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Monday, 3 June 2019

Guiding the troopers!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of guiding three gentlemen from England. Richard, Pete and Mark were keen to experience Skye's pollock fishing as they come mainly from a freshwater background and don't get the chance to rockfish much.
The weather was against us from the off with strong SW winds and a non-stop downpour for most of the day. Moreover, we had big tides this week and I know that these conditions when combined can get fish to lockjaw...
Despite the adversity, we had a reasonably good start, with Mark getting most of the fish on a pink Sidewinder rattleback sandeel. Even though we tried to replicate this pattern (and even sharing his lures) he just kept getting most of the fish! An incident that tends to happen sometimes when fishing in groups and I suppose its because of a combination of factors such as a person's retrieve style, setup, cast placement etc. Richard had a couple fish on metals and Pete managed a female cuckoo wrasse.
After the bites dried up on the first spot, it was time to let Peter have a go with the fly rod as that was on his list for the trip. We visited a shallow kelpy mark and as it was sheltered from the wind, he was able to let a few casts. He hooked up on the third or fourth cast and it was a decent dark fish that gave him the runaround!
The others soon joined in with the spinning gear and soon everyone was getting bites!
There seemed to be some bait near the rocks and a seal was hunting nearby. At some point, the pollock started pushing bait near the top and smashing them on the surface! We could see baitfish jumping (more like coalies or herring than sandeels) and pollock come clean out of the water... It was a bit confusing as to who was praying what but sufficient to say that it was awesome to see such activity!
Mark had a go with a topwater but other than a couple bumps he didn't get any to stick. They seemed fixated on what they were feeding and medium-sized paddletails worked best.

Hardy troopers!

First cuckoo of the season.

A nice bend..

Throughout the day bites didn't come easily and we really had to work for them, but every fish was in tip-top condition and fought well. Usually, May fish tend to be thin and a bit slow but this year seems different and the big baitfish shoals probably provided ample food for them.
We finished the day on a deep water mark that tends to give a few fish but with the potential for a better size.
Richard hooked up first but the fish reefed him and it all went a bit quiet after that with only a few tentative bites on our lures. Pete kept persevering and changing lures and spots a lot and he then got the fish of the day! I ran to put the net under a lovely conditioned 65cm pollock that got caught on a 2" curly tail grub on a 10g jighead!
It goes to show that especially this time of year, big fish can be caught on tiny presentations and it's not always the big lure equals big fish... 
Excellent condition.

Notice the tiny jighead...

We then released the fish and after a few more casts, decided to call it a day.
It was a hard days fishing but the gents got the results they wanted and we all went home with a smile on our faces. That's the kind of session that sticks to mind for a while...

Tight Lines!


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