Tuesday, 29 May 2012

LRF : Flounder hunt.

On Monday, as we had the afternoon free, we decided to head down the coast to Dunbar to see if we could target some flounders in the harbour. They have been noticeably absent from the harbour over the winter and with Scott catching a plaice at North Berwick harbour recently we hoped they may be back in Dunbar harbour as well.

It was very hot in Edinburgh and not a cloud in the sky. This changed on the way down the A1 however and by the time we got to Dunbar it was cloudy with a chilly easterly wind. Not so much fun in the sun more like fun in the fog! We arrived at low tide and armed with our LRF gear we headed to the sandy areas of the harbour. Scott had rigged up a small silver spinner with a single #6 Aberdeen hook which he then tipped with a red Isome. I went with my tried and trusted combo of the 2.3gm  #8 Ecogear Shirasu Fine jighead and small pink Power Isome.

Technique is straight forward enough, cast out and allow the lure to drop and hit the sea bed. Then slowly retrieve allowing the lure to crawl enticingly along the sand. Add in the odd pause and twitch and it's usually a recipe that proves irresistible to flounders. Within a couple of casts we could see small flounders chasing the lures and nipping at the Isomes. Try as we might we just couldn't get them to attack in their normal fashion and they were being very picky. We worked around the harbour and after about 45mins I saw the familiar dark shape of a sea scorpion rise up from the sea bed and nail my Isome! He was quickly lifted up, photographed and returned and it was great to see our first harbour sea scorpion in months.

A plump long spined sea scorpion all puffed up and defiant.
Our first Dunbar harbour scorpion for a while, we are very pleased to see them back! It doesn't look quite so happy to see us!

Scott had switched over to a section of red Gulp! Sandworm on an 3.5g #6 AGM finesse jighead and quickly caught our second harbour long spined sea scorpion. Brilliant! One of our favourite summer haunts seems to be coming back to life!

Scott charms another sea scorpion from the depths.

With the tide flooding the flounders had began to move further towards the old harbour so we decided to go there to see if we could find them. The water was very clear in the old harbour and we could see our lures working across the muddy bottom. Scott was working his lures near to the wall when we saw a large blenny appear out of the mud and grab Scotts lure. Annoyingly though, it dropped off as it was being swung in. Still no sign of the flounders so we continued teasing the blennys that were lurking along the wall. I landed three and Scott had one too then he decided to head to the rockpools at the back of the harbour hoping to catch something there.

An old harbour blenny in a surprisingly regal pose!
Scott's old harbour blenny fell for Gulp! 1" Minnow in chartreuse.

I opted to stay in the old harbour and keep a look out for flatties whilst annoying the blennys. I had changed lure to a Gulp! 1" fish fry mounted on an 2.2g Crazyg wave HD jig head. As I was bouncing it along past the bottom of a ladder I saw a large dark coloured flounder swimming towards the ladder and settle in the mud about 8ft out from me. It was a big fish for the harbour and with shaking hands I cast beyond it and began a slow twitchy retrieve along the bottom. The lure got within about 8ft of the flounder when it rose out of the mud and glided over to the lure. It circled around behind the lure as it crawled along then in a puff of mud pounced, only to miss the lure. I just kept the slow retrieve going and the flounder seeing the lure escaping made sure this time with a flash of its white mouth engulfed the lure. I struck and felt the satisfying thump as the hook hit and held. The fish rose up shaking his head, whilst my murmered pleadings begged the hook to hold, then bolted off towards the boats taking line and putting a good bend in my rod. I turned it fearing for the fine hook and then it "yo-yoed" towards me constantly coming up then diving for the bottom. Soon it was beneath my feet and wallowing on the surface. So far so good, the next trick was to lift and swing the fish in. Fearing for my little rod and the small hook I pointed the rod at the fish tightened the drag a bit then in one movement lifted the rod and swung the fish up the nine foot wall to my hands. Success! The biggest flounder yet from Dunbar harbour and a really chunky thick set fish over a pound. I popped round the back to show Scott and after a couple of shots quickly took it back up to the harbour and released it, watching as it swam quickly back under the boats.

