Saturday, March 21, 2015

Icy cold Furnace.

To hopefully get my 2015 Scottish saltwater species hunt moving again I decided to visit Loch Fyne last Sunday. It has in the past produced a number of different species but at this time of the year my expectations were realistic and I had the much maligned dogfish in mind with perhaps the chance of a thornback ray as well. My mate Nick was keen to join me and I also asked along a lure angling enthusiast called Dimitrios who writes the excellent Luremaniac! blog. We picked him up in Glasgow on the way and after a quick visit to the Glasgow Angling Centre were soon on the road again. As we got closer to our destination the weather got gradually nicer and by the time we got to Loch Fyne the sky was clear and the sun was shining. Unfortunately the first mark, normally a good one for the two shark species I was after, was already being fished so we headed down the western side of the loch to Furnace quarry. It is well known amongst bait anglers as a conger eel mark but I thought it might also produce some dogfish and perhaps some other species but never having fished there before Nick and I were not sure what to expect.

Adequate warnings were posted.

Dimitrios on the other hand has fished the area extensively with very light lure tactics and while we set up on the pier he set off hopping around the rocks to target coalfish, cod and pollock using small metals. It might have been sunny but any icy cold wind was blowing down the loch and this made fishing from the wooden pier rather unpleasant at times. Undeterred, Nick and I were soon set up and had a single bait rod out each. I went with a mackerel bait on a pulley rig whilst Nick opted to fish black lug on a running ledger. Whilst we waited for bites we both started drop shotting Angleworm with ultra light tackle. This didn't produce any fish initially and then an old battered looking boat arrived, mooring up to our left.

One of the crew came around to ask us what we were catching. "Nothing yet!" was our reply.

Casting my drop shot rig around the snaggy bottom closer in eventually produced a couple of little taps and just as I converted two of them into a couple of tiny cod Nick caught a bigger cod on his bait rod.

One of my micro cod. It obviously still had a health appetite judging by its portly little gut.

Nick soon caught a second cod on his bait rod then I caught a short spined sea scorpion and a poor cod on my drop shot rig as Dimitrios returned to see how we were getting on, reporting that he had caught a few of his target fish.

I was quite pleased to catch this little fish. They aren't anywhere near as widespread as as their long spined cousin but seem to be more common in Scottish sea lochs than they are around the coast.
This little poor cod was the third species added to my 2015 tally so on that front things were going well.

Nick and I then joined Dimitrios fishing metals from the rocks but the wind was making things difficult and after a couple of coalfish and loosing some of our lures Nick and I tried another spot with the bait rods. We were sure that some dogfish would start biting but they never did and the water was very deep, we were struggling to hold bottom and our rigs were being pulled into snags resulting in multiple tackle loses. We ended up returning to the wooden pier and thankfully the icy cold wind had finally dropped off a bit. The sun had disappeared too though so it was still a bit chilly. Nick decided to drop a mackerel flapper down the side for a conger but probably would have been better visiting the mark at night for them. I lobbed out a mackerel bait again and drop shotted but neither of us had any joy. Dimitrios meanwhile went off rock hopping again and caught a few more coalfish, pollock and cod on metals.

Dimitrios fishes from the rocks in front of the nearby fish farm cages as the blue sky turns into a much more dark and moody one.
He caught a few dozen fish on a variety of different metals. This one wasn't even hooked, just having the vibe bait wedged in its jaws.

When he came back to the pier we called it a day and Nick and I hadn't added to our tally. I was surprised by the lack of action on our bait rods but I did move three species closer to my 2015 target of fifty from Scottish saltwater and it was nice to try fishing somewhere new. It was also good to meet up with Dimitrios in person for the first time, even if he did end up ambling off to do his own thing most of the day. He is quite dedicated to the style of fishing he enjoys most and clearly does it with great skill. Hopefully we can meet up again in the summer for a lure only session. A trip to Skye is something he's keen on so perhaps we can head up there?

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Good to see you are still catching Scott. I thoroughly enjoy reading about your trips, regardless of the method.
    Have a good season.


    1. Thanks David. Glad you enjoy the blog still.

  2. Thats the first time ive seen this sign! lol
    I tend to catch more short spined scorpions and I believe thats because they prefer much deeper waters than the long spined ones. A perfect environment for them then at the deep sea lochs.. Better get yourselves up here again with the lure rods, when the pollock start to show in Etive...

    1. For sure Dimitrios I'm sure I'll be heading west again before too long and in the summer you'll have to pay the east a visit too. You'll love St Abbs Head and Eyemouth. :-)