Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Im getting restless!

Ive not been fishing now for a few months  but I'm beginning to get the urge again so hopefully i will have something tio report soon wether it be from a fishery or a grayling trip. With the way the weather has been recently I think the river will be ruled out for the time being.
In the meatime heres a few vids from the past year which I never got round to posting on here and which make me want to get out there again among the fresh air. Scott abrupt as ever , me solo on the loch at Hillend and Tam coming in for his tea. Happy New year! 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Old Flies-New Pics!

Since the brown trout fishing season has ended Ive only been out fishing once and my thoughts and attention have been elsewhere. As a result my blog has been somewhat neglected and the blog viewing figures are at an all time low.I'm not sure when I'll get out fishing again as the next few weeks are a very busy time for me but I do intend to get back into tying flies as that too has been neglected.. So do please keep checking back at the blog to see what patterns Ive been tying. In the mean time here are some of my old tyings with a different way of presenting them.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Tying Loch Flies.

Now that winter is well and truly here with the long dark nights Ive been tying most nights and filling up a new box. Here is an example of the Loch style I've been tying in all manner of colours and variations.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Always the bridesmaid


Today I had my first ever Black Loch Blank! Its got a certain ring to it eh? and a phrase I hope I don't have to use again.
Tam and I arrived about 8.30 this morning full of promise and advice on tactics etc from various regulars and were surprised to see so many cars and anglers in the car park. A fly fishing club called the Rainbow Warriors were having an outing there today. Apparently they are well known on the competition scene. Something I'm not very keen on.
They were all decked out with their best fishing suits, boat chairs and a ton of gear.
What I roll my eyes at is that most of them treat their fishing as a secret mission. They are never willing to pass on advice and even hide their fly patterns from view of  other anglers. They really are a competitive lot but amongst all the one-upmanship they do appear to enjoy themselves and are fairly successful too. So who am I to criticise.
Anyway I digress I'm just a crap angler who who enjoys going fishing. Today I tried various tactics and patterns all to no avail. Tam caught one nice fish a 25 punner. Anyone who fishes the Black Loch will know what I mean lol. Tam also had a few rises to his flies too. Tam's successful pattern was a wee cormorant.
I only found out last week that the Black Loch was open all year weather permitting. I just assumed that it closed on the 6th of October like most venues. If the weather doesn't turn too cold I will have another visit in November.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Four Traditional Wets

This week my spare room got revamped and I managed to get a new tying bench so I now have my tying gear etc permanently set up in the alcove of the room.
My tying materials are now all reorganised and neat and I now know where everything is placed and is easy to access.
So last night I tied a few patterns. As I haven't tied much recently and I do enjoy tying traditional wets, I tied these relatively easy patterns to get me started again. I suppose that the fly tying season is well under way now.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Last trout of the season

As yesterday was the last day of the trout season at my local loch I decided that I might as well have one last visit to Hillend yesterday afternoon.
So after watching some football I got prepared and went up to the loch to see if I could get a favourable result.
When I arrived at the loch I got chatting to a couple of anglers who were up north last week too and they were telling me all about their success.
I heard that a few fish were getting caught on the north shore but I opted to walk along the south shore to the Eastercroft bay and work my way back to the club house from there.
Before I started I boiled up an nice mug of curry soup then I started fishing from the jetty at the easterfcroft and worked my way round the cliffs past the next jetty just before the wee moss. It was then that I hooked and captured my last trout of the season. It was a rainbow, round about the 4lb mark and it was fooled by one of my cormorant patterns which I had on the point, I also had the obligatory Kate on my dropper.
I then worked my way along the south shore fishing from various points but without any further success.
I was probably the last fisherman on the the south shore as I reeled in my line, snipped off my flies and packed away my rod and reel.
As I looked along the shore, the loch did have that end of season feel to it and the old place looked in need of a rest as the water is very low at the moment and the banks are all muddy and messy looking.
It was not a bad way to end what was a mediocre season for me at Hillend.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Among the Hills

