Thursday, 29 August 2013

Light Rock Fishing on the north east coast

Light rock fishing, referred to generally as LRF has really taken off over the last few years and its something that has always intrigued me. I don't live close enough to the coast to do it as much as I'd like so when a plan was hatched between myself and my mate Paul, I was really excited the week leading up to it. We did our homework and came up with a handful of areas we wanted to target that we thought gave us the best chance. Having not done allot of saltwater fishing other than on holiday abroad, I wasn't fully sure what the exact techniques were although really it was obvious to treat the environment as you would in freshwater and target places fish would feed or would hide etc. We hadn't given our parking much thought and we ended up wasting allot of time in the morning having to go back and keep adding more parking money to the car. In general we wasted allot of time in the morning moving about and sussing the area out and didn't actually do a great deal of fishing. having said that, it was our first venture into light rock fishing so we were expecting to spend allot of time experimenting and moving about. We saw quite a few little fish in the edges that kept flying up for our isome as we was about to lift out, they looked like tiny pollack but was too small to attempt to take the lures. Eventually Paul found an area that was giving him some interest and he kept getting what takes from what looked like a big sand eel, i knew this to be a Launce, every time he got one on it fell off when it was lifted out the water. Not long after a fish stuck and a nice little pollack was our first species of the day.

Paul followed up with a few more of the pollack before we had a move after putting more money in the car park! He hadn't been long at the new spot when Paul got a Launce and this time it stayed on, species number 2. We started to get abit of interest at this spot then a voice came from close by 'You can't fish there mate' there wasn't any signs saying so but we took his word for it and moved back to where we had started, luckily the few guys that were in the best spot with what could only be described as 'shark rods' had gone. There was quite a few more people fishing now, generally tourists lobbing out pop bottle sized floats or small ledger rigs, but they were catching the odd fish, all of which went in plastic bags smothered with flies.
First few casts and we both had fish, mine was my first of the day so i was happy to have caught. It wasn't actually until later in the day when i had a very small pollack that i started to wonder if most of these fish we were catching at the start of the day, were in fact Coal fish. The little pollack i had was an obvious golden brown colour where as the fish in the morning were mostly with a greenish tinged back. At the time we thought it was just a colour variation but when i got home at night i looked into it and there was many features pointing towards coal fish, the most obvious of which was the greenish back and the light coloured and straight lateral line, the pollack were golden brown backed and the lateral line was dark and curved. The snouts are also more distinctly pointed with a pollack. So that was 3 species!
After a few more small fish Paul got something better casting further out that gave him a good run around on his light Sakura rod. Its surprising just how well saltwater species go for there size. Paul was chuffed to bits with a batter stamp of coal fish.
 The small coal fish had dried up and we spent abit of time not getting much other than a missed take for both of us from what looked like a garfish, they were very green/blue backed and much bigger than a Launce. A shame not to get one but it was another species that we had a chance at.
For me the most frustrating and exciting time of the day came in the next moment. I had spent time previous to our day out looking at LRF blogs and although i had no idea what species were common or not on the east coast there was a few species i really wanted to catch, one of which i did and was pleasantly surprised. I tried something different and just started to let my isome rest on the bottom of a second or two and then jiggle the rod slightly and keep the isome in the same place for longer. I got a take and lifted out a Scorpion fish, I was chuffed to bits to get one of these as they look a really interesting fish and kind of Gremlin looking! Species number 4.
I carried on with the same technique and started to get more fish that sadly kept dropping off when i was lifting them out. I had another small coal fish doing the same. We didn't have any time left on the parking so we was abit disgruntled when we had found something that was really working but we had to leave.
So that was the morning gone and we discussed our time and thought we had done well despite spending far too long mooching about and walking to re-top the parking up. we didn't know what to expect of the day so to get 4 species already made up for feeling of wasted time and we knew that was to be expected as this was our first foray into LRF so we needed the time to experiment and find spots. At least we knew what worked now and what we needed to do more of.
A quick bite to eat and we headed off for a more rocky mark with hope of bigger pollack and maybe wrasse.

I took us some time to find a parking place at the next spot, with it being the last week of school holidays, every family and there dogs had descended on the coast!
The new mark was much shallower and we didn't have any deep water to carry on with the technique that was successful at the last spot so we spent allot of time again mooching about and looking for deeper water. A good while was spent clambering over quite dangerous ground and much care had to be taken, it was so easy to go over on your ankle or slip on this kind of ground not to mention how tiring it was, lure fishing certainly keeps you fit.

Hardly any fishing was done due to the shallow depths and the fact that the bottom was covered in washed up sea weed and kelp. frustratingly we made the decision to abandon this spot and head off for our last which we had high hopes for given it was one of the deepest rock marks on our coast line.
Our last mark of the day got off to a good start with a few missed nibbles and Paul getting another better stamp of Coal fish. Sadly not allot was happening and the spot was pretty well full of people coming and going fishing. had the spot been over fished, was it a case of trying something different or was it just the way it was on the day?

We thought a move was in order so went for another explore further round. We had to put the footwork in to explore the areas and more often than not we wasn't finding good areas to fish. After moving the ground again became littered with loose kelp and weed and was much shallower. After realising we would be better off on the deeper mark trying different things we headed back to give it another go.
On the way back i thought i would have a go in the deeper rock pools for blennies and gobies. Despite still being set up for the deeper water with a bigger jig head and extra shot, i jiggled the isome worm right next to rock, i didn't even see the fish just a dark coloured blur as it shot out grabbed the worm then shot back under. It was another scorpion fish, these fish are so cool!

I carried on the same and started to get interest from blennies but it was difficult to get them hooked so I scaled right down with a really small jig head and just a very short thin piece of isome. You also had to hide behind the rocks and just peer over the edge as the blennies were quite shy and would only inch out before having a go, if they saw you they would hide again. The scaled down tackle really started to work and we was picking up lots of blennies and scorpion fish from nearly every rock. It was great fun and the variety of colours were interesting too. I had a few that were verging on jet black and quite a size too, they were like big evil looking tadpoles. That brought us up to 5 species with the blennies.


It was nearly time to go and leave this stunning coastline, i could have stayed there forever in the rock pools but you can't have too much of a good thing.
I thought we had done well for our first venture and we had learnt allot that would save us allot of time next trip, this would mean more fishing time and less moving about.
The worse part of leaving this environment was the fact that to get there we had to come down..... and obviously to get back there was only one way....... UP!


  1. Fantastic write up mate. That looks a cracking day out. You both did well to say it was an exploration in to a new type of fishing and a big lump of water to target too. As for the fish you got, well you must be chuffed to bits. Some fantastic looking fish, the colours or even just the look of the fish are spectacular. Ten out of ten boys!

  2. Thanks Paul, At the end of the day i was kind of feeling like i was satisfied and i'd 'had a go' at the different challenge of saltwater. I had no immeadiate feeling of wanting to rush straight back out and try again, the kind of 'been there done that' feeling. But after waking up today and having had the rest from yesterday i have the hunger to go back again. Its that whole feeling of dangling a worm in the ocean and not having a clue what is down there waiting to eat it! with fresh water you have a pretty good idea and really there are not many surprises. In saltwater there is a vast amount of species and you never know if the next one is going to be a tiddler or a whale lol

  3. Great photos and colour but sod that climb back up.