Sunday, 29 August 2010

The one that got away!

I had another enjoyable evening fishing from the boat tonight at Hillend.We set off from the Lodge about half past five this evening and fished until about nine o'clock. It turned really cold for the last half hour of the session
We went on over to the west end of the Loch near the dam. The wind direction was very changeable tonight and never really got any real good long drifts as we had to continually reposition the boat due to the wind being so varied. On the first drift we were moving from the North shore southwards to the Big Moss when Scott hooked an incredibly big fish.Such was the power of the fish we had to get the drogue in and use the outboard engine to catch up with the fish as it continually was taking line from the reel. The fish lead us a merry dance as we tried to keep up with it. Scott had been fighting this fish for twenty minutes and still it hadn't broke the surface. Then all of a sudden a fish splashed at the top dropper it was then that the fish which was attached to the point fly broke the line. Scott was shattered, he was gutted that we had lost this big fish. We reckon that he had hooked one of Hillend's famously large Pike but some huge rainbows were stocked last week up to 15pound. We will never know what was on the end of Scott's line the one thing we do know is that it was a very big fish indeed. By way of consolation the brownie that took his top fly was a beauty, as you can see from the pic. As the night progressed we caught numerous perch and eventually we both landed another brown trout each. It's quite interesting to see the variation in colouring and spots on the fish as my fish had quite a few red spots while Scott's were black.
It was two very happy but cold anglers that made it back to the Lodge for a hot drink and to tell anyone that would listen about the big one that got away.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Hillend News Flash!

This afternoon while I was passing Hillend Loch I noticed a bit of a commotion near the Hillend Lodge . I pulled in to see why the group of fishermen were all huddled together by the loch shore. On closer inspection I realized that a bloke was playing a huge rainbow trout and was having considerable trouble landing it. With the assistance of one of the Hillend Bailiffs after which was reported to be a good twenty minute heart stopping struggle he managed to eventually net the fish. The fish weighed 13 and a half pound which was probably a personal best for the very happy and lucky angler.
There is a big competition being held at the Loch tomorrow. This fish is believed to be one of a number of huge fish that were stocked this week I await with interest to hear if anymore get caught as I will be at the Loch on Sunday for an outing on the boat and wouldn't mind catching one of these brutes on the fly.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Mixed Bag at Hillend

Last night I had another outing on the boat at Hillend. I went out on my own while Tam and Scott went afloat together.
The two boats motored up to the west end close to the dam. I drifted from here down to Speirs Island. I just had started fishing when a trout rose right next to the boat I put my flies over him but nothing transpired. I got my first take near the Island but it didn't stick. I maneuvered round the island and then drifted down towards the Shields Burn. I had no success. Meanwhile my two friends who had been making various drifts at the dam end suddenly appeared behind me. They instructed me to follow them back to the west end of the Loch as trout were showing and they both had caught several brown trout and rainbows. Once back up near the dam, Tam and Scott continued to connect and land fish, soon I was into fish too, only difference was I was catching bloody perch.And so it went on , I caught four perch in total but no trout. I felt such a fool as my two mates had such a brilliant night while my night on Hillend was mediocre to say the least.Late on a flat calm fell over the Loch which ended play for the night . Back at the Fishing Lodge I was the butt of many jokes and good natured ridicule. That's fishing I suppose. One of these nights I will out fish these two. By the law of averages it's gotta happen , there again.........

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Fishy Story!

Just a wee reminder that this months issue of the Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine is carrying a tale in the Fish Story feature on page 86 of one of my short stories. I actually somehow managed to be chosen as story of the month for this months magazine and won a brilliant book called Bright Waters which is a collection of short angling stories from famous Irish angling luminaries.Take some time to read it and please leave a comment in the box provided.

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Sound of Mull

Yesterday Scott and I set off in the early hours of the morning on a journey to the Sound of Mull for a spot of angling in the salt.
We needn't have set out so early because when we arrived at the Corran Ferry we found out that the first sailing departed at 8.45am. Once over at Ardgour we continued on the beautiful road trip down to Lochaline at the Sound of Mull.The weather on Sunday was absolutely stunning. On days like these you really have to wonder why some folk go on holiday abroad because when you see the Highlands of Scotland in such glorious conditions, nothing can compare.
On arrival at Lochaline we had the place to ourselves but soon after another three or folk blokes appeared two of whom had been camping on the shore nearby. We were informed that the water we were fishing in was 350 feet deep and was famous for huge Skate and Conger eel.
The information provided tuned out to be true as Scott broke his beach caster when he struck into what he reckoned to be a Conger eel. I didn't have any success on the beach caster so let Scott take charge of that rod after he destroyed his. I didn't do too well at the sea fishing yesterday I only caught a couple of Mackerel. I put it all down to inexperience and not being kitted out with the appropriate gear. Scott too had a few Mackerel but the boys along from us had a good catch of Conger eel, Ling and Dog Fish. Even though I didn't do too well at the sea fishing I had an absolutely brilliant day of relaxation in among some Beautiful scenery. I'm not gonna give up this sea fishing lark just yet,and would like a return trip there some time in the future.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Sad News from Camps!

Sad news reached me today that the Camps Reservoir's wee fishing hut which I visited only two weeks ago has been destroyed by fire. When I first heard about this my initial thoughts were that it was an act of vandalism but apparently not it was a terrible accident caused by a spark from the fire which ignited the big couch they have in the back room which then unfortunately set the whole hut alight. Thanfully no one was in the hut at the time. A fisherman had got the fire going then decided to leave it unattended and was out fishing on a boat. it's such a shame as it was a great wee facility and fantastic retreat whenever the weather turned nasty. I hope the club can recover from this and get another new facility soon. Here is a pic I took only ywo weeks ago

Friday, 13 August 2010

Small Lochs, Big Mountains.

