Sunday, 30 October 2016

Fall Back on Criccieth Beach

Well I hope you all remembered the clocks going back today!

I was up surprisingly early today given that you are supposed to enjoy an extra hour in bed, realistically I should've gone fishing right away but I headed over to Criccieth mid morning.
First port of call was Criccieth Tackle box to pick up some more Slow Jigs  and to catch up with Russell. I stayed a wee while as we were discussing all manner of things from Shore Jig rods to holiday destinations. 
After coffee and lunch which Russell kindly provided, I went down the Marine side of the castle for a spot of light gaming.

First of all I was fishing Gulp and Isome on a 10g Drop Shot rig, fished at range. I started catching pretty much straight away with a nice mix of Dab and small Whiting.

The massive amounts of Whiting became a bit of a nuisance so I switched to using a 7g HTO Fugitive jig, but guess what?
Yep, the Whiting kept coming.

Thankfully the Mackerel also Switched on as the sun fell and the tide rose, I have to say it was some solid Mackerel game with plenty of fish above 25cm. I love it when you cast a jig at maximum range and they just slam it on the drop, I always say it but ,the tinsel chuckers don't know what they are missing out on with these fellas, with the right tackle they are some great sport!
I did try to get some photo's but unless you bang them on the head they just don't stay still.

The Whiting also got better as the sun fell, they ain't so bad as they get a little larger.

HTO lrf lures

All in all it was a damn pleasant afternoons fishing with calm seas and plenty to keep me occupied, the sunset was pretty damn good too.

Tight Lines.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Last Leg of My Highland Fling

Our last day of our highland trip originally scheduled a session at Neist Point but, seeing as we had already ticked that off, the decision was made to break up the Journey a little instead of increasing the trip back to Edinburgh. Scott had done the driving and was pretty tired and I was happy to just chill a bit for sure.
Therefore, we fished a little pier near our hotel that we had spotted on arrival, employing our light game gear once again. The pier was pretty stiff with small Coalies which we happily bagged up on, Scotland seems plagued with them to be honest.


Scott also got into a fairly decent fish which was pretty difficult to land given that we were quite high up, a nice fish though and the only Cod of the trip.

Shortly we had had enough of Coalfish and we headed back down to Loch Etive to see if we could tick another species off my list - a Grey Gurnard.

On the way down we stopped briefly at the Commando Memorial and admired the Cairngorms.

The mark at Loch Etive is pretty ideal; it is at the end of a strange grassy pier where the sea bed drops away over a steep, deep shelf onto quite clean ground.
Fishing a dropshot rig with Gulp for lure I think it was my second cast tat gained me my first  ever Gurnard.

I caught maybe half a dozen or so too, mine were all small but Scott got some decent ones.

Among the Gurnard I also caught two bloody Sand Gobies.

I don't like Sand Gobies, they plague me at home, they are a ridiculous fish and not worthy of deliberately targeting in my opinion. Oh well its another species I suppose.

Here's a couple of other species I caught before heading off to Scotts in Edinburgh.

Another very small Grey Gurnard
A Whiting
Well finally getting a Gurnard certainly got the monkey off my back. In fact many fish aren't really hard to catch, it's more about finding the right locations. As the old saying goes "you cant catch what isn't there!".

Well our final session was a pretty pleasant way to round off the fi shing, a good bit of relaxation and nothing too serious.

Scotland is epic and it certainly will not be the last time I visit, there is just so much there and so many different approaches that can be taken to achieve different results. I can see how some spend years there but, for me at present;  though a bit of a love affair, it was more like a Highland fling.

Tight Lines.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Skye Experience!

After packing up the car at Applecross and heading off once more we were immediately greeted with more stunning sites for; on the campsite there were two Stags and three or four Doe in the field, such a sight I had never seen before, sure I had seen Deer before but never a Stag let alone two! I tried to get a good photo yet I just could not, the light was just not right and the deer were already "on the hoof", still what an awesome experience.
 Driving back down the pass we would see several more Deer and already the day was looking good.

We had a two hour drive ahead until we met with Dimitrios on the South of Skye and once again my eyes tried to process the awesome sights.

We arrived at the carpark in Elgol a little before Dimitrios, so Scott and I had a little dangle off of the harbour slip way whilst waiting for the Wizard to arrive.

