Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Clydestyle Fishing

For a month or two now I have been trying to track down a new book called “The Anglers Book of the Clyde” I had tried in vain to get a hold of it from all the usual outlets but every now and again I would hear through various forums etc that it was actually available at certain fisheries but when ever I made contact to make a purchase everywhere had sold out.
So when I heard yesterday that the book was available from Clydestyle Fishing at Crossford in the Clyde Valley I made a quick phone call to confirm that they were still in stock and went straight down there after work this afternoon to collect my copy.
This was the first time I had visited this angling outlet which is set in an idyllic location yards from the banks of the Clyde. I had a chat with Scott the angling shop owner about the Clyde etc. I wasn’t aware of this shop until recently and found this outlet to be exactly the sort of shop that an enthusiastic Clyde angler could ever wish for. Scott stocks Clyde Style flies and tying materials for tying Clyde style patterns which makes the shop unique because as far as I’m aware there is nowhere else offering such supplies. It’s just perfect a shop offering everything for the regional angler and flytyer set on the banks of the Clyde. Everything you could ever need for the Clyde, exactly where you need it!
Next time the wife wants to go down the Clydeside to visit the many nurseries that abound down there I will happily go for a drive as I will be visiting this unique shop for a chat with Scott while Val can look at as many flowers, plants, arts and crafts as she wishes.
I was very pleased to get my hands on this book as I thought I would never get a copy. I believe this book may end up as scarce as the many other regional fly tying books that are much sought after by fly tyers. Having just acquired this publication its obviously too early to write a proper review but my first impressions are that this is a modern Clydestyle Book for the new millennium it is the next evolving step on from Bert Sharps wonderful “Lets Fish the Clyde” which after all was written in the early seventies. Times have changed and so have anglers. This new book written by James Milne has a fully illustrated guide of over 400 traditional and modern fly dressings developed and adopted over many years by the Clyde Anglers, also a guide to the materials best suited for Clydestyle flies with additional sections on entomology, dying materials, weather conditions, flies to use month by month and also personal stories from the Clyde Anglers themselves. A real must have addition to a flyfishers bookshelf.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Glengavel Reservoir

I had wanted to visit Glengavel reservoir for a few weeks now ever since I came across the Upper Avon Angling Association web site and got in contact with their Club Secretary, Alby.
As my holiday from work was rapidly running out I decided to have a visit there today. After a quick breakfast I was on my way through the Lanarkshire roads in the mist. By the time I reached the Garrion Brig the mist had lifted and the sun was shining. I was soon in Stonehouse where I arranged to pick up my permit etc from Jim a committee member. After a wee chat with Jim about Glengavel and fishing in general etc I was on my way to my destination. On arrival noticed I was the only angler at the reservoir but as I setting up my rod another angler arrived, his name was Alan too, we got chatting, we then went to the fishing hut and signed in the book as per club rules. I decided to start fishing just to the right of the fishing hut and boat moorings as advised. Very soon I raised a fish to the Kate McLaren which I had on the top dropper but it didn’t stick. Alan then told me he raised a couple of fish too. He then asked me if I fancied going out on the boat for an hour or two. I happily agreed. Off we went away down to the far side of the reservoir to try and find an area that was less windy as the breeze had whipped up a bit. We eventually found a decent drift but the wind meant we had to adjust the boat regularly. Alan was first into a fish a nice fish of 3/4 of a pound, which he caught on a Klinkhammer fly. We fished on I was still using my wets which were a Magpie and silver on the point and my ever dependable and faithful Kate, on top [oo err missus]
Every now and again I was getting takes but I kept on missing them, then eventually there was a splash at my Kate and this time it was on. After a feisty fight I landed a trout of ¾ of a pound. After a quick pic I released him back to his natural habitat. Time was getting on and Alan had to leave to collect his kids from school so after rowing back down to the fishing hut. We said our goodbyes and I thanked him for taking me out on the boat.
I decided to take a break and have lunch. Then after having a wander around taking photos I decided to try for some trout again. I opted to fish down into the wee bay from the fishing hut and waded out up to about my waist. I wasn’t fishing very long when I got a very ferocious take, this felt good. A great struggle ensued as I tried to gain some semblance of control. As I was starting to get the upper hand with this fish another Glengavel angler arrived and watched me bring this fantastic fish to the shore.
He remarked that this was a beauty and estimated it to be around the 5lb mark at least. He assisted me with his net and I brought the fish ashore and found that this big broonie had been fooled by my ever-faithful companion, Katey once again. After a quick photo shoot with me and the fish I released the bigyin back to whence he came. The Glengavel Regular [I never caught his name] shook my hand and congratulated me and was soon off looking for trout.
I decided to stop fishing and just sit back and enjoy the moment and satisfaction that every angler experiences after such a fish. I could have packed up there and then, I was that contented. After a quarter of an hour or so I headed for the Sandy Bay but casting was difficult in the ever-increasing wind. No further action occurred so I made my way back to the hut to sign out, but before doing so I had a few final casts near the hut. As I packed up I reflected on a very satisfying day out at Glengavel. The fishing was great but what pleased me more than anything was the genuine friendliness and hospitality of everyone I met today… Jim, Alan and The unknown angler. I would also like to thank Alby who I have only met and spoke to “virtually” on the net, who arranged everything for me. Thank you very much, I had a fantastic day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Hillend Broonie

