Monday, 29 April 2013

Hillend Rescue Boat Capsized!

I had the day off work today so I was looking forward to a day of fly fishing up at the loch. However when I got to the loch my fishing plans were scuppered as a ferocious wind was blowing from the west right down the loch and the weather forecast was suggesting that the winds were to get even stronger. Our club have an anemometer for measuring wind speed and its was showing 34mph. Fly fishing would have been impossible in these conditions. So I hung about the clubhouse and sat in my car for a bit listening to some recently downloaded angling podcasts while I looked over the loch with the wind battering down the loch. The boats were getting hammered with the wind and were bobbing up and down violently despite the presence of a boom to protect them.
I must have taken my eyes away from the boats for a few minutes when I heard a shout then a few lads came running out the clubhouse. It was then I noticed that our club’s rescue boat had capsized and was lying completely upside down. Thankfully nobody was in it. The lads managed to haul the boat into the jetty and secure it but there was no chance of getting it turned over manually. Next one of the rowing boats broke from its moorings but was soon hauled ashore as it was forced into the lochside by the wind.
I’m not sure how they will get the boat upright but I imagine some sort of pulley system will have to put in place. The boat will be ruined I would imagine as all the electrics etc. will need replaced.
The loch looked like the sea today although it was dramatic to look at it’s just a pity about the mishap with our boat.
They will now attempt to recover the boat when the gale force winds cease later tonight.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

More Pesky Hillend Predators

I went up to the loch on Saturday afternoon as I reckoned the brisk westerly wind would be ideal for fishing from the big moss. I looked down from the club house with the binoculars and noticed that the moss was heaving with folk, It looked like a whole angling club was fishing down there. So I decided to take a walk down the south shore and see if there was any space to fish along the way. I had a few casts at the Big Stane, the wee moss and the cliffs but never touched a thing.
As I walked back to the clubhouse I decided that after a coffee and a bite to eat I would drive round to the north shore and try my luck there.
I had heard that there was plenty trout getting caught down by the Shields burn but with me in my wellies due to my waders being busted and in need of a replacement my fishing was somewhat restricted so I opted to fish once again from the piece of moss that juts out to Spiers island.
With the wind at my back I proceed to cast up and down the squelchy moss.
As I fished away I knew I was more likely to catch pike than trout as the habitat here is perfect for the Hillend predators.
As expected I hooked and landed pesky pike and just as Iain was netting the first fish for me another pike made an attack at the hooked fish. What a sight and a commotion that was as the big greedy pike missed out on his meal. Soon after I caught another pike. I have to admit that although I was fishing for trout I rather enjoyed the fight with these two predators as they fought fearlessly and violently as they took great long runs ripping line of my reel at great speed. I was actually surprised that they never snapped my line as I was using my usual 4lb mono leader material. Maybe I should actively set out to catch these beasts? Nah! I prefer to catch trout. I really need to get those waders repaired or replaced.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Great Expectations & Sedges

