Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Big Sedge!

June evenings at Hillend can mean only one thing. The Big Sedge is on the loch. Hit the loch on the right night in the month of June and you could be in for a memorable night of fishing as the trout love these meaty insects. Thats if they can beat the gulls to them!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

River Clyde today!

This morning I fancied going down the Clyde Valley to fish the river for trout. I wasn't sure if it would be fishable as there had been a huge spate over the weekend. Apparently there were good numbers of salmon in the river due to the unseasonal spate.
My season ticket for the Clyde doesn't cover me for migratory fish and when I arrived at the river it was obvious that I wouldn't be fishing at all as the water was still fairly high and very coloured. The conditions were right for some though as there were about eight cars parked at Mauldslie. I left the salmon anglers to it and moved onto Crossford.
When arrived I didn't see any anglers but there was a couple of cars parked up. The water was gushing through the bridge and although you cant see the colour of the water properly in the vid clip because of  the low tech camera I can assure you it was chocolate brown. I thought about driving down to Abington as I reckoned the river wouldn't be so coloured down there but decided just to head back to Airdrie and fish Hillend where I spent a couple of hours on the north shore where the highlight was catching a couple of bloody perch on a muddler!


Sunday, 24 June 2012

And it stoned me to my soul!

Scott and I departed North Lanarkshire on Friday morning amidst monsoon like weather listening to Van Morrison on the car cd player. I was sure I saw animals leave the surrounding fields two by two as we approached Auchenkilns.  Argyle was our destination to spend three days camping and fishing for wild trout. I was looking forward to getting away for the weekend as we both have been getting discontented by our local loch recently so a wee bit of rain wasn’t going to stop us from going.

We arrived in Taynult about midday and would you believe the weather looked quite favourable. We purchased our fishing permits from the local store and then drove off up the single track road to our desired location.  A great network of forestry roads got us off the main road then it was just a matter of looking out for a suitable camping spot close to the first loch we planned on fishing.

We set up camp in a lovely location with great views of the surrounding mountains and hills. So far the weather was kind.  After everything was organised we wondered up the track to have a look at the lochs we planned on fishing in the evening. It was a pleasant walk in the sunshine with great views of Cruachan looking majestic to the north east.

By now were getting hungry so we made our way back to the camp for our dinner which I was looking forward to as Scott fancies himself as a bit of a cook and had prepared a beef Korma which he had prepared and froze the night before.  It was heating up nicely in the pan when Scott announced that he had forgotten the rice. It was just as well we had remembered the prawn crackers which we scooped up the delicious korma with.

After dinner we had a couple of malts and discussed flies and tactics for the evening and scoffed at those who had told us we were “aff oor heeds to go away in that weather”  It was so satisfying to be out in the wilds and taking in everything around us.

We had quite a panoramic view to the east and we could see that there was a change in the weather coming but  we just hung around for a while making the most of the weather before it changed then decided it was time to go fishing.

By the time we reached the lochan the black clouds and rain arrived and we were treated to some thunder and lightning which I hate because I’m really just a big fearty. I sat my rod and reel down among the grass as I didn’t fancy swinging a ten foot carbon lightning conductor about in the air with all that electricity around.

It didn’t take long for the thunderstorm to pass but it did rain off and on for the rest of the night The lochan is situated from left to right in a north easterly direction. We began fishing at the south east end and fished all the way along the shore to the north east end.  The midges were out in great abundance and proving an irritation. The best midge avoidance tactic was to wade out a bit from the shore and apply the A.S.S.S. and a midge net.

The first trout came soon and was fooled by a size 12 mini muddler. I had a size 12 Kate on the dropper but the trout didn’t fancy her. There was a decent wee ripple on the lochan but the wind changed frequently and sometimes the surface would be fairly calm so I decided to downsize the flies and put on two size 14 spider patterns. The point fly had a dark claret seals fur body with a silver holographic rib and dark claret hackle and the dropper was a ginger seals fur body with a gold rib and red game hackle. The trout preferred the ginger fly.  As I was not getting a response to the claret fly I reverted back to the muddler and continued for the rest of the evening with the muddler on the point and the ginger spider on the dropper.  I caught six or seven trout dropped a few and had numerous rises and takes to my flies.

It was late when we reached the north east end of the lochan.  We decided it was time to get back to the tents as we were soaked and the midges were absolutely hell. The fishing had been enjoyable and although the trout were fairly small it was very exciting as they grabbed the flies very aggressively and it was also delight to watch them come for the flies. It’s so much more pleasing when fishing for trout when the takes are visible.

By the time we had walked over the hill back to the tents we were like two drowned rats. We hurriedly changed out our fishing gear and packed away our bags etc as the midges were having a feast so we dived into our tents to escape them.  We spoke to each other through the tents not daring to unzip the tent door. It soon went quiet, Scott fell asleep, but the silence didn’t last for long as he snored like a pig for most of the night. That coupled with the rain hammering down on the tent all night meant that I had a  restless night.

When morning arrived the rain was still pouring down although we were dry in the tent the conditions outside were entirely different everywhere was saturated and it looked as if the weather wasn’t going to change. We chose to sit in the car for a while and decided what to do next. We had planned on fishing another couple of lochans but we didn’t even want to venture out the car to make a breakfast such was the rain. It was agreed we would have to abandon the fishing as it just wouldn’t be pleasant fishing in the current conditions.

We chose to drive to Oban for breakfast, wandered around town, had a crab sandwich then drove home where the weather had improved.  Although our weekend didn’t go according to plan it was still great to get in one night of real wild fishing and it stoned me to my soul.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Cheesy Trout!

