Tim Macpherson explores one of the most beautiful angling areas in the UK.
I’ve spent most of my time fishing on the south coast and in the West Country but in 2018 II was invited to fish the Mull of Galloway Sea Angling Festival organised by a team which includes a fishing mate of mine, Les Weller. The event was a success and repeated again in 2019 – an experience we covered in our September 2019 issue. I was so taken with the area, particularly as a fishing destination I thought it would be useful to have a closer look at the what the Mull has to offer anglers.
There are four main fishing ‘ports’ on the Mull, two of them have charter boats working them and there are plenty of places to launch private boats and kayaks.
Drummore, the most southerly town in Scotland, is situated on Luce Bay which is 14miles wide and 17 miles long. At only 50m at its deepest point the sheltered, shallow water is where to find an abundance of big fish. The port is the home of the Mull of Galloway Sea Angling Festival (unfortunately postponed this year due to the Covid 19 crisis. The event has proved immensely popular with anglers from all over the North of England and Scotland – with even a few coming from further afield. It is a lovely little town on the shores of Luce Bay, one of the most prolific angling spots in the UK. There is a small harbour and launching facilities from the beach. The ground in the bay is pretty varied from rocky reefs to sandy gullies and banks. In the summer it holds over 60 species of fish – from tope to bass, plaice to turbot and plenty more as we found out in last year’s Species Competition – more on that later.
Ian Burrett runs a charter fleet from the bay for much of the year. Called ‘On Yer Marks’ sea Angling Charter he now has a fleet of three identical boats to cope with the increasing number of bookings they get. Although each boat is licensed to carry six anglers Ian made the decision to limit each boat to four anglers, to allow each more working room.
The tope fishing in Luce Bay is legendry an Ian certainly knows where and how to bag these hard-fighting sharks. Fishing in the shallow water proved so successful that during one week more than 300 tope, averaging between 20lb and 30lb were caught and released. In 2014, a huge tope weighing 80lb was caught 400 yards offshore in only 60 feet of water. On one trip, fishing in only 20 feet of water, 27 tope were landed on the boat. When fishing for tope Ian always recommends strips of mackerel. If you want to go tope fishing in Luce Bay or skate fishing in the Sound of Jura contact Skipper Ian on 01776 840 346 or email email@example.com
Home to a famous botanical garden, this is the second port used by the Sea Angling Festival and is situated on the western side of the Mull. It is a particularly good launch pad because of the deeper waters which can be accessed for big tope, skate, haddock and other deeper water species. It is a delightful village in a sheltered and sandy bay south of Portpatrick on the west coast of the Rhins of Galloway. The latter two ports are the launching places for the various angling competitions held by the Mull of Galloway sea Angling Festival committee: More than 100 anglers will take part in the various events based at the Clashwhannon Caravan Park and Pub, in Drummore.
The Fishing is varied with around 60 species available to be caught around the Mull. The area is particularly well known for tope in Luce Bay on the East side and skate, ling and haddock on the west side (from Port Logan. One of the best kept secrets is the abundance of big bass which can be found on the rocky shores of the eastern mull. Other species include smoothound, bull huss, coalfish, cod, pollack, all types of gurnards, plaice, the odd turbot, lots of wrasse species, mackerel, gar, and a host of smaller species dotted around the marks of the Mull. Sharks can also be caught if you know where to go. This is why it’s such a good venue for a species hunt. There are charter boats in Drummore, Port Patrick and Stranraer plus launching facilities at Drummore and Port Logan. Alal in all its onew of the best places I know to go for an angling holiday.
Portpatrick has a small, sandy beach within the harbour area. The beach is popular with families and is fairly sheltered. There are other excellent beaches at Sandeel Bay (access by walking only), Killantringan which can be reached by road or by a delightful coastal walk and Larbrax beyond Killantringan. The beach at Killantringan has many secluded spots among the rocks. There is a most enjoyable short walk of just over a mile from the road down to Larbrax Beach where the scenery is spectacular. It is particularly good as a kayak launching area.
Lucky Dip II
The boat is a 9.6m x3.5m BJR Westral workboat with over 50ft of clear rail to fish from! Facilities include free tea and coffee and onboard loo. Bait and tackle can be supplied for additional cost. They offer fully-catered sports fishing days including bait, tackle and food onboard, ask for details. Steve Stringer is the skipper and Lucky Dip II can be contacted on 07841114489
Stranraer, situated on Loch Ryan, has always been popular with saltwater boat anglers. Even more so now that the big Irish ferries have relocated their terminals away from the town to seven miles further along Loch Ryan. This means no more large ferries churning up the water. Just a short walk from Stranraer's town centre is the harbour. Berthed there is the only boat in town; ‘Game On,’ an excellent saltwater angling vessel skippered by owner Alan Gilliland. There are many species of fish available throughout the year, with cod common in the winter months. The onset of spring and an increase in the water temperature sees the start of the fishing season for real, with pollack and lesser spotted dogfish at most of the rock marks. As summer approaches the pollack get bigger, the mackerel appear in big shoals, and the chase is on for big tope. Game On is a sturdy 7.9 metre Seamark 26 with plenty of room for up to seven anglers fishing on the large open deck. The boat is commercially coded with a category four area of operation. Tackle and bait is available onboard. Irrespective of whether anglers are involved in wreck, loch or inshore fishing, they will have a great day at sea with the very experienced skipper. Contact Alan on 07941625018 www.stranraerfishing.co.uk
The Sports Shop in Stranraer has been long established, for more than 51 years. Eric McLean has been the owner for the past 27 years. He is very experienced in both game and sea angling and has competed in many local and national sea angling competitions. He is very enthusiastic about fishing and has fished overseas in Cuba, Mexico, Africa and many other countries. Eric offers a very knowledgeable service for anglers on which gear to use and the best fishing spots. There are always customers seeking his advice. Contact Eric on 01776 702 705. Email firstname.lastname@example.org