Galloway Weekend

I’m falling behind reporting things, as Galloway Weekend was almost three weeks ago now, at the beginning of June. It’s the first time in two years that we’ve managed to spend time there, so I was looking forward to the trip. Reality rarely matches the fantasy of tope, bass and smoothounds but there’s no harm in dreaming!

Ian and I towed my Longliner down, plus the full monty in camping gear. I’m not ashamed to be comfortable! We had the tent up and both carpet and beds installed whilst Trev was still stuck in traffic on the A77. Tent sorted, we grabbed a fork and sought out some lug to augment our small supply of crab.

Base camp

Ninety minutes later, back at camp we met up with Trev and grabbed a coffee before launching at Port William for a few hours on Luce bay.

We managed around 15 small mackerel between us before anchoring about a mile out from Barsalloch Point. Targets were tope, huss, rays and maybe a stray bass.

Hungry Huss

Fishing was pretty slow to be honest, but we’d a few huss and I picked up a spikey thornback. We rolled around quite a lot at first but the swell eased off as the tide turned – I was glad to avoid yet more whiplash as we bounced every which way.

Ian always seems to pick up scad and this was no exception, with our one and only specimen falling to his rod.

Not a red letter evening, but a fine time nonetheless. It was pretty much dark by the time our intrepid trio collapsed into our tent! Bacon rolls and a beer, followed by bed!

Saturday

Next morning the wind was banging on the tent walls, but it quietened a little by mid-morning. Time to give Garlieston and the Cree estuary a try for smoothies.

With wind against tide, conditions were quite uncomfortable at first as we bounced around. Not that the fish cared and we soon started pulling in smoothound. Crab and lug both fished happily and our score quickly mounted.

Later on, during the flood tide, hordes of tiny tope put in an appearance. Tope here are generally pretty small, but these were titchy and Ian managed one that looked only hours old!

It’s a tope – honest!

It does seem odd when hounds are larger than tope but there were hordes of small fish at times. Nice enough fishing though, if you’re an east coaster who never sees either species closer to home.

I finally managed a small bass on my lug baited rig. Nothing to get excited about but I did, as it’s my first for a couple of years now šŸ™‚

We’d a blustery westerly to contend with, and a shower or two, but it calmed down as the day went on. It was almost nice by the point it was time to head home!

There was a complete dearth of flatties apart from a couple of small flounders. Sometimes the estuary is awash with them, other times there are none.

Sunday

Sunday saw yet more coffee and toast for breakfast followed by an easy launch at Port William. I took us back to the same area we fished on Friday and we drifted for mackerel. We struggled to locate many but scraped enough together to get us started.

Ian kicked us off with a series of smoothhound which happily snaffled the last few peeler arms and legs. It didn’t do his dogfish count any harm either!

Trevor and I both picked up decent tope during the afternoon but it was relatively quiet. I think my mackerel feathers picked up twice as many gurnards as they did actual mackerel, so bait remained a little scarce.

Fish of the day belonged to Trev, with one around the 34lb mark.

Ian made friends with more huss, but the tope clearly preferred the classier offerings that Trev and I cast out.

His patience was finally rewarded, and Ian closed the day with a fine tope in the low to mid thirties. Seven tope for the day is a decent haul, although well below our better days in recent years.

We stayed at the community owned Kings Green campsite at Port William, which I can recommend. Run by locals, the facilities are simple but clean, and it’s very relaxed. The pitch sizes are the most generous I’ve encountered which is great if you’re towing a boat.

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