Saturday, 22 December 2012

A fitting end to what has been an unbelievable year!

With just a week to go until my year long species hunt ends, this is almost certainly going to be my last blog entry of the year and I'm sure it won't disappoint.

Hovering on 69 species it was inevitable that I had to go in search of something a little special for number 70, so the planning began. After doing plenty of research and consulting with a few mates, we decided there was only one option, go big or go home, we were off to Oban to target the Skate! My good mate Scott sorted us a boat and some accommodation and I was left in charge of getting a few mates to join us on what had the potential to be a trip of a lifetime, two stepped up, Ad and Ed. With the 4 of us, the trip was a go and the dates were set to suit us all (20th and 21st December 2012), all that was left to do was hope for some favorable weather.

When the day came to make the long trip up North, the excitement from us all was clear, but after 7 hours in a car, I was drained and the others seemed a little shattered as well. Having switched our charter boat from the Thurs to the Friday due to a bad forecast, the first day was spent searching out a sheltered mark on Loch Etive. After first being blown off a mark in Aird's Bay, we found a spot the seaward side of Oban that was out of the wind. It was also a spot where Scott had been told was a good area to target thornback rays, a species he was dying to catch after watching me haul them in on our previous Etive visit. Anyway, all four of
us got the rods out with a variety of baits (macky fillet/heads, sandeel, bluey and squid) and the short wait began. I was the first into a fish, a thorny of course and I could see Scott was ready to throttle me, well that was until his rod buckled over just as I was landing my fish. Legging it to strike his rod it wasn't long until his fish was up on the surface and he had a thornback of his own, happy days! Then came the surge of the doggies, I think around 25 between us but during the onslaught Ed did manage a thorny of his own leaving just Ad to land a ray. Having had enough of the doggies I packed up the bait rods and switched to lure fishing and was quite happily pulling out a good number of small pollack to around the 1.75lb mark. Myself and Scott then decided to pack it in for the day and headed off for some chips leaving Ed and Ad to fish on. No sooner than we'd left though, my phone rang and it was Ed on the end to say Ad had landed a Cuckoo Ray, a species that is high on my list and I just knew I wouldn't hear the end of it :) It wasn't until the following morning after all the taunts from Ad, we'd find out that it was just a thornback with a very cool pattern, Ad was silenced.

Ed bends into a Skate
Eds monster at 208lb
Then it came, the morning we had all been waiting for, it was charter boat time. Up at 6am, we made our way down to Crinan to meet Archie, the skipper of MV North Star and at 8am we steamed out to the mark. All rods were set up with 4lb of lead, a large boom and a 250lb mono hook length and then baited with either a whole coalie or mackeral and dropped down 450ft to the depths. The suspense was killing us and all on high alert we watched the rod tips as if our lives depended on it. Sure enough though, an hour after dropping the baits down, the first run came and it was Ed that was lucky enough to get the first shot at landing one of these giants. Around 40 minutes after the hook up we gained our first glimpse of the fish and it was huge, it also didn't like the sunlight and had one last dive for freedom, effortlessly ripping line from the spool on it's way down. After a further 10 minutes gaining the line back the fish was back up on the surface and the skipper managed to gaff it nicely and bring the fish on board. With Ed's previous best sea fish weighing 12lb, this skate absolutely destroyed his PB, weighing a huge 208lb, a fish of a lifetime and the 2nd biggest Skate taken on the boat this year, well done that man!

Ad bends into a Skate
150lb Skate caught by Ad
To makes things fair, we had all made an agreement to take it in turns to hit the runs, so after spotting a good take on one of the rods Ad was the next in the line of duty. Ad took a different approach to Ed, opting to take the strain sat down. Unfortunately for him though, this meant that he struggled to gain much line back at any speed and so was stuck in a tug of war for around an hour and twenty minutes. When it did finally surface though, it was another big fish. Again the skipper did a great job of gaffing and boating the fish so that we could get a few photos and after taking the necessary measurements the fish was confirmed at 150lb dead, the second specimen of the day and we were only just into the slack water prime period.

