Monday, 29 March 2010

The 80 Shilling Sedge

After discussing flies and fly tying the other day with a fellow forumite on a forum we both frequent I recalled a fly I tie and use on Hillend when the Big Sedge is on the water in June. The fly in question is my variation of a sedgehog. I tie it in sizes 14 and up to 10’s. The big versions really work a treat when the trout are up top taking sedges in a confident manner.
It’s really exciting when using this pattern at Hillend waiting and watching in anticipation of a big splashy rise. To be honest I usually miss more fish than I actually hook using this fly, but it’s very exhilarating when a fish shows interest in my fly. I have been told in the past from the more elderly gentlemen of Hillend who fish the loch that the trick when using a big dry fly for trout when the fish are on the sedge is to wait for a few seconds after the initial splash as they actually come back to take the fly when it’s submerged. In theory that sounds fine but when a trout rises to my fly I find it’s a natural reaction to keep retrieving. I always forget the advice I have been told in this situation. This year I will try to remember. I tie this fly in much the same style as a sedgehog but incorporate about five bunches of cdc instead of deer hair. The dubbing body can be any colour at all just what ever comes to hand when I’m tying it, although I mostly use an olive green possum. Then I tie an olive coloured cock hackle at the head. My fly has been officially christined. My good friend and fellow Hillend angler came up with the name one day when after a good day fishing on the Loch we retired to the comforts of the nearby Owl and Trout. I ordered up a couple of pints and sat in the corner. We soon started discussing the merits of this fly and that fly. I then decided I would show Alex my latest creation which I produced from my fly box. I just started telling him how great the fly was and how proud and upright it sat in the water. When he promptly grabbed it from me and plonked it into the top of my pint of 80-shilling ale. So impressed was he with its buoyancy as it sat in the head of my pint, he declared that from this day onward that my fly would be known as the 80 Shilling Sedge

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday Fishing at Hillend

It has been a week since I last caught a trout so off I went fishing this Sunday afternoon.I opted to fish the North Calder below the Hillend Dam before heading up onto the Loch. I really need to learn how to fish the burn as I was a bit lost with regards to tactics etc. I just cast my size 14 bugs up stream and hoped for the best as they drifted back down. Needless to say I didn't make any contact with any trout. Before I wondered up to the North shore of the Loch I had a chat with a bloke who was trotting worms down the burn. He told me he usually does well at this stretch of the North Calder and told me to give it another chance later in the season.
Off I went up onto the loch hoping for better success.I started off fishing at the corner of the Loch known as the Daisy. I then moved along the North Shore where I met another fisherman who told me his father did well along here yesterday.As I fished along the shore I had to take a break every now and again to warm my hands as it was bitter cold in the showery rain. After a couple of hours I was beginning to give up hope when after a change of fly I made contact with one of Hillend's newest residents. A very welcome rainbow trout just a touch over 2lb. Happy to have a fish in the net I had a few more casts before I was bombarded with hail stones.I then decided to get back to the Hillend Lodge to dry off and get a nice cup of oxtail soup before going back home.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Fisherman's Blues

Welcome to my second song in my musical fishing connections feature. Tonight I have chosen the brilliant Waterboys, Fisherman's Blues from their 1988 album of the same name. We all suffer from them at some point during the course of the season. I can't believe this song is 22 years old. I actually saw the band on two occassions back in the day. Once at the Edinburgh Playhouse and also at the famous Glasgow Barrowlands. They were a great live act. Talk Radio have an angling show at weekends hosted by coarse fishing guru Keith Arthur. He uses this song as his signiture tune. Good choice! Feel free to leave suggestions for future musical fishing connections.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Inter Club Competition 2010

Last weekend the first inter club competition of the season was held at Hillend Loch between Airdrie and District Angling Club and Clarkston Angling Club. My mate Tam was fishing for the away club {The Lily Boys]and was very pleased to relay to me that my club had been well and truly defeated by his club. This was a bait fishing only competition.Clarkston landed a remarkable 35lb of trout to Airdrie & District's 14 lb. The venue for the next leg of the competition will take place at the Lily Loch in April. This year as well as the inter club fly competition , a boat fishing competition will be introduced between both clubs for the first time. This will of course be hosted at Hillend Loch.Now I quite fancy being invited to take part in that,
I will just have to wait I suppose to see if I am asked to be involved.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Hillend Trout

Today I caught my first Hillend trout of the season. A rainbow trout around the pound and a half mark.I caught it on a fly I tied this morning.
I arrived at the corner of the eastercroft bay on the way round to the Big Moss. I had only been fishing for ten minutes when I hooked my first Hillend trout of the season.
Although there was no sign of fly life on the surface of the loch what appeared to be a small brown trout jumped clear of the water over to my right soon after I had landed my trout. I moved over to cover the rising fish and was surprised to feel the fish take my fly. It didn't stay on for long though as it through the fly.Happy to break my duck for the season I soon packed up and made my way to the Hillend Lodge for a very welcome hot cup of soup.