Unfortunately the Right Honourable Marquis of Linlithgow was unable to grant me and my friend Alex permission to fish one of my favourite lochs today as the trout season on this Noble loch finished on the 30th of September.
I was very disappointed when I found out about this on Friday afternoon as I was looking forward to end in the season in style at the Right Honourable gentleman’s loch.
It’s such a lovely loch and I have always did quite well when I have fished it in the past.
However all was not lost as when I last visited the loch in the summer Scott and I spoke to a fisherman when we were leaving and he told us of another smaller loch nearby which was rather good and had plentiful trout.
Alex and arrived among the hills this morning and headed up the hill to the wee loch. It didn’t take too long to arrive at it but when got to the brow of the hill our hearts sank as the loch was two thirds covered in weed.
However as we looked across the loch we saw a decent sized fish leap from the water and break the silence with an almighty splash then we saw a few more rises this time less dramatic but rises all the same.
We strung our rods and stealthily walked the banks and cast out lines as close to the weed beds as we dared.
We fished for a few hours but to no avail. I tried various flies as did Alex but still we never even raised a fish.
I decided to go for a walk up to the summit of one of the hills and have a seat and take in the lovely views. After a while I came back to the loch to join Alex and had another go at fooling the fish but we were the ones being fooled as although the fish were rising from time to time they remained elusive.
Reluctantly we decided give up and tramp back down to the car.
Although we never made contact with any fish it was great to be out and about tramping the hills and fishing.
I suppose I’m going to have to visit Hillend tomorrow afternoon to see if I can end the season with a fish.


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Still up North


Here are a few more pics from my end of season Stravaig last weekend.
The fishing was very difficult at times with the bright clear blue skies and when it was overcast there wasn't as much as a breeze for most of the day.
I had two fantastic day of catching trout and two days of not much trout action at all but it was fantastic to be tramping over the hills taking photographs surrounded by wonderful scenery.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Wild North West