Scott feels the power of a Skate
Scott's 45th Species of the year!
Next up to take a run was Scott. Again it looked as though it was a big fish, putting a large bend in the rod and occasionally showing its power with a strong run, to all our despair though disaster struck after a 10 minute tug of war and the hook pulled. Then things were made a little better for Scott when one of the other rods started nodding. With it being my turn for a run, I got kitted up with the reel straps and butt pad and prepared for chaos but after hitting the fish it wasn't the skate I was after. Thinking it may be a Conger, Scott was given the rod to winch the fish up from the depths. When the fish neared, the death rolls started and it was confirmed as a Conger, another fish that Scott was itching to catch. This fish was a milestone fish for him as well as it meant he had achieved his goal of 45 saltwater species in a year, congratulations mate!

There was now just myself to hit into a Skate and I have to be honest, with just an hour left before we had to steam in, I was beginning to regret not taking one of the earlier runs. But after rebaiting all the rods again, this time with very large mackerel and salmon fillet baits I had a renewed sense of optimism. Luckily for me, I did get my chance and I was soon bent into a very powerful fish. I managed to winch her off the bottom fairly quickly but after gaining 10 metres or so, the fish dived straight back down to the bottom, ripping line from the spool and leaving me feeling rather powerless. But, I didn't want to let this fish get the better of me and again hauled it from the bottom shortly after. This time, it was just a constant pump and wind action, giving the fish no slack at all.
Species 70 -  A 181lb Common Skate
After just 15 minutes of hauling the fish up, the line started kiting out from the back of the boat indicating it wasn't far from the surface and then she appeared. I had a minor panic attack when I saw that the hook was only just in the scissors, but the skipper eased my worries and did a fine job gaffing the fish before it could throw the hook. This was a huge relief and sure enough the hook popped before the fish was boated, very lucky! After taking measurements and some good pics it was time to watch her swim off, a truly magestic fish and such an amazing site. Then the skipper gave me the good news, my fish weighed a monstrous 181lb, a fish that is more than fitting for my 70th species of the year. This was to be the last action of the trip and once again it was time for that horrible drive home but my god it felt good.

The release -

So 900 miles travelled and around £170 spent in total, I guess the question is, was it worth it?
Very simple answer - Hell Yes! So much so were already looking into booking a return trip in January.

A last big thankyou to Archie MacGilp who was an absolutely brilliant skipper, joining in with the banter and providing us with excellent advice as well as a cracking brew. I would recommend his services on board the MV North Star to anyone. This youtube video is what got us excited and I'm sure will excite you as well if your thinking about going up to Crinan for a go yourself.

Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed it,
Tight Lines,

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A cracking day on the lures in December

It seems to be very quiet on the bass front at the moment in North Wales, very few people I've spoken to have caught anything at all on the plugs in the last few weeks. That in mind I thought I'd make the most of this one day gap in the weather and get out with the LRF gear. I tried fishing at 2 marks, both of which produced plenty of fish. The first mark I stopped at was thick with small pollack, I think I landed around 20 of them in an hour or so, most being taken on the VX35 vibe-baits and a few taken on the new white power isome which also tempted a solitary poor cod. 
The second mark I fished was a different ball game all together. Instead of being packed with a single species it was very diverse, which was great for me as a species man. The first 4 fish landed were different species including corkwing wrasse, shanny, tompot blenny and rock goby. After that I did get quite a lot of corkwings and shannies but surprisingly no ballans which are usually plentiful at this mark. 
Whilst all this was going on I couldn't help but notice the odd silver flash under water, immediately presuming they were bass. It wasn't until a fish followed my white isome up to the surface I realised they were actually mullet. Switching to a smaller jighead and using an isome section around an inch long, I began working the lure mid water, getting small knocks on almost every cast and then watching a group of mullet trail my lure until it was right up against the rocks before shooting off again. After persisting for 20 minutes or so, I finally managed to get a positive take and landed my first mullet of the session, a small but very welcome thick lip. As the light started fading, the fish came on big style and I started hauling in small mullet every other cast, all of them thick lips until, I got so confident of catching, I made a short video on my camera. P.s It was like a bar of soap to hold, was going everywhere as you will see.