Phryganea Grandis is not a name many at Hillend will be familiar with as I’m probably correct in thinking that Latin is not the first language of your average angler in the Airdrie and District Angling Club.
This grandiose and very scientific sounding name belongs to the creature which is the largest of all the caddis flies in the British isles and which starts life in the weed, stones, mud and silt on the floor of the Loch.  I’m of course referring to the Great Red Sedge or to give its colloquial name The Big Sedge. Here at Hillend we tend to be unimaginative in the naming of everything in these environs for example  our topography includes the Big Moss, The Big Stane, The Big Hoos, The Big Island and of course Big Robbie.
The Big Sedge life cycle starts when the larvae emerge from their eggs two weeks after they have been layed. The larvae then make a cylindrical case around their bodies from a variety of materials such as minuscule pieces of grit and decaying weed etc. from the bottom of the loch.
The sedge exists in larvae form for almost a year then it emerges from its cocoon and develops into a pupae and then swims to the surface to complete its metamorphosis and hatch into adult sedge.
It’s at his stage when the fun begins for the Hillend anglers.
The Big Sedge makes it annual appearance at our loch in the Month of June. The great abundance and hatches of these creatures at Hillend has led to many memorable nights of fishing for our club members as the trout which inhabit our water cannot resist this easy food source and are often fooled by our artificial flies.
The hatches of the Big Sedge occur at night and reach their peak just as its getting dark. In the early evening you will encounter the odd sedge here and there but it’s usually late when the real action starts and the big wild brown trout leave the safety of their shady rocks and boulders and make a dash and a leap at the skittering sedges as they make their way across the surface of the water.
There are many fly patterns that imitate the sedge; the most commonly used sedge pattern at Hillend is the muddler or the famous G&H sedge. As I tie my own flies I tend to experiment and try out my own variations of patterns. For example I tie up various balloon caddis, sedge hogs, cdc sedges and many more. Of course standard wet patterns such as Invictas, Cinnamon and Gold and various dabblers can also be successful.
So far I have painted a picture of the month of June at Hillend as a time when an angler cannot fail to fool the trout at the loch.
Of course this is not true. A lot is dependent on the weather conditions. On some occasions the sedge won’t even make an appearance especially if it’s cold and windy. Even when they do hatch in abundance it can often be a frustrating time as sometimes the trout will completely ignore the artificials and gorge themselves on the real insects.
Years of experience have taught me to expect the ups and downs of fishing at Hillend. It’s what makes my interest of fly-fishing so compelling and what drives me to go back time after time.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pesky Hillend Pike

On a few recent outings at the loch I have encountered a few of the truly wild Hillend fish. I'm talking of Hillend Pike of course. The latest capture was this afternoon when I returned once again to the north shore. I briefly hooked into a trout but he managed to shake off my fly but an hour or so later a bloody pesky pike took a fancy to one of my newly tied Dancers which in the ensuing ferocious fight ruined my fly completely as it tried desperately to avoid the inevitable photo shoot!
I wouldn't like to estimate the weight of this fish as I 'm not really familiar with these predators. I know its a tiddler in comparison to some of the pike in Hillend but if someone would like to to give me an estimate I would be thankful

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Hillend Dancer

I went up to the loch this afternoon just as the football results were coming in as on a Saturday at Hillend its always  far too busy for my liking. So I wait until the final whistles are getting blown all over the country as most of the day ticket anglers usually make their way home for their tea round about this time.
So it was off to the North Shore I go! happily I drove along the Crossrigg Road me an my wee pal jock! I arrived at the car park and was surprised to note that there was only a couple of cars present.
It wasn't too surprising as the strong south wind was hammering the north shore. It made the fishing extremely difficult indeed . Regardless I ventured over to the area I was so successful in earlier in the week. The wind was playing havoc with my casting so I opted to fish just the one fly, a Hillend Dancer which I had tied up earlier in the day. My Hillend Dancer is based on the very successful series of lures which were devised and originate from Newmills Fishery near Lanark. They come in all colour combinations. This one I tied is a variation of the yellow dancer which has a great reputation for taking fish at Hillend and I presume elsewhere too.
I'm afraid I wasn't very successful this afternoon. My only capture was a small jack pike which was fooled by my Hillend Dancer.It led me a merry dance as it darted among the abundant weed in this area of Hillend. After a brief struggle I got him to my feet but as I prepared to net him he shook his head violently and was off into the depths once again. Therefore no pics folks, but I hope you like the pic of the successful lure.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A 7lb Hillend Rainbow Trout

Went to the North shore today at Hillend for the first time this season. It was blowing a gale when I arrived. So I sat the car for a bit and had a wee nap then some soup and a bite to eat.. Then when the wind calmed down I ventured out onto the Big Moss Hole. There was actually some fly life in evidence and the wind wasn't cold at all. After about an hour of fishing I caught this 7lb rainbow which was amazing to watch as it leaped from the water trying to throw my fly. It was fooled by one of my gold beaded black lures. I fished on for another hour and a half or so as there were some fish showing in this area. Unable to fool anymore fish I gave up and walked back to the car then went back round to the clubhouse to get the fish weighed... 7lb exactly. A member of the committee told me it must have been one of last years fish as there haven't been any fish that size stocked this year. Fair to say I was very pleased this afternoon.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Dangers of Fly tying

