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Thursday, 9 August 2018

They're back!

Had a great day yesterday with the return of the fishing-mad Geordies from last year! The day also saw us catch the first mackerel of the year and I'm so glad they're finally in!
We started the day around 06:30 in a shallow bay hoping for a topwater bite. The lads have been here since the weekend and the weather hadn't been kind to them. Constant Southwesterlies and rain made fishing hard for them but yesterday the wind died down and I was hoping that the fish would be up for it. There seemed to be some bait in the bay keeping very close to the shore and I am not sure if it affected things but despite our efforts, the topwater stuff wasn't happening...
Change of plans and on went the softplasics and metals, and we were soon catching.
The fish were surprisingly deep in the morning and the bites relatively slow. It could be that most fish were concentrated where the bait was but we persisted at our spot and soon enough things got better.
It was only Keith and Mick over this time and they were both hooking into average fish in turns thus keeping me busy with the net. Mick was working mostly metals while Keith had softplastics on and the fish showed an equal preference in the morning. They were both kitted out with new ''finnessy'' rods and that made a difference on the day as the bites were more often gentle taps.
On the day we tried 3 marks and caught fish in all of them. The last mark was a sheltered, deep water  rock-wall and it was there that Mick lost a big fish at our feet (unhooked itself on the rocks!) and soon after Keith got the best fish of the day. We were seeing lots of sandeels around and the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel matched the hatch well!
By that time I had to go but the lads kept fishing and by the time I arrived home, Keith had gone and caught an even better fish!
Below some pics of the day.

Nice pic for Keith

A decent one for Mick.

Keith's in!

Mick's in!

Slab of bronze.

Hello there!

Best fish of the day to Keith!

And an even better one after I left!!

I was elated that the lads managed to get such a great day after the tough few days they had..
August is usually very unsettled here but now that the mackerel are in, its time for some light gear fun!
Great to see and guide the lads again and Skye showed its colours once more. Pity that the fish weren't up for the topwater bite, especially since I've changed trebles to all my lures and needing to test the treble configurations, hopefully will get some settled weather to do that soon...

Tight Lines!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Guiding a French team and more fly fishing...

Last week I was booked to guide three spirited French anglers that drove all the way to Skye from the suburbs of Paris!
Jacques, Pierre and Jean-Paul were keen to sample some of Skye's saltwater fishing and we couldn't have picked a better day to do it. I picked them up at 06:00 from their accommodation and we drove to my favourite shallow bay. It was an overcast, warm morning with only a slight breeze that didn't dissuade the midges at all (French insect repellent don't work on Scottish midges!)!  The plan was to try and get a few fish off the top and then fish with the usual softs and metals.
The plan took a wee backstep after Jacques though he lost his iPhone and I had to retrace our steps to find it... Typically, all the way back in the car...😆
Apart from Jacques, the others were only occasional anglers and thus not very familiar with modern lure fishing techniques. I had the first cast to try and show them how to 'walk the dog' and I got a hit straight away midway in the retrieve! Immediately I gave the rod to JP and after a couple casts, he started getting the hang of it.. I could see a couple follows from fish and soon enough he hooked up to a lovely 2pounder.
A good start to the day and Pierre was next... He got a few follows and bumps but unfortunately not a topwater fish for him... This was soon rectified after I put a softplastic on a 20g cheburashka and he had his first pollock as well.
The tide state wasn't actually favourable for this mark but near the change point things started to liven up and everybody started hooking up with the softplastics.. Surprisingly Jacques (the most experienced of the group) hadn't caught a fish yet!  After the others managed a couple more each, I decided to change his presentation from a paddletail to a darting slim and he was in soon after! Took him a while but he landed the best fish of the morning of approx 5-6lbs.
It was then time to change marks and moved to a trickier ledge where distance and right presentation was key on the day.
Here the experience of Jacques showed as he caught some nice 60+ cm fish and ended the day with a 70cm! The lads kept a few fish for tea but the larger ones went back quickly to keep growing!
It was a very enjoyable day with some true gentlemen and Im glad that everyone caught some decent fish.

