What a fantasic couple of days......... We had a day over at Crinan about a month ago and I failed to connect with a Skate, this weekends trip was planned to redress that score. We arrived on Friday afternoon and rigged up in time to spend a few of hours afloat before dark. The wind was fresher than forecast, although it was Easterly it still managed to make itâ€™s presence felt, making our usual marks a bit iffy for our liking. We spent a few fruitless hours dragging anchors and contending with a tide that certainly wasnâ€™t running in our favour. By now the sun was starting to set over Jura and it was time to hit the shore for a bite to eat and a beer. Saturday dawned and the initial signs were good. The wind had dropped and the sun was threatening to put in an appearance. We had a quick cuppa and by 8.00 am we were a mile off shore dropping anchor on our first mark. The tide was still running quite strongly through this mark and anchor was dragging. The dummy was spat out and 550 feet of 3mm warp was hauled back into the yak, no wonder my arms are sore today. We spotted a creel marker near by and decided to take advantage, we tied off to it, dropped the baits and waited. The wait was short , Stephen was first to get hit on the Skate rod. I was in front of him on the buoy so I proceeded to clear my rods. Up came the Skate bait untouched, then to the scratching rod, it was stuck to the bottom and moving off up tideâ€¦â€¦â€¦. Stephen was now engaged in battle and starting to win the fight, meanwhile I was getting nowhere and soon broke off, losing the lot. At least I could now assist Stephen in his battleâ€¦.. Muscle man made short work of this big female and after a bit of assistance from Ken we had her on the surface ready for a quick photo shoot, measure and releaseâ€¦ ;-) No time to waste and we were soon back on the mark looking for for more of the same. The tide was still slack so our hopes were high. Stephen was back in action before the rest of us had time to get some bait onâ€¦â€¦â€¦ This time it was a battle. The earlier fish was a big female and once it had been broken away from the bottom it came up gracefully. This one was playing a different ball game, it was coming up a few yards then quickly descending back to square one. It was acting more like some of the big male fish that have been encountered in this area. As the fish surfaced our suspicions were soon confirmed, this big lad was coming out for a picture and a quick measure. â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦ The chain of kayaks grew as the mark started to produce and soon Spud was in action, a smaller fish this time but a Skate none the less. We had a quiet spell during the afternoon as the tide picked up pace but as it slackened off again the action started. Paul hooked a big fish just outside us and had a heck of a battle getting it to the surface. The fish got itâ€™s head down three times and took a lot of line from him on each occasion. After a very long battle it was finaly released and although paul was a good 500yds away from me I heard a big sigh of relief. During Paulâ€™s battle Ken's lottery ticket was being stamped, another big fish was on itâ€™s way up from the depths. Iâ€™ve seen Ken using forum names like Bassyken and Carpyken, I can assure you it should reallly be Skateyken, he has the bug, bigtimeâ€¦â€¦!. After seeing Paulâ€™s battle Ken assured me that this fish wasnâ€™t going to lead him a merry dance. It surfaced and thenâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. It changed itâ€™s mind and wanted to go back down again. Ken had other ideas though and quickly adjusted the drag to sunset mode and winched back to the surface, showing us his best sha**ing face â€¦..! My turn came next, as soon as we went back onto the buoy, the lines were down then my rod arched over into a good fish. I was slow to set the hook and after a few brief moments of action it spat the hookâ€¦ Bast*rdâ€¦â€¦.! Within seconds Stephenâ€™s rod went off again, presumably the same fish which I had just droppedâ€¦! This was now Stephens third fish of the day and although he wasnâ€™t struggling to bring it up he was definitely knackered. Bear in mind here that we had no harnesses, but pads or bacon butties on tap â€¦.lolâ€¦By now we had been in the saddle for nine hours without even going ashore for a wizz. That was it for the day, enough you may think but I could have done with one on my rod, instead I had to be content with playing gillie for the day to five different fishâ€¦â€¦â€¦ Stephen took this pic of Ken, a classicâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..and a v big Skateâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. Neil.