A New Personal Best Ling

A lovely 14lb Dunbar Ling

Catching up for lost fishing time earlier in the year, and still trying to stock up the freezer with some cod fillets, I went for another session off Dunbar just before the weather turned nasty for the weekend.

It was a fine day as Alcatraz sped easily down the coast towards the Torness area, but I soon found out to my dismay that the sea was tideless as well as windless and the drift was absolutely minimal.

Dodging pot marker buoys whilst running down towards Torness
Dodging pot marker buoys whilst running down towards Torness

I struggled along for an hour or two, but had only a couple of small ling and an even smaller codling to show for things when I decided to head further east, beyond Pease Bay, and try a couple of small inshore wrecks I found a while back and then head close in to see if the tide picked up on the flood.

A small ling heads for the boat
A small ling heads for the boat

The first wreck lies in about 130 feet of water and is only about 100 feet long. I didn’t expect any fireworks and didn’t get any – only a single ling of about 4lbs. The second wreck is very similar and is probably an old trawler or something similar, but this had a few fish showing on it – but none that seemed eager to feed, so I didn’t waste too much time before heading closer in.

There can be decent fish around here, and I’ve had good cod, Pollack and ling, but it is a pretty slow spot usually whilst you wait for them to come along. No-one seemed eager to play today, with only a small codling and a couple of ling turning up. Getting bored I rigged up a primitive drop rig for my GoPro and dropped it to the seabed around 50-55 feet below – the drift was so slow I reckoned the risk was low, and I wanted to see whether there was enough light and visibility to make it worthwhile trying it elsewhere.

Underwater view in about 50 feet a few miles from Dunbar
Underwater view in about 50 feet a few miles from Dunbar
A Pollack swims over a reef 50 feet down off Dunbar
A Pollack swims over a reef 50 feet down off Dunbar

The stills are taken from the video and don’t really do it justice, but it is pretty interesting to see the ground we’re fishing over – a large number of sea urchins, fair bit of sand and no weed at all were a little surprising. There were a few fish – a coalie, Pollack, ling and a couple of codling showed up in 4 minutes of downtime – so there was life down there even if it wasn’t interested in me.

By now I’d got fed up of catching nowt, so it was back towards the Torness area for a final couple of hours. By now there were a few fish on the go and I picked up more ling and a handful of codling. I’d not long returned a ling of about 5lbs when I lifted into another bite and found something much more solid on the end, which I knew almost immediately was a good ling. It hammered away and made some decent dives, but I steadily worked it up towards the boat and popped it in the net without any great drama – although it was obviously into double figures.

A lovely inshore ling of 14lbs 6oz from Dunbar
A lovely inshore ling of 14lbs 6oz

It swung the scales round to almost 14 and a half pounds, which made it a clear winner over my previous best fish, which were a pair around the 13 and quarter mark. I gave it another half-hour or so, with a couple more codling and a small ling, but headed back with a smile on my face – a poor day transformed by one good fish!

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