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Isle Of Skye Sea Fishing With the Whitby Bass Club

Isle Of Skye Sea Fishing With the Whitby Bass Club

As you head through the Glencoe mountain range and descend onto the Isle Of Skye at The Inner Hebrides, you know you have come to somewhere very special indeed.

As an Island, Skye is simply awe inspiring. Countless mountain ranges tumble down to the numerous sea lochs and the open coastline. The cliffs and banksides are decorated with the most beautiful white crofters cottages you will ever see.

The whole island is a sight for sore eyes and no words I could write here could ever fully describe this amazing island. Myself and a group of friends (The Whitby Bass Club) visited the Island in July 2013 and the following is written based on our findings.

We by no means claim to know everything about the island, indeed I believe we barely skimmed the surface of what could be possible here. But one thing that is evident is that The Isle Of Skye is one top quality fishing venue with so many species available I could never imagine becoming board of fishing here.

General Sea Fishing On The Isle Of Skye

Sea Fishing On The Isle Of Skye

The Isle Of Skye offers something for every type of sea angler.  The marks are very diversified and offer various types of  terrain :

  • There are thousands upon thousands of rock ledges and pinnacles jutting out into the sea right around the island. The main well documented ones include Neist point and Staffin Bay, however a drive around the island shows off so many more deep water fishing opportunities. Simply buy an ordnance survey map and pick a mark of your choice, Im sure they are all stuffed full of fish.
  • There are numerous piers and jetties, two we fished were Armadale pier in southern Skye and the Meanish pier in Loch Pooltiel Glendale. Fishing at these venues is much easier and offers something for anglers of all ages and levels of ability. We will delve into these marks in more detail further within this article.
  • A third type of terrain was the many shallow beaches and bays that adorn the Island. Ardmore Bay is simply stunning and must be worth a look with shallow beaches on the inside of the peninsula and deeper Kelpy water to the outside. Be warned that a rather unpleasant lady owns the farm in Ardmore Bay and also claims to own the rocks, however she does not and fishing there is open to all.
  • We also fished inside many of the sheltered sea lochs. Water depth was typically 20 feet with pollack and sea trout always on the cards, with fishing being over wrack and kelp laden gullies and inlets.

The advice we got from both local tackle shops was that the best fishing was achieved using lures only and that no-one on the island fished with baits. Our general knowledge of fishing told us this was nonsense and we were proved right with the biggest fish of our week, a 40lb shore caught tope, falling to Mackerel baits fished hard on the bottom. Our conclusion would be that all the well known methods work here, with fish baits being the all round catch all method.

Tope Fishing At Neist Point

Neist point Tope Fishing - Daniel Probert With A 40lb Shore Tope

Neist point Tope Fishing – Daniel Probert With A 40lb Shore Tope

Neist Point offers a massive diversity of fishing opportunities with many UK species likely to make a show. Certainly worthy of note is the presence of large tope here which seem to run the tide and deep water that the point has to offer. Although non of our party were specialist tope anglers, we did set our stall out for big fish and used large mackerel baits fished on the bottom on 100lb wire traces. Past experiences with the Mull Of Galloway Conger taught us to go heavy on the trace front and again this tactic paid off for us in Scotland.

On our first day on Skye we managed 2 tope between a group of 9 anglers. Whitby angler Faron truman was the first to strike with a top of near 20lb caught and released. Next up came Daniel Probert, who after a torrid fight of 20 minutes landed a tope estimated in excess of 40lbs. Not bad for a group of lads who weren’t specifically targeting the species. Im pretty sure that if you set your stall out properly with chum in the water and learnt the peak times you could have big success with the tope fishing at neist point.

In terms of tackle and methods its certainly advisable to be prepared for big fish at Neist point. As already mentioned heavy wire or mono traces are the way to go. Baits should be pinned to the bottom with 6oz leads, with grip leads proving the most sucessful in the strong tide flow.

Favoured set ups amongst the lads was the traditional North East winter rock rod and multiplier, or the recently favoured set up of a long 16ft rod and heavy duty fixed spool reel such as the large Penn Battle filled with braid. You can read more on such combinations here.

Neist Point Isle Of Skye Sea Fishing

Sea Angling On The Isle Of Skye

Sea Angling On The Isle Of Skye

Neist Point is not only about tope, and you shouldnt be surprised to see many of the UK fish species turn up here. During our time on Skye we fished the point many times and took a diverse range of fish species including : Tope, Conger, Ballan Wrasse, Pollack, Coalfish, Mackerel, Ling, Cuckoo Wrasse, Dog Fish, Bull Huss, Scorpian Fish, Spurdog and even an Octopus.

Most mackerel were taken late on in the ebb tide and over low water. It was almost impossible to catch mackerel at high water which proved frustrating at times as fresh caught mackerel was our only source of bait on the island as non of the tackle shops stocked bait of any description.

