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Billy Buckley Jake Schogler

Fishing the Clyde with Billy Buckley

Jake Schogler heads to the Clyde Estuary with fellow Prostaff member Billy Buckley in search of a mixed bag including pollack, codling, coalfish, flatfish and haddock!

Back in the spring I made a trip over to the Clyde estuary with fellow Tronix team mate Billy Buckley.  Billy was keen to see how LRF tactics would fare on some of the marks he fishes. As it was early spring the fishing was hardly fast and furious but between us we managed scorpion fish, sea trout and coalfish. All the fish were caught on lures using the HTO Rockfish T 1-8g tube tip rod, YGK G Soul x8 Upgrade line with Sabpolo Wormer Hooks and HTO Dropshot Weights being used on the business end.  It was a fun early year session and we were both quite keen to revisit it later on in the year when more species would be present.

As early summer arrived I gave Billy a ring and we headed back to the Clyde, this time Billy decided to take his standard beach fishing gear and bait and I stuck with the lures.

We got to the first mark just near Customs House Quay in Greenock and Billy broke out a few secret weapons, prime Clyde peeler crab and black lug. There was no way a humble LRFer like me could compete with a top shore international armed with such an arsenal! From that moment I decided to watch, learn and take note of how Billy approached fishing these marks.

The first thing that struck me was how organised he was. Billy had multiple rigs stored and ready to rock in the Tronixpro Jumbo Rig Winder Case. While I fumbled tying on a leader, Billy had clipped on two rigs and was getting ready to bait them up!

Tronixpro Jumbo Rig Winder full of ready made rigs.
Tronixpro Jumbo Rig Winder full of ready made rigs.

The two rigs he had chosen for the session were a two and three hooked paternoster rigs. The two hook was clipped for distance casting with the three hook version a traditional flapper for close in work. Both rigs were further enhanced by the use of Tronixpro Luminous Pop Ups which add that little extra attraction to the rigs and add buoyancy to the baits too.

Billy chose to bait up with black lugworm tipped with bluey and peeler crab. The black lug was threaded onto a Tronixpro Baiting Needle and slipped onto the hook, a few turns of Tronixpro Bait Elastic would secure the bait with the small sliver of bluey added to tip it off to provide a well presented bait! The other hooks were baited with peeler crab, again secured with a few wraps of Tronixpro Bait Elastic. The clipped rig had sandeel on the bottom hook and peeler crab on the top.

Black lugworm tipped with bluey
Black lugworm tipped with bluey
Peeler crab bait with Luminous Pop-Ups
Peeler crab bait with Luminous Pop-Ups

These were cast out and within about 10 minutes, both rods were nodding away as codling grabbed the baits. A few double shots of codling later and Billy decided to move off to the next mark a mile or so down the Clyde at Customs House Quay.

Here we were hoping to catch codling and hopefully some dabs at range, but there was also the prospect of good pollack close in. Billy chose to use peeler and lug baits for fishing both at distance and closer in. By close in, I mean really close, Billy gently lobbed his peeler baited rigs just 15 meters from the shore. This was placed just at the bottom of the boulder slope we were fishing off. In the summer these marginal areas are alive with wrasse as well as some good conger and pollack. Again, it hardly took anytime for the sound of Billy’s ratchet to go off as a decent codling grabbed the bait. He landed the fish quickly and after a few snaps for the camera it was realised back to its kelpy lair!

Clyde Codling for Billy Buckley
Clyde Codling for Billy Buckley

The rod that was fishing at range in the hope of dabs was again bringing back double shots of codling as well as the odd coalfish.

The tide was racing through on the flood and we decided to head a bit further down the coast to Greenock Esplanade. The Esplanade itself is a great easy access mark, with free parking all along its length and fishing just a few yards from where we parked. Here, Billy was confident we could catch some different species, with haddock, codling, coalfish, flounders and dabs all a possibility.

The mark itself consisted of mixed ground and was not as rough as the ground at custom house Quay. Again Billy went with one rod close in and one at range. The closer in rod was baited up with peeler crab and cast out around 40 yards. This was aimed primarily for flounders, but haddock and codling as well as the omnipresent coalfish were also on the cards.

The second rod had the irresistible black lug and bluey cocktail and this was meant more for the dabs and haddock.

A Clyde haddock from the 100 yard gulley
A Clyde haddock from the channel 100 yards out

There is a channel further out at around 100 yards and it was here that Billy showed me what the Tronixpro Envoy Tournament Mag Reel could do. A pendulum cast with a 6oz weight had the reel singing like an angel and the rig seemed to end up somewhere near Helensburgh!

While the rigs settled I began to fish close in with LRF tackle and had only made a couple of casts before Billy gave me a shout. The range rod had produced the goods and this time it was a haddock, I took a couple of pics and he released the fish.  He re-baited and sent another rig sailing out into the Clyde. Then it was the other rods turn to go, with a codling and coalie double. The fishing followed this rather predictable pattern with some more coalies and codling as well as another haddock.

As the tide began to drop the short range rod went and Billy managed to add flounder to the list of species. About half an hour later a dab fell to the long range rod and capped off a great day!

Billy Buckley with a flounder from the Clyde
Billy Buckley with a flounder from the Clyde

Sure, I didn’t catch much myself apart from a few coalies but I learned a lot and all the while the sun shone. It certainly made me want to explore the area more as I really fancy haddock on LRF gear and the prospect of a good wrasse will have me coming back sooner rather than later!

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