It goes something like this;
- Day One – Fishing quite good
- Day Two – Fishing average, but the biggest fish of the trip appears
- Day Three – Mince! Should have gone home the day before
This also coincided with tides dropping quite dramatically over the three days too. Friday 0.6m to 4.4m, Sun 1.3m to 2.9m.
I trailed the boat up in the company of PeterTheFisherman on Friday morning on a beautiful sunny journey through Glencoe (-5degC), across the Corran Ferry (Red tickets no longer valid – this year they are orange) and along the North side of Sunart to launch at Salen. We were booked into the excellent angler friendly Salen Hotel where owner Jonathan is offering three nights for the price of two and some excellent food.
I have managed to stumble across a mark near Salen that has produced a few fish for me in the past, and it didn’t dissapoint this time either. Almost straight away on the Friday morning I managed a nice clean female spurdog of 9lb exactly that was tagged before being released to swim away. On our last trip here, it was manky pink squid that worked well – but this fish took one of the mackeral baits on the 8/0 circle hook. The squid on this trip was quite fresh and a healthy white colour.
Maybe we should have defrosted it a couple of days beforehand ?
Friday’s weather was stunning. We have endured our harshest winter for fifty years, and I think I got fishing from either boat or shore at least once every weekend over the last three or four months. The warm sunshine on our faces was most welcome. I was hoping that this was to be the first day of a decent spell of weather. It was the first day – and also the last day as it pished down for most of Sunday!
We pretty much stayed on the one mark on Friday catching a decent amount of fish each and tagging five female spurdogs. Baits used were mackeral, bluey and squid – but mackeral came out tops this time.
I’d been watching forecasts all week and Saturday was always going to be the worst day out of the three we were spending here. I use a very good site for forecasting; www.xcweather.co.uk. They have a multitude of weather stations around the country which are mostly based at airfields.
Like those afloat – aviators are primarily concerned with one aspect of weather – wind. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog, temperatures etc can all be catered for, but if the wind is not in your favour, then there is little you can do about it.
Unfortunately, Loch Sunart airfields are few and far between, so accurate local forecasting isn’t great. We had a dry spell for launching where Bmac had joined us aboard for the next two days, but that was really it for the day. Cold, wet and windy we tried several different marks as far apart as Laga bay and Resipole.
We then tried the deepest part of the Loch at nearly 400ft where we had connected with some big spurdogs in the past – but not a bite this time around. We moved in the afternoon to the same spot that had come up trumps for us the previous day – and hit a few decent fish. The highlight of these was a fine clean female spur that tipped the scales at 14lb 10oz. This had been preceded by a 6lb 3oz thornback ray that came up backwards tangled up in my trace giving the impression that it was going to be a lot heavier. Three spurs tagged for the day and a few doggies caught too.
Some mates joined us for dinner and a few drinks in the Salen Hotel on Saturday night and we retired tired but fairly content.
Sunday dawned with better weather. The loch was very still, but still very chilly. We had already decided to spend the day on our "Old faithful" mark that had produced for us the previous two days and see what happened. There is very little that can be written however about a day almost devoid of fish. A couple of missed bites, a single spurdog around 3lbs and a few doggies saved the blank for us.
We recovered the boat around 5pm and got everything cleaned and ready for the journey home. The highlight of Sunday was probably my haddock upper on the way home from the Real Food café in Tyndrum!!
My conclusions from the weekend; I’ve no doubt that Loch Sunart holds a resident population of large spurdogs, but I don’t think they inhabit a single local area? A mark that fishes well on one day doesn’t even herald a bite 24hrs later. I’m fairly sure that the fish are constantly on the move around the loch in packs. If you get hit by one fish, make sure you are keeping an eye on other rods that are down there. This has happened to us several times at this place. During day 1 of the tagathon in November we tagged eleven large spurdogs all within a period of an hour and forty minutes. The bites switch off as quickly as they switch on. I had some success with a slow drift the last time I fished up here.
I’m definitely going to give it another go on my next visit.