Sea fishing in the Oban area is one of the most exciting and varied spots in the UK. Home to record skate and huge pollack, cod, ling and conger, Argyll’s coastline is longer than France’s and offers fishing over wrecks, reefs, caves, open water and sea lochs. Add to this beautiful scenery of islands, tidal races (including the world’s third largest whirlpool – the Corryvreckan), and wildlife such as whales, dolphins and sea eagles, and it makes for a must visit destination for novice or experienced anglers alike.
Shore vs Boat
Most species in the area can be caught from both shore and boat. There are some excellent shore marks such as Dunollie Point on the Ganavan Road just past Oban. The most common fish caught from the shore are mackerel, pollack, spurdog, thornback ray, dogfish, cod, coalfish and a variety of flatties. All will be hooked on rag and lugworm as well as mackerel strips, mussel and peeler crab. However, boat fishing offers a much bigger catch and species seldom caught from the shore. Wreck and reef fishing is most popular and large catches are common. Charter boats operate out of Oban, Craobh Marina and Balvicar and are well-equipped with skippers providing tackle and a wealth of knowledge of local marks.
The British record skate (227lbs) was caught near Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and the area often yields fish well over the 200lb mark which attracts anglers from all over the UK. Skate can be caught all year round although the best chances of catching larger ones is between August to October. As with all big game fishing, the right tackle is essential. Ideally, this is a 50lb class rod with a heavy reel loaded with 50lb line attached to a harness and butt rest. The rig should be a simple one with a sliding boom with swivel link with a size 10 bronzed hook. There is no need for a wire trace as skate don’t have large, sharp teeth. However, commercial grade monofilament around 200lbs is recommended. The best bait is a whole coalfish, mackerel or pollack of 1-2lbs with one fillet cut off which produces more blood and scent to attract the fish. Most skate caught in the UK are tagged and returned and anglers are encouraged to do this to preserve numbers of this rare, hard-fighting fish.
Loch Etive stretches 20 miles inland from its mouth near Connel and the famous tidal Falls of Lora. It is one of the most unique lochs in the UK as it has two sets of narrows that affect the tide in such a way that there can be a two hour difference between high tide at the mouth of the loch and Bonawe only 5 miles away. The salt content is affected by this strange effect which results in a very diverse range of fish. For example, brown trout share the same marks as pollack and spurdog (the loch yielded the Scottish shore record of 15lb 3oz). Good marks are Ardchattan Priory and Bonawe Quarry further up the loch on the north shore, and the windsock near Connel Bridge. Boats hire is available from Taynuilt pier. Spinning here will usually catch pollack, saithe and trout in warmer months whilst bait fishing will produce some large spurdog, dogfish and thornback rays.
For diverse and unique fishing, the waters in the Oban area are ideal for casual and experienced anglers alike.