Sea Fishing in Scotland
This guide is produced by Ashton Marine Services with help from local fisherman from around Scotland as we have not fished in all of these waters ourselves.
Berwick to St Andrews: Most of the sea fishing is done on the drift or trolling, with most of the ground being rocky. There are normally quite a few small leisure fishing boats out here so it is well worth speaking to the locals in the marina to get some tips before you set sail.
Best fish to target: mainly cod, also ling, pollock, wrasse, coalfish and sea scorpion.
Arbroath: Best Time: Mid April through to early October
Best fish to target: cod, ling inshore with flatfish from the clean ground further out. The Bellrock ( 56°26′03″N 2°23′14) gives excellent catches of cod, pollock coalfish & wrasse.
Stonehaven: The depth changes a lot around here so keeping your bait at a constant height off the bottom can be tricky and fish finders are a must even if used just to check depth. Catches here include haddock, cod, ling, whiting, plaice, dabs, pounting and coalfish with some good sized fish on the wrecks.
Gowrie -N56.57.428 W2.01.630
Cushendall -N56.57.648 W2.04.083
Matador -N56.59.412 W2.04.415
Moray Firth: The Moray has one of the widest varieties of fish in Scottish waters so it’s hard to go for specific targets but if you do wish to do this we would suggest going after cod, ling, dab and plaice.
Note: The best fishing here is around Balintore and Tarbet Ness.
Scrabster: The north coast sees possibly Scotland’s best fishing with cod, pollock and ling in double figures with coalfish, wrasse and dab being plentiful and occasional catches include cuckoo wrasse.
Note: If you get out of the bays up here be prepared as the rollers can be huge even when its quite flat in Scrabster Bay. Also be careful when coming back into the marina at Thurso if you need to go under the bridge to tie up your boat on the pontoon. Most boats will struggle doing this at high tide so find another way to your berth!
Our only other comment would be to keep looking at the wind direction in Wick as well, as we found very different sea states here even though they are not far apart so fishing can be done on most days but it might mean the north cost or the top of the east coast.
North West: The Ports of Lochinver, Kinlochbervie, Auchiltibuie, Ullapool and Aultbea concentrate in the summer months on drift fishing for haddock, whiting, plaice, gurnard, dab and cod – weather permitting, there can be over a dozen different species being landed in one day. This must be one of the most amazing places to fish in the world however we did find that there was not a wide range of fishing tackle to be purchased locally so stock up before going.
Note: Locals here are amazing and full of information and unlike some places we have been they will share the local knowledge with visitors.
Oban and surrounding areas: Fishing is often done at anchor around Oban. Boats here make the most of the giant skate fishing around the south east corner of Scarba. These fish can attain weights of over 200lbs and are tagged and released after capture. Other species include specimen and record weight spurdog, thornback rays and hake with lesser spotted dogfish which are common to the west coast of Scotland. This area also benefits from sea angling club members who often organise weekend trips to fish here as it is only a few hours from Glasgow.
Note: This was one of the poorest areas for fishing on our trip and though the fishing can be good local information is a must along with a willingness to travel a bit further to find the best spots.
Ayrshire Coast: Boats from Troon, Ayr and Girvan target pollock and wrasse from around the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig, and drift for cod, ling, and flat fish from the inshore marks. Our personal favourite place here is Ailsa Craig as we have found the fishing to be the best in this area and it is also a stunning backdrop to your day out.
Note: Troon Harbour can be fun to get out of but if you can handle a few minutes of being bounced around you will soon find a calmer sea state not far from the harbour walls. Troon also has the easiest slipway with ample parking but they do charge you £15.00 each time.
Loch Ryan to Whithorn: Tope are a very good fish to target here along with dogfish, huss, pollock and wrasse.
Note: This area takes ages to get to from Glasgow, with Troon about 50 minutes away but Loch Ryan is more than double that and on some very twisty undulating roads. Getting there from the M74 is no better so we would suggest not going here for just one day, best to extend your trip for a few days or more.
Solway: Small boat anglers have been having good success with bass and smooth hound which are increasingly being fished for as they offer a more sporting option than a lot of other verities found in our Scottish waters.