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A fishy tale

A fishy tale
Paul and Liz Davis moved to Argyll’s Secret Coast some three and a half years ago to manage Crispie, a fabulous house and lodge on the shores of Loch Fyne. For them, June doesn’t just mean the start of the busy summer season – it means the start of the fishing season too.

June. It’s the time of year to put the crab creels out in the bay and start fishing for mackerel. We count ourselves very lucky to live on the shore of Loch Fyne on Argyll’s Secret Coast where the waters have plentiful fish and seafood. We try our best to live on as much fresh fish and shellfish as possible during the summer months. During the winter months we eat a lot of venison, so it’s great to have a change.

Our boat and pontoon were both out of the water over the winter months. We waited for a high tide at the end of March to launch the floating pontoon and secure it to the pier. We then launched the boat off our trailer, motored over to the pontoon and tied it alongside. It will sit here for the duration of the season. The floating pontoon means we aren’t restricted by the tides. This suits us as we have to find the time for going out in the boat between our work commitments. The weather has to be right too.

We have two old crab creels, which each have a good length of rope and an orange marker buoy attached to them. We place them within view of Crispie and not too far from the rocky shore. We’ll check them as near to daily as possible. We catch mackerel to bait the creels, before dropping them over the side of the boat.

In comparison to previous years, this year the mackerel have come early. The majority of the mackerel we’ve caught so far have been a good size, albeit not yet great in numbers. But then again, we only like to catch what we can eat or can give to friends and neighbours to eat. We fish with hand lines over the side of the boat. Any small mackerel we put back in the loch for the future unless they’ve been damaged by the hook. Then we use them for baiting the creel.

Mackerel is a versatile and sustainable food. Paul loves being in the kitchen in his spare time and varies the way we eat mackerel – smoked or made into pate or gougons are firm favourites. We have a Bradley Smoker, so we’re able to hot or cold smoke the mackerel using various flavoured woodchip bisquettes.

We don’t have to travel far from home to catch the fish we want. And our fishing is always made that more enjoyable by the beautiful backdrop of the Isle of Arran. What an amazing part of the world we’re lucky enough to live in!

Crispie has two self-catering properties. Crispie House accommodates 16 and has an indoor heated swimming pool and sauna. Crispie Lodge accommodates 8 and has a Jacuzzi. Both properties have outstanding views across Loch Fyne to Tarbert and Arran.

Visit: www.crispie.co.uk
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