Friday, 2 September 2011

Portland Species Competition!

Today, I was a guest angler amongst the regular Friday Species League crew aboard Colin Penney's Flamer 4. Although I not personally into match fishing of any kind, you can learn a lot from match anglers. The fishing today would be restricted to the areas in and around Portland Harbour, a species hunters paradise.

After a short sail we arrived at Colin's secret muddy mark where the rare red band live. These unusual fish live with their heads sticking out of the mud grabbing shrimps and the like. A set of mini sabikkis were baited with tiny strips of squid ready for the first of several short drifts. By the time we moved we had acounted for more than twenty red band fish between us. They are truly stunning looking fish being a pinky orange colour with electric pinky purple edging the fins. If Barbie was a fish she would be a red band fish. I also managed a goby or two including a Jeffreys Goby (it has an elongated 2nd ray on its first dorsal). Unfortunately I managed to drop it back in before getting the photo.

We spent some time drifting a range of marks including the harbour entrances. The rocky areas were wrasse city and a wide variety of species were caught including ballan, cuckoo, goldsinney and the rare ballions wrasse. Tompot blennies, gobies, mackerel, scad and pollack also showed.

Gurnards manly tubs showed, I only managed to catch reds........again! Several anglers caught dragonets which again evaded my hooks. Andy Selby from Weymouth Angling even managed a couple of red mullet, the first Andy had ever caught. Two trigger fish were also landed.

In retrospect I should have fished short flowing rigs to keep all three baits on the bottom, rather than a paternoster rig. I am back for a two day competition in October which will allow me to test out my hypothesis. Most of the anglers on board had homemade bait containers divided into sections and hung on the boats rails, which immediately means less time is spent baiting up and more time spent with a bait in the water.

The planned drifts over the wreck of the Hood had to be abandoned due to the presence of divers.

Our final mark was at anchor over a muddy patch where I targeted butterfly blennies and dragonets on tiny hooks baited with slivers of ragworm. I became a smoothound pup magnet landing four of them along with some dogfish.

Richard, the angler next to me landed the only butterfly blenny of the day. Again I suffered the indignity of seeing others landing dragonets and tub gurnards.

What an enjoyable day in good company. I added three species to my challenge total and missed out on five others (butterfly blenny, dragonet, red mullet, trigger fish and tub gurnard). In excess of tweny species were landed by the crew and I ended the day with 14 species, in fact too many to record as labels on this blog item (blogger has a limit of 200 characters)!