Thursday, 8 October 2015

Float On !

I had another outing on the tube last weekend, this time at Hillend's neighbouring loch the Lily!
I wasn't as successful as my first time afloat as I didn't catch any fish , however it was great fun to be out in the tube. I was really surprised that I could manoeuvre all over the 60 acre loch without any trouble. Perhaps I spent too much time moving around and maybe should have concentrated my efforts in some areas a little longer. I suppose I was just getting to know the tube and how to handle it etc, it was  great  to try in at the dam as well as square bay, Scunners point, the big weedy bay and all down the south shore. I could have done with a trout though. 
However I wasn't downbeat, far from it in fact I'm rather excited about the possibilities with the tube therefore I'm going to have another visit with the tube to the Lily this weekend as the Lily stays open until the end of October.
The Lily may be open for a further few weeks but the official 2015  brown trout fishing season has now ended but I'm already excited about getting out on the tube next season to some hill lochs that I would like to visit but in the mean time the Lily will do for the next few weeks.  

Friday, 2 October 2015

A Loch Revisited.

The day after my first experience of Armchair fishing I was once again out  pursuing Brown Trout, however on this occasion it took a lot more effort to catch my quarry.
I visited a lochan west of Rannoch Moor for the first time in a number of years along with my friend Scott.
We had a cold foggy start to the day and it definitely felt like autumn but as the day progressed the temperature started to rise.
After a walk of 1 3/4 hours we arrived at this remote loch which is set in a spectacular location surrounded by a group of Munros.
Before we strung our rods the sound of roaring stags could be heard echoing around the mountains.
It was obvious that the fishing would be difficult as there wasn't a breath of air and the surface of the loch was like a sheet of glass.
However during our time there a slight breeze would appear intermitently throughout the day but these spells didnt last long.
Fishing was tough but we did manage to fool around half a dozen trout each with Scott getting the catch of the day with a small plump Perch.
Big and bushy flies were the order of the day. We missed a lot more fish than we caught which was fun but frustrating too, The fish werent very big and never even reached the 1/2 lb mark. 
The trout may have been mediocre but the scenery was absolutely first class. I dont think Ive ever fished a loch with such spectacular surroundings.
We were leg weary and tired after making the long walk back to the car. Although we were thirsty and hungry after such a long day we deliberately avoided the chippy in Tyndrum and waited until we arrived in Callander to refresh and regale ourselves.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Armchair Fishing

I was keen to get out on my recently purchased float tube so arranged through a fishing friend to get some tuition on a Perthshire Lochan.
I met up with Vaughan at Braco and then after packing all my gear into his car we drove up through the Perthshire countryside to a couple of lochs which Vaughan assured me would be ideal for a novice float tuber.
We stopped off at the first loch and ran through everything I needed to know he then attached a rope to my tube and set me of out onto the loch. After learning how to manoeuvre etc I was keen to be set of the leash to start fishing.
Therefore we moved onto another loch where Vaughan said I could be in for a few surprises , so told me to be prepared.
We noticed that fish were dimpling at various areas all over this loch so expectations were high and we were both keen to get afloat.
So off we went and I found it surprisingly easy to move up the loch the only trouble I had to start with was controlling turning left and right but soon found a technique to do this which suited me.
Vaughan was first into trout with two nice trout fooled by his beetle pattern which I suggested to him he should call Ringo.
I had a few offers before I managed my first trout. Vaughan was correct, I was indeed most surprised as my first trout from the float tube was a hard fighting rainbow trout.
It has to be said it is an absolute pleasure to fish from the tube. I couldn't believe how comfortable it was as it was like flyfishing from a big comfy armchair.
I caught a further two trout which were once again very fine conditioned rainbow trout.
Vaughan caught a couple of brown trout and a couple of rainbows too.
It was so relaxing sitting on the tube and fishing areas which wouldn't normally be able to be fished due to soft banks and weed.
It's just a pity I've been introduced to this style of fishing at the tale end of the season as i really enjoyed myself and can't wait to get out on the tube again.
I can't thank Vaughan enough for taking me to these lochs and instructing me on how to get the best out of float tubing.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Great Outdoors

My flytying has been curtailed of late due to my sister in law temporarily taking over my tying room whilst  living with us until she moves into her new house.
However today I managed to get outdoors into the garden and tie a few patterns on the garden table with a nice cold beer close to hand.
It has to be said the light was absolutely tremendous which I believe is a very important factor whilst tying. The natural light really assisted me outdoors today so maybe tying al fresco is something I should consider doing more often. I doubt my hands couldn't cope with the cold during January and February whilst in the depths of winter though.
It was very enjoyable to be at the vice again to tie my favourite style of patterns. 
With the end of season fast approaching I'm very keen to get out over the next couple of days to use these flies and make the most of what's left of the brown trout season.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Hillend Naturals

Last weekend I was out on the boat at Hillend most probably for the last time this season with the Hillend Veteran Davie Graham.
We didn't do too well. Not for us were those rainbow trout that are stocked every week , oh no!
We hooked up with "Hillend Naturals"
I fooled two wee natural brown trout with a doobry on my top dropper however I only managed to handle one of them as the first one got away.
Davie managed to land a pike.
It was rather disappointing not to see any trout activity on the surface as conditions did look perfect.

