Sea Angling on the Scottish Inner Solway

Sea angling is not practiced widely in the Inner Solway, but there is some excellent fishing to be had. The main species are flatfish, bass and mullet.

A word of warning however, the Inner Solway is extremely dangerous. Big tides, in excess of 11m at times, and wide open sand flats with gulleys in them mean that getting cut of is a real possibility. Do not go out onto the sands without knowledge of the tides for the day you are there and be aware at all times about the possibility of getting cut off. If you are cut off, the chances of survival are slim.

Flounders and other flatfish

There are flounders around all year round, although in the spring they tend to be a bit thin. The flounder numbers can be phenomenal and catches of 50 plus fish per rod are not uncommon. The majority of the fish will weigh less than 12oz but a good proportion will be in excess of 2lb with occasional specimens reaching 3lb or more.

Occasionally plaice and Dover sole are also caught but normally as a bi-product of flounder fishing. They will be found almost anywhere but the most prolific areas seem to be from the mouth of the Annan and along the coast as far as the Powfoot hotel. They can be caught on all the normal sea baits but anglers who spend some time collecting and using peelers crabs will probably catch the most fish. Another good bait is lug tipped with a sliver of mackerel but the large numbers of crabs in the area mean that these types of bait will often be stripped of the hooks within 20 minutes.

Anglers should look at the shore at low water and try and find features which will attract the fish. Mud with a small amount of shingle is the preferred habitat. Casts of ten yards or less will often be all that is required. In very calm conditions in the summer, when the water clears, dragging small spinners along the bottom or even fly fishing can be effective.


Fishing for saebass from the shore.





Bass

The numbers of bass in the Solway seem to be increasing year by year and good numbers are known to frequent this area. The best marks are from the mouth of the Annan to Newbie on mixed ground made up of weed, rock and mud. In the spring in particular large numbers of shore crabs moulting pulls the bass in close and fish can get caught, mainly at night on peeler. The average size is fairly high at over 4lb with the occasional fish in to double figures being caught. The best fishing is after a lengthy spell of dry weather, if the rivers are in flood the extra freshwater in the estuary tends to push the fish away. Fly and lure fishing, popular and productive in other parts of the Solway, is rarely good here as the water is almost always very turbid.

Mullet

There are large numbers of grey mullet in the Solway. They mostly appear around April and disappear around November. They grow very large and fish over 6lb are common. They are extremely difficult to catch and it is not uncommon for anglers to see hundreds of these hard fighters around them without touching them. The best methods seem to be using small amounts of bread flake fished amongst a cloud of bread based sloppy ground bait. The best areas are in the lower part of the Annan Estuary and around the Pow and Lochar Waters.


Seabass caught fly fishing.


Seabass caught in a Kayak.