Sure enough, I was lucky enough to get footage of what was my first ever lure caught golden grey, by the end of the session I'd had 4 of them :-D Eventually though, the light disappeared and with it went the mullet and the session. I can honestly say that for this time of year, I couldn't have expected anything like that, it was a real cracker of a day and I enjoyed every minute of it despite it still being cold, I just wish it could have lasted longer.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the write up,
Tight Lines,

Friday, 30 November 2012

The end is in sight!

The end of the year is creeping up now and species hunting in particular is getting very difficult. With temperatures starting to plummet, many of the species that have spent the summer around the coastal waters of Britain are now moving off to deeper, more bait rich ground. There are however a few fish I haven't yet landed that are still targetable. To give myself a good chance of bagging a couple of these, I went up to Scotland again, firstly to the Aberdeen area where I would attempt to catch a ling and then to Loch Etive where I'd have a dabble for a spurdog.

So first stop was visiting my mate Ad in
Aberdeen for a long weekend. The promise of good sized cod and a reasonable chance of ling was to good to refuse, so off I went on a 5 hour car drive north, arriving just in time for an evening session. After a quick stretch of the legs and some of Ad's home cooked cod green curry, we were off to the mark. Baiting up with large combinations of macky, black lug, squid and crab it wasn't too long before we had a few taps, whatever it was though was not large enough to inhale the 6/0 hooks we were using. It was a good while before I had my first proper bite which resulted in my first Scottish cod of the trip, unfortunately only a small one at around 1.5lb. The next cast produced another small codling and Ad got off the mark as well. The session came to an end shortly after though when the swell picked up and we had to get off the mark quickly to avoid getting cut off. Over the following few days we tried for the bigger cod again and also ventured up to Peterhead South breakwater, the mark where I'd be targeting a ling. The highlight of these few sessions was a very big tadpole fish for Ad weighing 15.5oz, a species he'd never caught before and only the second one I have seen. The ling proved to be elusive for the duration but I won't give up on catching one just yet.

The long weekend was over before i knew it and a trip down to Edinburgh ensued where I'd be meeting up with good friend and mini-species legend, Scott Hutchison. After a night of rig making and research, the 5am alarm bells rang and we were both up and on our journey to Loch Etive, where we had booked a boat for the day through The aim of the trip was for us both to tick off a new species for the year, myself desperate to get a spurdog and Scott wanting a thornback ray. We arrived in Taynuillt for first light with this scene to greet us and after a chat with the boat owner Doug Bannatyne, we were on our way to our first mark. As expected, the depth in Etive is incredible, even within casting distance from the shore we were in over 100ft of water. We tied up to a buoy and dropped down, as line kept peeling off the spool we were both wondering when we would find bottom but at 185ft we were down there. For 30 minutes the bigger baited hokkai's remained actionless so a change of plan was needed. I tackled up my plugging rod with a one-up one-down rig blinged up with plenty of lumi-beads. A 4oz bomb was all that was needed to hold bottom and in no time at all I had my first fish on. After pumping it up from the depths up came a small thorny, a good way to get off the mark. Next drop
and it was species number 2 for the day,  a lovely grey gurnard and probably the biggest one I've caught to date. Scott had now joined me with the lighter rod and it became a quite productive few hours, the majority of fish being pouting, poor cod or whiting. After a quick spot at another spot during which  I boated another 3 thornies, we decided to go and try a drift by the quarry, it was fruitless. Time was flying by and we were starting to get a little agitated by the constant hoards of manky parasite ridden whiting and poor cod. With just an hour left we headed back to the slipway where we launched just to try and see if Scott could get his thornback. After 20 minutes of nothing I suggested steaming out to the middle of Airds Bay just to see how deep it was. At over 200ft it was the deepest spot we'd fished on the day and I decided to drop down my bigger hokkai baited rig again and leave it. With a
Spurdog : Species 68
 few minutes left Scott landed a bigger whiting and began preparing the engine for motoring back to shore. Whilst he was though, I noticed a few knocks on my rod..... I left it to develop before striking and setting the hooks, fish on. After playing it up for what seemed like forever, we eventually caught sight of it and it was the species i'd come for, a spurdog. Scott quickly grabbed the net and slipped it under my fish, I'd done it, scraped one at the last possible chance and I cannot describe how happy as well as relieved I was. With that came the end of our trip and it was back to Edinburgh.

