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Tourism Scotland - Fishing
Sea Angling

Scotland has perhaps the most varied and the most beautiful coastline in the world. The shingle beaches, sandy bays, sea lochs, cliffs and coves and rocky headlands provide a vast spectrum of marine habitats.

These coasts are the melting pot
for the warm waters of the gulf stream and the colder waters of the north. The result is a bewildering number of species on the sea angler's menu. Cod, pollach and haddock are most widely distributed and are the mainstay of boat angling but lurking in the same waters are three under exploted "big game" species: world-record porbeagle shark, heavyweight halibut and giant common skate - not forgetting the thrilling tope of Luce Bay. For the shore angler there are renowned marks in plenty, particularlu in the accessible south. But for the angler with a passion for exploring there is the priceless prospect of the north, virtually unfished and waiting to be discovered by the adventurous sea angler.

Solway Firth
East Coast
The craggy coastline from Berwick to St Abbs Head is renowned codling country. Vast numbers of cod and pollack arrive over the rocky inshore ledges in May and throughout the summer months. Shore anglers catch fish up to double figures from deep gullies in the rocks.

Elie, Fife

Offshore, angling boats from the harbours of Eyemouth and Burnmouth drift over the same rocks and ledges where the traditional baits of peeler crab, mussel, lugworm and ragworm account for fantastic baskets of cod, pollack, ling, wrasse and some fearsome catfish.

Rock and Kelp Reefs
Moving closer to Edinburgh, the rock and kelp reefs around Dunbar are alive with summer codling and for hardier souls the rock marks around North Berwick can produce cod to 10lbs during a winter night session. Between these two, the warm water outfall from the Torness power station has a growing reputation for great catches of mullet and bass.

Angling Festival
Across the Firth of Forth the fishing towns between Anstruther and St Andrews are steeped in angling tradition with boats busiest during the summer months, particularly in June when Scotland's largest boat angling festival takes place out of the finest areas for summer codling from the shore and the piers of Dysart, Anstruther and Crail also have a great reputation for large winter cod.

The Northeast
The cod landed by the summer charter boats of Arbroath have the distinct red-brown colouration of the thick kelp beds. From Stonehaven the boats cover a wealth of rough ground and mixed bottom fishing for cod, haddock, plaice, dab and long, as well as excusrsions to the numerous wrecks along this hard and unforgiving shore. For the equally hard shore angler this coastline is becomming popular for winter fishing. The rock edge and cliff marks between Arbroath and Aberdeen have superb cod fishing with hotspots around Red Head, Usan, Findon and Cove. For the beach fisherman Auchmithie regularly produces double figure cod in January and February and the steep curving beach at Inverbervie has become a mecca for winter cod fisherman.


Highlands and Island
The waters off the remote north and west have some of the best sea fishing available in Europe. This is serious angling where the three real monsters of Scottish sea fishing are to be found. World-class porbeagle shark patrol the Pentland Firth throughout the year with a peak between January and April. Huge common skate hunt the depths of these northern waters, particularly around Shetland and Orkney, off Sumburgh Head and the southern entrance to Scapa Flow. Lochinver in the west is one of the few ports where the adventure of giant halibut is still a daunting reality.

Sense of Adventure
Large shoals of voracious haddock inhabit these stormy waters and prodigious bags fall to mussel and mackeral baits fished with feather lures from the boats of Kinlochbervie and Lochinver. The angler after variety should make for the Western Isles: twenty-five different species commonly figure in the catches of boats from Carloway on the Atlantic coast of Lewis. For the shore angler this is the final frontier, the last undiscovered area of the UK with hundreds of miles of unfished, untried ledges, coves and beaches. The few marks that have been regularly visited have produced ton-up skate, double figure cod and specimen spurdog. What you need is a map and a sense of adventure.

West Coast
Obain is Scotland's outstanding charter boat base. Specimen skate of 100-pound-plus are common and gigantic 200-pounders are caught and released every year by Oban boats and those from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull during the prime season of March to September. Other species abound: conger and a variety of rays are all common in this rich and largely untapped area.

Specimen skate of 100-pound-plus are common

Tremendous Sport Fishing
Further south, the Firth of Clyde has less rugged sport over the shellfish beds of Ayr and Irvine. Autumn cod fall to shellfish and worn baits on fine wire hooks whilst light lines and local ragworms are standard tactics for summer pollack on boats out of Ayr, Troon and Irvine. From Girvan the boats head for the offshore pollack grounds and have a reputation for giving customers tremendous sport fishing.

Gulf Stream
Dumfries and Galloway is Scotland's most popular area for the visiting shore angler. The prolific marks from Stranraer to Kirkcudbright are washed by the waters of the gulf stream to produce a bewildering variety of possibilities: pollack and wrasse, bull huss, dogfish, whiting and rays as well as the more flamboyant bass, smoothhound and tope. Beachcasting and float fishing with sandeel, crab and mackeral are the proven methods.

Big Blue
The big tope of Luce Bay are the target of many of the charter boats from Drummore, Port William and Isle of Whithorn. In summer an armada of small boats fish the reefs off Port Logan but it is not only anglers that come to fish these rich waters around the Mull of Galloway: in summer there are porbeagle shark and just the chance of a big blue.

Tobermory Harbour



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