Monday, 21 September 2015

What a tube!

Whilst on my recent trip to the Outer Hebrides a few of the guys were fishing on float tubes. 
At the après fishing back at our accommodation it transpired that a good number of the Stravaigers have used tubes from time to time and encouraged me to try it out.
A discussion about float tubes and their merits transpired over a few beers , and wine etc 
I always fancied the notion of using one but was unsure as the big appeal to me about fly fishing is the simplicity of it all therefore to take loads of extra gear might be rather off putting.
I decided that I would think about getting one over the winter and have a look into it.
However a full kit bargain was brought to my attention at the weekend by a fellow Fisher who noticed it for sale on line. 
Included in the kit was a life jacket, fins, boots, paddle, net, pump, rod holders and even a few fly patterns.
I was advised that this was a wonderful bargain therefore  on Saturday evening my son drove me down to Stevenston in Ayrshire to collect the gear.
I'm now the owner of a Caddis Nevada Gold float tube. Now for the hard  bit.  Getting in it and learning to use it.,
Fortunately one of my fishing aqauintences has offered to take me to a loch in the next couple of weeks to show me how to use it and hopefully catch a few trout into the bargain.
If anyone would like to suggest any lochs for me to try tubing  or indeed offer any float tubing advice please do get in touch through the usual sources. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

South Uist Stravaig 2015

That's the 2015 Wild Fishing Forum EOS Stravaig to South Uist over for another year.
I've now experienced a few of these get togethers and have to say this has been the most enjoyable of the lot.
Paul has to be congratulated for planning and organising the whole trip and I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone when I say it was very much appreciated for without all the planning and ground work  to such a remote location this would never have ran so smoothly.
Andy is also to be lauded for all his advice and knowledge of the Uists too.
The accommodation, meals and après fishing were first class as was the company of all the Stravaigers who travelled from the North South East and West.
The fishing was fantastic all be it little tough especially in the strong winds , particularly on the boats as I'm not great on the oars although I tried my best.
I was more comfortable with the bank fishing on all the various lochs we fished and it was a real joy to fool a number of beautiful trout.
It was reckoned that over 100 trout were caught over the duration of our time on the island with Vaughn having having and I quote" The best fishing day ever"
I personally would like to have  a return visit to South Uist sometime in the future.
My experience has given me an insight into the potential this Island has, especially if the conditions were just perfect.
I've got a head full of memories and a camera full of pics. Check back later for a slide show video of my trip.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A brief catch Up!

First of all I would like to apologise for the lack of posts on here. However its been utter turmoil here at Dabbler HQ for a number of reasons which have meant that I've not been fishing as much as I would like and I havent even tied a fly for a few months either. Ive been doing more hillwalking this season than fishing although I have had a couple outings with rod and reel. A recent trip to Loch Rannoch yielded a couple of nice trout, other than that there has been nothing much to blog about. However I'm off to the Outer Hebrides on Tuesday the 8th of September for what I hope to be the highlight of my flyfishing season. I hope to have a memory card with a plethora of photos and stories to tell of fish lost and fish caught in the meantime here are a few pics from recent weeks.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dundonnell Stravaig 2015