Scott had hooked up on his first Launce of the year and whilst he was photographing his capture, I was quietly presenting a 1" Gulp fish fry on a 0.6g jighead to an unsuspecting flounder. Scott reckoned I was being sneaky but, I didn't want to say anything as the fish was giving me a bit of the run around and I didn't want to lose it!
A nice fish of circa one and a half pound was however landed.

Scott also caught a tiny Plaice before we followed Dimitrios onto the cliff tops and made our way to the mark.
Upon arriving we were met with quite challenging conditions, a stiff South Easterly was blowing right at us and creating a decent swell. 
Initially I was fishing with a heavy setup and casting 40g jigs in to the horizon and covering a good amount of ground, again I was hoping for a sizeable fish yet i only hooked up on small Coal fish.
After a while I gave in and used my light game setup and some 7g jigs, as did Scott. We bagged up on small Pollock when sods law came into play; I got a hook up on a decent fish!
I actually got the fish to the surface at one point and just when I thought I had it beat, the fish took a strong and unstoppable dive. There was nothing I could do as the fish stripped my line whilst Scott giggled in amusement of the fishes power, lodged under a ledge I know I stood little chance of getting it out and eventually pulled for a break.

With that Dimitrios had decided we needed the "Skye experience" and suggested that we head up North to Neist Point, sure enough we agreed.
After another trek and drive we arrived at Neist and were actually met with equally challenging conditions but stunning scenery.

At our first spot Dimitrios hooked into a decent fish but the swell and waves made landing the beast too difficult and thus we saw another fish lost, it was genuinely far too dangerous to persist here so we moved to the right of the headland.
This time it was my turn again to lose a decent fish, she threw my slow jig at the waters surface! Again though, I had no idea how I would've actually landed it being high up from the water, another short move and we had found a good pocket of fish.

Dimitrios was first in and landed a tidy fish of about seven and a half pound.

Well there is a reason I call him "the Wizard"; great angler, great fish!

Scott was next up with another tidy fish;

I was starting to get a bit desperate now and clipped on a 30g Apia Enryu Slow jig, cast it into the distance and freespooled it down to the deep sea bed. Working the jig on my less than ideal Hart Boushido, I got a wallop and leaned into a good fish.

I knew it was a decent fish but, after getting it about half way up I just had a feeling this wasn't a Pollock and as it reached the surface I saw the colour and thought it was a Cod. Scott corrected me as he shouted "Ling, You've got a Ling"!
Instantly my adrenaline turned to sheer glee as I lead the fish along the rocks and into Scotts grasp, the sea surged and fell away pulling the fish down into an abrasive crack, for a split second I thought my prize had been lost, but Scott had hold. Seconds later the fish was on the shore and what a fish she was; at 7.76lb it was a cracking shore ling by any measure, let alone lure caught.

The fish was released and fits of laughter and hugs all round ensued, what a moment!
I actually said as I changed my knackered 30lb leader "I dont give a shit if I don't catch another fish!", to which the guys smiled.
Of course I still had to get a Pollock and albeit quite small, a Pollock I caught nonetheless and a nice addition to the days tally.

The Skye experience indeed!
That night we hit Portree for food, drinks and a bit of celebration, I would say it was well deserved and well enjoyed too.

That was a day I will remember for life, I knew a decent shore ling would be possible on jig, I never thought I could pull it off though, amazing.


Driving up through the Highlands of Scotland is simply breathtaking, there is just miles and miles of awesome scenery strewn with rivers, mountain streams and lochs to make your mouth water. So much of it must be unfished or seldom fished by any anglers at all, for the life of me I couldn't get over how stunning it was, really it is an all-round lure anglers dream!
Scott did laugh as it seemed around every corner I was pointing out a tasty looking holding pool,  deep undercut meander on a river or deep water outcrop on the vast lochs, it's just stunning!
The mountains are something else too, while I am used to some quality landscape here in Snowdonia, the Highlands are just so wild and imposing and have a quality that just leaves you in awe, no photo could really do it justice, especially with my wee snapper. Nevertheless I had to take some!

The very last picture there is actually our mark in Applecross. Scott has fished here many times before and usually catches some nice Cod and Big Pollock, so that is what we hoped for.

