Shore fishing in Scotland

West coast

The west coast of Scotland has probably the most diverse selection of species in Scotland. Whether you are a cod angler looking for a double figure fish, or a seasoned match angler, the west coast has it all.

Starting in the south, the Solway has for many years been noted for it's variety of species on offer. Huge cod can be got from areas like Balcary Rocks during the winter months and a bucket of lugworm with some frozen shellfish is all that's really needed. During the summer months some fresh Mackerel, frozen sandeel, and if you want some Rag-worm, will catch most species from the shore including the beloved Dogfish. Marks such as the Isle of Whithorn, Abbey head and Borness all have more than their fair share of these fish, but can become very busy during matches. The river estuaries can produce some excellent flounder sport using fresh peelers for bait, along with the occasional bass. From the deeper rock marks, Pollock can be found and can be caught using light spinning outfits, with float fished Rag-Worm or a freshly spun Sand eel for bait.

Moving slightly north you will find one of the best-known sea-lochs in Scotland, Loch Ryan. This Loch is popular with match anglers and pleasure anglers alike. With the two points at Cairnryan being probably the most fished in the Loch. During the summer months huge numbers of dogfish can be caught here using Worm tipped with fish, and in the winter shoals of Whiting can be located using the same baits. A word of warning here be careful of the ferries as a back wash is produced as they pass and there has been a few rods and tackle washed out so don't set up next to the water stay back.

Firth of Clyde
Moving further north the next main area of interest to the angler is the firth of Clyde. Though not as fruitful as yester year there are still areas where good sport can be found. Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay can produce dogfish to worm tipped with fish or plain fish baits. During the summer months shoals of mackerel patrol the shores looking for food and if located will produce good sport on light tackle. Areas worth trying for Mackerel include Cloch point, but any pier with a depth of water in front of it should be worth a try. Over on the north shore the muddy banks of the Firth are a haven for Flounders and Silver Eels; these can be caught in the summer using Peeler crab for bait. Noted areas are Bowling Old Kirkpatrick and the Dumbarton area. An hour's drive from the Clyde brings you to loch Fyne. This sea loch has probably the most diverse selection offering the visiting angler more choice in such a small area than anywhere else. For the small boat angler there are plenty of slips to launch from and with the huge shoals of mackerel there is a lot of fun to be had during a summers evening. Or you could free line a frozen sand eel down the side of a drop off for hard fighting Pollock. Even anchor up for a chance of a Conger or two and, if you are lucky enough, you may even catch a Haddock! For the shore angler the choices are much the same, from spinning for mackerel to float fishing for Pollock using light tackle, to ledgering fish baits for dogfish or Conger, this loch has it all. Even mullet, if you are skilful enough to trick these fish.

Fort William
The last port of call is Ft William and it's numerous sea lochs, which are in the surrounding area. These lochs hold good numbers of Pollock which will readily take a float fished Rag-Worm, and fight like Demons, or if you like, try for the Thornback Rays which inhabit these waters. These will take a well presented sand-eel, or a fresh mackerel strip ledgered on the bottom, that's if the Dogfish don't take the bait first! A few of the lochs still hold a small number of spur dogs, which can be caught using fish baits. Again these fish aren't as numerous today, due to over fishing with commercial long lines, but they are still about and can offer good sport, but the best marks are well guarded secrets, and will not be divulged in a hurry, after all we want these hard fighting fish to thrive one day again!

These are only a few marks and areas offering a basic insight to what's on offer on the west coast of Scotland. There is so much sport to be had and too many marks to go in depth about, so it is advisable to join a Club or the Scottish Federation of sea Anglers, which will unlock more of the secrets and the wealth of sport on the west coast.

East coast

The east coast of Scotland is made up of rough rugged coastline, sandy beaches and coves and the area produces some of the best shore fishing in Scotland.

From June until mid August, you would expect codling and wrasse from the roughest kelp grounds with peeler crab being the top bait. Also around this time, the The many estuaries and beaches produce flounder, dab and some plaice, with peeler crab being top bait in the estuary and worm baits from the beaches.

August until November would be the best time to fish from Arbroath to Aberdeen for cod, pollack and coalfish, with flounder being taken from the beaches to worm baits.

November through until mid February is when cod fishing is at its best, all the way up the coast. This is especially so when there is an easterly or northerly wind blowing, giving the greatest chance of catching a double figure cod from the shore. This time is also best to catch large flounder and school bass from the beaches.

North of Aberdeen
North of Aberdeen the fishing at Cruden Bay, Sanford Bay and Peterhead Harbour breakwaters are well known and offer excellent shore fishing. North of Peterhead the beaches also provide good sea fishing opportunities. Species available are mackeral, cod, ling, conga, plaice, dab, turbot, sea bass & sea trout.

Some of the best areas around Scotland

Cour Bay: Cod, pollack, wrasse & coalfish

Thornton Loch: Flounder & bass

Tyninghame: Flounder

Kirkcaldy Esplanade: Flounder

Buckhaven Breakwater: Cod

Elie to St Andrews:Cod, wrasse, strap conger & flounder

Tay Estuary: Flounder & eels

Carnoustie to Easthaven: Cod & flounder

Elliott Beach: Flounder & bass

Arbroath Cliffs: Cod & pollack

Lunnan Bay: Flounder & bass

Boddin to Ferryden: Cod

Montrose Beach: Flounder & dab

Johsnaven to Stonehaven: Cod, wrasse, pollack, & coaly

Stonehaven to Aberdeen: Cod, pollack, wrasse, coaly, flounder, dab & plaice