Went up to the Loch this afternoon hoping to catch one of the Hillend Broonies which have been making an appearance in the catch reports lately.Funnily enough this time last year Scott, Tam and I caught were catching the Hillend naturals.Anyway off I went trying the narrows first then after no success there I tried the Boathouse Bay. The decided to cross through the woods and give the Lowes Bay a try. I was encouraged by a rise to my Kate McLaren which was on my top dropper. After no further interest I decided to take a break, have a coffee and read a few pages of Iain Banks travelogue,Raw Spirit.Rejuviated I was soon casting my three fly cast of a Conamarra Black,Bibio and a Kate McLaren into Lowes Bay. Soon after I got a tremendous take to my Kate McLaren and after a brief struggle I landed a nice Hillend Broonie. I normally put fish like this back but I decided to take this one home today as I quite fancied some trout on toast tonight for my supper. Happy to have caught a fish I soon made my way back to the east end of the Loch to my car and went home satisfied.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Durness Slideshow

Here it is the Imagine Durness Slide Show. As always its the best way to show as many of my pics as I can. To be honest though you do lose a bit of the quality on the photos using the programme I have but I hope the display gives you a feel for the place. As I said in the previous post John Lennon has a connection with the area all be it a tenuous one therefore I thought it would be a good idea to include one of his songs to accompany the pics.Hope you like them. Please feel free to leave a comment.....Good , Bad or indifferent.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Imagine Durness