John and I along with our Fishing gear, wine, beer, whisky and a couple of shopping bags of not so healthy food substances arrived at the  hostel around midday
There were only a handful of stravaigers in residence when we arrived. After settling in and unloading the gear John and decided to have a few hours up on the shoulder loch with the island.
We made good progress up the hill and across the heather and bog and were soon fishing and despite the bright sunshine and clear skies we caught a plethora of trout. It was great fun and a great start to the srravaig to be out on the hill with breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains and lochs stretched out before us.
After we exhausted ourselves we reluctantly had to leave the loch and head back down the hill and make the short journey back to the hostel. By this time more sravaigers had arrived.
A lovely meal was prepared for everyone by Vaughn which was washed down by numerous drinks by most. Much talk was talked and thereafter plans were made for the following day. It was fairly late when I hit the sack.
Next morning after a quick shower and a hearty breakfast I soon forgot how ever so slightly dehydrated I had found myself to be when I first woke up
An hour or so later I was afloat on a boat on Loch Veyatie with Paul and John while Alan and George were on another boat.
Paul took us to various drifts on the loch which he knew well and we all caught numerous trout.
We lunched on the most idyllic beach set in a glorious cauldron of hills. Then after lunch we moved up to the top of the loch where Veyatie is connected to Fionn by a short river I only raised a couple of trout here but caught another few trout from the loch, fishing from the bank. John and Paul tried a nearby lochan while George and Alan decided to move back down the loch.
I fished on my own for a wee while I waited my boat partners return. When they got back it was getting late so we made the long journey back down the loch to the boat moorings where we reflected on a most enjoyable day of wild trout fishing set in one of the most majestic surroundings that I have ever had the pleasure to fish.
It was late when we arrived back at the hostel. Alan was soon preparing his evening meal for us as well as organising the” Stravaig Quiz” After we all enjoyed his delicious soup Alan put on his imaginary quiz master jacket and compared the quiz which was won by Andy but everyone was a winner as there was a prize for all sravaigers.
After various drinks and nik naks it was off to bed, once again not so early.
When Saturday morning arrived I made a quick change of plan and went fishing with John and Paul. We picked up our permits from the Laide post office and headed for Mellon Charles. Paul showed off his off road driving skills as he took us deep into the hills until we could go no further. We were soon tramping over the heather and bog and arrived at the first of a series of four lochans. I had a poor few hours of fishing as I caught zilch while John had a similar experience but Paul caught a couple of trout.
In the afternoon we decided to move on to somewhere different. I fished a loch I visited last year while J and P went off up to a hill lochan. Once again I caught zilch but John and Paul fared better as fish of 1 1/2lb and 1 3/4lb were fooled.
Once back at the hostel were treated to a wonderful Chilli prepared and cooked by EK John Afterwards much blethering was done and I soothed the pain of a blank by sharing a bottle of malt with John. It’s amazing what a bottle of whisky can do as John let us all into a secret about the wonderful healing properties of Paraffin. I‘ll say no more!
It was very very late when my head hit the pillow.
Sunday arrived and I was a wee bit delicate but soon after breakfast and a few coffees I was fine and off out fishing in the warmest and sunniest day of the weekend. The fishing proved very difficult in the clear skies with the lochs looking like mirrors.
There were times during the day when I couldn’t be bothered fishing as it was just nice to sit around and lap up the weather along with the most amazing sea views from up on the hills.
I was lying on a rock when I heard the sound of a trumpet or a trombone waft across the moors. I recognised a couple of the hymns that were getting played so I assume it was accompanying the congregation in the nearby church.
We gave up on the these lochans as they appeared to be completely devoid of trout and walked over to the coast and made a most delightful walk with the sea at our side as we made our way back to our starting point.
We decided to have a go on the loch of the beastie and fished all the way round this easy accessible loch but it turned out to be nothing other than a Whimper Loch as I didn’t make contact with any of its inhabitants which I am assured it has plenty of.
So my weekend of fishing ended on a Whimper! Trout wise, but what a delightful and enjoyable experience it was in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
Back at the hostel we enjoyed a rather delicious curry served up by Fred with just a few drinks afterwards as I was rather tired and weary. It was reasonably early when I went to bed.
Monday morning arrived and after breakfast we said our goodbyes and made the long journey home. As I was driving along it suddenly hit me that the fishing season was almost over but you would never have thought it as it was like a brilliant summer’s day. It’s gonna be a long wait until March.

I will post more pics in the next few days as there is a great amount of them and its difficult to just showcase a few. Check back regularly to view

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Hillend Veteran and I

Today I arranged a day off work and met up with Hillend veteran Davie Graham.
Davie is a Hillend angler of great repute and a very experienced fly fisher indeed.
Last year Davie and his boat partner won the annual Hillend boat angling competition so I was looking forward to sharing a boat today with him and looking to tap into his vast knowledge and experience of fly fishing at Hillend as well as his knowledge of highland lochs.
Davie suggested we head straight up to the west of the loch at the dam and make our first drift of the day from there.
Davie set up with floating line with a Kate muddler on the point a butcher on the middle and a soldier palmer on the bob, while I tried a sink tip line with a lure on the point and a Kate on the top dropper.
Very soon Davie was into a fish, a nice brown trout which was fooled by the Kate McLaren Muddler. I persevered for a while longer with my set up but eventually changed to my floating line with a wet daddy and a Kate which to be honest is a much more enjoyable way to fish. I felt that I now had a good chance with this more comfortable set up.
But alas still the fish wouldn’t come to my flies even after changing them from time to time.
We tried various drifts all over the loch. The wind certainly increased as the day went on which was a bit troublesome from time to time.
After a few hours we went back to where we made our first drift and low and behold Davie fooled, hooked and I netted another brown trout for him which was deceived by an F Fly.
We fished on for another couple of hours without any further fish and decided at about 5pm to call it a day and head back to the club house for a coffee and a bite to eat.
I had a very enjoyable day on the loch despite not fooling any trout and I’m sure Davie did too.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A welcome Fish