The morning of my last day in Scotland dawned and due to a drop in the wind, it gave us a chance to get down to Torness once more to try for one of the 2-spot gobies. Both Scott and Jake have had plenty of these little beauties on there previous visits so confidence was high even though it was bloody freezing. Scott kindly donated me one of his mini-fish special hooks, a size 26 tied on 0.5lb fluoro and it was go time. We both scanned the pools for the mini's and within a few seconds I had my first fish, a common goby. Then I noticed a small flounder so informed Scott and left him to try and catch it. Sure enough he did and it brought with it the first sign of a 2-spot. Out from underneath a boulder shot two of them, very interested in my power isome but not willing to take it properly. After trying for ages I nearly gave up but Scott decided to see if he could find me some bait. How he found a ragworm I'll never know but he did within minutes and so on went a slither of fresh worm. Straight away the mini's went for it and in seconds I had what we'd come for, a two-spot goby and my 69th species of the year.

The session and my trip was over, 2 new species and a cracking week in Scotland once again. Both Ad and Scott had been great hosts and I look forward to fishing with them again soon, maybe sooner than they think.  So that leaves me with just 1 species left to catch, but what will it be? Thoughts at the moment are that Ling would probably be the best to target but if your reading this and can see a species I've yet to catch that you can advise me on then please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jersey and the red mullet mission

Having already visited the channel island of Jersey twice this year, its fair to say I can't keep myself away and this time I was on a personal mission to catch a red mullet, a species which had so far eluded me. To give myself the best chance, I'd been in contact with a mate of mine Dan Ferguson, a Jersey local and good all round angler and we'd arranged to have a long weekend of intense fishing. Please take a minute to check out Dan's blog as well :

Immediately on arrival, it was straight to business and thanks to Rob Dingle, we had some lovely fresh worms to use, thanks again Rob! We hit the mark on the rising tide, myself concentrating all my attention on the red mullet and sole, whilst Dan stuck out a few ray baits on a special rig I'd shown him designed for long casting. It payed off for him as well and after a doggie on his first cast, he was into this cracking blonde ray of 12lb 12oz, which smashed his shore caught PB and gained him some valuable points towards his club competition. This would only be the start of what would turn out to be a damn good weekend for Dan, I think the powers of my hat had somehow transferred to him. Anyhow, the worm baits just weren't producing for me on the night with only a few pout, doggies and a lone pollack to show for my efforts. Dan however had another blonde ray of 12lb 5oz to make a fine brace and after switching to a worm bait, he managed a pout and a sole, the first one I have seen live and a species I'm still on the hunt for.

After a couple of hours sleep it was back out again, this time targeting bass and pollock on the lures. We'd kindly been invited to go out on friend David Sullivan's boat, so would have been rude not to take him up on his offer and he'd picked a prime morning for it. The session turned out to be a good one for me with 6 bass falling to my blue savage gear sandeels, the best going 2lb 11oz, not huge but great fun all the same. David also managed a bass as well as a few pollack. Dan's luck from the previous night had deserted him though and he resorted to last minute wrasse tactics to avoid a dreaded blank.

Back on dry land for 12ish, it was time for Dan's 24 hour club competition and he had his game plan sorted. We first hit a wrasse mark where we'd meet Dan's mate Ritchie and his missus Hannah. Not much was caught with myself getting a small ballan on the SP's and Hannah showing us lads how to do it with a nice wrasse of 3lb+. Dan continued to be out of luck but I kept telling him that it was all building up to be a productive evening session for him...... wouldn't you have guessed it, that's exactly what happened. Fishing a conger mark of Dan's in the evening produced a cracking pollack for him, which doubled his previous shore caught PB, dropping the scales to 7lb 12oz, a real beauty and again some brilliant points towards his club comp. As if that wasn't enough he then landed a conger of 20lb 8oz on the following cast before things went quiet for the night, just one more strap conger being landed and myself narrowly avoiding a blank with the rat of the sea, mr dogfish.