Success! The flounders are back and this one is my biggest yet from Dunbar harbour.
My first flounder of 2012. A very pleasing fish indeed!

Scott meanwhile had managed another long spined sea scorpion but we had run out of time and so we called it a day and headed back. A very good short session showing us that the mini species and flounders are back in the harbour, a real sign that summer is just about upon us. Flounder were an almost certain catch there last summer, I cant wait to find out if they will be as obliging this year!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Shimano Technium 3000SFC : Trout Test.

On Tuesday I took delivery of my new reel, a Shimano Technium 3000SFC. After spooling it up with some new 6lb Sunline Super PE braid I was itching to test it out.

Shiny new tackle!

Time has been very limited for me this week so I opted for an hours fishing on The Water of Leith. The reel marries very well with my 7'9" Graphiteleader Corto EX rod and is only a couple of grams heavier than my Exage. Recently I have been experimenting with trying to keep the trout deeper in the water when hooked as they have an uncanny habit of throwing the hook when they come to the surface and thrash about. This is where a lightly set reliable drag comes in and I hoped to test the new reels capabilities.

I attached a Gulp! 1" Minnow in watermelon/pearl to an EcoGear Shirasu fine jighead and I was ready to rock! 10 minutes later I was at the Water of Leith in Stockbridge and after a brief wade had reached my first pool. Technique was pretty straight forward just cast across current and with a slow twitchy retrieve allow the lure to swing back across the current towards you. This particular pool was full of features, a fast flow of water under some trees into a deeper slower glide with a ledge running down the full length of the pool. I started at the top and began working the lure downstream. Sure enough when I was about a third of the way down the pool a trout dashed out from under the ledge and seized the lure. The jighead hooks are amazingly sharp and even with the drag set lightly the fish was hooked well. Keeping the rod low as I was playing him persuaded the fish to stay deeper in the water and the light drag allowed him a foot or so of line each time to soak up his little darting runs. He stayed deep till he was level with me then calmly came up to the surface where I brought him to hand! Another beautifully conditioned Water of Leith brown trout of about a pound.

Feeling rather pleased with myself for playing the fish as I had planned I waded up stream a bit to find a dry area to take a picture. A large stone presented me with a good place and the trout was duly laid down whilst I fumbled for my camera. I continued fumbling with my camera as the trout, with a gleeful flick of its tail, flipped back into the water and sped away down stream. Oh well camera shy trout, but at least I managed to catch from this new pool. I headed further upstream and again using the same technique caught a couple more lovely brownies and managed to get a picture of these ones!

Brown trout in a fast current was great fun on the new reel.
Another brownie caught and released after a fun fast water fight.

I had a final 10 minutes in the weir pool and again hooked another trout who when landed had obviously heard of the first trouts strategy and promptly jumped back into the water whilst I was yet again fumbling for my camera!

Not to worry though, whilst my hour was up, it had been a blast! The new reel performed admirably and testing the light drag did add a new dimension to fighting the humble Leith trout! I cant wait to see how it handles some other fish!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A charming afternoon's fishing.

Yesterday was a stunning day weather wise and after a spot of work, unfortunately this does occasionally get in the way of fishing, Jake and I headed to Loch Lubnaig to resume our attempts to catch arctic char. The last time we fished it Jake hooked two of them on a pink Jackson Cymo vibe lure but lost both of them so we know they are in there! We headed about halfway up the eastern side of the loch and parked up, carefully and quietly crossed a field containing some large highland cow bulls and followed a small stream that was stuffed with small minnows down to the mark.

Loch Lubnaig under a clear blue sky.

We setup up our LRF gear, clipped on a pink Jackson Cymo vibe lure each, and started casting out, letting the lures sink down then retrieving them in a very quick sink and draw style but with lots of small rips and pauses to get the lure working. A slight wind blowing up the loch made it tricky to cast and stay in contact with the lures but it soon dropped off. Jake had a couple of missed bites and then hooked into a fish. He got it up to the surface and could see from its colours that it was an arctic char. Mission accomplished!? Not quite unfortunately, like the two he hooked during our last trip, with a frantic thrash it threw the hooks and bolted. A very annoyed Jake decided it was time for a smoke break but he couldn't find his tobacco so headed back to the van to look for it.

