Sunday, 1 July 2012

3rd June 2012: Loch Etive by Boat from Airds Bay

Arriving at Airds Bay, Loch Etive
Loch Etive runs from the Connel Bridge near Oban on an approximate twenty mile course inland to Glen Coe. Boats are available for hire from the Taynuilt Fishing Club at Airds Bay, just a couple of miles from the village of Taynuilt. The yellow boat in the approximate centre of the above image is the one we hired on this occasion, capable of comfortably accommodating four anglers and their equipment.

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Heading towards the fish farm north of Airds Bay
Like any fishing venue, the species you are likely to catch in Loch Etive will vary with all the usual concerns such as seasons and tides. The eco-structure of Loch Etive makes it particularly unpredictable, however, and quite unlike other sea lochs or venues in its close vicinity. Just one example of this is the fact that spur dogs are fairly common in Loch Etive while considered seriously endangered in other parts of the UK. Although we surprisingly caught no spur dogs on this trip, fish of different species were plentiful and we thoroughly enjoyed our day.
Heading up Loch Etive towards the quarries at Bonawe
To the north of Airds Bay in the direction of the open sea, there is a fish farm which can prove a fruitful Loch Etive mark. It was there that we headed at the start of the day. There are a number of buoys around the edges of the area covered by the fish farm to which you can tie up and eliminate the need to anchor. Do make sure, however, never to approach or attempt to tie up to the fish pens themselves.

The bait we generally use on Loch Etive is mackerel and calamari squid. Starting out by baiting hokai lures and similar with small strips of mackerel, we were soon pulling in small whiting, all unfortunately undersized. Although we tried to return them to the loch as unharmed as possible, in many instances the seagulls were swooping down and snatching them up whole before they could swim for the safety of the depths.

After a fairly productive hour of these small whiting and a few gurnards, I suddenly felt a much better take on the drop and was delighted to pull in three very good sized mackerel. Whatever else the day brought, I now knew at least that dinner was taken care of for that night and the next!
Looking up Loch Etive from off the quarries at Bonawe

It was around lunch time that we decided to try some marks further up the loch in search of bigger fish. Although we tried three different spots near to the quarry and at the fish farm across the loch from the quarries, not a solitary bite was had. We therefore returned to our initial mark for the last couple of hours, where a decent codling was taken and more small whiting and gurnards.

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