Just got back from a decent session up at the van so I thought I'd do a little report. I must admit I got lucky with the weather, occasionally a bit of a blow but generally very good. The fishing was pretty good too with 9 (possibly 10 once ID) species of fish caught and that's not including any Mackerel or Wrasse, for me that's good going in a week. I arrived at the van last Friday morning after a 6am start, straight to the mull cafe for breakfast then back to the van for a snooze. The weather wasn't great for the first weekend so as I wasn't rushed I decided to take the opportunity to get my gear sorted out and ready. I picked 50 live peelers up from Erics on Saturday and topped up my Fiiish Black Minnow colluection too! I really rate these weedless soft plastics. I got myself a new lure rod as my last one snapped, I bought the Skyroad SKR-902ML 10-30g 9 foot, what a cracking rod to fish with, I now have a lot more feel as to what the lures doing now. On Monday I decided on a spot that can literally throw up anything, one rod was going to be fished at range and the other a bit shorter. I tackled up with a wishbone rig and standard single pulley rig on the other rod. Bait was, yep you guessed it crab! High tide was at 3.45ish so I decided to fish the flood. I had a few bites but didnt land my first fish till about quarter past two. It was a nice Plaice, which was kindly photos by my mate who had popped down to say hello. The next bite was a slack liner, i was hoping it was a Smoothhound as this mark regularly chucks them out but this was clearly no smoothie as it came in like a bit of weed. A small codling was quickly winched to shore! Towards the top of the tide I managed a nice plump Flounder. A slow but rewarding start to the holiday. Monday was the first short session for some Bass, with the conditions the way they were I decided to go on the bottom as opposed to the lures. I tackled up my carp rod with a 6000 shimano and running ledger rig with fresh peeler. It wasn't long before I got my first rattle, I waited for the next bite and struck into a small fish, not your typical Bass bite so I wasn't suprised to see a small Pollock coming through the slight surf. I quickly rebaited and cast out. The next bite was more like it and as I was holding my rod this time I managed to strike it first time. A small schoolie came to shore weighing 1.5lb, a pest to some but the first Bass of the holiday is always a pleasure for me. Again I rebaited and cast to the same spot, ten minutes passed then I got a good solid bite, I picked up my rod as I'd got a bit lazy and used the rest, waited for the next bite and struck. After a spirited fight a nice 2.5lb schoolie flapped about in the shallows. I fished on for another hour, frustratingly missing several good bites but that's the way it goes. I should have stayed into darkness but was hungry and wanted my bed so I packed up and left for the long walk back. On Tuesday I decided I'd fish the same mark with the same tactics. Sadly I only managed a doggy. Wednesday saw me returning to the mark I fished on Sunday, with high tide at 7ish I was going to fish from 3pm onwards. Same tactics as before one long and one short. The bites came thick and fast. First up was a doggy, then a double hook up with dogs....Gutted haha. Next I got a double hook up but this time it was a Flounder and a doggy. These were followed by a small Gurnard and then a codling. Then to round the day off nicely I got a PB Plaice at 1lb 8oz. Thursday was time for some Pollock as the wind had almost dissappeard. We went to the usual mark, we tried hard using various lures etc but could only manage 6 between the two of us with the best going 3lb 8oz which from what we're used to was a big let down. With some discarded line and an empty pie case lying on the ground it seems to be getting a bit more attention, I think it's time to find a new spot, I have one in mind for the next trip. Friday was going to turn out to be a bit of a heart stopper! Again I decided to fish the same mark. First up was.....a doggy what a suprise, followed by a couple of small Whiting and a Flounder. Then finally a proper slack liner, I picked up the rod and wound in the slack, on the next lunge I set the hook. A stary Smoothhound slowly came to shore. The hounds were in, yes!! I rebaited the pulley rig and cast out, now at this point I should have changed my distance wishbone rig for a pulley as I wanted to fish both rods for the smoothies but being a bit lazy I left it out there and had a brew. Whilst watching the rods I noticed a slight tap on the distance rig, I picked up the rod and felt nothing, just as I was about to put it back in the rest I had a huge bite which I managed to hit first strike, the rod arched over and kept going. Tope on. I've only had one Tope from the shore (incidently from the same spot) You literally have a couple of seconds to adjust your drag but I'd cranked mine right up as I was only scratching about for flatties on the distance rod! Automatically I clicked the multi into free spool and let it run using my thumb as a break to stop a birdy. After an absolutely searing run that turned my thumb white and left a funny smell in the air it turned and made another massive run to my right. All the time I was playing it I couldn't see me landing the fish, after all I was using a wishbone rig with half crab baits on hooks you use for flatties. By this time I managed to get it back on the drag but it was still going and line was rapidly disappearing off my 6500 old school rocket. It was heading in the direction of some pots so I had to put more pressure on them small hooks to stop it, I was actually quite suprised it hadn't bit me off, was I going to get lucky?! I had to start running across the boulders to get some line back on my reel. The power this fish had was incredible, I managed to turn it but on the next run it came off. Silence filled the air, the pain in my thumb all of a sudden became apparent. But it was worth it, the best fight I've ever had, the fish won. I wound in to see my little hook had straightened out. My thumb was throbbing with lots of nice white lines down it! I quickly unclipped the wishbone rig and put on heavy duty pulley rig with wire trace, one of the whiting from early on didn't make it so I waded out into the surf and scooped it up. Stuck a huge hook through its head and went to launch it. Well it didn't go too well as I birdied it, lots of expletives were subsequently used, a constant rant to myself Hahahahaha. So I retired that rod and concentrated back on the smoothies. I managed to winkle one more out before we called it a night. Saturday was going to be my best days fishing of the holiday so far. Why move from the fish? No need so we fished the same mark again. This time a couple of my mates wanted to try get in on the action. Tonight's session was going to be all about the smoothies so the wishbones were staying at home and a few pulley rigs were knocked together. Not breaking tradition the dogfish first made an appearance then a few whiting, quite annoying when using expensive crab baits! But finally the hounds came out to play. It was frantic stuff all evening and into the night with everyone getting one. I managed 6 Stary smoothhounds which included a 8lb 8oz PB which made my holiday. Can someone confirm the identity of the fish below, think it's a common smoothie but someone suggested its a small Tope? If it is a Tope that's 10 species in a week so its quite important to me, thanks. The holiday was quickly drawing to an end but as I always take the Monday off (hate going home on Sundays!) we had one more day. Can you have a guess at where we fished? Again the same tactics and same spot but the evening was much quieter than the previous evening exploits. I managed another couple of smoothies, a couple of whiting and a couple of doggys. The plan on Monday was to nip to the Mull and catch a maccy and Wrasse to top up the species hunt but I couldn't be bothered, my legs were aching not to mention my thumb and several braid cuts to my index finger so I called it a day. Back up next month for part deux.