22 Jan 2011 – Loch Sunart

First time out on the boat for months, thanks to weeks of snow and ice. A bit disappointing in terms of fish, but great to be out once more and blow away a few cobwebs. Judging by the other boats out I wasn’t the only one keen to get on the water again.

Weather: Calm, dry and mainly overcast. Nice day for January!.
Sea Conditions: Flat calm, 7 degrees C.
Time: 0800-1700 – 11 hours
Tides: HW 0715 (4.6m) LW 1315 (0.7m)

This was the first trip out for 2011 and since last November, due to a mix of weather and family distractions, so it was preceded by some anxious checking of the boat/trailer/engine in case of frost damage or brake seizing, etc. Fortunately everything seemed OK so I decided to head to Sunart on a day trip – at least there’s more chance of larger fish there than in Etive, although it can be a very unproductive fishery for much of the time.

The run across was a little slower than usual as there was a fair bit of fog and frost around, not to mention some fairly hideous potholes hiding in the darkness. However, we made it safely to Strontian slip just at first light and got set up and ready to go a little before 8 o’clock. I usually use Strontian nowadays if I’m only across for the day – it’s a good bit further to the marks, but it saves a long slow trek along single track roads and the slip is the best in the loch (although exposed to S winds).

Looking towards Mull from Laga Bay
Looking towards Mull from Laga Bay

The trip down the loch was chilly but uneventful and I arrived at my preferred mark only to find it occupied by another Warrior – Paisley Pete. Although there’s space for several boats around here I decided to press on down the loch to its deepest point, opposite Laga Bay in 410 feet. The anchor was already prepped with some fairly revolting mackerel remains in the rubby dubby container and a mix of skate and spurrie baits followed soon after.

Laga Bay
Laga Bay

Three hours later I’d amassed a respectable collection of LSDs but only one modest spurdog, at about 6lbs in weight, so I decided on a move over to Laga Bay for a couple of hours. If anything it was even worse fishing here – a handful of LSDs and a solitary small thornback (although Dale Roberston did pull in a few small conger a few hundred yards away), and around LW I decided on a final move back up the loch to Salen.

The deep hole here produced nothing except more dogs (total for the day 22 or 23), although Tickety Boo 2 did land a small skate and had had a couple of decent spurs earlier in the day. It was a lovely evening though, with the loch flat calm and the sun just peeking out and the lack of fish wasn’t too distressing. Finally packed in around 5 o’clock as the light started going quite rapidly.

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