Thursday, March 01, 2018

When the boat comes in.

Last month I visited Dunbar to have a fun session targeting coalfish after dark. As well as shoals of coalfish there were a few velvet swimmer crabs paddling around near the surface and also some oddly shaped small fish. I recalled spotting one of these distinctive looking fish a few years ago and I had an idea then what they were. After seeing a few I set about trying to catch one to see if I was right but had no luck. Everytime I put a jighead near one it swam down out of sight and besides the 2.3g #10 jigheads I was using were probably too big! Since that session I've been back a few times armed with a 3g controller float, some tanago hooks and a couple of raw prawns to bait them up with to try to catch one. Last week during a session there were a few of these small fish around again and with a bit of patience I successfully moved my rig into position without spooking the largest of them. With a bit of very gentle twitching I had the fish showing a little interest and then it took one of the miniscule baits on my three hook rig. Worried about it coming off it was very quickly wound in and swung up to my hand before being unhooked and popped into a small clear plastic tub for some photographs.

My suspicions were correct. The fish was a hooknose, also known as a pogge or an armed bullhead.
It's an odd little fish that has a hard bony body and the underside of its head is covered in small barbules which it uses to search for food on the seafloor.

Looking at the fish I was a little puzzled as to what a bottom dwelling species was doing swimming around near the surface and I suspect these are being brought into the harbour on shrimp boats along with their haul before being thrown over the side as they sort out their catch. Pure speculation of course and really I wasn't too fussy about how they had found their way into Dunbar Harbour, it was just nice to catch my first new species of the year.  

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Most wanted : Cyprus.

I'm off to Cyrus in April for a week's holiday with my girlfriend Lillian. I'll be doing some fishing whilst there and as it's our first time on the island I've been investigating what species I'm likely to catch. As well as many Mediterranean species that I'm already familiar with there are a few odd looking invaders from the Red Sea that I may encounter. I first heard about two of these because my mate Dimitrios caught them when he fished there last year.

The rather bizarre looking bluespotted cornetfish...
...and the equally weird silver cheeked toadfish.

It's another invasive species however that I've decided to add to my "Most Wanted" target list and it's one that you may recognise because they are a very popular exhibit in many aquariums.

The lionfish. Both beautiful and dangerous, in amongst its long elaborate fins are eighteen venomous spines.
In red above are the spines to avoid. Thirteen in the first dorsal fin, one at the front of each pelvic fin and three at the front of the anal fin.

Most invasive species are not welcome but apparently lionfish are a most unwanted migrant because of the devastation they can cause when they move into a new environment. They have very few predators and can breed quickly, spawning as often as every four days. They are also a voracious predator, eating huge amounts of small fish and crustaceans. All this means they are extremely successful at colonising new territory at the expense of its native species. Over the last few years lionfish seem to have done exactly this along the south west coast of Cyprus which means there's a chance for me to catch one.

If I do catch any lionfish I'll obviously need to handle them extremely carefully and although I usually release the fish I catch I think I'll do my bit to reduce their numbers by keeping any landed, this decision has been made easier by the fact that they supposedly make a very tasty meal. So, I'm really looking forward to visiting Cyprus for the first time and perhaps catching and eating something a little different too.

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

In hot water.

I had my first session of the year last week. I met up with an angler I met at work and we headed down to the hot water outflow at Torness Power Station to bother the resident mullet. Freelined bread flake on ultra light tackle was the chosen approach and it proved to be very successful but the first few fish we caught were not the intended target species. The resident juvenile bass wanted some of our Warburtons too and we ended up catching more of them on bread than we caught mullet.

Good fun on ultra light tackle in the outflow's current.
Eventually we caught a few thick lipped mullet. Szymon had never caught a mullet before and it was nice to see him catch his first.
I also caught a couple of nice golden grey mullet too. Szymon was hopeful he'd get one as well as he'd never caught one before but didn't get lucky.

Once the tide turned things in the outflow slowed down so I changed my rig and ledgered little pieces of Dynabait ragworm down amongst the submerged sea defence boulders. As always the blennies that live in the artificially warm water were most obliging and catching the cheeky little blighters was a nice end to a good session. Szymon's interested in catching a few new saltwater species this year so I suspect we might fish together again.

Tight lines, Scott.