We fished on top of the ledges high above the snaggy, shelving, kelp strewn bed. Mainly casting jigs and large soft plastics in the hope a large Pollock would take hold at any time, but boy were things slow! Not knowing the area I really wondered if the fish had buggered off for winter, yet couldn't reconcile that in my mind, nevertheless we ended up scaling down to catch the small Wrasse that were biting our Soft Plastics yet failing to hook up.

I have to say, I am glad we made that choice as the mark was stiff with Cuckoos and I caught my first ever male Cuckoo!

I did lose a decent Pollock, as did Scott, I caught a few small ones and Scott got one off a couple of pound or so. The Wrasse became the mainstay, though it felt strange fishing for those on my 9'6 Shore game!

A nice wee Ballan in the midst
I can't actually believe this, but I don't have a picture of any of Scotts fish from Applecross, I do have a picture of him fishing against the awesome backdrop though;

Once more we fished until just after sundown, I was keen to go tho the local pub I had heard so much about. On the way home we did have one close encounter with something big, a bloody great Highland Cow!

I got pretty close to this thing and whilst I was a tad concerned I might get barged over, he didn't seem bothered by me at all and just stared as he nonchalantly chewed on his supper!

Eventually we made it to the pub all scrubbed up and ready for some seafood tucker and local beverages.

The pub in Applecross is awesome, really friendly staff who make you feel very welcome with great service. The food is outstanding too and is complimented by a range of local ales and Highland Whiskeys, if you are up that way I can highly recommend it, I would say it was worth the trip just for that experience and banter alone.
What a great way to round of a beautiful day though, this road trip was really turning out well.

The next day we were heading to Skye to meet with Dimitrios; an angler I have been wanting to meet for some time and hopefully we would get into some bigger fish, still it was time for some shut eye before making our next leg of the journey!

Blog to follow, tight lines! 

Rockfish Lochaline!

I have recently been on a really cool road trip to Scotland, the main reason for the trip was just to catch up with my mate Scott, but being as we are both keen anglers it stands to reason that a fair few fish were caught.

I headed up to Edinburgh on the 17th, my first solo long haul since passing my test believe it or not!
It was great to see Scott and his partner Lillian again, it really didn't seem like it had been so long after some food and drinks though!

The first day of the trip was pretty chilled, we just went Coalie bashing somewhere near St Abbs and then to Dunbar where I met a WSf forum member whom I have often exchanged Pm's with, it was a nice wee starter session.

The real trip was about to start though; Scott had planned out a 4 day trip in the highlands for us, starting at Lochaline and finishing at Loch Etive. 
Lochaline was always planned to be a light game session as there are several species to be had there that are just hard to catch here in Wales and a few I really wanted to tick off, mainly Cuckoo Wrasse, Rockcook Wrasse and Short Spined Sea Scorpion.

Being a bit late in the year bites were a little slow at Lochaline and I used Gulp Fish Fry and even some of Scotts Prawn at times, both rigged on a dropshot rig. Yeah I know prawn ain't lure fishing but getting the fish was more important than technique that day. 

Lochaline from the Pier 
I knew some of the species I wanted would be difficult being a bit late in the year, especially so far North, however I did get my most wanted; my first ever Cuckoo Wrasse, which took a fine fancy to my 1" Berkley Gulp Fish Fry.

I also got a larger one on Prawn and surprisingly even one on an ima slow fall jig!

Here are some other species I caught before a stunning sunset too;

Goldsinny Wrasse
Leopard Spotted Goby
Long Spined Sea Scorpion

During the time Scott and I were Rockfishing, Scott also had a Shorecaster with a stinky bait out too and after a Doggie, Scott landed a nice Thornback Ray on a Sandeel Squid wrap.

A tidy fish from at least 75m down!
Scott obviously caught a great deal of fish including a tidy Ballan Wrasse and you can find a good perspective of the session on his Blog.

After sundown I must admit to finding the Poor cod a real amusement, there was certainly no need for prawn here, they were all over my fish fry like it was going out of fashion! 
I found them a real novelty to be honest, although I know where to catch them in Wales, they aren't really a fish I would travel for, but seeing as I was there it'd be rude not to right?!

Poor Cod are greedy little buggers!
We packed up about 19:30 and headed to the pub for refreshments and a tasty Steak and Ale pie before catching 40 winks at the Lochaline Dive centre. The next day we were heading to Applecross and a wee blog shall follow.

Tight lines.