My annual wild fishing trip with my two friends this year took me to Wester Ross in the North West Highlands to Dundonnell. On the day we arrived we settled into our accommodation which was a caravan on the shores of Little Loch Broom near the hostel I stayed in whilst on a couple of previous trips to the area with the guys from the Wild Fishing Forum. The first lochs we ventured up to was the Peat Lochs up on the shoulder of the 2,516ft Corbett, Sail Mhor.. I had fished here before and was keen to take Tam and Scott up to these lochs which hold modest trout of about half a pound. The weather was fair as we set about pursing the trout. We weren't disappointed as we caught numerous brown trout. The largest being around the half pound mark. While Tam and Scott were happy to stick to the one big main loch I wandered around the hills to get some pics and also fished one or two of the other wee lochs nearby. We fished to around 6pm and made our way back down the hill to the car. However it was not without mishap as I stepped into a bog right up to my thighs. Thankfully I managed to get out without much trouble all be it rather wet. This made me very weary of where I placed my feet for the rest of the trip while tramping the hills and moors. Once back at the caravan we enjoyed a hearty meal prepared by Scott followed by a nice bottle of red wine for me, while the other two enjoyed some fruit cider. On Tuesday morning we awoke to torrential rain and low cloud and after checking the local weather forecast for the rest of the day, there was to be no let up in the wet weather. Therefore after breakfast we decided to fish a lochan which wouldn't take too much effort to get to in the adverse conditions. So we wrapped up in appropriate clothing and off we went to fish, like the weather the fishing was poor as only a few trout were caught at this damp and dreich hill loch. Our fishing was curtailed due to no let up in the weather so we decided to get back to the caravan get dried out , had dinner, had a few drinks whilst studying maps and made plans for the next day. Wednesday was a special day not least because it was my birthday but the fishing was the best of our whole trip too. To be fair I knew this loch had the potential to be the highlight of our trip as I had been to this loch before and knew a few others who had too. The Loch of the Clergy is a wonderful hill loch that holds a great head of superb fish. You will never need to take the Lords name in vane at this lochan as you will always be well rewarded if you are prepared to put the effort in to get up to this mountain lochan. On the way up we disturbed a few deer as they spotted us and made off up over the hill at a faster pace than we humans could only dream of. The three of us fished all around this lochan taking fish at most locations. The climb up takes a bit of effort especially in the rain and mist however on arrival the mist cleared and stayed clear for the rest of our time at the lochan. All our fish were taken on a variety of traditional wets such as soldier palmers, wet daddies, silver Invictas, claret bumbles, golden olive bumbles, Kate's and kee-Hee etc. I was hoping for a birthday drink at the local hotel , however by the time we made our decent, got back to the caravan , got showered and had dinner we were too tired and weary and instead had a few drinks in the caravan which was very satisfying indeed especially after such an enjoyable day of wild trout fishing surrounded by majestic scenery. Next morning after a hearty breakfast prepared by our nominated chef (Scott) we decided we would tackle the Heather Lochs. This was my first visit to this series of Lochans which sit high up on the hills. The views from the hills above these lochs was absolutely amazing especially the view of An Teallach which was glistening in the sunshine. Once again we disturbed a herd of deer as we made our way up the hills. The fishing was a bit difficult as it was bright for most of the day. I explored all around these lochs and fished a few of them. The trout from these lochs were on the lean side compared to the trout of the Loch of the Clergy. The scenery from the hills, around these loch was the best of our whole trip and at one point I made my way up to a rocky hill top and just sat drinking in the views and staring in awe at the magnificent and dramatic ridges and corries of An Teallach. I thought to myself who needs to fish when you can just sit here and be amazed by the impressive mountain scenery which surrounded me. The three of us once again caught numerous trout and once we had burnt ourselves out we headed back down the moors and hills back to the car then the caravan where we had a quick shower then off to the local hotel for a few pints while the evening dinner cooked away in the oven back at the caravan. All too soon Friday morning arrived, the day of our departure. As we journeyed back south to North Lanarkshire we collectively agreed that we would definitely be back here again sometime in the future. I was just happy that the fishing and scenery lived up to the expectations of Tam and Scott as I had been describing enthusiastically the fishing potential of this area to my two mates for the last couple of years.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Lucky at the Lily

Just quick post to report that I had a few hours at the Lily Loch on Thursday and enjoyed the peace and quite and very pleasant weather up there in the morning which was in stark contrast to what Ive been experiencing at Hillend recently. To make things even better I even managed to fool an acrobatic trout with an olive nymph.
I have to admit that I was very lucky as I took along the wrong reel as I had packed in my bag, my reel with the sink tip line instead of my favourite floating line. I didn't feel too confident as a few trout were rising occasionally and thought that I might be fishing my flies too deep however I was proved wrong with a nice rainbow succumbing to my fly pattern.
When the rain started in the afternoon I decided that one trout would do me so packed up and walked back over the hill, changed out my wet clothes and headed home for coffee and a bite to eat.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

It's Just not Cricket!

After a cessation from fishing for over a month I at long last managed to get to the Loch on Sunday for a trip out on the boat and also a trip up on Monday to fish from the south shore.
Sunday was a big disappointment as the only fish I came into contact was one which I fooled with a silver invicta, however It was only on very briefly as my whole leader came away from the loop on my fly line most probably because I hadn't taken care in insuring that my knott was secure.
My boat partner Davie didn't fair any better. We tried various locations without success.
Before we ended our boat session late on Sunday night we moved to the Boathouse bay where I have never seen so many fish for a long time. The surface bubbling all over the place with trout but they were not interested in any artificial fly I cast at them. How I failed to make contact with any trout in the boathouse is beyond me.
It was suggested that the trout were feeding on the Caenis otherwise known as the Fisherman's Curse and I can totally understand why they are so named.
However Monday was slightly better.
I walked down the south shore to the wee moss where i watched numerous fish rising. A few casts later I caught a nice trout of around 1 1/2lb which was fooled by a small olive nymph.
However as I was dispatching the trout a young lad appeared from nowhere , wanted to know what I caught the trout on and proceeded to move into the area I was fishing and if that wasn't bad enough he waded right in up over his waist which undoubtedly would have spooked all the rising fish that were around. Then I noticed he was on his phone calling his mate who was over at the cliffs, telling him to come over as someone had caught a fish.
I decided there and then that was enough and just packed up.
Hillend is far too busy these day for me to enjoy my fishing there,  not only that a lot of these folk don't have a clue about fishing etiquette.  Its very frustrating and fishing shoulder to shoulder with dunderheeds is not my idea of fishing.Its just not cricket!
Roll on July when I get up the Highlands so that I can experience real fishing!