The FB-ABR Challenge Cup

Loch Sunart September 2009 by Winston

It was mid September and Paul, Darren and I fancied a day afloat, but due to the weather forecast down in the Luce bay area this was looking rather improbable. We decided on giving Loch Sunart an early try out for the Spurs and Skate. Due to the first ferry not leaving until 8.45am we did not have to leave Paisley until just after 6.00am. When we got to the launch site we were greeted with good calm conditions with a slight breeze coming from the SW. We got talking to another bloke who knew of others that have been up on holiday for the week with a  reasonable amount of Spurs being caught during the week, but did not give any indication to what the size they were. By the time we had launched, got to our mark and had our baits in the water, it was 10.00am, with our expectation high. After about two hours and not a bite it was beginning to look like the wrong decision to come up this early in the season, so we tried a move and again this proved to be unsuccessful. So we moved again, dropped the big baits and waited hopefully for some action. Meanwhile Darren decided to set up a rod with Mackerel feathers and baited them with small pieces of mackerel. It had been in the water for no longer than 5 minutes when he had an almighty bite, hanging on for dear life due to the light trace, he eventually managed to get the fish to the surface, and it was a great sight, a good double figure fish for sure, meanwhile the fish is doing its best to wrap the trace around the prop, with Darren being able to do very little, due to the fear of snapping the Mackerel trace or pulling the small hooks. Paul eventually managed to get a hold of the fish and bring it aboard to everyone's relief. The fish weighed in at 15lbs 10oz, it was tagged, photographed then released. This was a great boost to everyone on board as we knew that good fish were about. Paul was next into a fish, which again gave a good account of itself and weighed 10lb 4oz. Several other smaller ones were caught until I got a good bite, I got the fish to the side of the boat only for the hook to slip, but once again this fish was a good double. All in all we had about 10 fish, 3 of them going into double figures. It was a worth while trip, if you can put up with the long journey. I will be back soon for hopefully more of the same.

Gairleston 25/04/2009 by Winston

Both Paul and I had been planning this trip for a couple of weeks and we needed the weather gods to do their bit to help us get afloat. The bait order was placed a week earlier and then collected on the Friday night, with the forecast showing winds around 10mph coming from the East, South / East then dropping to around 5mph and changing direction to the South West. These were not idea conditions but good enough to get us out. The  plan was for both Paul and I to make a trip down to Wigtown bay for a session on the Smooth Hounds and Bass. We headed off at 5.45am after I managed to get the Wee Mincer out of his bed due to him being out the night before, which is no mean feat in its self and we arrived at Brighouse bay Caravan Park at 8.20am. We got the boat ready and headed of to our chosen mark and had the pick down and settled for 9.30am. It made a nice change from dropping the anchor into 550ft like the week previous to now sitting in only 16ft.

We set about getting our uptiders ready with pulley rigs which were baited with some very nice prime conditioned peelers, the baits were then fired uptide into the wind. I was getting my second rod ready when I just happened to look up and catch site of the first rod bouncing away furiously, I dropped my other rod and took hold of the first one to feel the fish running with the bait, I struck and felt the fish nodding away, after a short fight, the first fish was on the boat, a small Smouthhound weighing in around 4lbs. After a couple of pictures the fish was released to grow bigger for the next time. As the bait had only been in the water for about a minute I sent this bait back uptide again. By this time I had the second rod ready and in the water when again the first rod showed sings of a fish being interested. I lifted into the fish and soon had the second Smoothhound on board about the same size as the first fish. Meanwhile Paul was getting rather frustrated especially when I had my third bite on the same rod, although I ended up losing this fish. Eventually Paul was into his first fish, which after a good scrap weighed in at 5lb 6oz. The fishing was frantic and we ended up boating 5 fish all within about 40min.

