I arrived at our excellent Stravaig Base Camp on Benbecula along with Lochan Load and our driver Highlander,late on Wednesday night after following a British Army convoy of various trucks and vehicles from Lochmaddy on North Uist all the way to Benbecula.
Next morning after an awfy unusual breakfast for a WFF Stravaig I was off to West Olley with Bob Fly in search of my first trout of the trip, however I didn't get off to the best of starts as I failed to net any trout on the boat and the best I got was a swirl at my flies near the end of an uneventful day,which got even worse for me as just as we were on our last drift, my Rod got broken at a point on the rod which I got repaired a number of years ago.
Bob Fly didn't net anything either, however he did hook and play around with a land locked salmon which got us into a rather messy tangle of line, weed, laughter and quite possibly tears too. I'm sure Bob Fly will describe his unsuccessful but memorable battle better in his report.
On Friday after another unfamiliar WFF Stravaig breakfast I fished a nearby loch with Border Bob.
We both fished from our float tubes which I enjoyed immensley. I'm a bit of a novice to float tube fishing but really enjoyed the experience, especially the freedom that it gives you to cover areas of the Lochs you might otherwise not get into by foot.
I caught a few trout, all be it of modest size. Border Bob had a few too and kept one, he promised for our host Donald.
Saturday arrived and after downing yet another uncommon WFF Stravaig brekky, Robbie dropped me off at recommended Benbecula loch which I fished from the tube on a rather windy day. I caught eight trout to various fly patterns. Again I really enjoyed the much needed float tube experience, but felt a bit uneasy in the very blustery squalls out on the open loch, so mostly stayed close to the margins which probably helped in successfully fooling the troots.
I called it a day when I had fished myself out and began a very uncomfortable walk back to base with my float tube on my back and all my gear, while still wearing my waders etc. Fortunately about halfway back, Wilder the Better caught up with me on his walk back from some lochans north of where I was and assisted me by carrying some of my gear, which was very much appreciated.
Sunday morning saw the arrival of the rain and very strong winds to Benbecula and I doubted whether or not we would manage to get any fishing done on such a terrible morning.
However the forecast was showing that the weather was to improve as the day went on and after a late uncustomary WFF breakfast, numerous cups of coffee and hanging around until midday, Robbie and I set off to a loch that I had visited last year in the changing weather conditions.
We got geared up with our float tubes and ventured on to this interesting loch with great hope. We both got offers to our flies very quickly but it wasn't until we fished just off the far shore where the wind was blowing to that we got our first fish of the day.
I got a further two trout near that shore then moved in among the islands where I got another three trout. Robbie had a few more too from the far shore.
At around six o'clock, my four days of Hebridean trout fishing was over.
My most successful patterns on this trip were muddlers, claret bumbles and Zulus.
All my trout were of a modest size compared to some of the lovely trout caught by the other Stravaigers.
Well done to Lochan Load for winning the Malt Whisky challenge set by our host Donald for the prettiest fish and also congrats to Billy for winning the MP Bowl for the heaviest fish which was hand crafted and kindly donated by Bob Fly.
A big thank you to Bibio for all his forward planning and booking for this trip, Alan for arranging the quiz night and arranging my travel arrangements and also to all the guys who supplied and cooked the wonderful evening meals, they were teriffic.
This was my first real go at Wild fishing from the float tube and thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I learned quite a lot from it.
The most important lesson I learned was to never go for a pee on a shallow rocky shore that the wind is blowing onto. I made that mistake and found it very difficult to get away from that shore, oh and also don't be taking on too much fluids as you will be regretting it and you might end up having to go ashore to that wind swept rocky shore as a matter of urgency.
Two of the most surprising things to arise from this trip was the the lack of fry up breakfasts, which I'm sure we will all have benefited from and lastly some folk actually did drink that smooooooooooch!
The whole trip was a blast and hopefully it can be repeated next year!
This may appear a little crass to use in pursuit of Hebridian trout , however, although it may be rather unorthodox it has the same colour combinations of many traditional Scottish and Irish fly patterns, especially sea trout patterns.
There is a lot of snobbery with regards to trout flies and fly fishing in certain in quarters, however I'm no snob and although I do mostly fish traditional wets, sometimes it pays to have something different in the box.
I'm sure most fly fishermen are aware of the famous Irish fly pattern the Connemara Black and no doubt have had success with it, but I wonder how many have used the bumble variation of the fly?
Tonight as I was reading "Tales from the angler's retreat" I noted that in the David Peutherer chapter there was mention of his favourite fly pattern for Uist, which happened to be the Connemara Black Bumble.
It looks a lovely pattern and has all the attributes that a sucessful wet pattern should have.
I really enjoy tying patterns such as these and as they are easy to tie, I set about tying a couple for my box. These two are tied on a size 10 B175 Kamasan hook, It might be useful to have it in a size 12 too.
This pattern maybe of Irish origins but it is well known and used here in Scotland too. It is a pattern that I will definitely be using between now and the end of the season.
As a rule I tend to shy away from tying muddlers, as they are very fiddly and time consuming and to be honest they are a bit hit or miss as to whether they will turn out acceptable.
Oh! and another thing, they make a bit of a mess, as that deer hair gets everywhere which doesn't go down too well with Swmbo.
I find the trouble with Muddlers is that I never know when to stop trimming them as there is always some imperfection to be tinkered about with, then before you know it I will have cut far too much deer hair off and the fly is no longer going to be anything resembling a muddler, which results in the fly getting tossed into the waste bin.
However today I thought I would have a go at tying them as I could be doing with a few for next months fishing trip.
I was actually pleased with these and actually started to enjoy tying them once I got the hang of technique of shaping the head.
I look forward to using these as I believe they will work really well on the Lochs for wild brown trout especially in a good wave which I will undoubtedly encounter on the Uists and Benbecula such is the weather in those parts.
It was Prince Phillip who first introduced me to fly fishing, well sort of, for it was while preparing for my Duke of Edinburgh award expedition among the lochans and hills above Lochgilphead that I first developed a passion for angling and hillwalking. My name is Allan. I am an enthusiastic flyfisher and flytyer. I am by no means an authority on fly fishing and flytying by any stretch of the imagination. I have been a member of Airdrie & District Angling Club for about twenty years. I like to fish Hillend Loch at least once a week during the course of the season. When I can I like to get away to the Scottish Highlands in the pursuit of fishing for wild brown trout. I will often incorporate my fly fishing with my other passion which is hillwalking. I love nothing better than a trek into the mountains with my rod and reel and an assortment of flies. Once the fishing season is over my attention turns to fly tying which I enjoy just as much as fly fishing. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog and hope you find it both informative and interesting. Please feel free to leave comments... good, bad or indifferent.