The third day of the Jersey trip came round all to fast. Again just a couple of hours sleep before we again headed out to try and get a wrasse big enough to weigh in for the comp. Dan did manage a few to around the 3lb mark but unfortunately none large enough to meet the qualifying weight. I spent an hour or so venturing further afield with my plugging rod which produced a single schoolie before returning and having a bash at the wrasse myself. In no time it was 11 o'clock and we were off to the weigh in. There was a few really good fish brought to the scales, notably some lovely mullet over 5lbs, a double figure undulate ray, a good rockling and of course red mullet and sole, one of which had been landed by mate Rob Dingle. The plan was then hatched for another shot at the red's and we were joined by Rob for the evening. After a few hours digging worm we headed off once more full of hope. Dan once again landed sole, two of them this time  whilst I had finally got my first new species of the trip, but not the one I was after, it was in fact a 5-bearded rockling (Species 66 of 2012) We also managed a number of pout and doggies but nothing of decent size.

Me looking rather tired with my mullet
Dan also looking tired
It was now the final full day of fishing on my Jersey trip and for the first time, the wind had picked up bringing with it a nice bit of swell. During the morning we found shelter in the harbour and focused our attentions on the mullet, using bread as both a groundbait and hook bait. Dan was first into the fish landing a thick lip of around the 1.5lb mark. After switching to ledger tactics, I was soon hitting into the fish as well, first losing one on the surface and then going on to land two mullet in quick succession. Then they disappeared so we started chucking a few SP's around. Both of us got a few wrasse with Dan getting the pick of the bunch, this fish pictured was roughly 3lbs.

After yet another hours digging we decided we both needed a short rest so off to the pub we went. A pint has rarely tasted so good and it was definitely well deserved. It was over all to soon though and back out we went for one last go at the red mullet. A different mark this time and with a nice swell rolling in, the thoughts were that the bottom would be getting nicely stirred up and fingers crossed, the reds would have moved in to feed. I'd made a few new rigs up for the occasion designed so that all baits would be hard on the bottom and this time i'd blinged up the snoods with luminous beads, a little thing i'd noticed Dan had been using when he'd got his sole. It started much like the other night sessions with pout and dogfish turning up, so after a few hours we had a little chill. Rods went out and we sat back to watch a bit of facejacker on Dan's phone. Half way through the Brian Badonde part my baitrunner started going so I jumped up and hit the run. The fish must have been swimming straight towards me as I couldn't feel anything until close in when it suddenly decided to go the other way and put up a spirited fight. I didn't want to presume anything but I was getting a little excited as this was possibly the fish I'd  been after.

Gritting my teeth I clambered down to the edge of the rocks and lifted it out of the water. There it was, mission over, my first red mullet and a fish I'd put a lot of time and effort into catching, success was sweet. In the heat of the moment and in the spirit of Brian Badonde I just had to scream out 'BBBEESSSSS!' Mine would not be the only one landed either as shortly after mine, Dan pulled one out as well, a good fish at 1lb 11oz and some more valuable points for his club comp and also caught a small bass. I did think I had a second red mullet as well before the session was out, but it was in fact a pollack of around 2lb. With that, the session and my fishing in Jersey came to an end, yet another brilliant trip.

I can't thank Dan enough for his time and effort over the 4 days but left him with a few crates of stella for his troubles. It's great to fish with someone roughly my age that is just as enthusiastic about the sport as I am and it certainly will be great to return to Jersey next year, can't wait. Was great to meet and fish with a few new faces over there as well, Rob and Ritchie for example. Was also good to see the MrFish crew again, Mick, Bob, Mike and Lee. Always great to have a chat with you guys. Until next time though, take it easy and keep catching,

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Jersey adventures part 2 with the LRF guys

First of all, the LRF guys team shot

Awake at 3.30am after around 90 minutes sleep, we were finally boarding and things were looking up. The predicted swell soon became apparent and the boat was moving around quite a lot. Whilst I tried to get my head down Lee disappeared to the toilet, I wouldn't see him again until 3 hours later. It's fair to say that he hadn't enjoyed his ferry ride along with 85% of the passengers on the boat. Fortunately, I am very good on boats so retained the contents of my stomach for the duration. It was a relief for everyone though when we arrived in Jersey for part 2 of my Jersey adventures.