After this initial spell things went quiet and only had a few dogfish and dabs to keep us busy. At 1pm, with the  tide changing and picking up pace we started to get into the fish again, although we were fishing with Peelers and Lug worm, we could not tempt any of the elusive Bass which frequent this bay, which was a shame as we had fired the barbie up. We had some nice burgers and steak but no fresh fish. We had another couple of fish during the afternoon and at around 4.00pm I had the best bite of the day. As soon as I tightened the line I could feel that this was a much better fish, with the drag set fairly lightly the fish started to take some line. I eventually got it beside the boat only for it to head straight back towards the Isle of Man. When I got the fish back to the boat and onboard, we had it weighed and the Smoothhound came in at 9lb 1oz. This was to be the last fish of the day and both Paul and I ended up with 11 Smoothhounds, 6 Dabs and 6 Dogs, We lifted anchor at 4.30pm to make the uncomfortable journey back to port into the wind and waves.

So a good days fishing was had and with some bait left over cant wait to get back out there again.

Tight lines everyone.

Oban 18/04/2009  by Roger

We had a club match out of Oban yesterday and we couldn't have asked for a better day weather wise, it was absolutely brilliant. Sunny and warmest day yet this year I reckon.....well at least in the Firth of Lorne it was.
Myself and the Gay Cow Boy left Paisley at 5.45am with my boat 'Get Shortie', this was the first time she had been up. We were followed up by Graham aka Winston and Paul aka The Wee Mincer with Grahams warrior 165.
This would be the first outing since I had some work down the engine to fix niggle problems!
7 boats all launched and set off out to the 'skate hole', picked our spot in 530ft and anchor went down, then the baits.......
We waited...............and waited...............and waited..................just about every other boat around us had landed skate to over 150lb with The Wee MIncer having boated a 203lb not that far into the match.
So we waited some more then one of the rods finally went whilst I was on the phone to FB, I hung up in dead conversation and stuck the butt pad on, took the rod and struck and fish on!!!
There was a dead weight for all over 2 seconds and then the weight of the fish could be felt as it left the bottom. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, I boated the fish after a mere 5minutes lol (the tiome it took to rell in the 530ft), a wee photo was taken, tag in the wing, measured and it weighed in at a MASSIVE 20lb, yes 20lb LOL!!!! Im not missing a zero from the digits. I couldnt find my scales in my bag as usually you dont need them for skate as you chart them but on the charts it read 40"x28"
Great day out, brilliant weather, Some great banter over the VHF's, its just shame no more fish appeared on my boat.
 Until next time.............."

Oban  03/01/2009  by Winston

The day started at 8.00am with a clear crisp minus 2 deg morning, not a breath of wind and the prospect of some sunshine throughout the day, the two boats, Paisley Pete and Outcast set about preparing to launch from the Puffing Dive center. Both set sail and Paisley Pete crewed by Graham, Paul & Jim headed for one of its favourite marks in the Firth of Lorne. Outcast crewed by Camie, Les & Lee headed about 1/2 a mile further south, again to one of its favourite marks. By the time we had set anchor and dropped our first set of baits it was around 9.00am and with high water approaching at 9.40am things were looking promising. During slack water we set up a small rod to see if we could tempt some other species for the FB ABR cup and our baits were quickly devoured by the packs of Spurs that seemed plentiful. All in all we had 8 Spurs some of them coming  two a time, all around the 4lb - 5lb mark. As high water came and went we gave up with the small rods due to the tide running a little to strong, but the feeling was we would have had plenty more if had upped on our weights.

