10 Feb 2011 – Loch Etive

A few hours fishing from my Rover inflatable on Loch Etive – chilly but otherwise a beautiful day, with a few thornbacks and spurdogs appearing to keep things interesting.

Weather: Calm, sunny and beautiful – but a bit chilly
Sea Conditions: Flat calm.
Time: Roughly 0900-1630 – 7.5 hours
Tides: HW approx. 1100

Ben Starav from Loch Etive
Ben Starav from Loch Etive

The weather’s been it’s typical wintry self recently – cold, wet and windy – but I grabbed a few hours of calm between the gales to give Etive a try. I’ve been trying to run-in the little 5hp Tohatsu O/B I bought back in September and also get my Rover inflatable back into more regular use, so it was a chance to kill two birds with one stone, and hopefully get a few fish as well.

The 120 mile trip across to Taynuilt was certainly easier and quicker without hauling the usual trailer, although there were some terrific potholes around the Tyndrum area which had to be treated with caution in the semi-darkness. Arriving at the old pier the weather was beautiful – calm and sunny – and I quickly got the inflatable set up and ready to go.

Ready for a day on the loch
Ready for a day on the loch

Once out on the loch I headed out for a couple of hundred yards and then tied up to the outermost mooring buoy and set up a couple of rods – a spinning rod armed with hokkais and 20lb class rod with a standard 1 up 1 down mackerel baited rig. Fishing was fairly slow, but three respectable thornies and a couple of doggies appeared over the next 90 minutes before I decided to move further up the loch beyond Bonawe. The rest of the day I spent tied up to the fish farm or on a slow drift, and it wasn’t the most productive experience, with only a couple more thornbacks, 2 spurdogs and a few LSDs making an appearance.

Although sunny, the day was still very cold and I was quite glad to pack up around 4 o’clock as I was starting to freeze – one of the downsides of an inflatable is the level of exposure coupled with an inability to move around to keep warm.

Totals for the day – 5 thornbacks to 5lbs, 2 spurdogs to 3.5lbs and 7 doggies. All on mackerel baits.

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20 November – Loch Etive

A fairly typical day at Etive, with decent numbers of thornback and small spurs showing – plus my first ever tagged spurdog recapture. And don’t forget a few mussels picked up for dinner later in the week – a little bonus for the effort spent getting a boat too and from the west coast.

Weather: Light E wind, dry and mainly overcast. Pretty cold.
Sea Conditions: Flat calm, 8 degrees C.
Time: 0930-1700 – 7.5 hours
Tides: HW 0626 (1.9m) LW 1340 (0.4m)

Alcatraz on Etive
Alcatraz on Etive

Mainly thornbacks today, with 9 or 10 coming aboard. Nothing huge with the best around 5lbs, but only one micro fish for the day which is an improvement on the last couple of trips. Tried a couple of new marks, both of which produced 3 or 4 rays but only one spurdog – both look interesting for another time, although there were a fair number of LSD present as well.

Around low water I stopped off to collect a few mussels for dinner later in the week, although there were only a few visible and it took a wee while to get enough – a bit chilly on the hands when picking them up underwater!

A tagged spurdog
A tagged spurdog

Afterwards I headed further down the loch, to the deep water opposite the church where there were a few more spurs. However these were small ones so I didn’t hang around for too long, particularly as the tide had swung the boat stern on to the very cold breeze.

Back up to a deep mark near Airds Point and I decided to stay here until darkness fell, and see if any spurries were moving around. Initially things were very slow but picked up after around 30 or 40 minutes with a couple more thornbacks and a few spurdogs to 5lbs or so, alongside the usual LSD. Best fish of the day came in the shape of a 9.5lbs spurdog which was carrying a tag from the shark tagging programme.

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15th August – Loch Etive

More like a family fishing day than my usual efforts, with two kids and a dog for company. Plenty of tiddler spurdogs for amusement, plus a little barbie on the beach miles from anywhere. Lots of sunshine too, so a great day out before it’s back to school next week…

Weather: A great day, with light W wind and mainly sunny

Sea Conditions: Calm

Time: Roughly 1100- 1730 – 6.5 hours

Tides: HW 1200 – Large tide

Katie's first "shark" - a small spurdog
Katie’s first “shark”

Had a fun day out with the kids and the dog(!), spending as much time cruising about and lazing ashore in the sunshine as we did fishing. Even so we managed 26 spurdog, mainly small but with the biggest at 6.75lbs being caught at the last minute by Mike. Funnily enough we caught nothing but spurs – no mackerel, whiting, LSD or thornies – which is a first for me. Most of the fish came a long way up the loch, about 2-3 miles from Glen Etive, where the bottom was carpetted with small spurries.