The River Man

This is a new feature I have decided to add to my blog where I will be incorporating some music into my posts. I have been thinking of adding something to brighten up the blog and think this could be an interesting feature. It's Ironic that I should begin with such a melancholy song but I'm sure you get my drift. It will not be any old tune as it will have to have a link to fishing no matter how tenuous. The first song that came to mind when I was thinking about this feature was The River Man by Nick Drake. I was not aware of this song until a few years ago after listening to my Musical Hero Paul Weller on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. He chose this song to take with him to his desert Island. Hope you enjoy my first choice. Feel free to suggest some songs for future blog entries.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Loch Ericht

I have now recovered from my first fishing trip of the season and feel good now that we have the rest of the season to look forward to. I would just like to state that I am not an angling snob. My first trip of the season did not involve flies or fly rods. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to have a blog entry about ledgering for trout as my blog is all about fly fishing and flytying etc.In some quarters it is perhaps frowned upon to ledger with worms for trout but I don't really see the harm in it as long as those participating in it are responsible and enjoying themselves.
My day out at Ericht began at 3 am. Tam and I arrived at Dalwwhinnie about 6 30. The weather wasn't the best but off we went along the track along the east shore of the loch until we came across a suitable area to fish. We set up camp then Tam went about getting the breakfast cooked. After some nice rolls on sausage and haggis we set about fishing for Ericht's trout. As the day progressed we caught a good number of fish . Some were returned while others were kept to be cooked in Tam's smoker.The weather did brighten up enough to make it a pleasant day out. I don't normally bait fish as I soon get bored after catching a couple of fish however it was a very enjoyable day out in a wild fishing location in the company of a friend and making plans for the rest of the season.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Loch Ericht opening day of the season 2010

Just back from Loch Ericht. I'm feeling very tired abd weary. this is a short video clip of the conditions today.Will post a more in depth entry tomorrow when I'm feeling more alert. Oh and by the way I didn't return home fishlesss.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Sea Trout Fly

This will be the last fly I tie before the trout season begins tomorrow. Then I will concentrate more on fishing than tying but knowing how much I enjoy tying I wouldn't bet on it.
I have tied this in a style and colour that is well known to be associated with sea trout flies. I haven't done any serious sea trout fishing in my angling career other than one time on the River Ullapool which enters Loch Broom close by the Broomfield camp site. My young son and I were camping there a number of years ago and had a fantastic time fly fishing the pools in the river close to the loch. We caught numerous amounts of hard fighting young sea trout that weighed in around the 1/2 pound mark.
Who knows what the new season will bring. Perhaps I will eventually get some serious seat trout fishing done. I will add that to my things to do list for the new season.
There are going to be too many fishing trips to try and fit into the next eight months.
The dressing for the fly above is as follows.
Hook : Kamasan size 10
Thread : Hot Orange Uni 8/0
Tail : Black Pheasant tail
Body : Black possum ribbed with red wire
Body Hackle : Black hen
Collar Hackle : Teal
Head Hackle : Blue Hen

Friday, 12 March 2010

A fly for Loch Skeen.

As the new trout season draws ever nearer I have continued to be busy at the vice. The above fly is just one of a number of flies that I have been tying in that style all week in all colours and variations. I am looking forward to experimenting with this fly in all manner of loch and lochans.
With the tying season ending, well to be honest it never really ends, my thoughts have turning to things other than fly tying
I have made it my new season resolution to do something that I have been yearning to do for a number of years now. For the past couple of years I have been meaning to fish Loch Skeen at the top of the Grey Mares tale. For some reason or other I have yet to visit this loch in an angling capacity.I have been to Loch Skeen in the past but not on fishing duties but when I was hillwalking in that area.The loch is set in a wonderful hilltop location and is very popular with photographers.My photo of Loch Skeene above was taken from the summit of Andrewhinney Hill on the opposite side of the valley from the Loch. Another interesting aspect of Loch Skeene is that it has in it's depths a rare species of fish call the Vendace.(Coregonus albula)This herring - like fish which is extremely rare in Britain, was introduced into the loch as a refuge population due to deteriorating conditions in Bassenthwaite in the English Lake District. It is now thriving in Skeen.
I believe May or June will be the best time to visit Skeen. I might even spend a night up there if the weather is conducive to camping. There is so much to look forward to come the 15th. I cant wait!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Postcard from Hillend Loch

With my tounge firmly planted in my cheek and new season almost upon us I thought I would post a card especially for my brother who jumped ship many years ago and now lives over the other side of Hadrians wall. To be fair he probably has some nicer bank side locations than my present semi urban location

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

My First Trout

Here is a short story that earned me a bottle of 12 year-old malt and an Orvis hip flask a number of years ago in conjunction with Fly Fishing & Flytying magazine. I won story of the month for my efforts.

