Sunday, 20 November 2011
A Testing Session
The sea is almost flat calm, the wind is a little more than a breeze and the boat is waiting on the pier steps. There are few if any days like this at this end of the year and as the boat idles away from the pier I look out into the Sound of Iona and then to the jetty over the bay where the van waits. No fishing today I am driving the island’s candle maker and a selection of candles to a Christmas fair twenty miles up the Ross of Mull.
It is late in the afternoon when I get back and the breeze has picked up but there is still a chance to get out there even if it is only for an hour’s fishing. I rush to the house and collect a lure I had given a final topcoat of resin to only yesterday and it still feels a little tacky. Ten minutes later and I am in casting range of my favourite reef.
The lure is a prototype and this is its second outing, the first a week ago ended prematurely with the diving lip snapping after a something grabbed it and took it down into the kelp. With a little surgery and a thicker lip we are back to face the fish and the kelp.
I carved the lure to look something like a juvenile pollock hoping to appeal to a large pollock’s cannibal instincts. It seems that big fish like big baits, or just possibly that small fish don’t like large baits. There are lots of small fish here and avoiding is a major problem, maybe my lure will scare them off.
On the third cast everything stops with a bag, the rod whips over as the fish dives. I keep my head realising it is diving for the kelp and pull the rod up high turning the fish sharply toward the surface. It dives again and runs in the direction of the boat; I wind the line in as fast as I can trying to keep the fish’s head up. As it nears the boat it finds some depth and bringing it to surface is almost a straight hoist of a job. A four and half pound Pollock, not bad for the lure's first victim.
I half-heartedly cast again but the thought of losing my prototype gets the better of me and besides the island’s population has shrunk this week, one fish this size could probably feed us all.