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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18th March 2009 – Loch Sunart

Weather: Calm or light W/NW wind. Dry and mainly sunny. Lovely day
Sea Conditions: Calm
Time Spent: 0750-1830 – 11 hours
Tides: HW 0930 – small tide

Launched at Strontian and set creels before starting to fish.

I tried 5 marks during the day but the results were very poor, with only doggies and a lonely poor cod – no sign of spurs at all. I did hook a small skate on a spur bait, but it eventually threw the hook about 100 feet above the bottom. The fish farm at Laga Bay was being harvested by a large boat making a lot of noise, which didn’t help either.

The sonar was also performing very badly for much of the day, losing bottom lock far too easily (subsequently fixed by adjusting the transducer position on the transom a little – obviously got knocked during a launch/retrieval).

My creels produced 3 squat lobster (tiny but very sweet and tasty meat) and several hermit crabs, plus masses of brittle star in one particular creel. However it probably has to rank as my worst day on the loch, without a single spur at all.

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1st February 2009 – Aberdeen

Weather: Dry, overcast, with a SE 4-5 blowing. Cold but not too frigid
Sea Conditions: Pretty rough, with a SE swell running 8-12 feet and a fair bit of colour.
Time Fishing: 0700-1330 – 6,5 hours
Tides: LW 10:30 – smallish tide

Armed with some hard won lugworm I decided on an early morning start up at Aberdeen, targetting a few codling. The forecast was for fairly rough conditions but dropping a bit later, so first light looked like my best bet and 6.30 saw me pull up outside Downies farm.

Initially I wandered down across the field (through ankle deep cowshit) towards the Flat Stone, but immediately decided to move towards the Square Stone as it appeared just a bit too rough at the Flat Stone – it was still dark and I didn’t fancy making a mistake!

The Square Stone was fine and I fished here for about 3/4 of an hour until it got light. Looking around I decided that the Flat Stone was perfectly fishable and that it would probably outshine the Square Stone, so it was a 10 minute hike back round again. The move paid off, with three codling in the next hour, best 4lbs 12oz, whilst a couple of guys who came down to the Square Stone just after I left it didn’t seem to catch anything.

However, initial success gradually turned to despair as the next three hours proved fishless and biteless, apart from a chunky velvet crab. A fourth codling turned up a little after noon, but that was my lot until I packed in around 1.30pm. Although I suspect I was still a bit happier than the passengers on the Shetland ferry which had to pound up and down the coast for about three hours waiting to get past Aberdeen harbour bar safely.

Can’t quite fathom the lack of success, given that all the fish looked like they’d been eating lug scoured out from the seabed (one as absolutely stuffed full of ’em); the sea was rough and coloured enough; and there were clearly some fish about. Always next time though…

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18th January 2009 – Aberdeen

Weather: Dry, with a variable SW wind – anything from 10-25 knots. Sunny for much of the time.
Sea Conditions: Quite rough, with a SSE swell of up to 10 feet, dying slightly during the morning. Some colour, but not a real chocolate appearance.
Time Fishing: 0745 – 1130 – 3.75 hours
Tides: HW approx 0630 – small tide

Rough weather at Aberdeen's cliffs
Fishing a roughish sea

Arrived just as it got light and hit three fish within the first hour, best going just under 5lbs. Thereafter it was quite poor, with only one small fish landed and another couple of bites. Bait was fresh lug, so no complaints there – the water was just not rough enough for long enough to get the fish in and keep them there.

Used the dvice again, and it certainly helped in casting a bait further than normal against the wind.

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