits, blades and lately the chatterbait-cheburashka(!). I find that fish like 'annoying' lures this time of year as they don't feed properly, hence natural presentations tend to get mostly finicky bites.
On the other hand, the crankbaits and blades need just a ''bump'' and the trebles provide far easier hookups.
The chatterbait-cheburashkas are simple cheburashka rigs that I've added chatterbait blades. My idea was that the combination of a natural-feeling soft plastic combined with the flash, vibration and noise of the blade (along with the intense action they give to the sp) would make the fish more aggressive towards them.
On the water, they worked as I thought they would and I had good results with pollock, coalfish and even codling going for them! The latter appeared recently in an inshore mark and provided me with great fun. They would hit the lure when bumping bottom as usual, but also even 5-6m above it! I'm not sure what they were keying on but they were mixed in with pollock and coalfish and I found tiny sandeels in some of them.

Not a bad size to them..

Of course they would hit them!

Fussy eaters.

Lovely markings.

Below I have some pics to show how I add the blades to the cheburashka. I buy the blades in bulk from Aliexpress. There are tons of options but I prefer medium-sized blades in a roughly diamond shape.


A very interesting rig...
I think I'll try and stay at home for the duration of the lockdown but with the beautiful days we've been having lately, it's really hard! Moreover, I really want to go for some trout fishing as well, but we'll see how everything goes. 

Stay safe and Tight Lines!

Monday, 2 March 2020

Choppy day on the sib and a new shore mark.

Since the arrival of my son, fishing time has been obviously non-existent, but as I've got an understanding wife, I was allowed to get out of the house for a few hours. Weather is still crap but we did get a couple slightly settled days that were doable on the SIB.
On the day, typically conditions were rougher than forecasted but I launched nonetheless. I was really looking forward to trying out a new underwater camera I got recently (Olymbros underwater camera). I've always been fascinated watching the fish react to lures etc and it was only a matter of time till I got a camera for me.
I fished mainly with a Duo Tide Vibe Slim 140 while the swell was up, as I find that slim heavy lipless crankbaits (and metal vibration lures at some places) can be very effective this time of year. 
Got a few chunky pollock on the Vibe and when the swell died down and hit the low water mark, this bite slowed down and fish started preferring soft plastics instead.

Chunky Prespawn fish.

They smash the Vibes.

By now the current and swell had died down and it was time to try with the camera.
Its a floater(!) so I had to put a 30-40g weight to get it down. I tried a few lures just to see the different reactions from the fish and I have to say that the footage offers a lot of food for thought...

Then yesterday I wanted something more of a challenge and decided to hike to a mark I've wanted to try out for years! There was a storm coming but the spot would offer shelter.
It took about half an hour's hike to the mark and it did look fishy. The only problem was how precipitous it was and fish extraction would be problematic.
I started fishing with metals but didn't get a whiff on them so I switched to cheburashka rigged chartreuse paddle tails that got hit very quickly. The fish were keeping low and the bites were hesitant but I hooked up into 2 fish that, unfortunately, lost on the way up to the ledge I was on.
I decided to look around and find a more suitable spot that would allow me to land fish and as the tide ebbed more, I was able to walk on the rocks under the ledge I was at.
I only had limited time left but finally managed to winkle out one in the end. Blank avoided so it was time to head home.

 The weather is meant to be better this week so I'm hoping to get out more and get some more footage on the underwater camera. There's a couple new spots Id like to try and fish from the SIB as well.
I also look forward to the opening of the trout season as well and I'll definitely have a few trips for them as well soon.

Tight Lines

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Fish tank upgrade!

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a new tank for a while now and last week, my wife found a used 240lt Jewel for a really good price. We just went for it and the next morning we spent the best part of the day, getting the old one cleaned out and filling the new one. The fish were obviously not impressed staying in buckets for a while but it would all be worth it in the end...
We took our time thinking out the layout ahead and had collected some suitable rocks as well as some black sand. We were going to use some of the old gravel for half the bottom of the tank and the black sand for the other half.
While taking the stones and gravel out of the old tank, we were amazed at the amount of 'life' we found. We had a few anemones in the old tank but hadn't seen them for months, I thought they didn't survive but we found them (much larger now) under one of the big rocks!
Moreover, the gravel was absolutely teeming with minute creepy-crawlies and I tried to get as much of it as possible in the new tank...

Out with the old...

Here comes the new!

Definitely more space now!

Thought they were gone!

He needs the space.
 Goes to show what a stable ecosystem the tank had become.
We arranged the rocks overlapping each other, roughly in a pyramid shape, with plenty of nooks and crannies for the fish to hide, yet facing outwards so that you could still see part of the fish.
Also, I introduced a floating Ivy-looking plastic plant that offers great cover for the prawns and even the crab moved there now.

