After spending a long day on Loch Sunart with little more than dogfish to show for the effort it can sometimes be hard to see what the attraction of the place is. However, although it can be a frustrating place to fish, it does hold some very large skate and some of the largest spurdog in Scotland plus respectable conger and thornback rays.
A daytrip is possible from Edinburgh, but it’s a long day and I usually prefer a two or three day expedition. You can launch from several locations, including Strontian (good, free, but a long way from the fishing), Resipole (awkward, chargeable, close to decent fishing) or Salen jetty (easy, chargeable, close to decent fishing. Watch the reef!). The loch is more exposed than Etive, a fact which needs to be kept in mind in winter, and also has some shallow water areas to the east of Resipole (have and use the chart!).
Common skate can be targetted in Sunart, although they often take small baits aimed at spurdogs. Most skate are small (<50lbs), but they certainly get close to the 200lb mark and I’ve seen them to 185lb on my boat.
Spurdog can exceed 20lbs, although most are far smaller, but they are relatively few in numbers compared to Loch Etive. In recent years their numbers seem to have dropped sharply.
Conger exist in decent numbers to at least the high-20’s. As with Etive, the best tactics are to anchor; put a modest sized mackerel bait (or squid/bluey according to preference) hard to the bottom; and wait.
Most anglers target the deep water holes around 400 feet or so that are found from Resipole down to Laga Bay, moving around until they hit fish. However shore anglers hit fish in much shallower water and they may follow the same pattern as in Etive, moving into the shallows as darkness falls.
I’ve tried two or three times in the upper basin near Strontian but have been disappointed each time – loads of dogfish and a few whiting but nothing better.
Boat camping is possible in several parts of the loch, and the problem is usually finding a decent campsite rather than a sheltered anchorage, as most of the shoreline is very rough and boggy. I’ve managed a solo camp at the old Iron Age fort at Dun Ghallain (a lovely hidden anchorage) and also on Isle Oronsay, but room for two would be difficult unless you’re very good friends.
You can see all my posts on Loch Sunart here.Share this: