A Slow Day Chasing Oban Skate

Tiny tides and light winds meant this little Easter bunny finally dug his skate gear out. After pouring a couple of ingots worth of diesel into my Czech tow truck I met up with Ian at Lochearnhead before heading over to Oban. We’ve had some very good days chasing skate in recent years, so my hopes were high.

Launching at Ganavan Sands (proud owner of the weirdest pay and display parking I’ve ever encountered)**, we set off south towards Kerrera. Maybe thirty minutes later we dropped whole coalfish baits down to the seabed, a mere 385 feet below.

An hour went by with no hint of action. Another hour later we were still biteless and chickened out, deciding to move a short distance into deeper water.

A couple more hours rolled by, punctuated only by bacon rolls and coffee, before Ian’s rod keeled over to a good bite. Relief all round, even from a mildly jealous skipper, as Ian commenced the winching process.

It was obviously a skate but a smaller one as Ian didn’t take long prising it off the mud. Sadly the hook pulled out about halfway to the surface as our luck continued.

Try, Try, Try Again…

Ian rebaited and retried, lowering back down 520 feet to the ooze below us. We waited. Had another coffee. Waited some more… Finally Ian’s rod pulled over again and it was game on once more.

This was clearly a better skate, although sustained pressure by Ian dragged it off the bottom before too long.

Finally! a skate on board at last. This was a decent male of around 110lbs which slimed my decks quite nicely before returning to the depths.

As always with skate, it had a few passengers in the form of skate leeches. I resisted the temptation to drop one in Ian’s tackle box, but they’re certainly not a creature I’d want attached to my body!

And that was basically that. No more bites before we lifted anchor and returned to Ganavan with our tails slightly between our legs. Morale was restored by our customary post-fishing fish supper back in Oban (excellent stuff). Half-way through dinner we were suitably crushed when Leigh (skippering Laura Dawn) pulled in to the car park and described the sort of day we wished we’d had – and he was less than a mile away…

** On a Sunday, Ganavan doesn’t start charging for parking until 1 o’clock. However the first 2 hours are free and then parking is again free from 5 o’clock. So basically you’re supposed to pay for 2 hours if you’re out all day. The catch is that the ticket machine refuses to issue a ticket at 9 in the morning as it is outside the charging period. Either return later in the day or risk a ticket… That sort of logic drives me nuts!

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