Saturday, 1 December 2012

15/11/2012 - Eliburn Reservoir

Having seen the potential, H was keen to get back to Eliburn to get some more species ticked off. He arrived before me and set up opposite where we'd been situated on our previous visit. Being a complete addict, in the time since the last session he'd been reading up on method feeding tactics and couldn't resist getting a new waggler rod. His report is here.

Still recovering from the previous nights excesses I received a text saying he'd caught a Tench with his first cast on the method. Another new species for him. Then on the road another text said he thought he had an Ide as well which he'd keep in the net til I arrived. Top stuff.

On arrival one of the permit guys had been unable to identify the 'Ide'. At first I suspected it was a small Bream, but on reflection it is most likely one of the Hybrid's (Roach/Bream) I've seen caught there. Not content with one, he managed to snaffle another one not too long after. Still no Ide somehow.

So I set myself up as usual with maggots under a float at varying depths til I found some fish and another rod on the bottom. I'll usually use cubes of luncheon meat but today used sweetcorn squeezed into a ball of H's groundbait. As the latter rod is then put in a rest whilst the float rod demands more attention, I contrived to miss a few rattles on the sweetcorn rod (new bell indicator in action). However the maggot rod was proving slow and I was having to alter my depth a lot in a bid to find fish. Surprisingly, as it was a bit chilly, I had most success up in the water although these were proving to be what I call 'phantoms'. The float disappears, you strike and there's nothing, no resistance whatsoever. The fish has taken and spat the bait before you can strike. It never ceases to amaze me how quick they are able to do this. Sometimes after a missed strike, if you don't reel in, another 'phantom' bites, you strike and miss and this can repeat 3 or 4 times in the same cast. It gets to the point I occasionally do pre-emptive strikes hoping a fish has taken the bait but not yet pulled the float under. A tactic which hasn't yet worked.

Unfortunately the rest of this report is missing. After starting it, too much time elapsed before I recorded anything else and my memories have faded. Plenty more good info on Eliburn in my other reports if required.

25/10/2012 - Eliburn Reservoir

A typical Eliburn Roach
Total - 12
Species - Roach & Perch

Once the trout season had finished I'd promised to get H through to Eliburn in Livingston. I assured him I'd had t-shirt weather days there in November before (in fact, almost hot enough to go topless!!!) so there was no real rush, especially as we'd been targeting the sea a fair bit recently too.

A typical Eliburn Perch
On arrival I was a bit concerned as all my favourite pegs were already occupied. I also noticed much more pond weed than I'd seen for a while making some pegs and especially the 'arm' a bit more clogged up than would be ideal. Landing fish through the small channels between the weed might be an issue.

We set up on the east bank. H plumbed to find the depth and began with his maggots on the bottom under a float. It didn't take long before he was acquainting himself with the inhabitants. Whilst I connected with a couple of medium sized Roach a few feet off the bottom, H's first was a lovely wee Gudgeon, a new species for him. Seldom will one Gudgeon have had so many photos of itself taken.
His Majesty hard at work (the extra weed clearly visible)

There was occasional interest, but nothing hectic and I commented after an hour or so I was amazed we hadn't been ambushed by the usually prevalent Perch yet. Within seconds I had one on the bank, the aggressive wee nutjobs always amuse me with their compunction for a scrap.

The weather had been OK, but was improving nicely. Unfortunately in this country I always have the Billy Connolly weather forecast in my head. In Scotland, if it's sunny, that means it's going to rain and if it's raining, that means it's going to be sunny.

A slightly more decent Perch from the top end
I liken the Ide in Eliburn to Rainbow Trout. When you get them in your swim they are voracious, not shy at all and swirl for any thrown in maggots much like rainbows in a fish farm do for pellets. H was hoping for one of them and eventually I thought I'd spotted some moving around just in front of us (still without my polarised shades). There was the usual flurry of phantom bites (float goes, you strike, nothing there as they spit the bait before you can react). When we did manage to connect we could only land some more Roach.