As I said in my last blog post I haven't being fishing much recently, well since that last article that statement still remains the same. Well with the end of the season fast approaching I thought I had better make the most of the next few weeks so off I went to Hillend on Saturday morning for the first time in a while.
The weather was very pleasant as I walked along the south shore which looks in a terrible state as the water level at the moment is very very low. In fact its the lowest I've seen it in about ten years or so. It doesn't look its best with all the mud and bog showing. The above pic taken during the week form a hill to the south of the loch will give you an idea how low it actually is.
I stopped at the Eastercroft bay just round from the cliffs and sat for a while. I noticed a few fish splashing around so I made a few casts at them but to no avail. I fished on for a further few hours moving around a bit and trying various areas.
I then went back to where I started and once again I saw a few fish rise. I made a few casts at them and low and behold I hooked I netted my first Hillend fish for weeks. Not the prettiest fish but a welcome one all the same.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Black Loch Trout & Micro Perch


I've not had much to write about recently as I've not been fishing much. I was last out a couple of weeks ago at Hillend on the boat but my time on the loch was uneventful.
Therefore I was keen to get out today at the Black Loch. Alex and I arrived at the loch just before 5pm and when I went to the bothy to tell them I had booked a boat the chap asked if I was "aff ma heed" The reason for him questioning my sanity was perfectly reasonable as there was a fierce westerly blowing right down the loch. Regardless of the weather we went out on the loch with the hope of catching fish and the weather improving. Our hopes of the wind improving were fruitless as it persisted all night but our encounters with the fish were a little better.
Alex was first into a fish which took a Daiwl Bach but he lost the fish in the ensuing fight. It was a while later before I made contact with a trout I was fishing a big bushy Loch Ordie and a wet daddy when a trout was fooled by the daddy. The fish gave a good account of itself before succumbing to my net.
It was interesting to note that there wasn't any fly life around and come to think of it I never seen any so it was no surprise that I never seen any fish rising. I next caught a micro perch which was keen on my dabbler then the most exciting moment of the night happened as we were about to pack up and head back to the jetty. I decided to have a last few casts in the bay next to the boat moorings. Bang! A huge trout lunged at my flies and made off at a fair rate of knots it then leapt from the water and made an almighty splash! Blast! the damn thing broke my leader at the top dropper so once again another trout had taken a fancy for my wet daddy however this time the trout got to keep my fly as it disappeared into the depths.
Soon after it was getting dark and very cold so we called it a night.
It was great to get out fishing again and get some trout excitement. Its what makes me want to go back fishing time after time. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Friday night @ the Black Loch


Last night I made my long awaited first visit to the Black Loch. I had been meaning to fish this venue for a couple of months now after hearing all about the good reports from it although I had heard these last few weeks have been difficult, probably due to the high temperatures and bright sunshine.
Scott and I booked an evening session on the boat from 5pm to 10pm. We fished for a few hours trying different areas of the loch without success apart from one moment when Scott got a savage take and the fish broke his three fly cast.
It wasn't until around 9pm when the real fish action started. fish were heading and tailing and rising to various flies on the surface. We decided to gink up our flies and pull them across the surface but we soon realised that the trout seemed to like to have a go at them when we left them static on the surface.
We had numerous takes and rises to our flies for the rest of the evening, Scott was first to net a fish it took his dry sedge pattern with an almighty splash and the fight was on. The fish weighed in at an impressive 3lb.
Still the takes and rises continued until eventually I managed to hook and net my first trout from the Black Loch. The trout weighed in at 2lb and was fooled by a G&H Sedge fished static in the surface film. a short time after I hooked and landed my second trout of the evening another fish around the 2lb mark which was fooled by my dropper fly which was a daddy long legs. It was beginning to get dark when we decided to motor the boat back to base and report that the boat caught three fish, two for the Dabbler and One for the Tiddler.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Curse of the Tattie Bogals!

