Monday, 27 September 2010

Last Wild Fish of the Season






Fly Fishing gear and sea fishing gear was packed. Tent and sleeping bags were on board as well as enough food and drink to see us through from Saturday to Monday.
Scott and I were off on our last wild fishing trip of the season. The destination was Loch Doilet and The Sound Of Mull.
Off we went in the early hours of Saturday morning to catch the first Corran ferry over to Ardgour then drive over to Strontian to meet Peter the secretary of the Strontian Angling association who had arranged a boat and outboard for us to fish Loch Doilet.
On arrival at Doilet conditions were terrible for fly fishing. Bright sunshine and a flat calm over the Loch.Regardless of the conditions we got afloat and got to work on attempting to catch brown trout and also in the hope of a sea trout or two. For most of the day a flat calm lay over the Loch but. The wind did get up a few times but we were forever maneuvering trying to get into the ripple. It was really frustrating continually moving from one drift to the next . I have never been on a loch where the wind direction was so changeable.
We did manage about a dozen brown trout between us which were caught on Silver March browns,zulus and bibios. Scott was lucky enough to get a couple of sea trout at just over the pound mark which were caught on a Teal ,Blue and silver. The fishing was tough and we called it a day in the late afternoon.The fishing wasn't as good as we had expected which was probably down to the conditions but Scott was well pleased with his sea trout.
Off we went in search of a wild camping spot at the Sound of Mull. We were lucky enough to find an idyllic shoreline location on the Lochaline to Drimmin Road.It was a stunning location as you can see from the pic above. After a bite to eat Saturday evening was spent talking fish football and music. Scott's taste in music leaves a lot to be dsired.We watched the sun go down then looked up in awe at a beautiful star filled sky whilst enjoying a beer or two. I saw a shooting star , made a wish but that huge monster of a fish didn't materialize the next day.
We were up early on Sunday morning and set about fishing for what ever fancied our bait and lures. It transpired that a few dog fish were captured as well as a small Pollack, codling and a couple of mackerel.
As much as I enjoyed the camping it had turned very cold overnight so instead of spending Sunday night beneath the stars we decided we would stay the night at the Lochaline Hotel where we could get a good scrub up, a couple of pints and a nice warm meal.
On Monday morning we reluctantly headed for home. On reflection the fishing didn't live up to our expectations but it was a very enjoyable experience all the same.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Winged Flies


Tonight I have been at the bench tying a style of fly I usually shy away from as I have always had trouble in the past trying to tie matched wing slips. I normally just use rolled fibres for wings but I do like the look of the slips. The above fly has woodcock wing slips in place . Its just a prototype and I will endevour to perfect this style of tying. I am actually quite pleased with this effort as I am usually never happy with my winged flies. Not quite perfect yet as one of the slips has slipped slightly. Will post another when I perfect the method.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Last Drift at Hillend




My last outing on the boat at Hillend this season turned out to be a very pleasing day of angling.
Scott and I went afloat together while Tam and Craig were on another boat.Before setting out we could see that lots of fish were getting caught from the bank across fom the clubhouse along the narrows.I would imagine that these fish, since they were so abundant in this area were the newly stocked fish this week. We like to try to get in among the natural head of fish at Hillend so we moved as far as possible from the over anxious anglers at the narrows and headed for the west end of the Loch.
We had a couple of drifts from the corner of the dam towards the Speirs Island two fish were caught a rainbow for Scott and a Broonie for me. We then moved to the other side of the island and drifted down towards the Shields Burn on this occassion I caught another broonie and a rainbow while Scott managed a perch.We both missed three or four fish each and I also had a fish on which eventually broke my leader ,I reckon it must have had a wind knot in it as it snapped above my top dropper.The other boat landed Perch, trout and a jack pike, numerous fish were missed and lost also. Before calling it a night we had a couple of drifts into the boathouse without even a bite. At 7.30 we headed back to the boat moorings and then onto the clubhouse for a coffee and a gab.Looking forward to getting out on the boat more often next season as I have really enjoyed myself afloat at Hillend these last couple of months.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Spiders for Lochs


I was recently asked if I would tie spider patterns for use on Lochs. It's well documented that black spiders work very well on lochs all over the country but the chap that contacted me was looking for something that little bit different. This request was right up my street because when I tie flies I like to come up with patterns in my own style so to speak. I do like tying tried and trusted patterns but do enjoy trying to come up with something subtlety different. Anyway this is the first of a number of flies I will be tying up over the next few days.I have no idea if this will be successful or otherwise. wht not tie one and let me know how you get on. I will be trying these out soon myself at Hillend.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Frustration at Hillend and Pottinshaw