JP with his first 'Lieu' and on a topwater!

Pierre was next...

Jacques fight back!

A solid fighter!

The next day I decided to do something that's becoming a favourite style of outing for me. That is, to start early around dawn with topwaters and then switch to the fly gear.
It was another overcast day with a slightly stronger breeze. I started with the well known Xorus Patchinko imitation of the smaller size (10ish cm), that I find works very well in choppier water. After a few dozen passes with the lure I got 2 slaps on it from very decent fish but again, as usual, no hookup!  It's so frustrating when they slam the lure so hard that they don't get hooked. And it's usually the bigger specimens that do that...
Anyway, a few casts later and I connected to a feisty 3pounder that was well hooked from the first and middle treble. No more topwater interest after that..
Switched to the Fly and after a bit of the usual faffing about to get the casting right, I connected to a good fish! A good fight but soon enough he was up for a pic. Still surprised how the gentle pressure of the fly rod manages to get them out of the snag, but then again this isn't a very snaggy spot anyway...
Some more casts later, and while working the area where the topwater was hit by a better fish, I got a solid take and immediately realised I was connected to a better fish. Another good fight ensued with plenty of 'hairy' moments but I soon managed to coax her towards me and onto the weedy ledge. A lovely fish around 6-7lbs and I'm convinced it was the same one that hit the topwater at the start of the session! A few pics and then I let her go back in...

Here's the video.

A very productive morning and I was back for breakfast well before 10 AM!
Something that Ill start experimenting with in the next few weeks will be to change the trebles on all my topwaters. I'll try and see if there's any improvement on the hookup ratio by using different types and sizes of trebles, i.e short shanked, round bend, coloured etc.
I'm sure in some cases the lure's action might be affected significantly but as long as I get some more of those hard hits ill be happy...

Tight lines!


Saturday, 7 July 2018

A long hike for the big ones...

About this time every year, I tend to get to marks that are harder to reach as Skye is packed with tourists and I prefer to avoid the crowds. Moreover the fishing can be tremendous as well!
Thus on Thursday I took a long hike to my favourite southern mark and started fishing about midday.
The tide had just started to ebb and it was sunny though with a brisk southerly wind and a bit of a swell.
I started casting my usual sps and metals but was getting only tiny pollock that seemed to be shoaled up. Surprisingly for this mark, the coalies weren't about either along with the mackerel that have yet to show up...
Took me about half an hour till I got the first proper bite on a 6" Sluggo on a 20g darting jighead. This mark doesn't produce lots of fish, but what it offers is usually big! The first fish turned out to be the smallest of the lot at 66cm...
They were keeping to a relatively tight spot and casts a few metres either side wouldn't get hit. I clipped on a couple slow jigs too (as the wind was getting stronger) and in all, I had about 50-50 of the fish caught on the metals and softs.
Unfortunately, even though I was using my trusty LSJ setup, I had a brute of a fish take lots of drag and actually manage to open the snap (Owner P-24 Lead snap #1!). Nevertheless, a few more big ones made me feel better after that...

In good condition though a tad thin..

All solid fish here!

A nice kelpie...

 Here's a video of a couple fish only as the battery run out...

A great day in the sun and I honestly cant believe how good the weather has been so far.
Even though I do love this mark, I'm planning to get a RIB in a few months just so I can reach marks like this more easily! Growing
Had a morning's searching session today, trying to find some mackerel as I've had reports of a few of them getting caught but alas I didn't manage to find any.. Hopefully, it won't be long now for them...

 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: 30- 40g slow jigs, various soft plastics


Sunday, 24 June 2018

Birthday morning guiding and trout fishing!

