Principal sport in the south-west corner of Scotland is in two coastal indentations; Loch Ryan and Luce Bay, with additional sport in Wigtown Bay, particularly around the Isle of Whithorn.
Boat fishing gives the best results, especially in summer when the tope season is in full swing. Catches of up to 17 tope to an angler have been recorded in recent seasons. Boats are available for hire at Isle of Whithorn, Stranraer, Port William and Drummore. Many of the tope are taken by anglers who trail their dinghies to this fine fishing. The tope season is at its best in July and August.
Luce Bay is perhaps the most northern ground holding substantial numbers of bass, these fish preferring areas of above average water temperature and not therefore widely available throughout Scotland.
The sands of Luce provide surf fishing on flood tides. Flatfish, plaice, flounder and dab are also taken here and it is an area to be fished with confidence.
Offshore ground provides regular catches of gurnard and thornback and there has to be the chance of a common skate even though it is some years since the last such fish was recorded.
The shore fishing offers excellent plaice, particularly in the Corsewall Point to Milleur Point section of The Rinns of Galloway and in Loch Ryan itself.
Other species include mackerel (May to Sep-tember), conger, pollack, and spurdog. There is a cod run in late autumn and it may be right to suspect that boat fishing has yet to seethe best of these fish.
The northern edges of the Solway Firth are less spectacular but flatfish fishing can be first rate in the estuaries and from sandy shorelines.
The Firth and its associated sea lochs provide an immense area of sheltered water for shore and boat anglers alike. Its fish stock is such that large numbers of anglers from England travel north to sample its wares and they are sure of some sport.
The Firth’s cod stock is not now quite so outstanding as was the case 10 years ago. A rich vein of cod was located on The Gantochs, between Dunoon and Cloch Point, and a succession of 40lb. Fish were taken quickly. This Gantochs mark set a new standard for big cod. There has never been an area quite like it.
Cod come into the Firth from the open sea in December and make their way into Loch Long and the Gareloch to spawn. So it is each December and January when the peak catches are made, mainly on plain and baited lures.
The sheltering hills east and west of the inner Firth mean that small boat fishing can be perfectly safe. Dinghies can be launched from the mainland.
There are cod in the whole Firth throughout the year but the residential stock is augmented each November as more fish move in from west coast waters, departing in early April.
The appeal of The Gantochs has been such that anglers have tended to become preoccupied with it, and as a result much exploration remains to be done before all the good fishing areas are known.
As well as cod there are ray in quantity, pollack, coalfish, monkfish, haddock, tope, plaice and even common skate. The tope and plaice run large and there are grounds for believing that once anglers can fully assess the area it could become as renowned for its plaice as its cod.
Conger are also numerous and excellent shore fish exist on the rocky ground and in particular in the sea lochs, Loch Fyne, Loch Long and Loch Goil being only typical examples.
Perhaps the most productive shore area is the Rhu Narrows, in the mouth of the Gareloch, as far as cod are concerned, but in the Firth itself there is good sport on the rocks at Skel-morlie and in Wemyss Bay with more good fishing at Portencross and Seamill in the mouth of the inner Firth.
Saltcoats is another shore anglers’favourite, with Ayr and Maidens equally prolific.
Both Arran and the Isle of Bute are in strategic positions within the Firth to provide good all-round fishing for many species. The occasional common and electric ray is taken but the primary species remain cod, whiting, haddock, pollack and coalfish.
The Firth’s tope have never yet been encountered in large numbers but they are known to exceed 60lb. And there has to be a chance of a British record fish to beat the 74lb. From the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales.
There are numbers of boats for hire all around the Firth and some of these go to sea for a full week, the anglers living on board and fishing and sleeping as it pleases them.
Kippford offers bass, cod, conger, dab.flounderand plaice from the shore, and cod, conger, mackerel, pollack, tope and turbot from a boat.
The rugged coastline is not conducive to dinghy or small boat fishing, but casting from the shore can land bass, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flounder, plaice and pollack. Good marksare availableonthetidal harbourand wooden jetty.
The offshore fishing grounds which can be reached by boat are fished for coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, haddock, mackerel, pollack, tope and whiting. Lug obtained locally.
Isle of Whithorn ,
Shark fishing intidal races at Burrow Head. Good rock fishing and boating facilities. Sheltered water in Whithorn Bay is good for cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, mackerel, ray, spurdog and tope. Fishing from the rocks can give bass, coalfish, cod, dogfish, eel, mackerel, pollack and wrasse. Plenty of lug and rag locally.
Port William , Lug from the beach can be used to catch bass, codling, pollack and wrasse from the shore. Mackerel from the bay can be used on boat trips to catch cod, flatfish, pollack, ray, spurdog and tope.
Situated on the west side of Luce Bay, the area around Drummore and Port Logan is rapidly developing into a major fishing centre. Tackle from nearby Stranraer. Bass, coalfish, cod, pollack, tope and wrasse can be taken from the shore. A boat gives access to bull huss, conger, ray, spurdog and tope. Worm baits from the foreshore at low water.
