Friday 27 July 2012

Shore Fishing on the Isle of Islay: July 2012 (Part One)

Looking down the West Loch and the start of the ferry's course to Islay

The Isle of Islay is no doubt better known for its whisky than its fishing, in an international sense at least. The geography alone of the island, however, makes it the ideal destination for wetting a line as well as a glass. The southernmost of Scotland's Hebridean islands, Islay is large enough to afford visitors most of the comforts of home, yet small enough to give sea fishermen easy access to all its many piscatorial charms, wherever on the island they may be based.

All previous posts on this blog have related to fishing trips I have personally undertaken. Last weekend, however, friends of mine were part of a group heading to Islay for a weekend's sea fishing and were kind enough to provide me not only with details of the trip but the quality photographs you will see in this post and in parts two and three which will follow in due course. I am more than happy to include reliable, third party information like this on the blog for your information and hope you enjoy this glimpse of Islay and what it has to offer the shore fisherman. Having visited the island many times, I know what a true gem it is in so many respects.

Part One and Day One: Getting to Islay and an Unexpected Fishing Opportunity

The group were travelling to Islay by minibus, via the ferry from Kennacraig. As is always advisable, they were withing touching distance of the ferry terminal well in advance of their sailing, so stopped off at the West Loch Hotel en route.

The West Loch Hotel

It was having stopped at the West Loch Hotel that some of the group decided to have a go with spinning rods across the road in the waters of the West Loch. This had obviously been unplanned but mackerel were taken and the weekend catch was underway.
The West Loch from the hotel grounds

Kennacraig Ferry Terminal is pinpointed on the map below.

View Larger Map
The West Loch rocks near to Kennacraig Ferry Terminal

It is important to know your scheduled ferry check-in times when you are travelling to Islay. Vehicles have to check in before foot passengers and a queue system of traffic is formed. Do not underestimate the importance of this factor or your simple mistake may cost you a good weekend.

The Hebridean Isles Islay ferry approaches Kennacraig

Above you will see one of the ferries which sails to Islay from Kennacraig - the Hebridean Isles - approaching and below you can see it about to dock. This sees the fishing part of day one concluded and the group setting out on the final leg of their journey to Islay. The next part of this post, coming at the beginning of next week, will look at the first day proper and the amazing sea trout which are there to be caught on Islay.
The Hebridean Isles about to dock at Kennacraig

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