Whilst he was gone I kept on fishing and just as the lure dropped after a short rip I was hit by a fish. I played it lightly to try and minimise the chance of losing it and as it came into view I realised it was another arctic char! I was expecting it to thrash around and give me the slip but I guided it over the net and breathed a huge sigh of relief! I looked over it and admired its aubergine back and silver flanks with lovely subtle pink spots. Its fins had a nice white tinge to their edges too. A lovely looking fish. I popped it back into the net to show Jake when he returned. As Jake came back he must have seen me kneeling over the fish inspecting it and popping it into the net as he came back in a quite a hurry to see what I had caught. I gave him the news and he congratulated my success, we got a few photos and popped it back.

My first ever arctic char.

Jake was even more determined to catch and land an arctic char now and pretty soon he hooked a fish but it was a small brownie. He followed this up with another brown trout shortly afterwards. He then started working his way around the bay and after a while was a fair bit away.

Small but perfectly formed loch trout.
Lovely heavily spotted markings on Jake's second brown trout.
Jake searches out his target.

I continued to fish over the same area and looking over I could see Jake's rod bent over again. He was making his way back to the bank and obviously had landed a fish. I wondered if he had caught an arctic char as he seemed to be taking a lot of photos. A few casts later and he had hooked and landed another fish. I was happily fishing away whilst watching him and not really paying too much attention to what was happening with my lure, just enjoying the sun and the surroundings really, when I felt a take pretty close in. After a very short but again cautious fight I had landed my second arctic char of the session. I called Jake over and he came across to see what I had caught. Again we got a few photos and popped the fish into a stream and watched him make his way back into the loch.

My second arctic char. Same size as the first. This one took a brown Jackson Cymo.
Very hard to capture the pink spots in the bright light. The photos don't do the fish any justice at all.

After the excitement subsided I asked Jake what he had caught and he told me it was a couple of perch. I was chuffed for him as we'd both been having a bit of frustrating time with a long barren spell as far as perch go and now we had both busted the hoodoo!

The perch were loving the pink Jackson Cymo too!
Off the second perch goes to sulk around in the weeds again.

We had a few more casts at the area where I had caught both my arctic char and then had 30 minutes over at the point where Jake had caught his perch, a very weedy shallow area. Jake hooked a third perch but it came off as he tried to pull it through a large clump of weeds. Time up we headed back to the van. As we were leaving I spotted a load of small fish in a little stream. Jake scooped some up and it turns out they were lamprey. Never seen one before so it was fasinating seeing their strange mouths and fins. A few of them were absolutley full of eggs.

The tiny stream was full of these small lamprey.
Tiny little sucker mouth full of little razor sharp teeth! A few hundred more on the way too!

Obviously this won't be the last trip the Loch Lubnaig as whilst Jake has sorted himself out with a perch he's still determined to land an arctic char. I'm sure the next trip will see him do it!

Tight lines, Hutch.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Slug-Go Sunday.

Whilst Scott was away having a great time fishing the coastline of Anglesey last weekend, I planned a trip to the Forth and Clyde canal. This changed when I received a call from our friend and fellow The Lure Forum member, Richie Walton. He was on his way up from Sunderland to target some bass and have a play with his new LRF rod. So it was a quick change of plan and I headed down into East Lothian in the hope of continuing my LRF bass run.

When I arrived at the mark Richie and Jase had already been fishing for an hour but apart from a couple of knocks they had not hooked any fish. The conditions again were far from ideal with a fresh easterly wind and a big surf running which can be pretty hazardous at this mark. I decided to start with my LRF kit and on went a 2.3g #8 Shirasu Fine jighead and small Power Isome. With the tide flooding and the waves rising I took a brief window of opportunity and began to work the Isome in the strong current. Little twitches make the Isome writhe and as I let the lure drift down in the current it soon yielded results. A flash of silver in the waves followed by an aggressive take and it was bass on! Again he used the current to his full advantage making runs with the receding waves, but the combination of a lightly set drag and a soft rod soon curtailed his rather enjoyable wee fight! he was landed and photographed before being released back to the waves.

LRF bass makes a happy angler!

