Shore rays

I didn’t fancy the hassle of a boat today, so just chucked the shore rods in the car and headed west. The idea was to split the day, with a few hours fishing at Loch Leven and then spend the afternoon having a bash at Loch Creran, which I’ve never tried before.

Sun catching the mountain tops
Sun catching the mountain tops

Leven was both calmer and sunnier than forecast and I was starting to overheat by the time I reached my mark, a well known spot on the north shore but not one I’ve fished before. I started off by dropping my camera and buggering the auto-focus 🙁 which is why some of the images ain’t the best. At least it was a cheapo lens which I was looking for an excuse to replace anyway…

A beautiful winter day on Loch Leven
A beautiful winter day on Loch Leven

Half an hour later I reeled in a small ray and things were looking up as the sun kept shining and only the snow on the hills reminded me it was winter.

A small thornback
A small thornback

Sadly this was the high point, and a succession of dogfish suggested that the rays had better things to do than play with my bait. In between the doggies came a surprise winter mackerel – I’ve had them often enough from the boat at this time of year, but this one took a lump of mackerel sent out on a 4/0 and fished hard on the seabed.

Mackerel in December - from the shore
Mackerel in December – from the shore

By half-twelve it was decision time – stick with Leven for the rest of the day or move down to Creran and give it a little try. I elected to stick with the plan and headed down to a mark I’d identified earlier as a fairly deep candidate in an otherwise shallow loch.

Loch Creran doesn’t really feature on most angler’s list of possibilities – it’s small and further to travel than both Etive or Leven. It does hold Pollack and sea trout for lure anglers, but I was interested to see if there were any numbers of ray available as well.

A promising spot on Loch Creran
A promising spot on Loch Creran

The mark was easy enough to fish and went into reasonably deep water (it felt something like 45-50 feet) with no obvious tide run. However baits were stripped fairly quickly and proper bites were distinctly lacking until shortly before I packed up for the day, when a consolation doggie made an appearance.

Sad! - reduced to photographing a doggie
Sad! – reduced to photographing a doggie

OK, so Creran was a waste of time but never venture, never gain and there are a couple of other possibilities that look worth trying so I might be back one day.

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