Wrassling at St. Andrews

Beautifully coloured Ballan Wrasse from St. Andrews
Beautifully coloured Ballan Wrasse from St. Andrews

I was debating what to last weekend when Ian dropped me an email suggesting a trip out of St. Andrews with Trevor. The forecast was for a fine sunny day but with a stiff westerly breeze – not perfect, but much easier than an east wind.

We duly met up on the harbour pontoons, after negotiating a sizeable horde of other visitors enjoying their ice creams in the sunshine. Kit and bodies aboard, we soon headed out to sea in the general direction of Fife Ness.

Trevor had very kindly supplied a bucket of rag and lug, and we soon supplemented his bait with some mackerel. Next step was to find a few codling and put it all to good use!

We soon found smallish codling, using a mix of baited muppets and hokkais, with a few keepers amongst them. Steady rather than spectacular, but plenty to keep us amused.

It was definitely on the windy side and Ian deployed his drogue most of the time we were drifting.

Ian worked away on the pollack although numbers and sizes were down compared to his usual catches. Mind you, he does tend to set a fairly high bar!

We kept a few codling for Trevor’s freezer. He may have packed it full of haddock and whiting, but his cod haven’t shown up yet! One fish proceeded to cough up its dinner on Ian’s deck – mainly small flatties. A little surprising given it obviously lived on a reef, but there’s plenty sand not far away.

Trev out-stares a hungry gull intent on some mackerel

We anchored up at several points during the day so I put Trev’s rag to good use on the local wrasse population. I’ve not had any for ages but it didn’t take long before a succession of small ballans pounced on the rag.

A pretty Ballan Wrasse
A pretty Ballan Wrasse – pic by Ian

They’re a pretty bruiser of a reef fish and very photogenic by UK standards. I managed a dozen in the end, all small but satisfying fish. Ian pipped me to the biggest, but none of them were particularly large.

We called time late afternoon and bounced our way uncomfortably back to harbour in a short, steep little sea. Loafing around at the harbour cafe we polished off a plate of chips before heading off for a hot drive home.

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