Pollack and conger seemed to come at slack water and again fell to large mackerel baits fished on the bottom on large 6 to 8/o hooks. we tried jellyworms but struggled for pollack with this method. Perhaps the water was too deep or perhaps the pollack were just having an off day. I personally took some good mackerel on 4oz spinners fished by bouncing them along the bottom.

Spurdogs were present in big numbers and fish upto 12lb were taken with ease using mackerel fillets fished on the bottom at medium to close range.

For smaller species such as wrasse it is advisable to fish at closer range with smaller baits and hooks. Again mackerel seemed to sort out the fish which were keen to feed throughout the tide.

Further Reading On Neist Point

Pollack Fishing At Staffin

Sea Angling At Staffin Bay

Sea Angling At Staffin Bay

Staffin is a small but beautiful village on the north east coast of Skye. This area is possibly one of the most stunning places on the whole island. The fishing here can be exceptional with moderately deep water close at hand you can see why this place is stuffed with decent pollack and some pretty decent conger.

A shortage of mackerel stopped us fishing for the conger, but we did fish lures for pollack and had a very successful day.  Again all lures worked well. Orange Twin Tails fished on a 2 ounce jig head worked well, as did savage gear shads, jellyworms and almost anything rubber you can get into the water. A pleasant surprise was the amount of pollack to 6 pounds that took a liking to the Abu Toby fished by one of our group members.

The fishing at Staffin was steady right through the incoming tide but seemed to reach its peek in the hour up to high tide when the fishing can only be described as frantic.

In summary Staffin is an amazing venue. Is a beautiful place to fish and its stuffed full with decent sized pollack. Its well worth a look, and if you were to base yourself on Skye’s North East Peninsula I’m sure there are a multitude of marks here that have seldom seen an angler in the past hundred years.

Sea Fishing At Colbost In Loch Dunvegan

Colbost is a very different mark from most of those we fished whilst on Skye. Shallow wrack weed and sand allow you to access a series of islands over low tide. The far-side of each island gives access to much deeper water which is home to some half decent pollack and coalfish to the usual soft plastic lures such as jellyworms and savage gear sandeels.

The average size of pollack here seems much smaller than in other places and the area looks like a nursery ares for the bigger fish found round the mouth of Loch Dunvegan. The mark is pretty easy access with parking at the road side and a gentle walk down to the loch side.

Otter and seals are in abundance here and you may just see buzzards and sea eagles overhead so this easy access mark is well worth a look if you fancy a nice easy few hours.

The shallow sand covered in wrack weed look like they should hold bass on a small flooding tide, but although we did give this a bit of attention we were unsuccessful on the bass front. Maybe an angler willing to persevere into darkness over several tides may just find a very different outcome.

Salmon And Sea Trout Fishing In Loch Pooltiel

Salmon And Sea Trout Fishing In Loch pooltiel Isle Of Skye

Salmon And Sea Trout Fishing In Loch Pooltiel Isle Of Skye

Loch Pooltiel sunsets are legendary, and simply being here on a late summers evening should be considered one of life’s finest moments. The very back of loch pooltiel is an area where the sea water shallows and runs into several small rivers which are home to a good stock of migratory sea trout.

Most of the locals seem to fish with flies, and are very successful in tempting some decent sized sea trout. Although we did not spend a lot of time here, I would imagine that various plugs and even baits could be useful for attracting the trout in this area.

Ardmore Bay – A Top Pollack Venue

Ardmore Bayon The Isle Of Skye is yet another perfect venue for our favorite UK species The Pollack. Rock Ledges with shelve in deeply to kelp filled gullies are a classic ambush point for a pollack angler.

The best fishing here is on the outside of the end of the peninsula. The inside waters are shallow and could be a good venue for sea bass and flat fish. However we focused our attentions on the deeper marks and were rewarded with pollack to 6lb.

We fished this area during our second visit to Skye in 2013 which took place in mid October. For some strange reason we found that the fish showed no interest in traditional soft plastics during this trips. Try as we might, Jellyworms did not take a single fish, however diversification to plugs such as the Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow, and spinners like the Abu Toby soon had the fish feeding.

Best time at this mark appears to be throughout the flood tide with the best period coming within the last 2 hours of the incoming tide.

Ardmore Bay isle Of Skye Pollack Fishing

Ardmore Bay (Grottbags Island) Excellent Pollack Fishing On An Incoming Tide

If you do fish Ardmore Bay we advise you park at the top of the track and take the short track onto the fishing marks. A rather unpleasant lady lives in the house on the end of the penninsula and she gets rather upset if you park anywhere near here land. She also tried to tell us that she owned all the rocks in the area, but once I informed her of our right to roam she disappeared as fast as she arrived with her tail between her legs.

This venue looks excellent and those willing to spend more time here may well be rewarded with some much bigger fish than those we managed to land.

