5th July 2009 – Dunbar

Weather: Calm or light E/SE wind. Dry and fairly sunny. Thunderstorm just after I landed which soaked me as I was sorting out the trailer.
Sea Conditions: Fairly calm, with only a 2-3 foot swell
Time Spent: 0530-1230 – 7 hours
Tides: LW 0930 – moderate tide

Kicked off at the River Garry, but the fishing here was very slow, with only a handful of mackerel, a codling and a ling to show for my drifts. Given the weather was holding OK I headed out to the redfish mark and spent an hour and a half drifting the peaks, again with little to show for my efforts apart from a couple of codling, a ling and some poor cod. Back to the River Garry and there was still nothing showing so I headed over to Torness and fished my usual patch of ground to pick up decent numbers of codling (at last) and a few more mackerel.

Final score was just under 30 codling, to around 4.5lbs, so respectable enough. Kept a few for the freezer but most are still out there.

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28th June 2009 – Port Logan

Weather: Light SW wind, dry. Cloudy and cool at first, later sunny
Sea Conditions: Calm and clear
Time Spent: 0430-0930 – 5 hours
Tides: HW 0400 – Medium tide

Back onshore after my session at Wigtown I was feeling pretty knackered but decided to push across to Port Logan for a few hours fishing on Sunday morning rather than go home immediately. Saturday night proved it is possible to sleep in a 165 cuddy (just) and I got a few hours kip before launching at Logan about half four in the morning.

Plenty of fish but all on the small side with a load of mackerel, whiting, grey gurnard, pollack, haddock and some codling and LSD. I tried the banks offshore for a little while, but there was a plague of small whiting and masses of mackerel so it was a very half-hearted attempt really. Also I did get some more data for my DrDepth software which might prove useful someday.

Moving back down in Logan Bay there were decent numbers of grey gurnard (3 at a time), but none of the reds that I’d really wanted. I was quite tired after a long day on Saturday and this was really starting to affect my motivation so I packed in shortly after 9.30 and was hauling the boat out as everyone else was launching.

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27th June 2009 – Wigtown Bay

Weather: Light SE wind dropping to calm for much of the day; overcast becoming sunny and hot later
Sea Conditions: Muddy colour at first (altho fish seemed to like it), then clear as tide pushed through
Time Spent: 0900-2030 – 11.5 hours
Tides: LW 0930 moderate tide

First off was a patch of roughish ground not too far from Brighouse, but this was wall to wall doggies coming up 2 at a time so I only gave it an hour before heading along to Wigtown.

This proved an instant hit with a good collection of smoothies coming aboard in the first two hours, plus a couple of bass as a bonus. By this time the wind pretty much dropped to nothing and the sun came out, so it was soon getting almost too hot – not often I make that complaint. Things went fairly quiet after that and I decided to try well up river over HW, so headed up to Carsluith and dropped anchor not far offshore in about 15 feet of water. A small smoothie hit the bait almost immediately, but that was the only one. Over HW I added a smallish bass, couple of flounder, LSD, a small tub gurnard and a surprise mackerel which took a lug bait on the bottom. Not much in the way of numbers or quality, but at least it showed a decent range of species well up the estuary.

As the tide started to ebb I went back to where I started, and was rewarded by a slow but steady stream of smoothies and a few dabs and LSD. I had a bait out for tope, but there was no sign of any, which was the only disappointment of the day. Total for the day was 28 smoothound and 3 bass which is easily my best session in the Cree.

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31st May 2009 – Wigtown

Weather: Dry, sunny, light or no wind
Sea Conditions: Calm and reasonably clear
Time Spent: 0815-1845
Tides: LW 1300 – Moderate tide

A smallish smoothound from the Cree estuary
Small smoothie

Took 3 hours to get to Garlieston where I launched with no difficulty and headed out to the Cree and set up for smoothies.

Fishing varied during the day, with the best of it early on and then on top half of the flood. The run up to low water was very slow, with only a couple of fish showing in the last 90 minutes of the ebb. Immediately after LW I landed a couple of small bass and missed a third one, but then it went quiet again until mid-tide when I had a flurry of smoothies between 4 and 5 pm, and a couple more and a pair of tope in the last 90 minutes before packing in.

Final total was 12 smoothies (none big, but a 5lb fish makes for huge fun on a spinning rod), 2 bass and 6 tiny tope – none of which made it into double figures.

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24th May 2009 – Dunbar

Weather: dry, sunny, variable SW to S wind force 2-4
Sea Conditions: Calm and clear
Time Spent: 0615-1115 – 5 hours
Tides: LW 0853. Moderate tide

I started off at the River Garry, but a series of drifts proved very unproductive and only a single small codling appeared. Part of the problem seemed to be wind against tide, but there was very little activity on the sounder either.

I moved inshore to an area I hadn’t really tried before, a little west of Torness, and picked up a ling and a scorpian fish but nothing else in a very slow drift. Moving over to a regular mark off Torness started to produce a handful of codling and a ballan wrasse, but sport was pretty lacklustre. Most of the fish actually came when a dropped a small pirk straight on top of fish showing on the sounder, with only 2 codling coming to bait. A final fish came to the spinning rod with mackerel strip – a nice enough little pollock of 3.5 lbs.

The final total was 6 species – respectable enough for Dunbar – but only 7 codling, which isn’t great for lateish May. No monsters either!

