Monday, 30 May 2011

Hillend Blue Zulu

I thought I would make my final post of the month tonight after yet another Hillend blank today. This has been a very disappointing month for me at Hillend. I'm blaming the weather as the wind has been a constant source of ire to me or maybe that's just a poor excuse. I believe the real reason for my lack of success this month is down to being a crap angler and also not putting in the effort as every time I have been at the Loch my sessions have been short as I have been getting peeved off with the wind. To be honest the conditions at Hillend these last few weeks have been more like February than May we have even had at Hailstones over the last couple of days and we are just about to enter June. By way of consoling myself I decided to tidy up my tying bench and get a few flies tyed this afternoon. After have having a browse at a certain Ayrshire flytyers latest fly on his website I was suitably inspired to tye something similar. I tied a few of these on a size 12 with my July trip to Loch Watten in mind..

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The lily Loch

Last night Tam and I walked over the hill from Hillend to The Lily Loch. Once over the hill and down to the dam another bloody gale greeted us which was blowing straight down the Loch from the West. Every time I have been out fishing this month these strong winds have been a constant hindrance. Defiantly Tam and I walked by the dam and round to the club hut despite the heavy rain and wind. The rain soon passed and a rainbow appeared...In the sky not the bank, that would happen later when Tam eventually landed one around the 2lb mark. I set up with an olive damsel on the point and a Kate McLaren on the dropper. Tam suggested I try the area known as the burn as it was slightly sheltered and the wind was at my back. Off I went overthe footbridge and down into the burn. I worked my way along the soft banking and about halfway down the shore I was soon into my one and only fish of the evening which was fooled by the damsel. That fish was one of the lily's natural wild fish, a small pike. I then decided to have a break out of the wind at the hut where after a cup of coffee and a bite to eat I got out onto the main loch where I flogged the water to no avail. During that time I watched Tam land a good size fish which he was rather pleased with. At around half nine another heavy shower moved so we packed up and walked back over the hill to Hillend. I was happy with my wild yin while Tam was pleased with one of the Lily's newest residents.

Friday, 27 May 2011

CDC Sedge

Last night I was informed that a Great Red Sedge was spotted at the woodside at Hillend which heralds the annual appearance of these remarkable creatures at Hillend. This news surprised me somewhat as the weather this month has been windy and cold which I thought would delay the appearance of the Big Sedge. It's usually from June onwards that you start to see these sedges in great abundance as they scurry across the water trying to make it to dry land. They will be at their peak by the middle of June and if you are lucky enough to be fishing Hillend at the right night when the fish are turned onto the Big Sedge you could have a really memorable night of fishing. Most Hillenders have their favourite patterns for the sedge. Muddlers, G&H sedge, sedge hogs etc are all popular. Over the last few years I have had success with cdc patterns but last year I switched to a balloon caddis which caught a few fish both at Hillend and the Lily. This year I'm gonna go back to the cdc sedge. I like to use these in the most gentle of ripples. I really enjoy the visual aspect of the take when the fish come up for these. I tie my cdc sedges in several variations. The one above is a pattern I tied last night. Very simple to tie and one I intend using tomorrow night, conditions permitting of course.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Hillend Storm!

Today Scotland has been getting battered with severe gales. Winds of 80 and 100 mph have been recorded in some parts so its no surprise that the weather disrupted road , rail and ferry networks. Here in Airdrie there has been structural damage to buildings, fallen trees and power cables are down and even the trains haven't been running. While at work today our van was getting blown all over the place. Anyway I reckon the winds reached their peak in the late afternoon as it has calmed down to just a normal gale now. I couldn't resist a wee run up to Hillend tonight to see how it's looking. The Loch has beeen really churned up and looks quite dirty. Hillend was deserted tonight not one single person was to be seen, which is no surprise as you would need to be "aff yer heed" to go fishing in that.. The weather forecasters are predicting that the winds are to calm down overnight. I hope the above pic and vid gives you an idea how wild it has been up here today at Hillend.

Align Centre

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wild is the Hillend Wind!

For the last couple of weeks my flyfishing has been somewhat curtailed because of the strong winds we have been experiencing. I have went up to the loch a few times this last fortnight but on arriving at the Club house decided against fishing because it has been wild on every occasion. Instead I just hung around the Clubhouse and had a blether.Last night I arranged with Tam to go up the Lily Loch but as it was blowing a gale and tipping it down we decided not to bother venturing over the hill to the Lily as it would have been even worse up there. Instead we went to the Hillend Lodge for a gab and a coffee. We then decided that no matter what the weather was doing on Sunday we were definitely going fishing at Hillend.

Today we went to the Big Moss at the west end of the Loch and once again that wind was was causing havoc. Fly rod and fly boxes were taken along as well as a spinning rod and a box of tobys etc but the fly rod never came out the rod tube. Many years ago before I took up flyfishing I used to do a lot of spinning at Hillend and beyond which I enjoyed very much. On arrival at the moss I set up with a zebra toby and within a quarter of an hour I landed the first fish of the day a rainbow of about 2 3/4lb. A little later Tam was into his fish too then to round things off a couple of hours later I landed another to complete my brace of Hillend trout. We were up there for a right good few hours today but if I had been on my own I wouldn't have lasted an hour. That wind was still blowing when we called it a day and the forecast for tomorrow is for even stronger winds.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pheasant from the M8