    It was 10.30am when the first signs of activity showed with a long slow pull on Paul's rod, this quickly developed into a run as his ratchet started to click, Paul took the rod while both Jim and I set about getting him ready with his Butt pad and Kidney harness. Paul then fully engaged his clutch and lifted into the fish. After 15min he had only managed a couple of times to get the fish of the bottom only for it to dive back to the sea bed. Paul was starting to regret putting on that extra jumper to keep the cold away. The struggle continued for 45 min when we finally caught sight of the fish and what a majestic sight it was, the fish was finally boated measured, tagged and photographed. The fish was a beautiful female measuring 69" X  88" and weighing in at a fine 214lb, a new PB for Paul and a new boat record as well.
    Meanwhile on Outcast they had hooked there first skate at about 11.00am and while Lee (Skate virgin) was getting ready to take the rod from Les the fish spat the hook. At11.10am Camies rod went and once again after a 20min struggle the same thing happened. It was beginning to look like one of those days for Outcast and they were debating on a move to another area. The decision not to move paid of when  around 1.00pm Les hooked and landed a fine Female fish of around 160lbs and while he was playing this fish Camies rod went again only for this fish to give him an almighty struggle for a hour which also dragged the boat and anchor about 100 meters. When Camie finally got the fish to the surface and boated, the fish, a male measuring 82" X 66" came in at a magnificent 147lb. This was to be the last fish landed although both boats were to engage in one other fish each but once again both were lost after about a 10 min struggle.  

Loch Etive 22/11/2008 by Happy Dude

     With high pressure looking to dominate the West of Scotland Les and Camie decided to take Outcast out to see if lightning would strike twice in the same place by fishing the same marks on Loch Etive that produced a very good catch a month previous on the same tides.
Joined by Graham and Darren on Paisley Pete they headed off into subzero conditions and met up on the frozen beach at Taynuilt.
     Both boats had difficulties before launching with Outcast strap and ariel bracket frozen solid and Paisley Pete 's bung frozen in place and once launched they found  they had a flat battery, fortunately Jason's old boat Happy Hooker turned up and her owner Steven Tonner offered Graham his spare battery and this got then on the water.
    The fishing to be truthful was rubbish, unlike that last trip for Outcast the fish were very thin on the ground at the first mark with only a couple of small spurs, Darren over on Paisley Pete had a ling of about 3lb, too bad it doesn't count for Grahams FB-ABR.
A shift about 9 miles up the loch at a very very cold 30knts produced a few small spurs & whiting for Les and Camie who along with guest bitch George onboard were frozen to the marrow.
     Paisley Pete on a mark further down the loch had more small spurs but nothing of any note.
Both boats wrapped it up early, Paisley Pete because Darren was working later on and Outcast unintentionaly because Camie has forgotten to change the clock on the boat back to GMT and because no-one had a watch on this was the only mode of time keeping we had handy without mucking about with phones.
     A nice day out albeit very cold, the temperature never got above 0C all day. Darren being the youngest as usual got the most stick over the radio, and deservedly so....
roll on the summer.....

Loch Sunart 16/11/2008 by Happy Dude

     Well with the 2007-08 FB-ABR being hotly contested right up to the last minute on the last day with Hellraiser and Outcast both needing 1 species to win, the result for the second time was a draw, and both boats ended up with their names on the coveted award.
     Now, 2008-09 has started in fine fashion with the weather on the first day of competition sunny and flat calm only someone forgot to tell the fish who seemed to desert the area in droves.
     Outcast who needed a conger to win the previous years competition and failed, ironically got their eel a day late and with the ubiquitous lesser spotted dogfish are sitting on 2 species.
     Get Shortie started their 2008-09 campaign at anchor hoping for a big skate or conger but only managed lesser spotted dogfish, pouting and poorcod on the small gear giving them a first days total of 3 species.
     Paisley Pete stuck it out with big baits all day hoping for big spurs, thornbacks and common skate but the fish had fled the loch and they had to be content with lesser spotted dogfish, though they did manage to hook a common skate on a spur bait but found themselves seriously outgunned on 12lb class tackle with the obvious result leaving them adrift on just 1 species.
     HellRaiser 2 decided that with the lack of wind and the sun shining they would go outside the loch and try for common skate and conger in the deep water, again the fish weren't playing ball and only got lesser spotted dogfish on this mark. A move into Laga Bay to a small mark got them several small pollack, then another move back into Salen Bay just off the slip produced whiting, poorcod and a mackerel to put them into the lead with 5 species.
      So everyone is off to a start in the  FB-ABR 2008-09, mainly with banker species except Outcast with their conger which can sometimes prove to be a tricky one to track down.