The new tank is practically double the size of the old one with fish having much more space now, even though it's still taken them a few days to sort out who goes where and settle down.
The wrasse and blenny seem the most settled, followed by the scorpions, lemon sole and goby. The rockling has gone back to being a bit shy and mostly comes at night to feed again.
I'm really enjoying the bigger tank but I have to say that I cant wait to add a new fish or two..! Something like a mid-level swimmer... Might even try and get a couple tiny coalfish again. They didn't establish in the old tank but I think they might in this one.


 Hopefully, this tank will be just as successful as the old one and my fish definitely seem to like it more. Those prawns especially, as now they have somewhere to hide from the predators that lurk beneath...!

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Trying out a new rod from Aliexpress...

A few weeks back, the unthinkable happened and I lost my Tailwalk Power Rock rod and Stradic FK combo... That combo had worked really well from the rocks for me and even better off the SIB. Thus I needed to find something similar to replace it. I really couldn't justify the cost of it though and started looking for cheaper options...
For some reason, it appears that the market has geared more towards £200+ rods and I couldn't see many options of comparable rods for less than £100.
Now its no secret I use a lot of gear from Aliexpress and after trial and error, I think I've found out which companies tend to produce ok stuff and which ones crap... Thus I thought I might try and find a rod there.
Moreover, I started looking around in Youtube as well, especially in Russian channels as they tend to use a lot of this gear.
Somehow I ended up watching a video with a rod called Ruffy (!) by the company JOHNCOO. Its action and specs seemed close to what I wanted and after a quick search, I found it on sale in Aliexpress for around £40 delivered!
I pulled the trigger and a few days ago, I got it in my hands. First impressions were very good. Fuji guides, robust reel-seat and pokey/firm action. I went for the S862MH model (2.6m, 15-55g) that's more akin to the Power Rock I had.
Yesterday, I got the chance to try it out on the rocks in a short session. I used 20g+ darting jigheads and 16cm soft jerkbaits along with 28g cheburashka and 11cm paddletails.
The rod had no problem jerking the softpastic in 15-20m depth and I could feel quite easily any taps and touches. Did pretty well on dragging the paddletail on the bottom as well.
I got no monsters on the day but the fish were thick with big bellies and I even managed to lift a couple sizeable ones without the net...

Getting ready to spawn.

I'll let the video below show the rod better.

I know its entirely possible that this rod might break on the next outing, but I reckon even if it only lasts me one season, I'd still be very happy considering how little I've spent for it. I'm not in any way sponsored by JOHNCOO or anyone but feel like I had to talk about this rod as I was so pleasantly surprised by it. I'm very keen to see if it's anywhere near as dependable and impervious to some 'heavy handling', as the Tailwalk was. Only time will tell...

Tight Lines

Gear Used.

Rod: Johncoo Ruffy
Reel: Shimano Biomaster SW 4000XG
Mainline: PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 25lbs
Lures: 16cm soft jerkbait on 20g+ darting jighead, 11cm paddletail on 28g cheburashka.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

January pollock and coalfish on topwater. Mission accomplished!

Got another chance yesterday to get out for a couple hours as the winds subsided... I was very curious to see if there'd be any fish keen to come up for the topwater as they did a couple weeks ago. My reasoning was, the weather hasn't changed so their behaviour shouldn't either...
The only negative on the day was the state of the tide, as it hit low tide already when I got there but nevertheless, I was glad to be out of the house and fishing.
I clipped on the Autowalker 115s and started fan casting the first spot. I failed to raise any fish and after 30mins I switched to a soft plastic and got a few smaller pollock and some nice coalies. The bigger pollock didn't seem to be active yet...
As the tide started coming in and the current picked up, I anchored-up and moved to a different spot.
Again I started with the Autowalker but after 15mins I had no swipes. I was about to give up and accept defeat when I saw splashes behind my lure and a fish hooked up momentarily before getting off!
Game on...
They were more like slaps on the lure by multiple fish, so I assumed they were coalfish. I hooked up on the next cast and after a spirited fight, I pulled a nice coalie in the boat.
I was chuffed with my fish but I really wanted to get a pollock... Coalfish come up on the surface while hunting throughout the year (seen them blitz sprats in February), so I wasn't too surprised to get them.

Lovely coalie!

A few casts later and a fish partly breached and took my lure... Now, this was what I was after!
Took a bit of drag but I soon had him under control, my first ever January pollock on a topwater. The day was made for me...

Job done!

Quickly released the fish after a couple pics and put the Autowalker back in the case. It did its job well.
I put on a shad and had a couple nice pollock before heading back home.
What a fantastic wee session!
Here's the video of the fish.

Can't really ask for much more this winter. Gonna try for a session on the rocks if the weather behaves but other than that it'll be more chilling-out at home for me this month.

Tight Lines

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!