It was only last month that I travelled to the far north of Scotland in search of true wild fish.But once again my heart is yearning to get away to the Highlands on a brown trout adventure to some remote lochan in amongst the mountains. I will have to wait a few weeks more though as my friend has arranged for him and I to go sea fishing this weekend. I do enjoy the occasional sea fishing outing but it does not compare to getting out into the hills with my fly rod and box of flies in search of wild trout.
I came across this poem from my favourite Scottish poet , Norman McCaig. It transports me to places I daydream of everyday.


Six rods are dapping for sea trout
On Loch Baddagyle. Their blowlines each make
A bosomy downwind curve. Six bushy flies
Ballet dance on sunstruck water.

— See that boulder? In it’s toupee of heather
There’s a wild cat watching me. Two topazes with ears.
…I tilt up and pan along my trail of mountains
From Ben More Coigach all the way down to Quinaig.

An old ewe brings me down to earth
She stamps her forefoot on. I look at her implacable
Whisky and soda eyes. She knows all a sheep
Needs to know: she’s a black-stockinged bluestocking.

And a spinnaker line has straightened. The water
Explodes and shoots a seatrout into the air,
While five bushy flies still dance on the moving glitter,
like water nymphs in their dangerous tutus.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Hillend Brown trout.

Yesterday my friend Scott and I thought we would have an outing at Hillend from the boat. Engine packed etc , we went up to the Loch for the evening session from 5pm to 10 pm. We maneuvered up to the west end of the loch and began a tremendous drift from Eastercroft bay all the way down to Lowe's Bay. We were only fishing five minutes or so when I landed the first fish of the evening, a rainbow at about a pound and three quarters. I caught it on the top dropper with a pattern I devised for a fly tying comp.Another five minutes passed and I was into my second fish but this time it got away. Not to be outdone Scott was soon hitting fish but they wouldn't stick. until later. Scott hooked into a good brown trout but it got off at the boat, he also lost another couple of small brown trout.We made another few drifts then while on a drift near Speirs Island Scott hooked and landed the magnificent brown trout in the pic. To say Scott was very pleased with his capture is a bit of an understatement. It was tremendous to see that Hillend Loch is still producing brown trout of this quality. I can't help but feel that the Club memebers made a big mistake by wanting and introducing rainbow trout into our Loch.
When you compare the quality of the fish in the the pic of the rainbow and the Brown trout I think you will understand where I am coming from.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Year on the Fly!

If you like art, yes art, and fishing , perhaps this interesting and unusual blog from across the pond might interest you.I came across this blog after the creator contacted me and expressed an interest in my blog and painted one of my flies which he came across while browsing among these pages. I was going to describe what, A Year on the Fly was all about , but thought it would be better to let the artist do the explaining instead.You can read all about what motivated and inspired ,Joel DeJong on his site. There is a link to his appealing blog,second from the top on my links bar.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Kate McLaren

There can't be many flies that are named after a woman,this very famous Scottish fly as you probably guessed is one, of only two that I can think of, the other being a Hairy Mary, I'm sure we all know one of them lol!
So who was Kate McLaren? Kate McLaren was the wife of John McLaren who ran the Kinlochewe hotel in the Scottish Highlands. The Mclarens were good friends of the Glasgow tackle dealer, William Robertson. Mr Robertson devised the pattern in the 1930's for his friend John and as a nice touch named it after his friend's wife.
Kate McLaren was also the mother of Charles McLaren who was the long time proprietor of that very famous Scottish angling retreat, the Altnaharra hotel on Loch Naver.
The fly was first devised as a sea trout pattern for Loch Maree, that's another womans name,but it is now highly regarded as an essential brown trout pattern too.
Wherever my fishing travels take me I always make sure I have a few in my fly box as I know I can fish confidently if I have a kate on my cast. I hope you think my tying does it justice. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Hook. standard size 12 hook
Thread. Black uni thread 8/0
Body. Black seals fur
Rib. silver tinsel
Tail. Golden Pheasant crest
Body Hackle. Black cock hackle
Collar Hackle. Red game hen hackle

Monday, 2 August 2010

Return to Camps!

Yesterday I made the journey down the M74 on a return trip to Camps Reservoir. I last visited the loch at the end of May, this time I took along my friend, Scott. I booked a boat in advance and picked up my permits and key at the keepers cottage below the dam. We drove round to the fishing hut where we met Gerry aka Mr Camps.
Before going afloat we had a good chat with Gerry who was very forthcoming with tactics flies and hot spots etc. He was an absolute wealth of information and even gave us a couple of his favourite flies to try.
This was to be a day of my kind of fishing laze about,get afloat,fish for a while, repeat over and over again, until knackered.
We caught our first brown trout of the day at the north arm of the loch then after we decided to have a break . Back to the hut for a blether with Gerry then back out again , this time on the south east arm.We were soon into fish again. Gerry's recommendation of small flies worked a treat, most of mine came to a size 14 spider of mole fur body and a grouse head hackle. I call it the Grouse and Mole.sound s like a good name for a country pub, doesn't it? It's a vey easy pattern to tie. I might do a wee video of me tying one in the next day or so.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Camps again even if I didn't catch as many trout as I did on my previous visit, The wealth of information I picked more than compensated for the reduced catch. Scott and I caught ten fish between us which were all returned safely to the Loch to fight another day.
This was the first time I had met Gerry and also the first time I had fished Camps from the boat. The facilities at Camps are first class. I'm certain that I will have another visit before the season is out.