As is customary now on my visits to the island, first stop was MrFish to see Mick and Bob who were also joined by Lee Birch and Mike Hayes this time around. We had a good chat about all things fishy and were also joined by Steve Mullins who kindly offered to help me on my hunt for a red mullet. After a good hour, myself and Lee decided to go and meet up with Scott at the hostel. The 3 amigos now together we thought up a game plan for the remaining hours of the day and got the rods ready for action. I had told Lee about the abundance of Giant gobies found in the rock pools all over the island so the first thing on our list was to get him one. I took them to a mark on the North coast I'd caught tonnes of them at on my previous trip including the beast and it wasn't to long before I found the first giant of the day. Scott was soon getting a few as well whilst I switched my attentions to the tiddlers in the pools hoping some of them would be two spot gobies. Switching to one of Scott's size 26 hooks I soon found out that they were in fact a mix of tiny rock and giant gobies. Lee then called Scott over to have a gander at one he'd landed and it was confirmed that he had his first giant goby and already his 4th new species of the trip. (The other fellas will add some photos)

Mission accomplished, the next effort saw us fishing for the rays which both Scott and Lee had never caught before. I'd made up a load of rigs in anticipation and chucking out sandeel and squid wraps (my favourite ray bait) we were soon getting bites from the doggie population which seem to plague everywhere nowadays. Scott however did get our target landing an Undulate ray of around 3lb. Even better was to come though for Scott all be it through some good luck. Whilst he had been reeling in his ray he'd caught his other line, pulling it right into the rocks. After photographing the ray he noticed his other rod knocking away and proceeded to bring in his first ever topknot and his 2nd new species of the night. Myself and Lee had to make do with dogfish and Pout though, I hate dogfish!

Our second day saw us hit St Helier harbour where we had hoped for another hoard of species. We did have plenty of fish throughout the session, the main culprits being the mass of black and rock gobies. In between the hoards of gobies though we did winkle out a few corkwings and a single ballan wrasse but it failed to produced anything exciting. At around 12ish, we headed over to MrFish once again to meet up with another LRF nut, Andy Marquis who had made the trip over from Guernsey to have a fish with us as well as to pick up his rather nice new red rod. Lee was suffering from the previous days boat trip and decided to give the next session a miss so whilst he got some kip, I went off to dig some lug leaving Scott and Andy to have a session on the rocks nearby. An hour later I went over to see how the guys were doing and still fishless, Scott tempted me to get out my LRF gear once more by showing me a pool with a few 2-spot gobies in, a species I'm yet to catch. 30 stressful mins later, defeat was admitted and even the size 26 hooks seemed to big lol Scott did get a single sand goby, but that was it. The evening saw us part ways, myself heading off with my smelly stuff in hope of a red mullet whilst Andy, Scott and the now recovered Lee headed out in search of a Scad. I'll leave the lads to tell there part of it but I failed to get a red mullet, catching a number of rockling and pout instead. My highlight was this double header of rockling, one a 3-beard, the other a shore rockling.

Day 3 : After the disappointing previous day, the Sunday was a day I was looking forward to, mostly due to the fact we'd be having an afternoon session with Steve Mullins. During the morning we headed to the North West coast to get out of the wind and hopefully hit into some wrasse and bass. It was very hard work again with Lee managing a single wrasse on a stick bait and myself hitting into a few small bass on my newly acquired mad shads mounted on a Xorus jighead. As is usually the case though after calling Scott and Lee over, the fish had disappeared. Then the time came to meet Steve on the beach to get some lug and try once again for the reds. We were also joined by Roger Mortimore, who I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to and listening to all his fishing stories, including his recent Oman adventure, very jealous. After digging plenty of worm we headed off to a few of Steve's marks, where despite our best efforts it wasn't to be on the red mullet front. The second mark he put us on did produce a steady flow of doggies and pout though which Lee and Scott were all to happy to catch. A huge thankyou to Steve though for his time and effort, sometimes it's just not to be and when the fish aren't playing nice there's not a lot you can do. With Roj keen to join us again the following morning though, it left me with one final chance to get my target.