Lunchtime on Loch Etive
Lunchtime

It was Katie’s first time out in the boat, but she was quite happy steering us around, and managed to keep a respectably straight wake most of the time. Less said about the dog the better – she demanded to be treated as a lapdog most of the day and also managed to bring a motley collection of ticks aboard after we stopped ashore for lunch, much to Katie’s disgust.

Only downer of the day was losing a tyre at Crianlarich on the way home – the valve blew out (a new one on me), but it took only a few minutes to change to the spare, so not really much of a drama.

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4th April 2010 – Etive

Weather: Warm in the sunshine, but some cool and windy spells
Sea Conditions: Calm
Tides:
Time Spent: 09:30 – 16:30 – 7 hours

Mike with a small thornback
Mike with a small thornback
Bonnie and thornie
Bonnie and thornie

Took Mike and Bonnie (the dog) over to Etive for a few hours at the start of the Easter holidays. The fishing was fairly poor but we had a modest selection of species with spurs, thornbacks, whiting and gurnard all hitting the bait – no LSD again though.

Bonnie gets comfy
Bonnie gets comfy
Bonnie and Mike
Bonnie and Mike
Fishing up the loch
Fishing up the loch

We motored around a wee bit, as far down as Ardchattan and then all the way up past the lodge at Barrs and tying up to the old pier near there for a break. Bonnie distinguished herself by falling overboard as we landed at Barrs, but was otherwise well behaved.

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7th March 2010 – Etive

Weather: Chilly with a light SE wind and mainly overcast. Wind less than 10mph all day
Sea Conditions: Calm
Tides: 11:36 1.3m
Time spent: 0900-1700 – 8 hours

Started off at Inveresregan in about 210 feet, and maybe 150 yards from shore. Fishing was slowish – quite a lot of small rattles, probably from whiting – but not many coming aboard. The count gradually climbed, with a respectable range of species but nothing of any size. Oddly enough there was no sign of LSDs at all – not that I’m complaining much.

A shift down the loch to Ardchattan for a couple of hours produced a flurry of small spurdog and a couple of small rays, but little of excitement. Overall it was pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about. Total for the day – 4 thornbacks, 14 spurs, plus codling, whiting, poor cod, pouting and gurnard.

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8th November 2009 – Loch Etive

Weather: Cold;some long sunny intervals; light or no wind
Sea Conditions: Calm
Time Spent: 0915-1815 – 9 hours
Tides: 11:00 GMT

Etive was looking at its best yesterday morning – clear skies, bright sunshine reflecting off the snow on the mountains, and a virtually calm sea loch. Just to balance things a little, it was pretty frigid getting Alcatraz ready for launch!

Despite the scenery I resisted the temptation to head up the loch and instead trundled on down towards Ardchattan. Ninety minutes here produced a reasonable mix of small spurs, thornbacks and whiting, but eventually tailed off. I shifted a couple of miles and tried a pair of marks near the Priory, with similar results.

By now it was well after 3 and the sun was heading down towards the horizon, so I decided to give it one more shift before dark. I’ve been gathering seabed mapping data for Etive for a couple of years (using the DrDepth software), and still have a few gaps to fill in, so I steered a couple of doglegs on the way back up to collect some more info, and then dropped anchor just off the stream at Inveresregan. Deep water in here meant anchoring in 200 feet less than 200 yards from shore, in light that was fading fast.

The loch was completely calm and the boat was sitting comfortably in a slight surface current so I was happy enough to sit back and watch the stars come out. However the fish wanted to play too, with a rapid succession of spurries mixed in with a few thornbacks, pouting, poor cod and whiting. Nothing big, but pretty much non-stop for the last hour or so. I was tempted to stay longer, but had only one torch with me (having looked out my headlamp and then left it behind in the lounge), so decided not to chance my arm too much and called it a day a little after five.

Final totals – 30 spurdog, 9 thornbacks and a good sprinkling of other fish. Nothing huge, biggest around 4.5 lbs, but a cracking day to be out on the water.

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4th October 2009

Weather: Generally good, with a fair bit of sunshine. Initially no wind, later a F2-3
Sea Conditions: Calm, lot of fresh water on surface (esp near head of loch)
Time Spent: 0830-1830 – 10 hours
Tides: 0743 GMT – 1.9m

Loch Etive
Loch Etive
calm day on Loch Etive
Mirror calm

Started off at Ardchattan, using a small groundbait block alongside the anchor. This produced immediate results, with 4 thornbacks and several spurs, plus LSD and whiting. When this tailed off I moved down to near the Priory for a while, but this produced only a couple of spurs. A more substantial move all the way p the loch produced some tiny spurs and whiting. Stopped off at an old pier for a wee exploration before having a couple of hours off Kinglass in 270 feet – caught a plague of tiny spurs plus a couple of decent poor cod, a couple of thornbacks and a very manky looking codling that was covered in little red worms.

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