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The Curse of the Tattie Bogals!

I knew that Skye is not a great fly fishing destination so was surprised when my friends decided on a few days away there this summer for our annual fishing trip.
Never the less, accommodation and fishing was booked so off we went leaving Lanarkshire early on Tuesday morning The drive to Skye was uneventful but as we approached our accommodation along the road between Carbost and Portnalong it was like a scene from the Wicker Man with Tattie Bogals lying at the side of the road and propped up on garden seats and even in a bus shelter. I was half expecting Lord Summerisle himself to welcome us at our digs and tell us that the apple harvest had failed.
Thankfully there was no sign of him but we did have a Tattie Bogal named Lily the Pink sitting outside our But n Ben for the duration of our stay.
Well something must have failed, apples or otherwise because the fishing was disappointing to say the least. So if you are reading this expecting to read tales of a great fishing experience turn off as there wasn’t much fishing action to write about.
On the day of our arrival we settled into our digs got organised fed and watered then travelled to Portree to pick up the permits and key for the boat to fish the Storr Lochs. On the drive from Portnalong we never saw much in the way of scenery as Skye is not named the misty Isle for nothing
The Storr Lochs are two lochs, Loch Fada and Loch Leathan connected together by a small burn set in a spectacular setting beneath the Old Man of Storr. The view from the loch might be one of the grandest but the fishing in stark contrast was probably the dourest I have experienced.
Tam had decided we would fish Leathan but when we arrived at the boat moorings the wind was whipping right down the loch at a speed that would have made going afloat far too dangerous. So reluctantly we had to abandon all notions of going out on the boat and decided to walk to an area where we could get the wind behind our back and fish from the shore. We fished for a few hours but the wind was playing havoc with our casting. Tam caught one small trout on a loch ordie and turned another two. I caught one trout but it got off as I brought it ashore and I had about another half dozen turns and takes. Scott didn’t even bother fishing he was just happy to sit on the bank and watch us struggle with the fishing. So that was Tuesday evening
 As we headed back to the digs we drove by the Loch Fadda and because of where it’s situated it wasn’t affected by the wind too much and actually looked very fishable so much so there was actually two boats out on the loch.
Next day we went sea fishing as all the boats were booked for the local angling club. So off we went to Neist Point on the recommendation of Tam. We walked into the mist to the lighthouse and down a steep track on the edge of the cliffs to various rocky locations. After a few hours we gave up none of us caught a single thing. I thought we were driving home but Tam and Scott had decided to turn left when I expected right and we arrived at sea loch called Poolteil. We set up with feathers as we were getting desperate for a fish. Tam caught two Coalies on his first cast but nothing else after several hours of fishing. I eventually caught three Mackerel and two Coalies. Scott had given up and was talking to a couple of divers who were camped nearby. Once we had scunnered ourselves with the fishing off we went again driving through the mist back to the digs and as we passed Carbost I suggested why not just fish from the small pier there as we might get some mackerel there. My idea fell on deaf ears. So it was back at the but n ben for a shower, dinner, drinks and bed.
Next morning Tam and Scott went off sea fishing, they said they would be back in the afternoon about three o clock as we intended returning to the Storr Lochs. After pottering about the digs I walked down to the jetty with my rod and some spinners on the off chance of a couple of mackerel. I then moved over among the rocks and much to my surprise I caught my one and only fish, a good sized Pollack. Not bad for about an hour’s fishing. Just as I was about to head back up the road to the digs a local fisherman returned from the sea with a few boxes of langoustines and crabs. It was good to get talking to a local bout the area and about fishing and the wildlife etc. I told him my friends were sea fishing down the coast a bit and he told me he had seen them and pointed out where they were. I thought it ironic when he told me the best place for mackerel around here was from the pier at Carbost, oh how I laughed to myself when I thought of my earlier suggestion to Tam and Scott which was dismissed. By now the weather was changing it was actually getting sunny and the mist was clearing. Happily I walked back to the digs with my capture. I sat outside enjoying the sun with a few glass of Morgan’s spice and the Mike Harding Folk podcast for company.
When the sea fishers came back it was another story of woe with just four Mackies and two or three coalies caught for several hours of fishing.
After dinner we set off for Portree to pick up the permits and key for the boat. I suggested that we fish Fada instead of Leathan but like many of my suggestions on this trip that idea was rejected and so once again we fished Leathan this time from the boat. The three of us got in the boat and motored up to the far end of the loch. The plan was for one of us to take turns at fishing from the bank while the other two fished from the boat. Scott was on the bank first and caught a trout right away which was fooled by a bibio. And so that was that no more fish were caught and we only saw a couple of rises. We fished until just before midnight and had to chase the ripple as the wind ceased near the end of the night.
Three very disappointed anglers returned to Portnalong that night. The trip was over I don’t think I’ll be back fishing on Skye. Next morning after breakfast we went home.
My big fear before going to Skye was the midges as I had a horrendous time there with them whilst on holiday a few years ago. This time I had no such trouble but I hadn’t contemplated the Curse of the Tattie Bogals!


  1. Great post ! I've had two trips to Skye this year, first week of July and Middle I'd august , fished a few places you mentioned fly fishing mostly for pollack , must be the best place in Scotland for them of the shore. As a trout venue though it seems poor.
    I'll be returning again next year for another go in the salt.



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