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11th May 2009 – Port Logan

Weather: Sunny, but moderate E wind force 4-5 gusting 6
Sea Conditions: Wind chop, but otherwise sheltered
Time Spent: 0830-1600 – 7.5 hours
Tides: HW 1400 – moderate spring

Day 2 of our Galloway weekend saw Ian and I wake up just after 5 at Brighouse, mainly because it was very cold, and were on our way to Port Logan by 6.30 after a quick coffee and bacon roll.

Launched OK and proceeded to have three longish drifts southwards in the bay, catching a few small haddock, codling, pollock and a ballan. Then headed down to Clanyard, where Ian got a single string of mackerel and we picked up a few small pollack over a couple of hours fishing.

Finally headed up to Drumbreddan and anchored up a couple of hours to try for a plaice. Fishing was slow, but OK species wise, with gurnard, plaice, LSD and a skate bait sized coalfish appearing. Despite the strong wind it was quite pleasant in the sunshine and we struggled to stay awake in the early afternoon, until thoughts turned to the long journey home.

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10th May 2009 – Wigtown

Weather: Calm and sunny
Sea Conditions: Calm. Coloured in the estuary. Lot of freshwater after rain.
Time Spent: 1500-2130 – 6.5 hours
Tides: LW1930 – moderate spring

A small bass from the Cree estuary, Wigtown
Small Wigtown bass
A very spiny thornback ray from the Cree estuary
Thornback, Wigtown

Fished with Ian and launched out of brighouse bay (£18 for tent, car, boat and launch). A late start on Sunday saw us out at Wigtown Bay for about 3 p.m., fishing a few hundred yards away from Jim Hamilton. The weather was bright sunshine with barely a breath of wind so it was definitely sun screen time.

Unfortunately there was quite a lot of freshwater in the bay due to the recent rain and this may have affected the fishing a bit – we had plenty of fish, but only one of them was a smoothhound.

Ian notched up 20 dabs, several flounder and a lonely plaice and we both had a small bass each plus plenty of doggies. I picked up a couple of thornbacks
(one of which had a full forest of thorns, front and back), but that was it, apart from the solitary smoothie.

We left it a bit late in raising anchor and made it back to the slip at Brighouse in near darkness, although this wasn’t any real problem.

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2nd May 2009 – Dunbar

Weather: F2-3 westerly which backed F2 easterly for a little while. Mainly sunny with some cloud. Fairly cool.
Sea Conditions: Small chop but nothing substantial. Clear
Time Spent: 1800-2130 – 3.5 hours
Tides: HW 2100 – small tides

Started off at the River Garry and tried to tie up to the divers shot line, but this proved to be a little off the mark so I reverted to drifting again. The drift was very slow and quite unproductive and an hour and a half produced only a small codling on a set of flasher lures fished well above the wreck.

I elected to try the reef well offshore where I’ve picked up Norway Haddock in previous years. The drift was an easy pace and I could fish it well enough, but there wasn’t a lot of interest apart from a ling about 2lbs and a largish poor cod. I gave up as it became dark and headed inshore again for an easy retrieval just after HW.

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19th April 2009 – Dunbar

Weather: Cloudy at first, but rapidly becoming sunny and warm. No wind to speak of.
Sea Conditions: Underlying 3 foot NE swell. Clear Water
Time Spent: 0700-1100 – 4 hours
Tides: HW 10:45 V small tide

Launched just before 7 after digging a few lug at Longniddry. Forgot to screw in the bung – Duh! – but got away with it before the boat sank too low in the water. I headed directly for the River Garry wreck as I reckoned any early fish would show up on it first, and so it proved. After a slow start with a couple of fruitless drifts I picked up a little ling, followed by a small codling. The next hour produced a few more codling, to around 3.5 lbs, plus a wrasse. All of these came to lug or fish bait fished fairly hard on the bottom and mainly from the boiler area. The tide had been very slow but virtually stopped, as did the fishing, with only a final codling and a poor code showing up.

I finished up with a 20 minute drift in deeper water, looking for flatties, but with no success. Coming into Dunbar the harbour was absolutely alive with zooplankton, with the surface of the water literally bubbling with millions of little creatures skittering about. Hopefully a good sign…

One of the cod had a mess of crabs and squat lobster in its gut, together with several stones and a couple of shells – goodness knows what it thought it was eating. Final total was 6 codling, plus a single ling, wrasse, pout and poor cod – ok’ish for mid April I guess.

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12th April 2009 – St Andrews

Weather: Bright and sunny, but a very chilly E wind which gradually
Sea Conditions: Underlying 2-3 foot swell. Clear water
Time Spent: 1400-1900 – 5 hours
Tides: HW Approx 16:30 Large tide

Ian holding a nice spring codling
Nice spring codling

Fished with Ian from his boat. I dug bait beforehand and collected a fair amount of lug and rag, plus a bucket of mussels which I shelled whilst waiting for Ian. We initially tried for flatties on some soft ground and picked up a couple of dabs but no plaice (not a huge surprise to be honest), and then headed out towards Belshie where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

The fish were fairly patchy, but we gradually picked up around 14 codling between us, including a fine 5lb+ fish for Ian. I also made him a present of a SS sea scorpian for the ABR, which is my first for a couple of years.

I later vacuum packed the remaining mussels using my new toy – and it seemed to work quite well.

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