Day 4 (the final one) - I have to say, with just the one day left and still no new species on my list, I was starting to get a little frustrated, but I was going to put in all my effort to this one last attempt. We all met with Roj at 8.30am and after a quick coffee and breakfast bap we headed off to a deep rock mark. Scott and Lee fished lure only whilst myself and Roj targeted the reds with some of the left over lug. The weather was awful, raining for the majority of the morning and hailing as well. Roj was first in with a small bream and then we both had dogfish to add to the mix. With all hopes of a red gone, I saw a small tap on my rod tip and immediately thought bream. I let it develop and eventually hit it connecting to something small. On the way in I picked up some weed but when I finally saw the fish surface and I had it on the rocks, I realised I'd got something a little special. It was my first ever Baillons Wrasse, a cracking looking fish and this one I believe is a specimen. My 64th species of the year, very happy chappy! At this point we departed from Roj, who had to shoot to work and decided to have another bash in St Helier harbour. Apart from a small dragonette I had on a huge bait it was yet again a 
goby fest with Scott getting loads of the little blighters on his LRF gear. I did try my best again to tempt a few 2 spot gobies I'd seen but once again, they were just to small for my hooks. 

With only a few hours remaining we decided to have one last bash at a North coast breakwater. Lee tried his best to bag a topknot whilst Scott and I raided the rock pools with the LRF tactics whilst Dan Ferguson who had come to join us watched on in disgust. When we got a few unfamiliar lookng gobies though we got excited. They may have only been a few cm's in length but were fairly confident that we both ticked of another new species. This time it was a painted goby. The blue tinge to the first dorsal was a giveaway feature as well as the clear markings on its flank and the number of rays in both its dorsal fins. Here are a few pictures I took. From these you can clearly see the distinctive markings and colours on the fish. 
 Both myself and Scott tempted these little stunners on a size 26 hook and a slither of Power Isome. So another species ticked off, 65 and counting. With that done we had to leave for the ferry, saying our goodbye's to Scott and leaving him in the very useful hands of Dan who was gonna take him to one of his marks in the search of a ray or conger. Read Scott's report for the details.

Thanks alot for reading and thanks once again to all those who helped us in any way, it's always a pleasure to come to Jersey and I'm planning another trip before the year is out. Jersey adventure part 2 is over, but part 3 is soon to come.

Tight Lines,

An opportunist session in Dorset

As the 1st November rolled around, myself and Lee were in the car and on our way down to Poole to catch the ferry, Scott was set to meet us in Jersey after flying over the previous day. Six hours after leaving North Wales we were at the port and both very excited, at least until the dreaded text came through just an hour before we were set to sail to inform us the ferry was cancelled. So after evaluating our options and having a good moan, we decided to  make the most of our day and get the LRF gear out. First stop was Poole harbour where both myself and Lee bashed out a few gobies each, Lee adding two new species to his yearly list with rock goby and black goby. The wind then decided to pick up a little making controlling the light gear much harder. The result was a short drive to Weymouth where we hoped for a few more new species. We made our

way to the breakwater at the mouth of the port, fishing the seaward side to avoid the wind as best as possible. There were plenty of fish taking a liking to our Isome and Gulp but after failing to connect, we both downsized the jigheads. The impact was instant and before long I was hauling out fish after fish, the majority being small pout. Thrown in the mix though were a number of corkwings, a scorpion fish, a few poor cod, a tompot blenny and this slightly better ballan wrasse of around 3/4lb. Lee was struggling to hook anything but eventually managed to winkle out a few corkwings before after a good wait, he finally landed a pouting, his 3rd new species of the trip. The bitter wind finally got the better of us after 3 hours fishing so we left Weymouth to once again visit Poole ferry terminal where we would spend the night attempting to sleep in my car, unsuccessfully.