Skye’s Armadale Pier – Fishing For Thornback Rays

Armadale pier in southern Skye is well worth a look for those of you who are interested in Thornback Rays. This pier is also an ideal venue for taking the kids for a few hours mackerel fishing, also there are some small coalfish and wrasses around the pier wall which are an easy target for the kids.

Armadale Pier Isle Of Skye

Armadale Pier Isle Of Skye – Ideal For Thornback Rays

If your after something a bit bigger then you should target the Thornback rays which can be caught at relatively short range using peelers, mackerel and various other baits.

Our success rate with the thornback was very limited, with only one angler, Farron truman, managing to connect with a fish in about 6 hours of fishing. But dont let our failure put you off. A close friend of The Whitby Bass Club visited Skye in June and managed an abundance of Thornbacks from the pier using peelers as his main bait.

Aird Of Sleat Isle Of Skye

The Aird Of Sleet is a small peninsula roughly 3 miles from Armadale pier. There are several small outcrops with shelves offering fishing opportunities in deep water of roughly 20 – 30 feet of water close to shore.

Aird Of Sleat Sea Angling

Sea Fishing On the Aird Of Sleat Isle Of Skye

Our fishing here was done on an outgoing ebb tide late one evening in July. Again there was plenty of pollack and some decent sized coalies to be had. Soft plastics worked a treat with yellow and red tailed large Jellyworms being the most productive.

Jellyworms were fished on a 2 -3 foot trace behind a 1 or 2 ounce lead. Again the biggest pollack we landed was around the 6 pounds mark, but im sure with perseverance this mark has the potential to produce even bigger fish.

Milovaig Jetty Loch Pooltiel

Although largely unappealing to the hardened rock angler, Milovaig pier is a venue that should not be overlooked. Its an easy access mark and suitable for families with children. Mackerel are easy to catch from the rock edges right through the tide. Reports of decent sized pollack are also frequent with fish into double figures not unknown.

Loch Bracadale

On our second visit to Skye in Autumn 2013 we found some rather interesting fishing marks in Loch Bracadale around the area of Roag.

Loch Bracadale Sea Fishing Isle Of Skye

Loch Bracadale Sea Fishing Isle Of Skye

In the middle of the channels we could see softer ground and some sand which Im told is excellent for thornback rays. However closer in and around the rock ledges is perfect territory for pollack, and this is where I had some of my most enjoyable sport on the island. You can read the full story here.

Once again the pollack here did not want to know about soft plastics, and despite hours of experimenting with various jellies we still could not take a fish with this method. However the moment we changed to plugs (Namely The Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow) the pollack were all over us like a rash.

Fishing Tackle Shops On the Isle Of Skye

We managed to find 2 fishing tackle shops on The Isle Of Skye, Two be honest, and without wanting to run down anyone’s business, neither stocked anything that we really wanted.

The first we found was the fishing tackle shop in Portree down near the harbour. This shop did not stock any bait and had only a very limited supply of lures. This shop seemed more set up for selling bikes than fishing tackle.

The second shop, on the high street in Dunvegan was slightly more specialist but once again stocked no bait at all. Infact the shop owner told us we wouldnt catch anything on bait so we shouldnt waste our time. When we asked about plugs the shop keepers reply was “We dont stock plugs as no-one goes coarse fishing on Skye”

Serious anglers be warned, bring everything you need to Skye as you wont be able to buy any serious fishing tackle on the island.

Where To Stay On The Isle Of Skye

There are numerous holiday cottages on the Isle Of Skye. We have listed some useful links below for you to use. If you own a holiday cottage or guest house and would like us to give you a mention here, please drop us a line, sending roughly 100 words describing your accommodation and a link to your website or facebook page.

Colgrain Holiday Cottage Edinbane Isle Of Skye

Colgrain Holiday Cottage Edinbane Isle Of Skye

Where To Eat On The Isle Of Skye

The Edinbane Inn Isle Of Skye – We only had 1 night out whilst in Skye, but I know that if we are ever back in the area again we will certainly head for an evening meal at The Edinbane Inn.The food was fantastic and the welcome was very warm indeed. The Edinbane Inn comes highly recommended by The Whitby Bass Club.

The Whitby Bass Club Isle Of Skye Sea Fishing Video


Isle Of Skye Sea Fishing With The Whitby Bass Club by glenn-kilpatrick-whitby

Dan Bennetts UK Record Common Skate Caught At Kilmalaug Bay Isle Of Skye.

Isle Of Skye Sea Angling – Suggested Further Reading

Isle Of Skye Sea Angling Pictures

Photography By Glenn Kilpatrick And The Whitby Bass Club. We generally let people use our photographs but politely request that you contact us and let us know where they are being used. A live web link to this page is also polite and would be appreciated. If you do not let me know you are using the images I will invoice you £50 per picture used.