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.

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