Last Tuesday morning I awoke to the sound of my radio alarm broadcasting “Londons Burning” there was “Panic on the streets of Birmingham” in general we had “Anarchy in the UK” This wasn’t some old punk radio show this was the News. It was ironic that I had the Smiths, The Clash and the Pistols on my compilation disc that I was playing in the car as Val and I departed the Central Belt for a few days away. As it happens we were travelling as far away as humanly possible from the English Riots. Durness was Calling, and I was hoping to get a wee bit of fishing slipped in among the sightseeing and walking stuff etc.
We arrived at Sango Sands campsite in the late afternoon and set up camp for what we thought would be four nights of looking over one of the best sea views in Scotland. It really was a wonderful spot. The rest of the day was spent walking along the dunes and beaches and we enjoyed watching huge waves crashing into the shore.
I awoke the next day to the sound of rain rattling on the tent. It was still raining after we had our breakfast but we couldn’t sit around all day in a tent. I was actually hoping to get onto one of the nearby limestone lochs with my rod and reel but it wasn’t to be as the weather was horrible so we decided to have a drive around the area looking at some of the remarkable coves and bays that were so beautiful even in the stormy skies. We then visited, would you believe a John Lennon Memorial Garden, which was situated next to the Durness village hall. “Imagine” how tacky and insincere that was. Apparently the ex Beatle spent a few summer holidays in Durness staying with one of his cousins who was a local. Talk about cashing in?
The rain was still pouring down when we visited the craft village of Balnakeil. It’s a very unusual place. I described it to Val as a New Age highland retail park. All the buildings were once owned and used by the MoD during the Cold War. The village is now home to all manner of quirky crafts, artists studios and galleries, pottery workshops, boat builders, chocolatiers even a woodwind instrument workshop but best of all was the bookshop which was a welcome retreat from the inclement weather. We spent a good few hours in there, reading and drinking superb coffee. They specialize in Scottish titles and it was a real joy to browse the shelves. Only criticism was that they had no angling books. I just had to purchase a book, I couldn’t resist. So I opted for an Ian Bank’s title. It wasn’t his usual kind of stuff. Raw Spirit was the title. A travelogue about drinking whisky all over Scotland.
I still hadn’t given up hope of fishing later in the evening but when we arrived back at the campsite my hopes of casting a wee Kate McLaren on Loch Croispol were dashed. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought that the English Riots had spread to remote Sutherland as tents were flattened, upturned tables and chairs were all over the place along with all manner of camping equipment scattered all over the place. The wind and rain had wrecked havoc but more seriously my tent had collapsed, was ripped beyond repair and my tent poles were broken.
The fishing was “well oot the windae”. My wife wasn’t keen on this camping lark in the first place; she was close to tears as we searched in vain for a B&B with vacancies. Just as I was thinking of trying the Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse which I knew wouldn’t go down well with Val, I remembered a post made by Alan from the Wild Fishing Forum last week advising me to go to the Glengolly Guest house regarding permission to fish the local lochs. Off we went with renewed hope of a vacancy to the said house. Our hearts sank as the NV sign greeted us. I decided to chap the door anyway and ask if they were aware of anywhere or anyone who might help us out. To our surprise and relief Mrs Mackay informed us of a cottage they have on the shore of the Kyle of Durness.
Quite literally those grey clouds that hung over us all day had a silver lining as the cottage we stayed in for the next three nights was absolutely wonderful. We had the Kyle of Durness at out doorstep and Loch Borralie was a five-minute walk up the back of the hill from the cottage.
The next day and for the remainder of our break the weather was beautiful all be it not exactly great for fishing but it was perfect for Val.
With my other half happy relaxing and enjoying the sun it was now time to mention to her the F word. That’s right, Fishing! She was more than happy for me to go off fishing. I decided that I would just have a walk up to Borralie though and have a look around etc; it was boiling hot and sunny and not weather to be fishing the very clear waters of this famous loch. After giving Borralie a visit I knew it would be difficult. It was a spectacular looking loch. The colours in the water had to be seen to be believed. It had every shade of blue you can think of. I have never seen a loch before with such clarity.
Next we headed back up to Durness and visited Smoo Cave. What a wonderful creation of nature that is. When we got back to the cottage Val decided to cook dinner so I decided to go out across the road to the Kyle which had a brilliant channel running along it close to the cottage and was clearly visible and accessible at low tide. Mr Mackay advised me to start fishing it at low tide and fish it hard as the tide started to come in. He said I would have a good chance of Sea Bass. I was hoping for seat trout or salmon too. I was fishing for only twenty minutes or so when I got the first fish of the day. A lovely sea bass. A short time later I caught another completing a fine brace of Sea Bass.Soon Val was calling to me from the cottage " Dinner is Ready" I had a a lovely meal and a drink and spent the rest of the night sitting in the garden relaxing, reading, drinking and taking in the scenery until the sun slipped off quitely behind the hill across the Kyle leaving behind a lovely orange glow.
Next morning the weather was just a lovely. I went up to Durness for some morning rolls and the paper and also went to see Martin for a permit to fish Borralie. Val decided we would just laze around the cottage and have a walk along to the Cape Wrath ferry and have a walk up the hills next to Loch Borralie. Then in the afternoon I at long last was going fly fishing on Loch Borralie. I made the short walk from the cottage up to Borralie passed what used to be the Cape Wrath Hotel but it's now call the CW Lodge. When I arived at the shore of this turqouise loch you would have been forgiven for thinking it was the sea such were the colours. I was surprised to meet a couple of old chaps preparing to go out on one of the boats that are moored at the south shore. I had a chat with them. One of them was local and the other was his friend. He told me it would be difficult and advised me where to fish. He said the loch was best fished in the evening just as darkness descends and to fish along the drop offs on the loch which were clearly visible about ten feet out. He wished me luck and they drifted off down the loch. I fished the east shore up to the Island casting my flies into the dropoff areas but I never rose a single fish. I next went along the south shore and up a short distance of the west but to no avail. Although I didn't contact any fish I really enjoyed myself in a beautiful location. As i was breaking off my leader and splitting my rod down etc I noticed a familiar figure coming over the hill towards me. It couldn't be couldn't it but it was. It was Val , my wife with a wee flask of coffee for me. We just sat on the shore of the loch for a while and I told her of my lack of success and how it was too windy too bright , too clear and how it would have been better to fish it with dark clouds and rain etc, you get the drift all the usual excuses.She just laughed as we made our way over the hill and back down to the cottage.
Next day we reluctantly went home.
Check back soon as I have loads of pics I want to share therefore I intend to put up a wee slide show with more pics from my trip.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Durness is Calling