On Friday it was my birthday and I had arranged to get on a boat with my girlfriend in Loch Morar, for a bit of trout fishing/picnic. I had also had a request for a guiding session on the same day and since the lads didn't have another day for it, I decided to take them out on a very early morning session.
We set off at 5AM and reached the mark in 25mins (usually takes 40!). A quick hike down to the rocks and conditions were looking perfect... Overcast, slight chop and ebbing tide.
I set up John and Jamie with softplastics on cheburashka on my two medium setups and after a few casts, John was in! The fish fought well but soon enough a decent pollock was up on the rocks. John caught a few more fish while Jamie was getting bites but failing to connect... I had given Jamie a stiffer, less forgiving rod and the fish being fussy nibblers didn't help him to strike home... After a while, the bites slowed down and it took many lure changes to entice them again... Time was passing and I was worried that Jamie might not catch a fish! We changed a couple spots and as the tide was nearing the low mark we started getting bites again. I had set Jamie up with a soft jerkbait on a darting jighead and he soon hooked up to a good fish! A good fight and we managed to land it after dislodging it from the kelp... Jamie hooked up to another good fish soon after and another good fight ensued! I then set John up with the same presentation and he managed to get a nice coalie just before it was time to go!
A chunk!

Early morning face.

John with a hard fighter.

Wanted the soft jerkbait...

Took him a while but...

And another one!
I drove the lads home and then I was off to get the ferry to Mallaig and then on to Loch Morar with my girl! We had a slow start (could be better if I had brought the right lures with me!) but found some fish while slow trolling some mini spoons. Also, I had good results trying mini slow jigs for the brownies with the 7g Duo metal Tetra jig catching a fair share of the day's total... Definitely something worth experimenting more with, in those deep lochs...

Lovely Morar trout.

On the mini slow jig!

Some colour on them!

Not a bad day!
Couldn't really ask for more on my birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Now I'm hoping to have my own boat next time I'm on loch Morar...

Tight lines!

Friday, 15 June 2018

What a cracking day's guiding!

On Tuesday I had arranged to meet up with father and son Sandie and Ben for a days fishing. The lads were very lucky with the weather as we had gale force winds and rain the next day. On the day though, we had a slight breeze that kept away the midges and an overcast sky. Perfect pollock conditions.
They came from Oban and had been fishless on their last few outings, thus were needing a good fish fix... I had just the right place in mind, a shallow bay that tends to hold plenty of average fish and thought it would be a good start to the day.
We set up on our spot and I rigged up the lads with softplastics on my medium setups. I turned my back to grab the camera and start filming but they were already connected to fish!
The pollock started coming in thick and fast, all between 2.5lbs-6lbs and in excellent condition. I think this sudden rise in water temperature and the nice weather for almost a month has definitely contributed to this. All the fish fought surprisingly hard and went back very 'green'...
We used mainly soft plastic paddletails on 18g-22g cheburashka and also slim soft jerkbaits and gulp jerkshads on 15g-20g darting jigheads. Metals have been less productive lately..
After a good few fish I gave Ben a topwater lure to try as the conditions were good and the fish relatively active. He had caught a new PB of 65cm already and was keen to try something else.. He had a few casts and I could see a few fish investigating the lure but wouldn't take. Then while the lure came close to the rock's edge a pollock jumped out of the water and smashed it right in front of us! Mental!, and the look on their faces was priceless! Unfortunately, it missed the hooks and despite persevering, we had no more takers.

Fishing duo..

A chunky one for Ben...

And one for Sandie...

Average size.

A better one.

Hard fighter.

The jerkshads were killing it.

Hooked up!

After a while the bites started slowing down and we decided on a move to a deeper mark, that usually offers fewer but bigger fish. The softplastics kept producing here too and it was here that Sandie hooked the biggest fish of the day... It fought hard but slowly he managed to get it close and I slid it in the net! A beautiful pollock of slightly over 70cm and a new PB for him too!

Daddy does it!

Fun times!

A couple more spots were checked out during the day but it was evident that the 'golden time' had passed. The lads got a few more fish before we decided to call it a day. Had to repair the bottom of the net as it broke after landing so many fish and my thumbs were a bloody mess but it was all worth it in the end... A great days guiding, with good craic and happy faces! It was a pleasure fishing with such passionate anglers and hope to do it again.

Tight Lines!

Gear used
Rod: APIA Foojin'R Best Bower 96MLX, Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Power Rock S90H
Reel: Stradic FK C3000, Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X8 PE 1.2, Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs
Lures: Various