I knew that Skye is not a great fly fishing destination so was surprised when my friends decided on a few days away there this summer for our annual fishing trip.
Never the less, accommodation and fishing was booked so off we went leaving Lanarkshire early on Tuesday morning The drive to Skye was uneventful but as we approached our accommodation along the road between Carbost and Portnalong it was like a scene from the Wicker Man with Tattie Bogals lying at the side of the road and propped up on garden seats and even in a bus shelter. I was half expecting Lord Summerisle himself to welcome us at our digs and tell us that the apple harvest had failed.
Thankfully there was no sign of him but we did have a Tattie Bogal named Lily the Pink sitting outside our But n Ben for the duration of our stay.
Well something must have failed, apples or otherwise because the fishing was disappointing to say the least. So if you are reading this expecting to read tales of a great fishing experience turn off as there wasn’t much fishing action to write about.
On the day of our arrival we settled into our digs got organised fed and watered then travelled to Portree to pick up the permits and key for the boat to fish the Storr Lochs. On the drive from Portnalong we never saw much in the way of scenery as Skye is not named the misty Isle for nothing
The Storr Lochs are two lochs, Loch Fada and Loch Leathan connected together by a small burn set in a spectacular setting beneath the Old Man of Storr. The view from the loch might be one of the grandest but the fishing in stark contrast was probably the dourest I have experienced.
Tam had decided we would fish Leathan but when we arrived at the boat moorings the wind was whipping right down the loch at a speed that would have made going afloat far too dangerous. So reluctantly we had to abandon all notions of going out on the boat and decided to walk to an area where we could get the wind behind our back and fish from the shore. We fished for a few hours but the wind was playing havoc with our casting. Tam caught one small trout on a loch ordie and turned another two. I caught one trout but it got off as I brought it ashore and I had about another half dozen turns and takes. Scott didn’t even bother fishing he was just happy to sit on the bank and watch us struggle with the fishing. So that was Tuesday evening
 As we headed back to the digs we drove by the Loch Fadda and because of where it’s situated it wasn’t affected by the wind too much and actually looked very fishable so much so there was actually two boats out on the loch.
Next day we went sea fishing as all the boats were booked for the local angling club. So off we went to Neist Point on the recommendation of Tam. We walked into the mist to the lighthouse and down a steep track on the edge of the cliffs to various rocky locations. After a few hours we gave up none of us caught a single thing. I thought we were driving home but Tam and Scott had decided to turn left when I expected right and we arrived at sea loch called Poolteil. We set up with feathers as we were getting desperate for a fish. Tam caught two Coalies on his first cast but nothing else after several hours of fishing. I eventually caught three Mackerel and two Coalies. Scott had given up and was talking to a couple of divers who were camped nearby. Once we had scunnered ourselves with the fishing off we went again driving through the mist back to the digs and as we passed Carbost I suggested why not just fish from the small pier there as we might get some mackerel there. My idea fell on deaf ears. So it was back at the but n ben for a shower, dinner, drinks and bed.
Next morning Tam and Scott went off sea fishing, they said they would be back in the afternoon about three o clock as we intended returning to the Storr Lochs. After pottering about the digs I walked down to the jetty with my rod and some spinners on the off chance of a couple of mackerel. I then moved over among the rocks and much to my surprise I caught my one and only fish, a good sized Pollack. Not bad for about an hour’s fishing. Just as I was about to head back up the road to the digs a local fisherman returned from the sea with a few boxes of langoustines and crabs. It was good to get talking to a local bout the area and about fishing and the wildlife etc. I told him my friends were sea fishing down the coast a bit and he told me he had seen them and pointed out where they were. I thought it ironic when he told me the best place for mackerel around here was from the pier at Carbost, oh how I laughed to myself when I thought of my earlier suggestion to Tam and Scott which was dismissed. By now the weather was changing it was actually getting sunny and the mist was clearing. Happily I walked back to the digs with my capture. I sat outside enjoying the sun with a few glass of Morgan’s spice and the Mike Harding Folk podcast for company.
When the sea fishers came back it was another story of woe with just four Mackies and two or three coalies caught for several hours of fishing.
After dinner we set off for Portree to pick up the permits and key for the boat. I suggested that we fish Fada instead of Leathan but like many of my suggestions on this trip that idea was rejected and so once again we fished Leathan this time from the boat. The three of us got in the boat and motored up to the far end of the loch. The plan was for one of us to take turns at fishing from the bank while the other two fished from the boat. Scott was on the bank first and caught a trout right away which was fooled by a bibio. And so that was that no more fish were caught and we only saw a couple of rises. We fished until just before midnight and had to chase the ripple as the wind ceased near the end of the night.
Three very disappointed anglers returned to Portnalong that night. The trip was over I don’t think I’ll be back fishing on Skye. Next morning after breakfast we went home.
My big fear before going to Skye was the midges as I had a horrendous time there with them whilst on holiday a few years ago. This time I had no such trouble but I hadn’t contemplated the Curse of the Tattie Bogals!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Black & White Ordies