Richie had seen what I was up to and it wasn't long before he was trying the same albeit with different results as he caught blenny after blenny on a section of pink Power Isome mounted on a 1/16oz #10 Decoy Rocket jighead. With the conditions and state of tide I decided on a new approach. I needed to get a bit further out and wanted a deeper working lure, so I rigged up my 9'6" Wright and McGill S-curve spinning rod, Shimano Aernos C3000 spooled with 20lb Sunline Momentum 4x4. On the business end it was on with a 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner and I mounted it on a 10.5gm Football jighead from AGM Discount Tackle. I began casting beyond the breaking waves and letting the lure fall through the water before applying a couple of twitches up whilst retrieving slowly. After five minutes or so ,as the lure was bouncing up a gully Bass number 2 had seized the lure and was quickly landed, photographed and returned.

A bit bigger, this bass fell for a 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner.

I was hoping the Slug-Go would maybe attract a bigger bass and another few casts later, using the same approach, I was into another one! This was a better fish about 2lb tops but energised by the highly oxygenated water he gave a good account of himself on the "heavier" gear.

The largest and final bass of the session, Slug-Go does it again.

He was lightly hooked which made releasing him easy and as he swam away I was feeling rather chuffed to have caught in the tricky conditions. I told Richie and Jase and gave them some Slug-Gos to try. Richie had a couple of bites and lost a fish too. Not long after the tide and waves made fishing too difficult on the reef and after a few more blennies for Richie we called time and headed back to the cars. A short session but an interesting one, I really will have to do some more Slug-Go experiments at this mark next time.

Tight Lines, Schogsky.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Light Rock Fishing. Not just for little fish!

Jake and I had the pleasure of meeting fellow The Lure Forum member, Iain Mortimer yesterday. A self exiled Scot of some 33 years he now lives down in Sussex where he primarily enjoys bass fishing. A business trip to Glasgow presented him with the opportunity to travel a day early and meet up with us so we could take him to a couple of our marks and hopefully put him onto a few fish. Iain brought his own tackle with the exception of a rod which Jake and I had promised to lend him for the trip. Iain fancied a go at LRF and so I gave him the use of my Nories Rockfish Bottom Ultra Light 1.8-7g. 

Jake and I picked up Iain up at 8:45 from Edinburgh airport and we set off down the Edinburgh bypass towards East Lothian. A quick stop to grab some lunch, a short drive further down the A1 and we arrived at the first mark. Iain and I rigged up with a section of pink Power Isome and started with a spot of blenny bashing.

Iain searching amongst the boulders for a blenny.

After 10 minutes or so Iain was first to catch one after dropping a couple as he lifted them up from between the boulders we were fishing amongst. Pretty soon I had a couple too. Jake meanwhile began where he left off on Monday and was working a whole small pink Power Isome mounted on a 2.3g #8 shirasu fine jighead trying for a bass. It wasn't long before he got one!

First bass of the day falls to Jake.
Bass love pink Power Isome! Is there a fish that doesn't!

Whilst I moved over to the reef to fish at distance using a small Sidewinder Brill Bait fished behind a 20g sinking caro, Iain joined Jake fishing from the rocks and adopted the same approach and pretty soon was in on the act. They both carried on and over the next hour or two Iain hooked five small bass. He did however manage to drop a one of them before a photograph could be taken and another of them threw the hook at his feet before swimming off. All taken in good spirits though.

A couple of bass gave Iain the slip. One falling from his hand.

We carried on for about another hour with Jake moving over to the reef and I joined Iain for a while but no more bass were caught.

Jake tries to locate bass that may be moving over the submerged reef.
I try working a Brill Bait up through the outflow.

Early afternoon we headed down to one of the many rock marks on the Eyemouth coast. We met up with two of our friends, Richie and Paul who were already fishing.

Most Eyemouth rock marks can only be fished over low water and great care must be taken accessing them.

Richie had already caught a nice coalfish and with a slight swell running conditions looked good for a pollock or two although Jake and I were hoping for a humble coalfish for our species tally! Jake got one on his second cast. Right under his feet, it took a slug-go and was very quickly hoisted up by a grinning Jake!