Yesterday afternoon My friend Scott and I went up to Hillend to have a day out on the boat. Travelling past the south shore the conditions looked reasonable. but when we got to the clubhouse we were told that they weren't allowing anyone out on the boat because the wind was too high. To be fair at the narrows it did look quite wild.
After having a blether for half an hour or so in the car park with another couple of anglers who were also denied a boat, the wind appeared to have eased and much to my surprise as I looked up the loch I saw a couple of anglers out on a boat drifting down by the point of the woods.
I was quite annoyed with this but didn't bother questioning why this was the case instead we decided we would go to Pottinshaw Fishery as we didn't have our waders or appropriate footwear to fish Hillend. Off we went to West Lothian to fish the Whitburn venue. Pottinshaw is a catch and release only fishery and were warned that the fishing can be dour at times.As the afternoon progressed this proved to be the case.I did manage to land a fish..... a perch and I did hook a trout but failed to bring it to hand. I was pleasantly surprised how nice this wee place was. It is well looked after but the one drawback for me was the constant drone of the traffic on the nearby M8.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Jack Frost


I've been busy at the bench tonight. I tied a few this variation of the Jack Frost.When I first started out fly fishing about twenty years ago I used this pattern quite a lot. These days I don't use lures much and prefer to use traditional Scottish wets but sometimes there are occassions when a lure is required. I am going to give this a soaking in the next day or two at Hillend. The original is a great perch fry lure. The perch fry are in great abundance at Hillend at the moment so I thought it would be a good idea to tie some of these up. I believe this pattern is an improvement on the original as I have changed the body of the fly by using a pearly glister dubbing which adds translucency to the pattern.
My dressing is a follows.

Thread. Fire Orange uni 8/0
Hook. size 12 B175 Kamasan
Body. Pearly glister
Tail. Chinese Red uni floss: brushed out
Wing . White Marabou
Hackle. fluorescent red cock hackle

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Magpie Tail Fly


Tonight I have been mostly tying the Magpie Tail fly. The reason for this is that the subject of this fly came up in a fishing forum I regularly frequent. There was quite a discussion about this fly and the merit of this pattern on the River Clyde. A picture was requested of it so I had a look through my archived files and posted the pic of the pattern. I first tied the pattern up a few years ago and I have to admit it wasn't the best looking fly I have ever tied. Even if I do say so myself , I believe my flytying has improved over the last few years so I thought it would be good to tie up some new flies and do it some justice. Also I noticed yesterday that I had only one of these flies lefy in my box. I was first told about this fly by Hillend regular Bob Graham. He informed me that it is a great pattern to use from August to the end of the season. The first time I used this pattern at Hillend I got instant results. That was a few years ago and to be honest I had completely forgotten about this pattern,shame on me as it really is a great fly.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Clyde Style Fishing



If you associate the River Clyde with Glasgow and the shipyards you would be correct, but you would not be thinking like an angler. To the angler the River Clyde conjures up a very different picture. An angler will tell you of a river whose source is the rivulet of Crookburn which runs from Quennsberry Hill, which is then increased by the Daer Water, and then afterwards joined by the Clydeburn or as it is sometimes referred to as the Little Clyde. Thereafter its tributaries are the Elvan, Midloch, Camps, Glengonner, Duneaton, Garff, Culter, North and South Medwins, Douglas, Mouse, Nethan, Dalserf, Avon and the North and South Calders.
All the Clyde’s tributaries contain trout, but the tributaries of most interest to the fly fisher are the Duneaton, Elvan and the Glengonner as these waters contain trout in great abundance.
The finest fly-fishing to be had on the Clyde is in the Lammington, Thankerton, Abington and Crawford area. The fishing here has a tradition all of its own. The trout here are shy and don’t come to the net very easily but when they are in the mood they will come to the wet and the dry flee. In the clear waters of the upper Clyde, fine tackle and small lightly dressed flies are the order of the day. This is the river of the “ Single Hair” as our forefathers would have described it. Today the Clyde is still a river of fine and far off techniques. The tiny size 16 and size 18 flies tied locally are fished on leaders of breaking strains down to a pound and a half. The patterns at times are tied to imitate the local hatches – for instance the McLeod’s olive, the sand and cow dung fly and at other times they are imitative representations of local fly life tied from the plumage of the local bird life. The River Clyde is the river of the Lark and Grey, The Corncrake, The Hen Blackie, The Blue Hen, The Crow and Black, The Crow and Silver, The Stank Hen, The Duck Tip, The Magpie Tail, The Cran Swallow and The Hare Lug and Plover. These flies have come to be regarded as “Clyde Style Flies” due to their distinctive tying style. A Clyde Fly is tied with a short body; a fine light wing and a minimum turn of hackle. Some Clyde flies seem to have only as many strands of hackle as the real insect has legs. Clyde Style patterns fish well not only on the Clyde, but also throughout Scotland, wherever there is a call for small flies and great care in dealing with educated trout.
I compiled the above concise information from a book called The Fishing Waters of Scotland by Moray McLaren and William B. Currie.I hope it gives a bit of an insight into Clyde Style fishing.