About Corkwing

Overnight mooring on Loch Etive
Overnight mooring

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

Henry David Thoreau

Corkwing is my personal website, mostly about the joys and despair of saltwater fishing in Scotland. As each season passes I am drawn more towards Scotland’s wild, beautiful and remote areas and you’ll find me muttering about camping, backpacking and fishing off the beaten track. I hope you find something of interest here – and ideally a little inspiration too! Please also check out my YouTube channel as I post a new video every few weeks.

Myself with a typical Galloway tope
Doug, proud owner of this little site

I’m Doug and based in Edinburgh, although my fishing career started off in Aberdeenshire. I cut my teeth trout fishing in the local burns, with a few pike thrown in. By my late teens I graduated to saltwater, which accounts for most of my fishing nowadays. However, freshwater may well feature more in future, as it combines nicely with backpacking and wild camping.

My first boat was an open 14 foot plywood dinghy with a 4hp engine which rather surprisingly kept all aboard safe for over 4 years, despite it’s skipper’s incompetence. I moved up to an Icelander Flying Fifteen (very similar to a Seahog Hunter) in the late eighties, which kept me afloat for the best part of twenty years. Since then I’ve graduated to a Warrior 165 and around three quarters of my fishing is now done afloat.

A decade on, and with some reluctance, I swapped out the Warrior for a new Orkney Longliner 2 as I wanted a lighter boat that I could keep under cover. As I write this, the Longliner 2 is now into its fifth year and looks a pretty good match to my needs. You can read a couple of posts about my experience with her here and here.

I shore fish more these days, especially chasing rays and spurdog around the west coast. Occasionally I can still be found on the east coast rock marks I cut my teeth on many years ago.

Kayak camping on a remote beach on Loch Etive
Kayak camping and shore fishing on Loch Etive

My local harbour is Dunbar, which fishes best from mid-May through to September, mainly for codling and pollock. A similar season seems to hold for the very varied fishing of SW Scotland, extending to end October if the weather holds, and this is where I prefer to spend time if I can get a few days to spare. October/November through to April tends to see fishing more confined to the sea lochs of Etive, Leven and Sunart plus the odd day out of Oban, and targetting spurdog, thornbacks and common skate.

A lovely bass from Luce Bay and a personal best for me, weighing 7lbs 10oz
Sometimes I even catch fish…

And the name of the site? I wanted something fishing related, but not too obvious. Corkwing is a small species of wrasse, and I enjoy catching its larger brothers – ballan wrasse and (occasionally) cuckoo wrasse, which are amongst the most colourful of UK species.

Corkwing Wrasse

Combining fishing with a bit of camping and hiking also ticks a lot of boxes for me and, freed up from kiddie-minding, I can increasingly be found wandering round shorelines from Loch Etive to Cape Wrath with a rucksack and a rod or two.

Boat camping on Etive
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  1. Hi Doug,

    First of all, what an interesting blog. I came across it after searching for information on fishing Loch Etive.

    I was really interested in your use of an inflatable for occasional fishing. I have never owned a boat and probably don’t have time to look after one. However, it seemed that an inflatable might be a great thing to have in the garage. I just wanted to ask what brand etc the one you have is and whether you would recommend it to others?

    Many thanks

  2. Was doing a bit of research on bass & sea trout caught in Wigtown Bay, as I have just bought at house at Carsluith. Came across your site – its great – read some of your 2009 reports, which confirmed my bass thoughts, but no clues to sea trout.

    If you get bored and have 15 mins to spare I would appreciate some more detailed info on boat fishing in the bay. I do realise that this will cost me a few pints if we ever meet !

    I normally fish out of Port Logan or Drummore, but sold our hol house there and purchased in Carsluith. I live in Whitley Bay, but have been fishing over their for 20 years or so.

    Phil Morrison
    ( fishes for pleasure not the plate )

  3. Hi Doug’
    Great blog !love reading about your adventures,keeps me sain ,I am also an Edinburgh man now in fife.I used to fish Dunbar years ago with a club so interested in your posts,I have recently bought a sib so getting back into it !I have a five year old who I watch most of the time so reading about fishing is as good as it gets other than the odd trip.Thanx again and well done on the site one off the best out there .

  4. hi doug thanks for the help at dunbar on the 1 august when you helped us to some good fishing after you left we got some fish as the morning was slow no drift we caught a couple of of small ling that we put back but had a great day thanks again alan

  5. Hi doug just found your site,interesting and informative about dunbar, will be going going there on Wednesday this week,
    hopefully with recently aquired 16ft boat. Hoping to catch some cod,could you help with some specific marks to try at this time of year? Distance from shore ,depths ect.this will be the first of many in the year to come out of dunbar.all belng well.any info appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Gerry,

      Unfortunately I think you’ll struggle at this time of year, as Dunbar is more of a summer/autumn venue (like most of the east coast). You can get fish but it’ll be hit or miss and I don’t personally bother much until April or May – late May sees a huge improvement. If I was out this week I’d probably try and take some rag, lug, mussel or mackerel, in descending order of preference and fish rigs near the bottom. I’d also be prepared to anchor as this can sometimes improve things a bit rather than just stay on a drift.

      Marks-wise, you probably want to be fairly close inshore over the hard ground and the areas off Torness and West Barns light are probably as good as any – you’re looking for drop-offs as you go over the ledges in maybe 50-60 feet of water a few hundred yards from shore.

      I have to say that I’d head west to Leven or Etive at this time of year – the fishing from a boat is much more reliable, not to mention safer and more comfortable. Good luck if you do make it out though – you’ll certainly earn any fish you catch!

  6. Hi doug quick question i notice that thears about 10 white beads crimped in position on hook snood? Is theare a reason for it ?

    1. Hi Paul. They’re luminous beads and luminous beads, muppets, etc. are rumoured to attract spurdogs. I’m a bit sceptical but can’t see them doing much harm, so why not. The more significant reason is to provide a bit of extra protection for the trace line – I usually use 100lb mono which spurs can chomp through, and the beads add a little armour plating. I do flip flop a bit between 200lb mono, light wire and the 100lb mono/beads approach, as none of them are perfect.

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