Rays brighten a slow period for anglers

The average size of ray you can expect from the Solway.
The average size of ray you can expect from the Solway.
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An old saying goes a bit like this: “When the wind is in the west, the fishing is best.”

It isn’t just an old wives’ tale either. For the past week or so, though, the wind has been blowing in from the east, the kiss of death for sea anglers.

A group of hardy rods on the Flat Rock at Balcary managed a six-hour session last week end with all the popular baits and just one dogfish, a couple of undersized codling and one undersized plaice to show for their efforts.

However, just a few days before, with a settled wind from the west, one lucky angler had a field day with a handful of thornback ray for his efforts. Given the right conditions, the fish to look out for just now are the rays but they have a tendency to move around, being found one day at Balcary, the next Torrs Point.

The usual approach is, if you haven’t managed a fish in the first four or five casts, to move on and when you find them, you should get a day to remember.

Look for a flooding tide with high water just into darkness, use fish baits (bluey is working particularly well at the moment) but mackerel will produce fish if they are feeding.

Shock of the week

Pike anglers are having a ball on the back of a long mild spell, and the early spring sunshine through early March saw an impressive list of predators coming ashore, the best being a 20lb fish from Loch Ken by Tongland’s Michael Crofts.

Michael fished a static mackerel bait to good effect but the shock of the week was a net full of bream from Loch Ronald at the Three Lochs Fisheries by a seasoned angler who fancied his chances on the strength of the milder weather and set out his stall specifically for them and reaped the rewards.

Bream, like tench and to some extent carp, go into a state of torpor through the colder months, sinking into the silt at the bottom of the loch until the water warms up enough for them to get moving again and start feeding.

This early showing bodes well for the coming weeks leading up to a great summer’s sport. Along with the bream, pike have also been active in Ronald, with several coming to the bank – not big fish but Ronald has the potential to produce personal bests on a regular basis.


Trout have featured well this week with a group of Dalbeattie fluff-flingers bagging up at Glenquicken Trout Fishery, each of them filling their ticket which included four fish into double figures, the biggest at 12lb. All the big fish were returned to the water.

With the still waters being on the cool side at this time of year, the trout will have a tendency to stay deep and the winning formula on the day was black lures fished deep.

No reports from the rods fishing the rivers as of yet but if you manage to grass a fish, get in touch and let the Gazette know.

peter.foster@gallowaygazette.com or 01671 404764.