Boat fishing in Scotland

Locating fishing

In the next column you will find details of the various types of boat fishing on offer in different parts of Scotland. Once you have decided where to go, use our boat directory to find a skipper who offers the type of fishing you have decided on.

When you hire a boat be sure to check that it is properly licenced, and that the skipper is properly qualified. Always ask to see the relevant certificates.

Other points to check are how long it will take the boat to get to worthwhile fishing grounds and whether the boat (and you) are up to the weather conditions forecast for the day and that it is safe to go. If you do go, always insist on wearing a lifejacket and inspect the other life saving equipment on board to make sure that it is adequate.

Be sure also to check with the Skipper the minimum as well as the maximum number of people he is prepared to take as your booking may well depend on him getting others to join in before he is prepared to go.

Another issue to check is whether the boat provides wet weather clothing, fishing tackle and bait, as in some cases you may need to bring your own and valuable time is saved if you have this ready when you arrive.

If you have any queries do ring us and we will be glad to help.

Where to go

Here is a quick summary of what is on offer around Scotland's coast, working up the East coast from the English border round the north coast, and then down the west coast.

East coast - Most of the fishing is done on the drift over rough ground with boats from Berwick right up to St Andrews catching mainly cod with some ling, pollack, wrasse, coalfish and sea scorpion.

Arbroath - The main season is april through to October with healthy catches of codling inshore with flatfish from the clean ground further out. The Bellrock can give excellent catches of ccod, pollack coalfish & wrasse if the weather is fine.

Stonehaven sees a change in depth and catches here include haddock, cod, ling, whiting, plaice, dabs, pounting & coalfish with some good sized fish on the wrecks.

Moray Firth Catches can be varied with cod, ling, dab, & plaice being targeted regularly.

Scrabster on the north coast sees possibly our best fishing with cod, pollack & ling to double figures with coalfish, wrasse and dab also being plentiful. Occasional catches include cuckoo wrasse. The winter months through to spring sees anglers targeting porbeagle shark which offer seriously big game prospects with fish esitmated up to 500lbs.

North West - The Ports of Lochinver, Kinlochbervie Auchiltibuie, Ullapool, & Aultbea concentrate in the summer months on drift fishing for haddock, whiting, plaice, gurnard, dab & cod with some days over a dozen different species being landed weather permitting, The boats have been known to range further afield and catch torsk from the more distant marks.

Oban and surrounding areas. Fishing is often done at anchor. Boats here make the most of the giant skate fishing. These can attain weights of over 200lbs and are tagged and released after capture. Other species include specimen & record weight spurdog, thornback rays & hake with lesser spotted dogfish which are common to the west coast of Scotland.

Ayrshire Boats from Troon, Ayr & Girvan target pollack & wrasse from around the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig, and drift for cod, ling, & flat fish from the insohre marks.

Loch Ryan to Whithorn Tope become one of the main species with dogfish, huss, pollack and wrasse.

Solway Small boat anglers have been having good succes with bass and smooth hound which are increasingly being fished for as they offer a more sporting option to sea angling in Scotland.

Boat fishing

Boat fishing



Scrabster Harbour

Scrabster Harbour, Caithness