Sea Fishing in the Oban Area

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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.

Specimen Skate

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

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.

Saltwater Fishing Techniques For Mid-Atlantic Artificial Reefs

Fishermen of the Mid-Atlantic from New England to North Carolina often fish around structure, including shipwrecks, rocks, rubble, bridge pilings and artificial reefs.

Depending the location and season, these fishing hotspots can hold a variety of fish including cod, haddock, scup (porgy), black sea bass, tautog (blackfish), summer flounder (fluke), striped bass, weakfish, croaker, spot, sheepshead, spadefish, cobia, king mackerel, monkfish and other species.

The following list of tips apply to wreck, reef and structure fishing:

* Use a basic top and bottom fishing rig when snags and hang ups are not a problem.

* Switch to a single hook rig in areas of extremely rough bottom.

* Carry a wide selection of sinkers ranging from 3-8 oz.

* When targeting large fish only, use large jigs or single baits such as whole split squid mantles or fish fillets.

* Use a rod and reel that can handle depths from 15-120 feet, and 3-8 oz. sinkers.

* Fish with braided lines for added sensitivity.

* Use baits such as squid, croaker, bluefish, herring, sand eels, blue crabs, green crabs, mole crabs, fiddler crabs, shrimp and clams.

* When using cut crab, leave the legs on and check baits often. Replace baits that have had the meat sucked out of the shell.

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* Avoid excessive tension on the line and pay attention for minute signs of nibbling. Give a short tug upward when movement is felt. If the fish appears to be in the line, set the hook, lift the fish away from structure and then reel in gently.

* When fish are suspended over structure, try fishing metal jigs or other lures at varying depths.

* Tag and release undersized fish. Switch techniques or locations to avoid excess bycatch of smaller species.

* Take no more fish than needed.

* Identify fish sexes – Release female fish when possible.

* Support Artificial Reef programs.

A Sherkston Shores Vacation – Part 2

In part one of this series on Sherston Shores and the surrounding area I focused on the swimming and some of the other family activities you can enjoy there. In this part I’m going to tell you about my favorite part of a vacation at Sherkston Shores: the smallmouth bass fishing. As I mentioned before, Lake Erie is very clean in southern Ontario. If you’re fishing on a boat, it’s very easy to see the bottom of the lake when you’re in 20 feet of water. Not only is the water clean but the number of bass that live there is amazing. Most of the fishermen anchor or drift over between 10 and 20 feet of water and fish for the smallmouth with diving crank baits. Since I don’t bring my boat up, unless I can hitch a ride, I have to find another way to hook these great fish. That’s what I want to tell you about today.

About a mile from shore there is a wreck of an old barge. During World War II when the value of steel skyrocketed, the authorities decided to salvage as much of the wreck as possible. They constructed a coffer dam to dry the lake bed from the beach to the wreck. Then they built a road out to the barge and were able to truck a huge amount of steel back to shore. When they removed the dam and flooded the road, they left behind a fisherman’s paradise.

Most of the time, the old road is covered by one to four feet of water for the first half mile or so toward the remains of the barge. From the edge of the road, the water immediately drops off to a depth of five to eight feet. This is where the fish patrol looking for food. I’ve found that top water baits with no weight work fantastically for an hour after dawn and the last hour before dark. During the middle of the day I like to use a shallow diving or suspending crank bait. I’ve yet to find a time of day that you can’t catch these bass. As a matter of fact, I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve caught over 100 fish in a day several times. Most of the smallmouth I’ve caught off the road are between 10 and 15 inches in length and the biggest one I caught was 21 inches long.

The smallmouth bass season in Lake Erie runs from the fourth Saturday in June through the end of November. You have several choices when it comes to fishing licenses. If you’re going to be fishing in Lake Erie for a week or less, you can buy an eight day sport fishing or conservation license. The sport fishing license allows you to keep up to six smallmouth bass a day and the conservation license allows you to keep up to two fish per day. If you’re going to be at Sherkston for longer than a week, you can buy a seasonal sport fishing or conservation license. The limits are the same but the license is valid for the year. Since I’m a catch and release fisherman, I save some money by purchasing a conservation license.

Well, if great swimming, family activities and fishing aren’t enough reasons to visit Sherkston Shores, there are more. In part 3 of this series, I’ll start to tell you about some of the fun things to do within a 45 minute drive of the resort. Stay tuned.

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