Access to the Irish Sea by boat and good rock fishing from several points to the north and south of the village. Fish include coalfish, cod, conger, dab, flounder, haddock, mackerel, pollack and wrasse. Lug and rag obtained from parts of the harbour at low tide.
Stranraer: Situated at the top end of Loch Ryan, Stranraer and surrounding area has good shore fishing marks at Milluer Point, Innermessan Point, Finnarts Bay, Lady Bay, Port Beg and Corsewell Point. Main shore species are conger, haddock, ling, mackerel, mullet, plaice, pollack, tope, whiting and wrasse.
Good offshore fishing yields bass, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, haddock, ling, mackerel, pollack, common skate, tope and turbot. Lug and rag east of the Railway Pier.
The sheltered port of Girvan provides good pier fishing. Good rock fishing to the south at Horse Rock. Main species are codling, flounder, haddock, gurnard, plaice, ray and whiting. Lugworm dug from the foreshore at low tide.
Ayr is situated on the estuaries of the Rivers Ayr and Doon. Shore fishing along Newton Shore, Ayr Harbour mouth and from the rocky coastline at the Heads of Ayr. Main shore species are cod, conger, dab, dogfish and flounder.
Boatfishing in the bay produces cod, conger, dogfish, haddock, flatfish, pollack, spurdog, thornback ray and whiting. Tope caught around Lady Isle. Lug and rag from Ayr and Newton shore.
The coastline between Ayr and Irvine has several good fishing points for coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flounder, plaice, pollack, ray and whiting. Boatfishing adds gurnard and the occasional tope. Cod and flatfish taken from Barassie at low tide. There is good pierfishingfrom Troon harbour. The harbour also has extensive rag and lug beds.
Ardrossan: (from nearby Saltcoats)
Beach fishing marks at Stevenston Slag Bing and the north west comer of the South Bay. Catches are of coalfish, cod, flounder, mackerel, pollack and ray. Three local piers: Winton and Montgomery (both in Ardrossan harbour) and Saltcoats. Coalfish, cod, conger, flounder, haddock, mackerel, pollack and thornback by boat. Lug and rag obtained locally.
Situated on the Clyde estuary. Largs is within easy reach of good fishing banks at Piat Shoal and the Skelmorlie Patch. The surrounding coastline between Fairlie Flats in the south and Wemyss Bay in the north gives bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, haddock, ling, mullet, plaice, pollack, whiting and wrasse from the shore. Fairlie and Largs both have lighthouses.
Aboatwill give access to bass, coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, gurnard, haddock, halibut, ling, mackerel, pollack, sole, tope and whiting. Lug from Fairlie Flats.
Wemyss Bay: P
Wemyss pier offers fairly good sport and the surrounding coastline has good marks for coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, haddock, pouting and whiting.
The coastline between Greenock esplanade and Wemyss Bay yields good catches of coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flatfish, haddock and whiting both from the shore and from boats. The most productive marks are at Mclnroys Point, Ashton Point and Cloch Point, with Gourock pier also fishing well. Worm baits at low water from Cardwell Bay.
Situated at the southern end of the Gareloch close to Dumbarton, Helensburgh offers good shore and boatfishing marks. Main species caught are coalfish, cod, conger, dab, dogfish, flounder, haddock, mackerel, pollack, ray and whiting. Large quantities of rag and lug obtained locally.
Situated just north of the well fished Rhu Narrows on the sheltered west side of the Gareloch, Clynder offers good boat and shore fishing. Shore species include mainly cod and mackerel. Numbers of cod, conger, dogfish, flounder, mackerel, plaice, pouting and whiting from boats. Lug and rag obtained locally.
Situated on the Cowal shore, Dunoon is within easy access of the Skelmorlie Patch and a productive sand bank in Inverkip Bay. Other prime fishing sites are at the Gantocks, in the East and West Bays, Dunoon and Lunderston Bay, on Wardens Bank, around Kirn and Hunter’s Quay, in the Holy Loch and Loch Long, and off Dunoon pier. Most species can be caught in this area, including large cod. Worm baits from the East Bay shore.
The Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde offers some superb shore fishing marks. Deep water shore fishing at Garroch Head is recommended. Shore species include coalfish, cod, conger, mackerel, plaice, pollack, spurdog, thornback and wrasse.
Numerous coalfish, cod, conger, mackerel, plaice, pollack, spurdog, thornback, whiting and wrasse can be reached by boat. Lug and rag from Rothesay Harbour.
Brodick is surrounded by good rock marks at Corrie, Sannox and Clauchlands Point. Other rocky promontories around the island also offer good fishing. Brodick pier is a popular venue and boat fishing in Lamlash Bay can yield good catches.
Shore species include cod, conger, flounder, ling, mackerel, plaice, pollack, sole and wrasse. Boat fishi ng for bass, coalfish, cod, haddock, mackerel, pollack and tope. Lug from Brodick and Lamlash Bays.