Fishing Dunbar

A nice cod from Dunbar
A nice cod from Dunbar

It’s my local harbour and I suppose it’s a case of familiarity breeds contempt, but I do tend to view fishing Dunbar more as a bread and butter exercise rather than as premier angling. Given it can produce large numbers of decent codling together with some large ling and pollack this has to be a bit unfair, and an angler from outwith SE Scotland will probably enjoy quality fishing.

Aside from the codling, pollack and ling, Dunbar can produce mackerel (in plague proportions sometimes), coalies, wrasse and a range of other species including flatties, pout, catfish and oddities such as Norway Haddock. Porbeagle shark inhabit the area at times as well, if you’re feeling ambitious. Fish are not large (I’ve had 3 double figure fish – all ling – in over 20 years fishing), but can be numerous.

Most fishing is done on the drift using simple baited lure rigs (with or without a baited pirk), or jelly worms/shad type rigs fished in spinning fashion. Bait is mainly mackerel, but worm can be a killer at times, especially for species like wrasse.

Most marks are close in along the shore (generally within 0.5 – 1 mile of the shore, between Bass Rock and St Abbs Head), although there are a few areas offshore that I fish occasionally with variable results. If pushed I would concentrate on the area between Barns Ness light and Torness, but there are plenty of other options. Wherever you go, expect to lose gear.

You can view all my posts on Dunbar here.

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  1. hi iam going to stay with family over the festive period in dunbar. i dont drive so would be looking to do a bit of fishing locally. have have you any ideas on location and baits i could try?

    1. I don’t do too much fishing at Dunbar during the winter, but the beaches will hold decent numbers of flounder casting close in (10-30 yards) after dark, as well as smallish coalie and the odd schoolie bass. The Tyne estuary used to fish well for flounder at this time, with some biggish fish taken, but it’s several years since I last tried it – rag used to do well here, whilst lug/mackerel was fine for the beaches at Tyningham and Torness. In rough weather with a heavily coloured sea you can take cod from the Torness inlet gantry, as well as the occasional one from the beaches. Rock marks, including Dunbar harbour, will hold a few codling in stormy conditions but you do need to take care…

      Given you’re not driving I’d be inclined to try whichever of the Dunbar beaches is closest to you, early flood tide, and after dark. Do not overcast – 90% of the fish are 10-20 yards out. Mackerel baits will work OK, but I prefer a 2 hook rig with one mackerel, one lug bait. If you’ve rag bait (dug, not the farmed stuff) that can be very effective.

  2. Ive just bought a 2.6 mt waveco dinghy and have a 2.5 hp engine i have been out in the forth at granton twice and was going to try dunbar , is the fishing good out from the golf course to the lighthouse , how far out do you recommend, I found a nice launch site south of the harbour,

    Cheers Tam, Edinburgh

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