First coalfish of 2012 for Jake. Won't be the last!

Shortly afterwards Richie caught the first pollock of the day. A decent fish of about 3lb.

A small pollock by Richie's standards. He fishes the Eyemouth coast regularly and his personal best is 8.5lb.

Paul was next to hook a fish although sadly he lost it bringing it in. Richie caught another coalfish and then it was Iain's turn to get in on the action and he did so in spectacular style. I looked over to see the Nories bent over and I knew it was a good fish. Then it bent some more. Then it bent right down to the grip! The fish stripped about 15ft of line as it made a dive for cover but Iain bullied it back up again. Then I caught a glimpse of the beast before it stripped line again as it made another rod testing bid for freedom. I have hooked a 4lb pollock on the rod before so I knew it could handle bigger fish but this fish was big! Iain kept the pressure on and it was soon up on the surface. Whilst we figured out the best place to land it, it made a few final surges to try and get down again but was obviously beaten. I pointed to a gully that the swell was washing into and Iain guided the pollock over to it. Jake jumped down and grabbed the fish as it was washed up inside. The instant he did and the line went slack the hook dropped out! An incredible fish of 6lb 8oz, a great weight for a shore caught pollock and a new PB for Iain, smashing his previous best! A very happy man indeed!

Cracking fish tamed on LRF tackle.
A satisfied angler and a rather grumpy fish.

After a few photos it was put back and we all had a chance to calm down. Sadly after this though, the tide flow began dropping off and so did the action. Jake, Iain and I did a spot of vertical jigging in a large rockpool and after exploring amongst the boulders and kelp for a little while Iain caught a long spined sea scorpion.

Not a test of rod strength really!

This would be turn out to be the last fish caught on the mark. We returned to the rocks and fished on for a hour or so more but decided to call it a day there and mad the short climb back up from the rocks. We said goodbye to Richie and Paul and headed back to Edinburgh

We ended the day with a short session on the Water of Leith as Iain fancied a very quick go for a brown trout. Gulp! 1" Minnow rigged up and after a bit of advice from Jake on I about the best way to fish the first pool and the likely location of any trout Iain began casting downstream, allowing the lure to swing across the current and imparted a few twitches to try and entice a take. Working his way down the pool as he swung the lure across the bottom of it we thought we saw some activity but after working the lure across the spot thoroughly with no further movement seen we moved down the the next pool. Iain repeated the process, covering the entire pool but unfortunately there weren't any fish in it either. We did see a kingfisher as it flew up and down the river in a flash of brilliant dazzling blue which made a nice end to the day even if it was a feathered instead of a fishy one.

It was great to meet and fish with Iain and whilst I have the humble blenny to thank for avoiding a blank the sight of Iain taming a superb shore pollock with what some would refer to as a "Fairy Wand" made my day.

Tight lines, Hutch.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

East Lothian : Bass, Sea Trout and Blennies.

On Monday, as we had some free time we decided to head down the coast to do a bit of reconnaissance for a forthcoming trip. Light rock fishing (LRF) would be my theme for the trip and I was keen to test my 7'9" Graphiteleader Corto EX rod some more. After a short drive we arrived at Dunbar harbour, one of our favourite summer haunts, in the hope of some sport with flounders. The "new" harbour unfortunately was very hard to fish due to the strong wind, which made keeping in contact with my Power Isome/2.3g jighead combo very hard indeed. Scott decided to try a spot of drop shotting with his Shimano Speedmaster Drop Shot rod as he didn't like the weather conditions. However even this approach didn't pay off and we decided to seek the more sheltered waters of the "old " harbour. We both stuck with our chosen techniques and I started casting and retrieving along the muddy harbour bottom in the hope of attracting a flounder. Scott was working the bottom of the harbour walls and around the ladders and within minutes was getting a few bites! This was great as this particular mark has been devoid of fish over the winter and coupled with the sighting of lots of small fry swimming about the edges and around the hulls of the fishing boats was signs that summer is almost upon us. A few minutes later Scott had hooked a good sized blenny, but it got into some weed on the harbour wall and he lost it trying to pull it free. On the next drop as he gently worked the lure he hooked another but it managed to throw the hook as it was being swung in. Scott moved along a bit and suggested that I have a try and a few casts later I managed to hook what was probably the same blenny!

