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Monday, 3 May 2021

Slowly edging towards Spring.

 The weather has given us glimpses of Spring the past couple of weeks and I've had a few outings in salt and freshwater. Had a few nice fish on a short SIB session after work and got some nice underwater footage that I've yet to edit!  The pollock were up for larger and more natural baits than the reaction lures I tend to use this time of year and there seemed to be a mix of prespawn and postspawn fish.  My Northumbrian friends lures did well again.

A solid fish OTD.

A couple days ago I tried to open my sea trout account as well.  Took me a while, but I did find a group of sewin at a slightly different place of where I usually catch them. They were patrolling a rocky point close to some deeper water.  Got 3 fish stuck, landed 2 and had a couple missed hits as well. Only small but they were there and pretty as ever!

Beautiful silver missile.

 I also managed a very short session on the kayak, on our way back from a day trip. Fitted the fish finder to it as well and I was salivating at what I was seeing!  Definitely will be doing more of that soon. Typically, I only got 2 bites and landed a nice but skinny brownie...

Good size but skinny. 

The inflatable kayak has been a pleasure to use so far and my only gripe is that the rudder could be improved as the turns are quite wide. I'm sure I'll work something out for that...

My time has been more limited than usual the past couple months but now with some of the covid restrictions getting lifted, I hope to start the guiding and even more fishing! 

Tight lines 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Opening up my trout season!

 Had a few days around Arisaig last week and even though the weather still is wintry cold, It was dry enought to let me go trout fishing. I had a short kayak session in Loch Morar without getting a single bite or seeing any signs of life. It was great trying out the pedals on the kayak though and I was impressed with the speed (4.5kts) even with face on wind! 

Great potential.

Thats me...


The next day I opted for a session on a much smaller hill lochan that is a sort of a hidden gem. The water vegetation was looking much greener here and it wasnt long till I got the first fish of the day. It hit a green Ecogear S Grass minnow on a 5g tungsten cheburashka fitted with a chatterblade. I use this combo on a larger/heavier version for my seafishing but I thought it might work for early season trout if I downsized. 

Glad it worked.

Bonnie fish.

Small but beautiful.

 I had 6 hits, landed 3 fish and the rest managed to shed the hook, though not with their usual jumps. I find that early in the year they dont do that as much. Still those few fish were great fun on my old SPRO Mobile Stick 80UL and I was glad to have opened my trout account!

It was snowing again today so I think Ill wait a couple more weeks till im after them again. Im sure this Spring will come sometime this year...

Tight Lines

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Too many projects, too little time!

Been a while since my last post and this isn't because of nothing new happening. On the contrary, there's too much going on! 

Fishing has taken a back seat and I've only managed a couple sessions that were relatively productive. Finding the fish was the tricky part as they seemed to be concentrated in only a few places.  Once found, they were up for it and the chatterbait-cheburashka in particular was very effective. 







Unbelievably I even had some coalies hit the topwater back in February! I was let down by my action cam and smartphone battery life though and don't have the pics and videos that I should have from those sessions.  I blame the long sessions and the cold conditions for this. Especially my smartphone seems to get drained very quickly when I'm running Navionics and the trolling motor from it. I've bought a power bank to alleviate this problem. 

My friend Chris's homemade softplastics and jigheads/chebs have been doing very well too and I definitely think that the suppleness of homepoured softplastics is an important factor for their success in cold conditions and fussy fish. 

One of my mates forktails...


And a sandeel imitation.


I've had to repair the inflatable keel of my boat  as it started showing tiny holes along a seam and loosing pressure. It looks like it's an age related issue and I've tried to fix it by pouring Sealskin sealant in the tube. This seems to have sorted it for now. I really can't wait for my F-Rib to arrive but there's no clear ETA for that...

Unhappy with not having my new boat and affected by this lockdown, I took the plunge and bought an inflatable pedal kayak to fill the void...! It's a Story-1 dropstitch pedal kayak and only managed to have a wee try on it last week.  Hopefully I'll put it through its paces soon...

The yak minus the pedal gear.

Used it without the pedals just to get a feel for it...

The water chiller has been keeping the fish tank consistently at 12C but unfortunately the goldsinny wrasse has been getting aggressive towards some of the smaller inhabitants. It pecked the wee gurnard's tail and unfortunately the lobster got it soon after.  I think it might be time to release the wrasse and introduce some less territorial (and less toothy) fish. Definitely scorpions and maybe rockling again. The lobster has been incessantly rearranging the tank lately and I think it's time for moulting again.

Love gurnards now!

The starfish appeared out of nowhere weeks after putting it in the tank. The lumpfish unfortunately got taken by the lobster.

My plans for this month are to kick off the trout season and use the kayak as much as possible. Also, would really like a couple calm water days to get the boat out in the salt!

Tight Lines!

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Developments in my coldwater marine aquarium.

 A lot has happened to my fish tank since the last post I did about it. Back in Summer, the few unusually hot weeks, unfortunately caused some significant losses. My beloved scorpions, lemon sole and the rockling perished... Because of this, I'm planning on getting a water chiller in Spring to prevent this from happening again. 

I also had to remove a blenny and a big ballan wrasse that were too boisterous towards the other inhabitants of the tank. Lastly, Papi the goby and the veteran of the tank, died a few weeks ago, probably from old age!

It's not been all doom and gloom though. Current Inhabitants are: 1 lobster, 1 goldsinny wrasse, 1 pollock, 1 velvet crab, 1 baby blenny and a gurnard! Along with plenty of prawns and winkles for forage and tank cleaning.

