Sunday, August 20, 2017


This post is overdue. Downloading and then uploading over three and a half thousand photos from Photobucket to Blogger and then editing over seven thousand links in five years' worth of posts has been time consuming. Anyway, earlier this year I felt catching up with me mate Lee was overdue so I was happy when an opportunity arose for him to come up to work at the Edinburgh Angling Centre open weekend in his capacity as Tronix pro staff. Of course some time off after the event was sorted out so we could go away fishing for a few days. The weather was very kind to us after the open weekend at the start of last month so we decided to go off on a little tour of Northern Scotland. Before heading up north however we headed west to catch a few grey gurnards on light game tackle and then visited a second mark in Oban to try and catch some rock cook wrasse, a species Lee had never caught before. At Kelly's Pier on Loch Etive we met up with my mate Gareth and fishing from the end of its old wooden pier we managed to catch a few grey gurnards on light game tackle.

Some of the grey gurnard in Loch Etive are almost jet black.

After catching quite a few grey gurnards I decided to fish another area nearby and pestered the gobies with my micro fishing setup. After catching a two spotted goby on a chianti float rig and some painted gobies ledgering hard on the bottom with a 3g drilled bullet, something a little bigger took my tiny bait and had my super light rod bent over as it charged off trying to get into some nearby bladderwrack.

Fish like this black goby are great fun on my micro fishing setup.

By mid afternoon we'd had our fill of gurnards and gobies and headed to the second mark in Oban. Conditions there were different to any other time I've fished the mark and the fishing was disappointingly pretty poor as a result. I still managed to catch a rock cook wrasse.

Stunning markings. I hoped Lee would catch one too.

After an hour or so Gareth had to head home but Lee and I stayed for a couple of extra hours, hoping that the fishing would improve as the tide dropped. Unfortunately it didn't really and apart from a few poor cod and goldsinny wrasse it was tough going. Lee did spot a couple more rock cook wrasse but sadly couldn't tempt them to take his Gulp fish fry. With a long journey north still to make we headed off up to Drumnadrochit where we stayed the night. In the morning we continued our drive up to Scrabster, stopping for a short break on the coast at Helmsdale where we stretched our legs and fished in its picturesque harbour. Like most harbours on the east coast of Scotland it contained lots of small coalfish. We also managed to catch a flounder each before completing the drive north.

Chartreuse Gulp fish fry caught this one.

Mines took a piece of angleworm.

When we arrived in Scrabster we had a quick fish around the harbour before heading to check into our B&B. We had been given fair warning by Gareth about the amount of dabs we'd likely catch and he wasn't exaggerating. It was all we caught in fact with Gulp products proving irresistible as usual.

This one took a natural hellgramite fished on a drop shot rig.

In the evening after checking in to our accommodation we went to look for a spot to fish in the evening for three bearded rockling, a species I've never caught before. I'd spotted some nice looking gullies to the north of Fresgoe Harbour on Google Maps so we explored there for a while. Most of the coastline was high cliffs but eventually we found a ledge above a nice deep gully that I thought looked promising for us to return to as it got dark. Lee wasn't too comfortable with the mark as it involved a little bit of scrambling to get down to the ledge but we went down anyway and whilst there I had a few casts.

A few coalfish soon put a bend in my rod.

In the evening after a chat about fishing from the dodgy cliff ledge and bit of Googling to see if I could find reports of three bearded rockling captures in the area we changed our choice of mark and decided to fish from much safer exposed flat rocks below Scrabster lighthouse. It was a much more sensible choice of venue really and access was relatively easy. Once on the rocks I fished a mackerel bait at fairly close range on a bait rod and whilst waiting for bites fished small jigs on my light game setup. Lee meanwhile fished a heavier jigging setup. We both caught a few fish over the course of the evening.

A nice little copper coloured pollock.
A few little cod took my light game jig.

Lee caught a nice grey gurnard on a jig and incredibly also caught five or six dabs on it too! Meanwhile all fishing my bait in close amongst the snags in an attempt to catch a three bearded rockling resulted in was heavy tackle losses. Eventually however I did get a nice fish on my bait rod when a short spined sea scorpion took my mackerel strip.

Lee caught this grey gurnard on a 40g slow jig.

Almost every cast close in resulted in a lost rig but eventually I got my rig back with a fish on it.

We fished on until after midnight by which point it was rather cold so we called it a night. The next day after breakfast we headed west along to Durness stopping at a few fishy looking places on the way. At Skerray Bay we caught a few small coalfish on micro jigs and stumbled upon a tiny outdoor art gallery in a crumbling old building.

I thought this painting was pretty good.

Further along the coast we stopped at a outcrop just after Heilam that jutted out into Loch Eriboll. It looked promising and the water on the western side was nice and deep but sadly the fishing was pretty slow. Working our way around it we eventually found a spot where we got a few bites and Lee caught a nice goldsinny wrasse. The fishing still wasn't great though and I ended up getting distracted by a nice butterfly.

Nice vivid colours on this little chap.

Nice colours on this too.

As we drove further west the scenery just got better and better and as we passed several stunning golden sandy beaches we wished we had more time to explore further.

At times the stunning coastline made it easy... forget we were in Scotland.

After reaching Durness we began heading south back to Edinburgh. Along the way we passed dozens of small highland lochs and when we passed one that was right next to a parking place we couldn't resit being a little naughty and had a cheeky session targeting highland brown trout. Small hard plugs were soon being put to use with good results and a few small highland brownies were caught.

One of the nice little trout plugs Lee let me use.

One of the highland loch's nice little brown trout.

We made one final stop on our way back, stopping in Ullapool for an hour or so. After catching lots of little cod, whiting and poor cod from back of the ferry port we had some haddock served with chips. It had been a good trip and whilst I probably did as much driving as we did fishing it was good to catch up with Lee and visit a part of Scotland neither of us have been to before. I'd love to go back and explore the area further. Luckily I won't have to wait too long to see Lee again, we're off to Gran Canaria in December with our mate Ross. Another reunion that's long overdue as it's been a few years since the three of us fished together. Light game in the salt and a few sessions targeting large mouth bass in the island's many reservoirs will be the perfect way for the three of us to remedy that.

Tight lines, Scott.

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