Our first fish from Dunbar Harbour in a while. Hopefully it will be livening up again soon!

After we released him we had another 30 minutes exploring the old harbour but with no more bites we headed off further down the coast to our other prospective mark. Upon arrival Scott rather predictably headed to the large rockpools to do a bit more experimentation with his drop shot setup. I also decided to stay with the same set up I began flicking the Isome out into the current and letting it drift along whilst gently twitching and retrieving slowly. My intended target was bass but I was pleasantly surprised to see a sea trout suddenly leap about 2 feet out of the water in front of me! I had heard they sometimes frequent the mark but I had never seen them there before. I quickly reeled in and recast to over where the fish had leapt and began working the lure. As it got into the same area I felt a sharp bite but no hook up and the trout had ripped the Isome off the hook. I quickly threaded another Isome onto the jighead and cast out again, working the lure continually. Three or four casts later another bite but this time a hook up! The sea trout took off and decided to put on a nice arial display before being landed. Excellent fun on my light set up and my first sea trout of 2012. Not a big fish just over a pound at best.

This poor sea trout had a lot of lice on it.

I flicked off some of the sea lice from it as it was fairly infested with the horrible little parasites and then released it. I then called over to Scott who was still happily bothering blennys and carried on fishing the Isome. The fishing began to follow the same pattern and I found the trout were tearing the Isome off the jighead without getting hooked. I swapped over to a Berkley Gulp 1" minnow and it yielded almost immediate results with another smaller sea trout.

My second slightly smaller sea trout.

By this point Scott had arrived on the scene, quickly rigged up a chartreuse Gulp 1" Minnow on a 2.2g #10 Crazyg Wave HD jighead and was flicking it out. It wasn't long before he too had landed his first sea caught sea trout of 2012. Then I landed another sea trout of about half a pound and quickly released it. Scott then had a better second fish again just over a pound.

The second of Scott's two sea trout.

As Scott was unhooking his fish and taking a photo another "angler" moved into his spot and stupidly started casting a controller float and eel in amongst the fish, spooking them in the process, causing them to move out of range. I was very annoyed but carried on fishing in the hope they may return. Scott went off to catch a few more blennies and after a while I decided to switch back to the Isome. I began to try and work the Isome a bit deeper by casting up current and letting it drift back towards me. After 20 minutes or so as the retrieve drew the lure level with me I had a good bite and hooked into my first bass of the session.

One of my seven bass.

The bass used the current to its full advantage and tried to head to deeper water. I have been keen to test the stopping power of the rod so I really bent into the fish and bullied him back where he was promptly landed, photographed and released. The next 20minutes were pretty hectic with lots of bites and a further six bass landed and released. The fish were not big, most about a pound and a half but each one was a joy to play on the rod.

All of my bass were taken on small pink Power Isome.

Towards the end of this busy period Scott returned and he had managed to catch a few more blennys in the larger rockpools taking his tally to ten, although he commented that many of the usual hiding holes were now full of weed. Another good sign that summer is on it's way along with lots of fish!

Scott's biggest blenny out of the ten he caught. He's rather fond of them in case you didn't realise!
Scott had a bash at the bass with an Isome but they must have moved off as the action stopped just as suddenly as it had started so we called time and headed back to Edinburgh although it was very hard to tear ourselves away! Still a very successful if short session and we hope the sea trout will put in an appearance again soon!

Tight Lines, Schogsky.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Loch Lubnaig : Good Vibrations.

Saturday and a break in the windy, rainy weather saw us head inland in search of the elusive perch. We chose Loch Lubnaig (the Gaelic name for "crooked loch") situated west of Callander on the edge of the Lomond and Trossachs national park. Lubnaig has a bit of a reputation for throwing up large perch as well as brown trout and also Arctic char. After an hours drive we reached the town of Callander and duly bought our permits for the Loch from James Bayne Fishing Tackle Shop on the high street. As neither Scott nor I had fished this particular Loch we were treating this as more of a reconnaissance mission. When we arrived at the loch we parked the car and walked down to the shore, the sky was blue with a few white clouds and the view stunning.