Plenty of cover and structure. 

Queen of the tank. 

It's a very harmonious environment, although only after I taped up the lobster's claws as he was picking fish off while they were sleeping. Lobster's got very territorial and also is a landscape artist(!). It was very surprising seeing it move rocks and plants around just to create the lair it prefers! 

The gurnard is the latest addition and seems very chilled out in the tank. I was also given a tiny boarfish that seemed to be suitable for the fish tank but unfortunately it's tiny size and preference for open swimming to hiding, made it an easy snack. I hope I find a larger one of them as it was so cool!

Only the left one survives now.

Tiny boarfish. Acclimatised but eaten...

Them claws are secure with tape now...

I'm hoping to incorporate a couple more little fish now that the lobster has been "pacified". Think the gurnard needs a shoalmate as the lobster ate his brothers and would also love another sea scorpion. 
I still keep the same regime of adding some water once a month along with some sand vacuum and filter cleaning. Still feeding chopped frozen prawns with some whitefish and pellets for some variety. The pellets are lumpsucker feed and most fish along with the lobster love them.

All in all I still love messing around with the fish tank and see it evolve. With the horrible weather we've been having, it helps me feel better for not being able to go fish.

RIP Papi...

Sunday, 3 January 2021

First session of 2021 and a PB!

The weather for this weekend was meant to be calm but frosty. I decided to go on a shore session to begin the year. Was hoping a big mama pollock would show up and start this year with a bang!

Started with a 5" blue/silver shad on a 30g jighead. On the second cast I got a subtle take with the lure hard on the bottom and I struck into solid weight. I had set the drag pretty tight, even so this fish took some drag in short, slow runs. I knew it was a good fish but it didn't fight like a pollock.  Slowly I managed to get it closer. It kept trying to snag me up all the way in but soon enough I saw a brown lump coming up. It was a lovely cod and definitely a new shore PB at 3.6kg!

They're getting bigger! 

As New Year starts go, this was a cracker! I kept fishing and soon got amongst the pollock. There seemed to be plenty of  them but of only average size with the biggest going about 4lbs.

Average stamp.

In good condition.

Most fish took the lure close to the bottom while hopping it. Only a few came up on straight retrieve. Natural colours worked better.

On this session, I paired the Solpara Light Shore Jig rod with my 6000 Daiwa Ballistic LT and a 1.2PE braid. The combo worked well and I might use it more often. I was pleasantly surprised by the 25lbs Duel BIG fluorocarbon leader, as even though most fish tried to kelp me, it held up well. I hope the season continues like this and really looking forward to some settled weather so that I can get the boat out and play with the trolling motor/GPS anchor and also the new relief shading overlay by Navionics. Its amazing!  


Let's see what this year has in store for us and best wishes to all for good health and tight lines! 


Sunday, 20 December 2020

Inflating my boat.

 In various forums, Facebook groups etc that I follow, panel-floor sibs tend to be considered too faffy, heavy and generally hard work to set up every time. Most recommendations tend to be towards models with high pressure V-floors.

Having models of both Sibs (wood floor YAM 380S and V-floor Honwave T-32 IE) I like them both but tend to prefer the solid floor as it feels more like a "real boat", especially when it comes to fishing.

The time it takes to set up is comparable between the two sibs. The V-floor takes approximately 10 minutes while the wood floor 15 minutes. Deflating is the opposite as the YAM just needs a roll up while the T-32IE requires extra deflation with it's foot-pump in order to fit in it's bag.

Below  I have a video of how I inflate my YAM 380S in less than 15 minutes.

As you can see it's fairly easy and having two pumps, really speeds things up. The recent addition of the trolling motor adds a bit of time but its worth it! 

Tight Lines 

Wednesday, 16 December 2020


 The title referes to my recent acquisition of a Haswing Cayman GPS bowmount trolling motor. Its the cheapest model offering a GPS-anchor feature and even though I spent only a couple hours playing around with it, I'm very pleased with its performance.  Most of the fishing I do requires lots of moving about and usually over rough ground. Drift - fishing on a SIB is a pain and the constant anchoring and retrieving of the anchor, accompanied with the losses from snags, really deducts from the fishing time. Needless to say, I've had my eye on one of these motors for a while. They are used extensively in fresh and saltwater overseas and slowly becoming more common in freshwater here in the UK.  For some reason they haven't caught on in the salt here. 

My main issues with getting the motor were obviously the cost but also finding a way to mount it on the bow. I've put down a deposit for a new boat, but not gonna see it in the "flesh" till Summertime as the F-Rib production has been affected by covid etc this year. Anyway, I got the motor, and I decided to make a marine ply frame to mount it flat on the bow and held there by straps that connect to the sib's bow D-rings. 

The end result may not look the prettiest (further designing might be necessary), but it works and feels secure enough. 

I took the boat out the other day with a biggish tide and 20+mph winds and the thing actually worked! Can't wait to get out for some proper fishing with it now...

Fishingwise, either because of the weather or work commitments, I really haven't done much at all. Had a nice session over at the West side of the island but nothing spectacular.  Its been disappointing this Autumn, that I haven't done nearly as much fishing as last year and the times I was out, conditions were not good for topwater fishing.  It is what it is though and I'll hopefully get some good fishing next week. Here's some pics and videos of late.

This has been a testing year to say the least, but I do hope it will end on a more positive note. 

Tight Lines and stay safe.