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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!  

Wow!

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


Dimitrios 

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

Gamechanger!

 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. 









Sunday, 1 November 2020

Here come the storms...

 It's so frustrating not getting any decent weather when you know the fishing will be great, but this is what we've had to content with the past couple weeks. 

I've been  booked almost every weekend but weather has been far from ideal. Had a new lad visit a few weeks back and we managed a boat session in the West of the Island. The fishing was made difficult by the wind and waves but we managed to winkle out a few. They were staying low and quite picky. Fortunately I had a secret weapon... My Northern English friends Mike and Chris, are making their own jigheads and softplastics, and they were kind enough to send me some! On the day, the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel imitation in homemade darting jigheads proved to be lethal, taking most fish!






The next week was time for serious Skye-addict Rob to come up yet again... We wanted to go somewhere different and for once, the weather  was good. We decided to head to a mark that was one of the main places that motivated me into getting a boat. It's the famous Idrigill Point and the MacLeod Maidens! Only took me about 5 years of living here to actually visit it...

It was a very pleasant day and we found fish straight away. Me off the top, on an Autowalker 115s and Rob on a soft plastic. My fish was actually substantial and I was still fighting it while Rob got his in the net. Then I stupidly tried for the fancy double-header-in-the-net pic and was punished for my insolence soon enough... The big pollock came close to the net and just at the last minute it thrashed and got one hook on the outside of the net. Another thrash and it unhooked itself heading straight into the depths!  Typical...

I jokingly said that this was gonna be my best fish of the day and was proven right as we had plenty of fish but not as big! Surprisingly, although these pollock were in perfect condition with fat bellies, they didn't really fight as hard as usual...

Rob had some good ones on the fly as well but as we were getting closer to the ebb, the current intensified significantly and we had to move. The tides were massive and in retrospect this mark might be better in neap tides. We found a couple concentrations of fish but the coalies were in plague proportions and it was difficult getting a lure past them.  Moreover the current demanded we change our approach and I opted for a soft jerkbait on a 40g bullet jighead while Rob went for 60g plus metals with a single large assist hook.  Both presentations started finding some better fish but no monsters unfortunately. It was great meeting up with Rob again and finally fishing this mark. Definite potential there...












Last week I had return visitor David with his son this time and unfortunately the weather was pants... We opted for a shore day and we fished 2 marks that offered some shelter. The first mark was not nearly as sheltered as I thought but David managed a nice cuckoo wrasse.  The next mark proved more fruitful with plenty of bites and some fish. The action died down after a couple hours and as the weather was getting even worse, we called it a day. The lads were proper soldiers fishing such conditions but unfortunately that's Skye weather! 







Was meant to be guiding yesterday but with 70mph winds and constant rain, we decided to cancel the outing. I really hope we get some settled weather soon as I'm aching for proper action!

I've also got a new reel to try out. My Biomaster has been sounding worse than a coffee grinder lately and after all this time I thought that it's time to retire it. I was hoping to get the new Shimano Saragosa but finances couldn't stretch so I went for a cheap and cheerful Shimano Sedona 4000XG. I know it's not a proper saltwater reel but at only 60quid, even if it lasts a couple seasons I'll be happy. While waiting for the Sedona to be delivered, I decided to open up the Biomaster and play around with it. I only ever oil and maybe change the occasional roller bearing in my reels so this was something new for me. With the help of YouTube it wasnt too hard and I identified where the problem was... The main shaft bearing under the top part of the reel was completely seized and also the roller bearing was sticky. I got some new bearings and now the reel works fine! So this is something that I'm keen to start doing more instead of paying someone else to do it for me (thank YouTube!).



I was also meant to sell my Yam 380s along with the old evinrude but I had to hang fire on that due to technical  issues. I'm thinking of getting something slightly bigger for next year but time and finances will tell if I'll manage to make it happen. 

October's been a busy month that flew by and I hope November will be more chilled out and with better weather. Either solo or with company, I'll make sure I get out every chance I get! 


Tight Lines.