I cant believe it .This is my long weekend off and I haven't been fishing yet. I hope to rectify that tomorrow.
I did go up to the loch tonight but didn't bother fishing as it was rather windy and cold and decided maybe tomorrow would be a better idea.
So tonight I have been tying a few flies. Ive been tying the usual trad wets as well as some North Country Spiders with the new hooks I purchased the other day whilst visiting the GAC.
When I got home I looked at the packet of hooks I and couldn't believe the warning that was printed on the packet. lol. I never realised that fly tying could be such a dangerous pastime.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Last cast of the day

I went up to the loch a bit late today as there was a comp in progress. I waited until the entrants were heading for the clubhouse to weigh in their catch etc before I ventured onto the loch. I made for the boathouse bay. I fished there for some time without success so I decided to head back to the car but on the way back I stopped to have a few final casts from the north shore of the narrows . After a couple of casts I was into a trout. It gave me a good fight. When I was unhooking and photographing the fish, two chaps [ I could call them something else but there maybe children reading this] came along and plonked themselves into the area I had just caught the fish from and proceeded to cast spinners into the loch. I was going to say something to them but I just shook my head, laughed and went back to the car. Some folk need to learn angling etiquette. The trout was fooled by my dropper fly which was a cloaked bibio dabbler I tied recently.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Hillend Predator

Off I went up the loch this afternoon at about 2 o'clock in what looked like a nice spring day. When I got there the wind was blowing in a westerly direction but it was still very cold especially for this time of year.
I decided to try my luck somewhere along the south shore so off I walked along the cycle path. On my way down the track I met three desperate characters from my work who had packed up and were making their way back to the clubhouse. I spoke briefly to them and it emerged that they had been drowning maggots and worms as well as catching five trout between them.
I continued on my way down the south shore until I reached the Eastercroft Bay. I set up with a Humungous lure on the point and a bibio cloaked dabbler on  the dropper which I tied up last night after watching Davie McPhails latest tying demo.
I spent some time in the bay but nothing was doing so waded round to the area that we at Hillend call the cliffs. After a short time there  hooked into a fish, It had taken the point fly, but I knew right away that this wasn't a trout. I experienced that familiar jag, jag and boring down thing that they do,then after a short fight I brought him to the surface. You've probably guessed by now that it was a pike! yep one of the Hillend Predators. It wasn't a monster just a jack.
I continued on fishing and moved onto the wee moss but without anymore success. As I made my way back to the clubhouse I stopped at the Big Stane and waded into have one last chance. It was then that I felt that dreaded sensation of my right foot getting cold as my boot appeared to be filling with water. Yes, I discovered my waders have a leak. I will let them dry overnight and inspect them in the morning to see where the water is getting in. I sense this is going to cost me as I will probably need new waders.

Monday, 1 April 2013

No fish fooled today!

I would have been foolish not to take the opportunity of fishing for a few hours up at the loch today on this the first day of April.
It looked very pleasant this afternoon when I drove up to the loch and I commented that it looked and felt like a nice spring day.
On arrival at Hillend it was anything but as a bitter east wind was blowing down the loch and there was still a fair bit of sow still lying at the back of the woods and over at the mound.
I squelched my way through the woods today as I had decided I would try my luck at Lowe's Bay and the Mound area. All  to no avail as I never connected with any fish at all, not even a take.
The water was particularly cold today and the air temperature was very low. I had to take several breaks today to recover from the freezing conditions and get the feeling back in my fingertips. It really was icy cold up there today. So no fish today I hope you enjoy the pics of the Hillend environs