Breathtaking view up towards the crook in Loch Lubnaig.

We setup up ready to fish. I geared up with my LRF gear, Graphiteleader Corto EX rod, Shimano Exage 2500 reel spooled with 8.5lb Daiwa Tournement braid and an 8lb Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon leader. Scott elected to go with a heavier setup, Shimano Speedmaster Drop Shot 3.5-28g, Shimano Exage 3000 reel spooled with 10lb Sunline Rockfish as he wanted the option to fish heavier jigheads and slightly larger lures to try and tempt a bigger perch. 

We knew the loch had a thriving population of minnows so I went with a Berkley Gulp! 1" Minnow in Watermelon Pearl mounted on a 2.3g #8 Shirasu Fine jighead. Scott started with a Lake Fork Live Magic Shad in Golden Shiner on a 7g #2/0 AGM football jighead. I worked my way down  from the car park towards the end of the loch where the River Leny flows out whilst Scott began working his way up the Loch. I fished the minnow right down to the river then back up the loch to meet Scott and neither of us had had any interest, except for shoals of minnows following our lures.

A change of tactics was required so I decided to go with a vibe lure as it would work deeper and maybe trigger an attack in the peaty depths. I rigged up a 5g Jackson Cymo in pink/silver as pinks and reds seem to do well in peaty water. I worked the Lure by casting in a fan pattern and retrieving in a sink and draw fashion. Short lifts of the rod tip made the lure vibrate upwards, pause and slow the retrieve and it would flutter down. After 10 minutes the lure was seized by a fish, as it splashed and writhed on the surface it quickly became apparent that it was no perch and indeed after a spirited fight I landed my first Lubnaig brown trout!

The Jackson Cymo proved irresistible to this brownie.

Marvellous, a proper wild loch brownie and a boost to my confidence in the lure. About 20 minutes later I got hit by a fish quite far out in the deeper water. My rod bent into the fish which had taken the lure just as it started to fall. It felt different to the trout and it immediately tried to dive down. It kept boring down as I played it towards me but I still couldn't see what it was, could it be that elusive perch? No, it's an Arctic char! I exclaimed as it slid over a weed bed and into view. I caught sight of its amazing colours, scarlet belly with an emerald green/grey back and white piping on its fins. Scott upon hearing my exclamation grabbed the net and hurried over towards me. It was a good sized fish, over a pound and as I drew it towards the shore I decided that rather than wait for Scott I would just beach it. Bad move! As I turned the fish back to come into the shallows it gave a shake of its head and out popped the lure! Gutted, If only I had waited for Scott. Still I can vaguely console myself with having very nearly landed a fish I never though I would encounter without having to travel to Alaska or Norway.

By this point Scott had tried a variety of soft lures but hadn't even had a bite.

Scott washes another lure.

He headed back down to the bottom of the Loch to fish near the mouth of the River Leny and finally hooked a decent brownie on a Skippy Fish in Golden Shiner but on its second leap out of the water it threw the hook. After speaking to a local angler who was fishing back near the car we decided to try a spot a bit further up the loch and for the last half an hour of the session we found ourselves at the mouth of a burn that flows into the loch. Where the burn flowed in it gave way to some deep water very close in. 

We began fishing and almost instantly Scott was getting bites but no hook ups. A few casts later and whilst I was watching the lure travel over the shelf another Arctic char darted in and began nipping at the lure. The fish missed the lure and slunk back down onto the shelf. I cast again and this time a good bite, he was hooked! Only for a short while though as he threw the hook. Win some lose some!

Scott hooked a brownie next which again threw the hooks as he was coming in to be landed. The trout however couldn't resist the Jackson Cymo and a further 2 brownies were landed and released as well as losing a few more before we could land them.

Another beautiful Loch Lubnaig brown trout.
Its always great to catch a wild trout and these were no exception.
Ready to swim back to feast on the minnows.

No sign of any perch on this trip and a rare blank for Scott but we are assured the perch are there, however, my brush with the Arctic char population has really inspired me so a few more vibe lures have been ordered and another visit is on the cards to target and hopefully land one!

Tight Lines, Schogsky.