30 December 2011 – Loch Sunart

Weather: Pretty poor, getting very wet and windy. At least it wasn’t completely frigid!
Sea: Nothing too horrible, but some impressive whitecaps in the squalls
Time: Launched around 7.30 and returned back of 4 p.m.
Tides: HW around 0900 and a largish tide.

A combination of fishing starvation and post-Xmas doldrums led to an end of year assault on Loch Sunart, grabbing a small and shrinking weather window between the endless westerly gales that have plagued us the last few weeks.

The day started OK (at 3.30 a.m.) and a reasonable drive across to the west over fairly frosty roads to catch the first ferry of the morning at Corran. The plan was to launch at Strontian’s slipway and then head up the loch, but one glance in the beam of the headtorch was enough to rule this choice out – the slip was completely covered in 1-2 feet of seaweed over its whole length after the recent storms, and it would have taken hours to shift it. Plan B meant a run along the loch for 10 or 12 miles to Salen and a launch at the pier there, so no big deal, and it was thankfully free of weed.

A quick cruise across the loch saw me set up quite comfortably over one of my favourite marks, a 380 feet deep hole which has produced many nice spurdog over the years. Alas today was not going to be that easy and a 90 minute session saw only one spur and several LSDs boated. Next choice was an even deeper mark a few miles down the loch, opposite Laga Bay, where conger and skate regularly join the catch. The same story repeated itself – a solitary spur and a series of LSDs. However the weather was deteriorating rapidly with heavy rain and very squally winds and eventually the anchor started dragging slowly across the loch at the peak of the gusts.

Another move saw me try a new spot a little further up towards Salen, where there was marginally more shelter and I could anchor in shallower water and drift back into the deeper central channel. This worked fine for holding the bottom, but produced only a handful of doggies. By now it was gone 2 p.m. and I decided on a final move back to a shallower mark near Salen, tucked in near the southern shore. Shallower still meant over 200 feet, but at least I was out of the worst of the wind and in a modest tide run. Still nothing but doggies though! By 4 I’d had enough and packed in before darkness closed in.

Overall the day falls into the “can’t win them all” category. Despite a reasonable forecast the wind made it difficult to fish the more exposed locations, and the spurries weren’t showing on the fishable marks. Not the best end to the year, but I was glad I’d made the effort to get out.

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