Sunday, 21 October 2012

20/10/2012 - Torness & Dunbar Harbour

View towards Torness Outflow
Time - 1600-2130
Weather - Lovely
Water - High tide at 1830
Method - Isome jigged & various lures
Total - 5
Species - Coalfish

A free afternoon transpired out of nowhere and I soon decided on a spot of sea fishing. My recent sortie in Dunbar Harbour had intrigued me with a couple of unidentified fish whilst the attendance of small Coalfish would nicely stave off a blank.

A quick text to inform H & J of my intentions with the offer of a lift met with the almost perfect response that they were already at the Torness Outflow if I wanted to join them for a pop at some Bass.

I parked at Skateraw and ignorantly made my way to the Inflow. A quick exchange of texts put me on the right course and I continued along the shore past Torness. A couple of guys were fishing next to the promontory at the power station and reported a Ballan Wrasse on the first cast and nothing since.

On arrival at the outflow there were a good dozen or so anglers having a go. J had already taken a few Bass whilst H had been distracted as usual by the rock pools and their various inhabitants. I set up a rod for each with a small weight and a barbless size 16 with some Isome for the rock pools and a borrowed lure and jighead from J to target a maiden Bass. As they were leaving at 1630 I was left to it against the incoming high tide. It wasn't too long before I snagged the Bass rig and lost it (after a couple of near misses, snags not fish). I had another go with a similar set up using my own tackle but with no success.

The tide was flooding more of the rock pools now and I had a wee explore around them. H had told me they were hoaching with blennies as well as loads of other tiddlers whilst also educating me in the difference between small fish and their equally sized prawns. I found a nice run with the current running gently through it where almost a swarm of little fish congregated in an attempt to get my size 18 in their gob. Only one managed to do so but was off as soon as I lifted it out of the water. Their identities remain unknown.

Codling (not mine)
With the tide almost at its peak and not much space to manoeuvre between the hungry Bass hunters I decided to head back up and have a pop at the Inflow prior to heading to Dunbar Harbour for an evening session. I spoke to the two Anglers at the promontory again who'd had no further success. However as I was there one of their rods started tinkling (they had bell bite indicators attached). The nephew struck and was immediately snagged. However a couple of lusty pulls freed his gear and the fish was still on. It turned out to be a Codling (see pic) taken on a strip of Mackerel.

I left them and had a stab at both sides of the Inflow, as often without success and headed back to the car and onto Dunbar Harbour hoping to investigate these mystery fish from my previous visit.

The bridge in the harbour was still up meaning it would be the town side again, but this was fine. I headed for the harbour mouth and tried Isome along the bottom and a lure on my second rod. With nothing doing I was able to get moving along the harbour wall in pursuit of my mystery fish. While there wasn't a repeat of my 'Wrasse attack', there were plenty of wee Coalies about and the drop/lift method was invoking chases and flashes at the Isome, but few actual takes. Soon enough I had one on the dock. A prawn boat came in and began the process of chucking away it's unwanted take to the waiting seals. Soon a couple of small flatties appeared dozily swimming about in the surface. H informs me these are often thrown back by the prawn boats, hence their surface bewilderment. As before, they didn't show any interest in the Isome.

I was delighted to see the re-appearance of my viparous blenny/gurnard/squid/monster of the deep unidentified fish. Watching the way it propelled itself, although I'm sure it was a fish, J's seemingly leftfield suggestion that it might be a squid was quite startling. It didn't seem to use it's thin tapering tail at all using it's large pectoral fins at the bulkier head end to slowly glide its way around much like you see squid doing.

Although the short film footage isn't great (from a harbour wall at night), I think it gives at least a decent impression of the style of the fish. I've attached it at the end of this post.

As time progressed I fished round towards the drawbridge again finding some interest here and there from small Coalies with most attention coming at the drawbridge wall.

Once the tide turned and there was a visible flow out of the old harbour a massive shoal of small coalies (as it turned out) appeared seemingly chomping their way through any edible detritus exiting through the channel. Lifting and dropping a small shad lure through them provoked loads of interest and I ultimately managed to bank 5 for a personal Coalfish record tally.

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