It was a member of the Royal family that first introduced me to angling, well sort of.It was while preparing for my Duke of Edinburgh bronze and silver awards among the hills above Lochgilphead that I developed a passion for angling.
After a hard day tramping the hills we would set up camp at a loch side location. Our instructors Mr Henderson and Mr Moffat always brought along their travel rods and boxes of flies and once we settled into the camp they would then set about catching some pan sized trout for our supper.
On this one occasion I accompanied Mr Moffat as I was keen to learn to fly fish and he patiently taught me how to cast and when he felt that I was competent enough he left me to my own devices. After a fishless hour of casting I made one last cast, placed the rod on the bank and sat among the heather. I had no sooner sat down when there was an almighty splash and Mr Moffats fly rod was violently pulled out into the loch. Well as you can imagine I panicked and cried out to Mr Moffat who was on the far bank with Mr Henderson who appeared to be catching fish every second cast.
The two of them come running over to me to see what all the commotion was and when I explained what had happened we cast our eyes across the loch to see if there was any sign of the rod and to our surprise the rod tip was popping up every now and again and it was within casting distance so Mr H expertly cast out a line to see if he could hook the rod after half a dozen attempts he managed to latch onto the rod and he hurriedly pulled in his line Once he got the rod to the bank I picked it up and to my amazement the fish was still on the end of the line so after a few runs and a few heart stopping leaps the fish finally succumbed and was brought to the net, and that was how I caught my first trout.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

I really need to go Fishing!

I promise this will be my last post about the GAC for a wee while. I have mentioned it so many times recently that I should be getting a discount. Anyway, i visited the said place once again today with my two friends Tam and Scott. On entering the shop I encountered Mr Bruce Sandison. I had a wee chat with him about angling and the Internet forum we both are members of. Wild Fishing Scotland. He thanked me for my contribution to his latest book and told me that I wouldn't be disappointed with my trip to Caithness in the summer. In fact he recommended another couple of lochs that I was not aware of.
I then made my way to the back of the store to watch the tyers, Davie McPhail and Ian McKenzie but it was far too busy therefore disappointingly i didn't get a chat or linger too long. I then made my way over to nearby Cookshill stand . This time I got a chat with Steve Cooper [Mr Cookshill] and organizer of the BFFI. Once again I couldn't resist purchasing some materials from this excellent fly tying materials supplier. Steve also gave a brief explanation of skinning a partridge which was interesting.
Before leaving the store I purchased some hooks and dubbing. Tam and Scott spent a considerable amount of time in the sea fishing section of the shop slavering over all manner of plastic and rubbery angling accessories. I am beginning to think they both have a rather unhealthy rubber fetish but that's a different story for a different blog, Only joking lads.
Here is a flee I tied with some of my newly purchesed materials . I think Tam will like this one.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Black & Blue

As promised in my last blog entry, here is a flee I tied tonight using my new blue hen cape purchased from Cooks Hill Fly Tying.

Hook : Kamasan size 12 B175
Thread : Iron Grey uni 8/0
Tail : Dyed Red Tippets
Body : Black rabbit fur
Rib : fine red wire
Collar Hackle : Black hen
Head Hackle : Blue Hen

Tomorrow I will be posting an entry about my Sunday visit to GAC. I will spending more time watching and learning from Davie McPhail while my mate will be filling his basket with all manner of angling toys and gadgets.

Stalking Cookshill & McPhail, in a friendly way.

Just a quick post today. I am just back from the open day at the GAC. It was just a quick visit as I am going into tomorrow again with my mate. I watched Davie McPhail tying briefly and managed to see the The Great Rod Race blokes. For those who don't know who that is. They are the stars of many amgling shows on the Discovery channels, Matt Hayes and Mick Brown. Like I said it was just a quick visit, but I still managed to part with a considerable amount of sterling at the Cookshill fly tying materials stand. I could not resist a few dyed hen capes , wonderful pheasent tails and some lovely dyed partridge hackles in Lime green and orange. I plan to tie some flees tonight while enjoying a fine bottle of red. I will post the results later on tonight. In the meantime here here are a couple of pics of the Ayrshire tyer in action.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Glasgow Angling Centre Open Weekend

This weekend the Glasgow Angling Centre hosts yet again one of their fast becoming legendary Open Weekends. I have attended this event on a couple of occasions now and have found them to be really enjoyable and interesting.Paul Young, not the Q Tips singer but the angler will be in attendance as well as other TV angling celebs such as Matt Hayes and Mick brown.One of my favourite angling writers , Bruce Sandison will be in attendance too. I am inticipating meeting him for the first time as he very kindy used one of my photographs for inclusion in his latest book. As ever I will be particularly looking forward to watching the flytyers especially Ayrshire's Davie McPhail. Another bloke I look forward to meeting is Steve Cooper from Cookshill Fly tying who are based in Stoke.Steve organizes the British Fly Tying Fair which is annually held at Trentham Gardens Stoke. I attended this event last year and can thoroughly recommend it. Steve's stand at BFFI was phenomenal. Their range of tying materials are of the highest quality.Steve will have a stand at the G A C from Friday until Sunday. He will also be doing some skinning demos which I will be intrigued to see.If the fly tying fair I attended last November is anything to go by I'd better make sure my wallet is full. I digress,the above are what I'm looking forward to most but I'm sure there will something for everyone at the GAC this weekend whatever your angling interests are.
You can find a link to Cookshill Fly Tying which I Can't rate highly enough in my Dabbler's Links on the side bar.