West Scotland and the Islands Fishing

Sea fishing over this largely unexplored ground offers exciting prospects for many species, including the really big fish -common skate, halibut and porbeagle shark. Its limitations are mainly due to lack of knowledge since very little rod and line fishing is carried out in relation to the size of the area.

A number of key places are known to have excellent fishing but it may be right to suspect that the fishing is known to be of high quality simply because it is fished! Elsewhere results could be equally as good if the effort was made to assess possibilities.

Localities where fishing has produced good results include the Ullapool region, Gairloch, Tobermory, Oban, Loch Torridon and Loch Shieldaig, Portree on Skye and Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Ullapool became renowned for high calibre catches of common skate, most of them fish over 100 lb., including one heavyweight from the shore. More recently Ullapool’s common skate have shown less inclination to feed but at least nine huge fish were taken in the 1976 summer by one boat operating out of Tober-mory, on Mull.

The Gairloch fishing came to prominence as recently as 1974 when a mammoth plaice weighing over 10 lb. Was landed. The following year the British dab record was broken in the area with a fish of 2 lb. 12J oz. – and the same party took hitherto undreamed of numbers of dab over 2lb. From Longa Sound. And in 1976 three bass were taken in Longa Sound – which must be the most northerly area to yield more than a single fish in one day’s fishing.

This entire ground could well become an outstanding prospect and visitors can be assured of good sport for many species throughout. Thornback ray, turbot, pollack, ling and coal-fish are caught close to the shore, but plaice and cod may later prove the best overall prospect. If cod of 40lb. Run the Firth of Clyde with some regularity, geography alone suggests that similar fish are to be found in December and January along favoured segments of this coast.

Hake and porbeagle shark are also present. The hake at least appear to be mainly small fish but the porbeagles, although not numerous, are massive and could one day betterthe 465lb. Fish at present holding the British record.

The sea lochs ribboning the mainland provide facilities for launching small trailed dinghies into sheltered water. This is a growing theme and presents ideal holiday possibilities for anglers who prefer relative solitude and who have reacted against the more crowded conditions found, for example, along England’s South Coast.

It will be some years before knowledge is complete enough for a full assessment of the area, despite the fact that an increasing number of anglers are prospecting the ground.

This situation is identical on Lewis, other Hebridean islands and on Skye. The Highlands and Islands Development Board, concerned for a build-up in tourism and associated recreation, has begun a push to acquire both knowledge and facilities based on the assumption that the superb fishing awaiting discovery will prove to be a great asset.

Oban,

A noted commercial fishing port. Good catches from the Firth of Lome and tidal waters near Lismore Island. The bay itself is unproductive. Cod, conger, dogfish, mackerel, pollack, sea trout and whiting can be caught from the shore, whilecodling, conger, dab and whiting are taken from boats.

Tobermory:

Tobermory and many points down the west coast of the island offer good shore fishing. Beach fishing prospects are promising off the south and west coast, with the area between Tobermory and Calve Island particularly productive. Species of fish include conger, dogfish, flatfish, gurnard, haddock, mackerel, pollack, skate and turbot. Lug obtained from beaches around Tobermory and other beaches aroundthe island.

Mallaig:

Situated at the entrance to Loch Nevis, Mallaig offers fine rock, beach and boatfishing. Mallaig pier is also worth a visit. Shore species include codling, dab, dogfish, flounder, haddock, mackerel and plaice. Numerous coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, flounder, gurnard, haddock, ling, mackerel, plaice, pollack and skate taken from boats. Lugworm dug at Morar and Arisaig sands.

KyleofLochalsh,

Coalfish, conger, bass, codling, mackerel, pollack and whiting from the harbour and further out in boats. Lug and rag from the beach.

Portree:

The fishing centre of Skye, Portree offers good harbour, loch, shore and boatfishing. Species include cod, haddock, coalfish, conger, pollack, thornback ray, trout and salmon. Shellfish bait can be gathered in the tidal area of Portree Bay.

Uig,

Uig Bay in the north west of Skye is noted for its shore and boatfishing. Coalfish, conger, dogfish, mackerel and pollack from the shore and coalfish, cod, conger, flatfish, gurnard, haddock, mackerel, pollack, skate and whiting from boats. Loch Snizort and the small islands at its entrance together with the Ascrib Islands are also well worth fishing. Shellfish bait can be gathered at low water.

Dunvegan:

Deep water by several rocky headlands and Eist Point have produced large catches. Good sea loch, shore and offshore marks. Main species are coalfish, cod, conger, dogfish, haddock, hake, halibut, gurnard, ling, mackerel, pollack, skate, whiting and wrasse. Bait can be dug locally.

Shieldaig:

Situated on the sheltered Loch Torridon, this area provides superb sea angling. Coalfish, codling, haddock and pollack can be taken from the shore and from boats. In deeper water heavier tackle can land the occasional skate.

Gairloch,

Varied fishing in the surrounding area. Shore species include conger, cod, dab, bass, dogfish, flounder, mackerel, mullet, plaice, tope and whiting. These can also be taken from boats, with the addition of coalfish, haddock, halibut, ling, pollack andcommon skate.

Ullapool:

The surrounding coastline offers prime marks for rock and beach fishing: Rhu Point and Ardmair Bay being the most popular. Shore species include conger, cod, bass, dogfish, flounder, mackerel, mullet, plaice, tope and whiting. Ullapool pier is also a favourite site.

Speciescaughtfrom boats include all shore species plus haddock, hake, halibut, gurnard, ling, megrim, spurdog, tope, turbot and whiting. Lugworm can be dug locally at low tide.

Lochinver:

Lochinver offers good shore fishing marks in the harbour, beach and off rocky headlands,for coalfish, cod, mackerel and pollack. From a boat, cod, tope, skate, mackerel and pollack can be caught in large numbers. Lug from the beach.

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