A lovely Roach for H
In time things slowed down a bit. I often have success at the top end of the venue so on the way back to the car we had a dip in there. I think between us we had 5 fish in our first 5 casts (I've said it before, but I don't understand how (non-carpers at least) blank here. There were Gudgeon, some Roach and the always game Perch getting stuck right into our maggots and in no time we'd topped our catch totals right up. However the earlier sunshine had given way to blustery showers and I was happy to call it a day. H had 'won' with Roach, Gudgeon and Perch totalling 14 whilst my Roach & Perch tally was 12. With plenty more species to be caught, I knew it wouldn't be long before H dragged me back.

23/10/2012 - Torness

A numbers game
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For the second night in a row we headed to Torness. H was still in hot pursuit of a Conger whilst I'm still at the stage I'd be quite happy to get bothered by a crab.

On the way to the mark we were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl hunting on the open ground between the sea and the power station. The last time I was in the Holyrood Park Rangers office getting a permit for Duddingston Loch I'd noticed a pile of postcards which were for people to record owl sightings on and send them off so that relevant ornithologists could do whatever they do with the information. On return I looked up the website and duly reported our sighting. Well worth checking out at .

With a similar rod approach to the previous evening, I'd topped up my Mackerel bait with some squid this time (Both H & J are like a combination of walking tackle & bait shops) whilst H scaled down from full-on Mackerel flappers to slightly less ambitious sized Mackerel baits.

I'd also purchased some small bell bite indicators which meant the requirement to keep a close eye on the bait rods for movement was much less of an issue. As we began lobbing our lures about hoping for another 6lb Pollock, one of H's rods immediately began tinkling.

More prepared than the previous evening, H had brought a drop net and before long I helped him land another surprise (not a Conger or Cod anyway) in the form of a Lesser Spotted Dogfish (photos through link at end of report).

Whilst that was the sum of all catches on the bait rods, I was in hot pursuit of the shoal of Coalfish that could often be seen passing in pursuit of a shoal of sand eels. Using a dropshot/Isome combo I was having some success whilst for once H couldn't quite get the hang of it. With my Coalfish record haul standing at 6 I powered on until I reached double figures taking my total for both evenings to 11. A quick totting up of H's total's made the final score 12-11 to him although two of them were a muckle Pollock and a doggie. Still, better to catch something rather than nothing. I suspect we'll be back in pursuit of Cod 7 Conger soon enough.

H's account of the session and some better photos accessible here.

22/10/2012 - Torness

Time -
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H informed me he had three evening sessions in a row planned over at Torness in a bid to break his Conger duck and I was welcome to tag along. We would be fishing at the same spot I'd seen a Cod landed a day or two before so I was more than happy to exponentially increase my very limited sea/bait knowledge.

En route we stopped into Dunbar Harbour to wet our lines and hopefully see the as yet unidentified fish I'd watched on previous outings allowing Hutch to get a proper ID on them.

The shrimp boats were not long in and unloading, creating a bit of a hubbub. As well as plenty of scavenging gulls there were 5 seals in the harbour helping themselves to any unwanted catch.

Before long H was howking out Coalfish, banking 4 in no time whilst I could only explore the infinite variety of ways of missing fish. A bit frustrated it wasn't long before I had him back in the motor and heading to the intended destination.

I was set up with a pennel rig and a Mackerel bait on one rod whilst I'd use a variety of lures on my second rod. H set himself up with two bait rods using Mackerel flappers in a bid to entice a Conger. He also had a lure rod to keep active in between bait takes.

Very soon H was into a fish which turned into a Pollock I estimated at about 6-6.5lb (later weighed in at 5lb 12oz). We were quite high above the water level, but fortunately the fish tired quite soon and muggins was able to scramble down the rocks and lift it out as the waves threatened to sook it down the side of the breakwater blocks. An incredible and very unexpected start to the evening. He followed this up with another slightly above average (for here) Pollock and another couple a bit smaller to finish with 8 fish in total. Despite doing little wrong and even taking his rod and fishing from the same spot as him, I couldn't connect with even a piece of seaweed before eventually coaxing a small Coalfish ashore to avoid the granny.

The bait rods failed to do their job but we did have a couple of taps, H (typically) getting the biggest tickle but finding nothing on the end when he struck.

Whilst I didn't exactly have a great session myself, I was still pleased for H and delighted to see such a braw Pollock making the journey more than worthwhile.

H's account of this session and the one that followed can be viewed here.