This is just a quick blog post to share some luck I had this morning. One persons misfortune is an others gain, as the old saying goes. This wee chap had the misfortune of hitting a passing vehicle on the M8 near Calderbank this morning and fortunately I was working this morning on the said road and happened to come across this big bundle of flytying materials lying on the grass verge near the the big new co-op warehouse. As you maybe aware there are quite a few flies that incorporate pheasant feather. I now have a lifetime supply of pheasant feathers as this is not the first pheasant I have came across. Once I have plucked this bird and bagged all the goodies I will post some pics of some patterns I intend tying with the feathers I acquired today.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

River Tweed Stravaig

I didn't realize that when I arranged to go to the River Tweed to meet up with some members of the Wild Fishing Forum on their latest Stravaig to Innerleithen that it was Friday the 13th. I set off about 8.30 am and soon Airdrie, Newmains, Carluke, etc were behind me but the road ahead to Peebles was closed just beyond Carnwath I though a divesrsion route would have been sign posted but wasn't so after making a detour I made my way to Biggar then picked up the new road again to Peebles and Innerleithen. I arrived at the Campsite at Innetheithen later than planned and I was purchasing my permit to fish the Tweed at reception, Bob a fellow Hillender and WFF member was checking in with his caravan.

After having a chat and a coffee, Bob took me to the River which was just yards from the site and pointed out some spots on the River to try. I was soon wadered up etc and casting my spiders across the tweed in the hope of trout. I had a few wee takes which I imagined to be parr for an hour or so when I spotted two anglers coming towards me it was Fred the founder of the WFF and his friend Joe a fellow forumite. After a wee chat they headed further up river. I continued on fishing down towards the bridge and eventually caught a couple of tiddlers which turned out to be smlot and salmon parr I also hooked into a fish which might have been a brown as it put more of a bend in the rod than the previous smolt and parr. I then took a break and met another couple of formites John and Alex back at Bob's caravan. The weather took a turn for the worse but we decided to get out and onto the river regardless. Alex very kindly gave me some instruction on River fishing which I have took on board and will be putting into practice on future river fishing outings. We all went our separate ways on the river and met up later back at the Caravan where I learned that Alex had caught a nice couple of 1/2 pound trout and lost a couple of larger ones . Fred had a couple of trout and Joe had a 3/4 brown trout too. Bob very kindly fed us and I then had to say my goodbyes as I had work in the morning . I wished I could have stayed and got to know the lads better as they seem a good bunch. As they were staying there until Sunday and fishing various waters in the area there are bound to be more fish and stories told. In the end Friday the 13th wasn't too bad apart from the road to Peebles being closed. I hope to meet up again with the lads for a proper Stravaig when I will be able to stay overnight.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hillend Then & Now!

I haven't had much to write in the blog recently regarding catching trout at Hillend as over the last week I have experienced another unsuccessful day out on the boat and another blank from the bank.It's all been a tad disappointing as we are now into the time which I regard to be usually the best two months of the season at Hillend, May and June.

Enough of my sob story. I was cleaning out a cupboard the other day which is full of books and old fishing magazines when I came a cross a fifteen year old copy of the Trout Fisherman Magazine which carried a feature about Hillend Loch. I had forgotten all about this feature and as I read the article it was interesting to look back in time to 1996 and note the changes that have taken place over the last fifteen years at Hillend as well as the Angling Club. There have been a lot of positive improvements since then most notably, that back then the Club used to operate out of one those heavy Duty Iron storage container which was located at the Eastercroft Bay. Now, due to the forward thinking members of the Angling Club we are now located in an excellent Fishing Lodge which has facilities to suit every anglers needs. Of course the new railway line has changed the environment on the South shore. The one change that I have a tinge of sadness about is the stocking policy of the Club as Hillend Loch used to be a Brown Trout Only Water and as mentioned in the TF article had a great reputation for being one of the best Brown Trout Venues in the country and was famous for it's free rising trout which came to the artificial traditional wet flies fished with a floating line. I would love to see the Loch go back to being a Brown Trout Loch again as there is a plethora of rainbow waters all over the country. Reading the article was a nostalgic look back at Hillend Loch which will never be the same again.

Hillend is still a fantastic Loch to fish, it may look different from fifteen years ago and the anglers may have adopted different styles of fly fishing since then but it's still a place that is virtually on my doorstep and that I enjoy very much regardless of whether I catch fish or not.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Trout & Burgers!

There have been quite a few bank holidays from work of late so I was managed to be persuaded by Tosh to take the opportunity of going up for a wee day at Hillend yesterday. The trouble with bank holidays at Hillend is that it can be overly busy that's why I normally prefer evening sessions at the Loch but yesterday in order to beat the crowds we went up to the North shore at 7 am. We weren't first on the Loch though as couple of elderly chaps were making their way along the north shore. The morning proved to be a scorcher but an east wind persisted for the entire time we were there to keep the temperature at a reasonable heat. As we were getting prepared to start fishing Tosh switched on his radio which was relaying the news that was breaking all over the world. Yep! the Americans got their man. The one troubling aspect of their timing in all of this is that Americans chose to carry out this operation on the ninth anniversary of the Death of my Football Club, Airdrieonians FC. That's some date to share eh? Anyway enough of politics and football. Tosh was on the spinner for a while but nothing was doing I soon landed a 2lb rainbow caught on my Hillend green. As I was landing my fish Tosh was preparing the disposable BBQ that he had brought along. Soon the burgers, sausages , black pudding and bacon were sizzling away then placed on the rolls which were rather tasty. Why is it that sausages etc always taste and smell better when prepared outdoors. The rest of our morning was uneventful as we listened to the world's reaction to the events that had unfolded in the East. As we packed up in the sunshine at about 1 o'clock our conclusion was that the fishing had been mediocre but the breakfast was phenomenal.