There will be no further blog reports until Sunday at the earliest as I'm off up North again first thing in the morning. My destination is Durness. This time the missus will be coming alone, so fishing time will be limited to a couple of hours in the morning and the evening if all goes to plan. I am hoping to cast some flies on the famous limestone Lochs in the area. My accomodation for the next four or five days will be a tent so I hope the weather holds out. Looking forward to plenty fresh air, sunrises and sunsets. " The Man you are will know the Boy you were"

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Pike, Perch and Nae Troot.

Last night I visited a very grey, dreich and wet Hillend Loch. The Club was hosting the inter-club boat pairs competition between our club and the Clarkston Angling Club. It was a horrible night for the boat as the rain persisted all night and actually got worse as the night went on. I wasn't competing in the comp as I wasn't invited so I chose to fish from the bank on my own. I fished along the south shore all the way to the wee moss. Close to Bracco burn area I saw a couple of heavy splashes well within casing range so I cast my two flies over the increasing rippling rings. I got a half hearted attempt at my top dropper which was a Kate McLaren.I then had another cast, next there was another huge splash and I saw the glistening olive sheen from a big pike just below the surface then I had a fish on but the fish that grabbed my Kate was a little perch which I probably saved from the jaws of the pike as the big predator was obviously ambushing small perch. After a quick pic I released the perch . After a couple of casts I was into another fish this time a very small pike which grabbed my point fly which was a mini lure which I had only tied up before I went up to the Loch tonight. Five minutes later the mini lure was grabbed again, but this time the take was subsantial and my line got smashed. I brought my line in to inspect it and just as I thought it was a clean break which I believe was broken by the big pike I had seen minutes earlier. After tying on another fly I continued to fish on in the ever increasing heavy rain. I fished all along to the wee moss where I watched some of the guys out on the boats . They looked miserable. As I fished on I was thinking to myself that it would be nice to catch a trout to complete a treble of the Hillend species. That trout proved to be illusive and I gave up when the fishing stopped being fun because of the bloody rain.

Friday, 5 August 2011

New Hillend Angling Pavilion

I had a visit to Hillend tonight but not on fishing duty, I may do that tomorrow. I just went up to the Loch tonight to take some pics have a blether and see how the clubhouse was shaping up as there has been a bit of landscaping and tidying up been done recently. I was happy to see that the new timber Lodge has been erected It still has some work to be done to it but its looking in great shape. I think that the idea of the Timber Lodge or the Competition Pavilion as it may be called is fantastic as it will be used as a changing and drying facility for the anglers as well as a place for anglers to weigh their catches. This will be especially useful on competition days/nights etc. The facilities we now have at Hillend is exceptional and once again the Angling Club has to be congratulated on all the hard work that has been put in to take us to the level we are now at. Airdrie and District Angling Club has come along way since the days when we operated from a container at the Eastercroft Bay. As I was leaving tonight I felt a little guilty as some of the members were busy working, roughcasting walls and were about to start treating and painting the new pavilion etc. It's maybe time I started doing something for the club. The least I could do is perhaps assist in keeping the area around the Clubhouse etc free of litter etc. Aye, I think I will volunteer to do this.