A number of years ago while fishing in the North West Highlands My friend Scott and I stopped off at a bothy for the last night of our weekend fishing expedition. There were two English lads staying there also and they too were fishing the nearby rivers and lochs.  

We arrived about 9 pm, got talking flies and tactics and told them of our exploits with the trout on the nearby lochs then set about cooking our well-earned dinner. They appeared to be very decent and knowledgeable blokes. We offered them some food for Scott as ever had made generous helpings of his special macaroni cheese. They said they would love to but they were keener to get out fishing and that they'd get a bite to eat on their return.  So off they went chasing troots into the night. A little later, two Munro baggers arrived, very tired and foot sore. They weren't that chatty - too tired really, and one just sat down whilst the older one made dinner. Afterwards, the younger one was moaning about the blisters on his feet and his mate suggested soaking them in hot water and germoline. They got this mixture going in their pan but then found it too small to put their feet in. Looking around, they saw an old frying pan hanging by the fire and poured the liquid into that and took turns soaking their feet. A short time later, they announced they were turning in for the night. They gave the pan a quick rinse and put it back.

Scott and I just hung around after dinner lit the fire, shared a bottle of fine malt and enjoyed the afterglow of fantastic day fishing among magnificent Highland scenery. It was about 1 am when the hungry English fishermen arrived back at the bothy. They had a very successful night on the loch and had caught countless amounts of hard fighting wild brown trout and had kept a couple for their supper.

Scott and I gave wry smiles to each other as we watched the lads gut their trout then
happily cook their freshly caught trout in the frying pan on the open fire. Faced with the snap decision of whether to say something or keep quiet, I kept quiet! They kindly offered Scott and I some fish but we declined on the premise of being full of pasta. I’m not sure whose meal tasted the most cheesy!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Tying for Fun!

Tonight the weather here at H Dabbler HQ is what I recogognise as Flytying weather. The Loch can wait for another night. Tonight I was inspired after watching the well known Ayrshire flytyers latest vid. I started off with the idea of copying his latest pattern but I have neither the skill or the materials so I went for the easy option and this was what I created. I have no idea where to fish it , how to fish or when to fish it. I only know that I fair enjoyed tying it.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Broke at Thankerton Bridge

It was my bi weekly Monday off at the start of the week so rather than visit the loch I'm currently scunnered with I decided to head south down the Clyde to the Thankerton area. I arrived at the Bridge parked up and strung my rod. Before walking down to the river I stopped for a few minutes to watch the river from the bridge. I could see some fish rising to up winged flies. So off I went down to the waters edge. I made a couple of casts and was surprised to get a tug right away on my deer hair emerger. Encouraged I made a few more casts but caught the shrubs on the back cast. I walked towards my snagged line and gave it a gentle tug but to my astonishment I snapped my rod. It was a clean break close to one of the rod eyes. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. I stormed back to the car cursing at my stupidity. On the drive back to Airdrie I decided that as well as taking my rod to the Airdrie Angling shop to get repaired I thought that my misfortune would be a good excuse as any to get a new rod too. I was glad to hear that Johnny will be able to repair my rod which I will now keep as a spare as I argued with my conscience and got a new rod too

Monday, 11 June 2012

Scunnert at Hillend.

As it says above, after the last two nights at the loch I am completely scunnert with Hillend. Last night I decided I would enter the fly fishing comp at the loch. We have them every Saturday night in June from 7pm until midnight. Its only £2 to enter. Years ago I used to be a regular at these events with my two pals Alex and Colin and enjoyed moderate success. I haven't entered the comps for a number of years now and last night I was reminded why I don't enjoy them anymore. At one point last night I was fishing in the boathouse bay with nine other anglers and every other spot I fancied fishing was taken up too. It was far too busy and for me this isn't proper fishing. The weather has been hell at Hillend recently too with constant easterly winds. There were twenty six anglers in the comp and only four fish were caught the whole evening.
Tonight I was out on the boat with Scott and as usual we were faced with a cold easterly wind. Needless to say neither of us caught any trout. We retired early and got back into the clubhouse for soup and a roll along with a good wee blether with Davie and spoke of better days and times. Davie told us not to worry as its all down to the unseasonal weather. You know what ? I believe him.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Kate does it again!

It was about half past seven when I reached the point of the woods last night. As has been the case when I have visited the loch recently an easterly wind was blowing down the loch. I sat on the bench stringed my rod and set up my cast which was as usual a Kate on the dropper and a pattern I tied up in the afternoon on the point. The point fly was a an unotrthadox pattern. It was tied up with the big sedge in mind. Normally I would use a muddler a G7H sedge or one of my various cdc patterns to pull across the surface. The problem with these patterns is that eventually they begin to sink under the surface but the fly and I use the term loosely that I tied for this occasion floated like a cork. It would have fly dressers turning their noses up at it as it was just dyed hares ear fur for a body with a piece of foam tied along the back in segments. Anyway I waded out to the pole and started casting. Needless to say nothing was interested in any of my flies I came back ashore had a rest then had a few casts to the side of the point. Quite soon I had some interest in the point fly as it skirted across the loch but it didn't take then a short time later I managed to hook and land a trout but it didn't take the foam fly it took the Kate. I continued on for the rest of the night with the same flies but nothing came to them.Here is a a couple of pics of the not so pretty trout and the foam sedges. So it still remains to be seen if my new pattern will be successful I suppose I will maybe just have to try again tonight.