The Best Sea Fishing in Scotland Cod and Coalfish
Firstly sea Fishing in Shetland, was always on my Bucket List. I had heard stories about monster Cod and Coalfish being caught. I had seen the photos of huge fish. Secondly, articles in fishing mags, Youtube videos and chats with fellow anglers really fuelled my interest. .
Eventually, in 2015, I managed to persuade a client from London to fish in Shetland. We planned for a three day sea fishing adventure, with a bit of trout fishing thrown in.
The Shetland Isles are Britains most Northerly groups of Islands, culturally a million miles from London. However, don’t even think about calling the Shetlander’s British or Scottish. Their identity has Scandic roots, and they see themselves as simply “Shetlanders”.
Lastly, if you’ve never been to this archipelago then you simply must. This is not only a fishing Mecca in Scotland, but the people are amongst the friendliest and most authentic you will meet in the UK.
Over 100 visits to Shetland trout fishing
I first started going there in the mid 1980’s, and have been over 110 times since. Therefore, it now seems natural to me to host occasional trips there. Additionally, some of the most impressive brown trout fishing is in Shetland. Although you do need to know where to go. Moreover you need be prepared to fish in the wee small hours of the night, when these fearsome predators come out from hiding to feed.
Because these big trout feed at night, you need to wait till dusk to cat a line for them. As a result, your patience will be rewarded with some truly amazing sport. To conclude trout fishing in Shetland is not of the faint hearted, there’s the constant wind. Also fishing in darkness and fighting big fish. In any case, we were in Shetland for other quarry.
Preparing for a sea fishing trip in Shetland
Firstly you travel a long way to get to Shetland. Subsequently you’re praying for favourable weather conditions. In spite of recent storms, we got lucky. The skipper met us the night before and explained it would be a fresh southerly wind but fishable. Furthermore, those that might suffer from sea sickness were offered a remedy. A small plaster containing anti motion and sickness drug called Scopolamine.
You stick this on your neck the night before and next day it works it dark magic.
Early start and off to the North of the Islands
Firstly, we met the skipper early at the launch point, filled with optimism. Due to the rough seas, it was a bumpy ride North. A 1 hour sail to the north of the northern most island in the archipelago of Shetland, Unst. We headed to the north east side and the lighthouse on Muckle Flugga Lighthouse. This arguably the most Northerly point in the UK.
Secondly, the sea was alive with marine life. Due to the underwater features, the fish finder screen was loaded with promise. I couldn’t wait for the first drop, and on my first drop, I engaged the clutch on the reel and a 20lb cod took a solid hold of the Gummy Mac lure and we were off and running.
Following a battle through 175ft of deep water, I eventually hauled up a magnificent cod. In fact this was the finest looking cod I’d ever seen. My client was playing his first fish, a 15lb coalfish no less.
Go to the gym before Cod fishing here
The day went on and you had to ask yourself this question, not will I catch a fish, but have I the strength and energy to bring another one up? I hooked two different fish that were unstoppable and ripped line off the reel mercilessly – I had to eventually lock up the clutch and straighten to rod and break them off, no mean feat with 80lb braid and a 65lb shock leader.
My client got into a real tussle when for some reason and without my knowing was given a cast with two gummy mac lures on. He was fighting two big Coalies that took a hold at the same time. I counted 37 minutes on the watch of socket wrenching, muscle sapping toil. He had two fish on, one 27lb and the other 25lb! Lesson learned, he returned to fishing one lure after that ordeal.
Personal best records broken
So in summary, three personal bests smashed in one day, a 27lb Cod, a 27lb Coalfish and a 15lb Ling, which might be a tiddler, but was the beast eating fish I have ever had.
To top it all, off, that night I had 1 hour trout fishing on the Secret Loch and landed and released a 6lb wild brown on a dry daddy.
A friend put me in touch with Hamish at Shetland Transport, a top man, and I was able to ship back to Edinburgh a small box of frozen Cod, Ling and Coalfish fillets. This kept our family fed through the winter.
Carlsberg don’t do fishing trips, but if they did.