Off for a few days away on a Herbridean Fishing trip this week and as ever my mate Tam always wants me to tie some flies for him and it was no surprise to me that he wanted a Loch Ordie Variant. He must have a box full of Ordie variants because every time we go away that's what he wants . This time as you can see he wanted a black and white version.
And who can blame him for wanting  these patterns as every fishing trip we have went over the last few years these patterns appear to out fish all out other fly patterns. Here's hoping these will do the trick this time too.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Advantage! The Fish

Conditions weren't ideal in fact it was outrageously silly to be out fishing in the warmest day of the year at Hillend. As I walked across the jetty to prepare the boat I noticed  a big shoal of perch basking in the sunshine. Regardless of the blazing sun I went afloat at Hillend about 5pm and headed right up to the west end of the loch. It wasn't long before I got my first bite.... A bloody cleg bit me on the side of the face and it nipped.
I drifted down to the island but the drift was extremely slow as there wasn't much wind. Nothing doing in that drift I manoeuvred the boat over to the Eastercroft bay where I hooked and lost my only fish of the session. It was a brown trout of about 1lb in weight which was fooled by a wee silver bodied wet daddy but as I was getting my net ready to land him he managed to throw the hook, agggggh! but I'm counting it!
Encouraged I fished on for quite a bit in this area but I wasn't really drifting because of the lack of wind I just had to keep motoring the boat around until I decided to try somewhere else. But before I departed the Eastercroft bay I felt my line go heavy but something wasn't quite right because as I retrieved my line I knew this wasn't a fish. Would you believe that the day after a historic day at Wimbledon I hooked a decaying damn tennis ball! from Hillend Loch.I suppose I deserved that for fishing a lure! Advantage to the fish I got the hell out of there and went over to the Big Moss Hole by this time much to my surprise the wind had picked up a bit so I managed a good drift right down past the Shields burn but no success fish wise. I then tried various drifts at the back of the woods before trying the island in front of the woods. Before I finished I tried the boathouse bay but again without success. It was about 10.30pm when I hooked the boat to the jetty.
A very disappointing session in which I lost and hooked one fish and only saw about half a dozen rises which was surprising as there was quite an abundance of fly life around. Ah! well hopefully my trip to Skye next week will be more productive.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Junction 6 Spider

Today when I was at my work I came across this poor bird by the side of the road. I'm assuming its a buzzard , someone can correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway never one to let the chance of procuring feathers for the purpose of flytying I managed to fill a couple of zip bags. Here's the first fly I've tied from the feathers I found on the A8. I might as well name the pattern The Junction 6 Spider.

Monday, 24 June 2013

A plethora of trout

I didn't bother fishing Hillend over the weekend instead I had planned for a days fishing today. I was in two minds where to go today. In the end I opted for a lochan which nestles in a cleuch at over a thousand feet high on a familiar and popular Lanarkshire hill.
When I arrived I set up with a wet daddie and a Kate and right away I hooked into a trout which was fooled by the Kate.
It was surprising to note that there wasn't much fly life about and only saw a few rises. The wind at times made casting difficult but I kept on the move and managed cover the whole lochan.
I landed fish after fish but nothing of great size and the Jurassic trout I had come in search of proved elusive.I know they are there and will have to return soon to meet up with them.
In summary it was a wonderful day in a magnificent setting which felt like I was somewhere in the highlands.