Friday, 29 August 2014

The folk you meet!

Isn't it amazing and ironic how fate and coincidence sometimes collide and truely bring sense to the saying" its a small world."
Just at the start of the week I got a meesage from an old work colleague... Alex, who I hadn't met or spoke to for about 20 years so we got talking across the internet as you do about old friends from work and stuff. Just imagine my surprise when I went along to the football last Tuesday night at New Broomfield and my ticket and seat for the game was right next to Alex!
Then last month whilst up north and fishing Loch Borallie I met Andrew Hogg....A Scottish fishing guide now based in Vienna who was out on the loch with a couple of clients. Imagine my surprise whilst browsing the internet last night, I came across a video of "From field to Stream TV" which featured Andrew whilst he was fishing up north last month. The video gives a real feel for the wild brown trout fishing in the north of Scotland. It really is a small world!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sparkle Kate!

Those who know me are well aware that my favourite working fly is most definitely the Kate McLaren. Its also one of my favourites to tie too as its relatively simple and tied in a classic traditional Scottish wet fly style.
The traditional Kate has been with us since the 1940's but since it was first devised many variations have been created from the vices of many fly tyers.
I have tied quite a few variations myself but to my mind the variants are not any better than the original dressing.
However after a chance meeting with fishing guide Andrew Hogg recently on the shores of Loch Borrallie near Durness I had a look at his website and was intrigued by one of his fly patterns which he calls The Sparkle Kate. Andrew says its a great all round pattern and is rarely off his leader.
I really liked the look of this pattern and have decided to tie up a few which I intend to use at Hillend Loch in the next day or too.
The pattern is pretty much a basic Kate with crystal flash for a tail instead of pheasant crest and also the addition of a crystal flash wing. I think it looks great and will perhaps have that wee bit extra sparkle which will hopefully attract the attention of the trout.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Spectacular Durness continued!

I really could post hundreds of photos but that's not possible . Hope these give a feel for the fishing up there. I will post more pics tomorrow from some of the walks I did in and around the lochs and the coast.

Spectacular Durness!

It was remiss of me not to post up more pics of my recent Stravaig to the Durness area. I thought the concise slide show might just about cover the trip but after looking through my pics it would appear there are a few more pics worth displaying. The limestone lochs of that area have to be the most beautiful I have ever had the pleasure to fish. The water clarity and colours are amazing but to be honest they are very difficult to fish though.
I will put up some more soon.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Highland Flies

I really do like to tie big bushy fly patterns I call the flies I tie in this style my Highland Flies.Wild Highland trout love them too. They don't always take them first time as most times they have a splash at them then come back for another go. The trick is to stop retrieving them and wait for the trout to come back. However even though I have been told countless times by experienced anglers what to do I always get caught up in the excitement of that first splashy rise and more often than not keep retrieving. Sometimes it pays off but its more down to chance than skill I suppose. I often wonder why trout find these style of flies irresistible and 30 odd years later I'm still puzzled.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Back to Hillend

I went along to my local loch this afternoon for a couple of hours.
On arrival conditions were not ideal as the loch was a calm as a mill pond. However as I was stringing my rod etc a nice breeze picked up and produced a nice ripple on the surface of the loch.
I fished along the north shore and was soon into a nice rainbow trout which was fooled by my Doobry. I hooked another trout too but it got off just as I was about to land it. There were a few fish showing and I managed to get a few interested in my fly patterns as they made halfhearted splashy rises to them.
It was good to be back at Hillend after a break of a couple of weeks and get such a positive response from the fish on a few occasions this afternoon.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Durness Stravaig

Last week I went on my long awaited Durness Stravaig with a few mates.
I went up on the Saturday with auld Johnny Weir [he’s 80 you know] and recently retired local tackle dealer, while my two mates Scott and Tam came up on the Monday. We had booked a week at the Old Kyle Cottage on the Kyle of Durness.
The cottage is an ideal location for having a bash at the famous limestone lochs as well as a few other lochs and of course the sea too.
Johnny and I arrived on Saturday afternoon and got settled in. We didn’t do any fishing but went out for a walk along the sea front but didn’t linger too long as the rain came sweeping into the Kyle.
Sunday morning after breakfast I went for a walker round the Kyle coastal path to Durness taking many pics and then back to the cottage.
After lunch I walked up to Loch Meadaidh where I spent a couple of hours fishing and taking in the wonderful views, Oh I caught a few small brown trout which seemed to like my Connemara Black point flee.
Back at the cottage after dinner Johnny and I chucked a few spinners into the sea but had no luck and soon gave up and settled in for the night.
On Monday morning my two mates arrived. Later in the afternoon we fished Borallie but to no avail. We went up later in the evening and I caught one small trout on the Kate and tempted a few other small fish to my flies but no other trout were caught.
We booked a boat on Caladail on the Tuesday Auld Johnny didn’t fancy it as the wind was rather strong so I went out with Scott on the boat while Tam went solo.
We had a couple of drifts but the wind was hellish and I never really felt as if I fished it properly. We moored up on the island and had a few cast around it but couldn’t tempt anything. We then had another drift and rowed ashore by one of the dykes and sat around a while. Then we started fishing from the shore that was when Scott hooked and landed his magnificent Caladail brown trout which was fooled by a Mallard and Claret.
We fished on but no further trout were fooled.
Johnny headed back south on Wednesday morning he was going to have a further few days at his Caravan at the Tummell Valley site. Tam Scott and I had a drive around with Tam and Scott looking out for some good sea fishing spots.
In the afternoon I went for a walk up over the hill at the back of the cottage and visited some of the archaeological sites around Borallie. I never fished on the Wednesday but Tam and Scott fished the Kyle and had some bass and a few small sea trout.
On Thursday Tam and Scott went sea fishing. I got dropped off at Balnakeil and walked down to Croispol. I fished along the east shore and then walked down to the old ruined school and sat up on a grassy knoll and had lunch. It was then I noticed another fisher taking out a boat and fishing the shore that I had just fished. I sat around a while just taking in the magnificent views then decided to walk over to Botallie. I fished the entire length of the west shore where I met three anglers. I got talking and it turned out one of them was a fishing guide who had too Austrian guest with him. I had an interesting chat with him and fished on I caught one half pounder which I lost at my feet, had a few takes and also got some half-hearted splashes at my flies. After fishing the west shore I walked back to the cottage. I then had dinner and watched Tam and Scott fish the estuary for a bit I then headed back up to Borallie where I caught a nice trout which was fooled once again by the Kate.
On Friday Tam and I went out on the boat at Borallie but had no success but I bet the otter we encountered didn’t blank!
In the evening Scott and I went over to Caladail for a couple of hours but no trout were encountered.
On Saturday we came home.
I had a fantastic time in an area of Scotland that I think is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed my walks around the coast and in an around and up over the hills etc. The fishing was difficult to say the least. The accommodation was first class. The weather was mixed but that is to be expected in that part of the country. I wouldn’t rush back to fish the limestone lochs as they are just too difficult and you need a lot of patience but I will be back there for a holiday with the fishing a secondary notion. I just love the feel of the place and the pace of life up there.