This was the clubs 2nd outing of the year on board “Predator” with Skipper Hamish Currie. On the trip were 6 members.
This was the clubs last calendar outing of the season, and with the clubs Master Angler competition still wide open, we looked forward to a bit of banter on the boat.
The forecast for the day was for South- Easterly winds of 10-12 mph, but on the day the winds proved to be much stronger, making for pretty difficult fishing conditions.
We were relying on catching fresh mackerel for bait, having no stand-by frozen baits or worms with us, the area near the salmon cages in Red Bay usually providing a pretty regular supply of big mackerel. Again we were a bit unlucky as they were a bit thin on the ground, and so we wasted maybe an hour trying to collect enough for a days fishing on the sandbanks. We eventually took 20 or so large mackerel, and so headed out to start our days fishing proper.
Hamish set anchor on an offshore sandbank, where we hoped to make contact with rays and flatfish, having taken some nice blonde rays, turbot and brill from the same ground on previous trips. We started off with long flowing traces armed with spoons, beads and 4/0 hooks baited with mackerel strips. The tide wasn’t too strong initially, and we were able to hold bottom with reasonably light weights of 12oz or 1lb, depending on your position on the boat. As the day progressed, the tide strength grew to the point where 1.25lb – 2lb of lead would be required.
The fishing started off slow, with only some whiting, gurnards, and small dabs to show for our efforts. Alan Campbell hooked something more substantial however, and a nice blonde ray surfaced, to be netted deftly by Hamish. It pulled the scales to 4lb 5oz, before being released. This was Alan’s first ever blonde ray, and it put him in pole position to take the master angler title if it held up.
However, Alan Buchanan then hooked up, and struggled in the strong tide with a fish that felt huge, pulling yards of line from his reel repeatedly. Hamish correctly called it as a good blonde ray, and sure enough, after a few tense minutes, a lovely blonde ray appeared behind the boat, again expertly netted by Hamish. A first blonde ray for Alan B also, and it took the scales down to 13lb 4oz. The fish was photographed and released to fight another day. This put Alan B back in the lead in the competition.
A pack of dogfish moved in to the ground, with a couple of dozen being taken between all on board, until once again another huge take on Alan Buchanan's rod and another good fish began to take line from his reel. After a great fight all the way to the boat, another good blonde ray was being netted by Hamish, this one taking the scales to 11lb 12oz. No photos now, as by this time we were deluged by torrential rain, making it impossible to take any pictures without destroying cameras. The rain was to last the rest of the afternoon, soaking through everyone’s waterproofs, and, along with the strong wind and rough seas, making it an unpleasant place to be.
After a few pleas from some of the guys, Hamish upped anchor, and moved to calmer waters for the last hour, where we tried for a conger. Only the ever present dogs showed however, and along with a few nice whiting for Paul Campbell, these rounded off our day.
1st place Alan Buchanan 13lb 4oz Blonde Ray 15 points
2nd place Alan Buchanan 11lb 12oz Blonde Ray 10 points
3rd place Alan Campbell 4lb 5oz Blonde Ray 5 points
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