Catching them young

Scottish junior international rod Sam McGarva from 
Castle Douglas had a red letter day last week when he headed off to a rock east of Kirkcudbright. With a little movement in the water and a warming sun on his back, the 16-year-old set about making up for some dire fishing in the Solway recently to land a stunning tope around the 10lb mark.

Tactics were size 1 hook baited with half a peeler crab. After admiring the tope and a couple of photographs later, Sam returned the fish safely to the water.

Another shore-caught tope was landed at the weekend by visiting angler Gary Pye. Fishing Wigtown Bay, Gary used a half joey mackerel to temp the 15lb toothy predator.

The clean ground marks like cod rock at Burnfoot, Balcary and Torrs are all starting to produce with good bags of ray and hounds given the right conditions. Fish a flooding tide but avoid bright sun light. Crab baits best for the hounds, fish baits for the ray although both baits will take just about any fish if the mood takes them. Plaice are coming from the beach areas over at Port Logan with the added bonus of haddock and coalies on the cards. The yellow rock at Portpatrick is living a little on past glory these days but is still more than capable of throwing up a surprise or two including a good chance of a tope.

Better quality bream are coming ashore at the Three Lochs and, as the water continues to warm, catches will get better yet. For best bream, fish late evening into darkness, through the night and just before first light, all being prime time fishing sessions. During the summer months when high pressure dominates the weather system, fish tend to be shy and hug the weed and lily beds, often staying there all day. The exception to this are the carp: they love to sunbathe and can be seen on just about all waters as they cruise with big bow waves. At times like this, you can have more fun if you abandon the more conventional approach and set about stalking individual fish. Surface floaters are without doubt one of the most exciting forms of angling. Pick your fish, throw a few free offerings in the path of the carp to give it confidence and, when it is taking floaters freely, introduce your bait.

Not much happening in the rivers this past week with the exception of a fine 11lb springer from Linloskin grassed by Jamie Hyslop. There are reports of a couple of fish from the Bladnoch (full details next week). The Association waters are bouncing back after some cold weather but last Sunday’s match for the Stroyan Cup on Loch Dee proved difficult. A cold south-westerly blew but things looked good with a large hatch of sepia dun floating like an armada across the loch. But, as is so often the case with an abundance of natural feed, the fish would look at nothing the anglers had to offer. There were a few small fish caught but none that made the measure so for the 10 anglers who entered there will have to be a re-fish to find a winner. A couple of weeks earlier, it was a different story with 36 fish coming to the bank in the McCarlie Cup. First was Robert Wilson with nine fish for 12lb 13oz, second John Galloway, 9lb 11.5oz and third was Eric Pearce, 9lb 7oz. The Wilson Cup, at Fintaloch, was won by Philip Hoyer, four fish for 5lb 14.5oz, second Derek McCleary, 5lb 02oz and third Andy Johnstone, 4lb 15.5oz.