Tope & Pollack, Huss, Rays
When conditions are right we will catch Tope from the beginning of May right up till the end of October. The early run of the immature fish is my favourite fishing of the year. At that time of year we are fishing for 20 to 30 pounds Tope in just 30 ft. of water. Spinning rods or 6-12lb class boat rods are great for these Tope that go like wild banshees in the shallow water. Float fishing for the tope is also great fun. June-August sees us travelling further offshore to locate the larger tope in the breeding packs. These are usually male fish averaging 35 pounds and a dozen in a day is a realistic target, although more are often caught.
September and October sees fewer numbers, but it is the time when the ‘Big Mamas’ and the 50lb Males show. We have released three Tope that would have broken the British record and regularly tag and release fish between 50-70 pounds.
We recommend anglers’ use 12- 20lb. class rods for the summer Tope fishing, matched with a lever drag reel and 30lb braided line. We are now selling Tope traces as we haven’t found any on the internet up to the job. If you want to make your own, look at the Onyer Marks Video on our Salt Water Fishing Page..
The Pollack fishing is carried out just a few yards of the vertical cliffs which means cancellations are rare. These hard fighting fish are renowned for that “tell-tale” power dive which can leave the angler hanging on whilst line strips off the reel.
A typical day will start with a five minute steam to the nearest headland where we will pick up a few dozen mackerel or herring; then weather permitting and another short steam; we will swap to Sabikis or shrimp rigs and feather for the launce (large sandeel) which we keep as live baits for the Pollack. We fish the launce under a float or free-lining with just a small drilled bullet.
An average day will produce well over 100 Pollack for four anglers. We look for double figure fish everyday but if these aren’t forthcoming there is usually plenty of fish in the 5-9 lb range. The Pollack give a tremendous fight on 20 lb class gear but the enjoyment is increased by using Carp rods or spinning rods. Please remember these inshore Pollack are on a catch and release only basis! Coalfish, Conger, Pouting and Wrasse can also be targeted on the same grounds.
Small Sarks—Bull Huss, Spurs, Smoothound & Rays
These are all generally caught as by-catch while we are waiting for the Tope to appear and particularly the Huss (up to 20lb.) and the Rays (up to 10 lb.). The Spurdog aren’t as formidable as they used to be, but we have a special mark that will often produce 50 Spurdog a day: virtually all of them are in the high teens. This mark is very much subject to good weather conditions. The Smoothound tends to be a bit more specialised as crab has to be used as bait. All the others take Mackerel, which you will catch first thing.
We have started catching the odd Common Skate from Port Logan, but for regular catches, we go to Crinan, near Lochgilphead, for a month-long trip in both the spring and the autumn. It is an interesting venue to fish, as although tagging programmes have proved skate are fairly static, it appears that either the males or the females are feeding hard. The number of fish per day day varies tremendously but we usually average between 4 and 5 skate per day.