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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.