Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Falls of Clyde

I recently visited the River Clyde. Not in a fishing capacity though as I just went for walk down by the falls of Clyde to try shake off a recent sciatica attack and try to get some pics as its particularly nice down there at this time of year with all the Autumn colours at their best just now. I started the walk from the conservation village of New Lanark and walked along the Clyde walkway up to Bonnington Linn then walked back down the other side for a mile or so where I brewed up a hot drink before retracing my steps back to my starting point.
I intend to get back down there again soon once we've had a great spell of rain an get the falls in all their gushing glory! 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

There is More to Fishing than catching Fish!

A slideshow of recent fishing stravaigs! 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Is it a fly? Or perhaps it's a lure?

Went into GAC this afternoon for a few flytying odds n ends and ended up with a new rucksack too for next season's flyfishing daytrips. Anyway I digress the flytying season has started in ernest tonight. Heres the first off the vice tonight!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Last cast!

Last Cast!
I wrote in my blog last week that my season was over, however during the week an opportunity to take my float tube  arose at a loch I last fished a few years ago.
Therefore I arranged a holiday from work on the 6th, the last day of the trout fishing season.
On Thursday morning I travelled through the County and passed through the town of Lanark towards a couple of lovely wee lochs nestling below the summit of Tinto Hill.
Once I parked up the car I shouldered my tube and accessories and headed up the hill to first try Loch Cleugh which sits at 1020 feet above sea level. I finned about the loch in the tube fishing various areas without success and then decided now that the wind had picked up that it would be a better idea to head off that loch and descend down to Loch Lyoch which sits at a mere 960 feet above sea level.
It was a bit disappointing to leave Loch Cleugh as it is reputed for its lovely brown trout however it just wasn't to be.
The decision to fish the more sheltered Loch Lyoch was a wise move, for not long after getting out on the tube there I was into my first fish of the day. A rainbow trout of about 6 or 7 lb which put up a tremendous fight and a fish that struggled to fit into my net, however I eventually got it under control and managed to get that obligatory photo before returning the fish to the loch.
As the day went on I had a few more rises to my flies but none stuck until later on when I eventually fooled another fish. Once  again it was another rainbow trout, this time it was a more modest fish of about 2lb
Both fish were fooled by the same fly, an Irish wet fly, the Conamaraa Black.
After no further success I finned to the top of the loch and got back onto dry land.
I then had a wonder about taking photos of this lovely loch set in the most scenic of locations.
I sat and had a coffee while I dried off the tube etc and reflected on a season in which I hadn't fished as much as I usually do.
As this season ends I can honestly say that I have well and truly got my flyfishing mojo back especially after the experiences I have had over the last month out on the Outer Hebrides, the Highlands and of course having a day like I had today in such a wonderful setting that is less than an hours drive away also helps.
Well the trout season is over that can only mean one thing, The flytying season begins! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

My season is over!

My season is over now we're in October
As the sixth was fast approaching I just had to have my last flyfishing trip of the season to the edge of Rannoch Moor to Loch Na H-Achlaise.
On this Occasion I took along my float tube as that was something I'd been intending to do all season and was keen to get about the islands and huge boulders that are scattered about on this most scenic of lochs.
 I arrived at the loch on Saturday morning and was soon working the fins out towards the rocky features where I had high expectations of encountering trout.
As expected I caught numerous brown trout which are known in some parts as "Bandies" There is some debate as to where that name comes from but in essence it just means "wee troot" 
I lost count of the trout I fooled with the two flies I fished all day, A muddler and a Kate McLaren variant. 
It was a very pleasing way to end the season, with a tremendous day of sport in a most spectacular setting.
Once I had my fill for the day I came ashore at a nice sandy bay and walked over the moor back to the car and drove up to Glencoe where I camped for the night.
The next day I finished off a great weekend by having a fantastic walk in Glencoe which was looking at it's finest in the most beautiful of days.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Two more Loch Flies

Id rather be loch side but as Im temporarily immobile, vice side will have to do.
I will hopefully get a chance to wet these before the season ends next week.

SizRe 12 hook
Black thread
Tippet tail
Mirage tinsel body 
Silver wire rib
Black body hackle
Partridge collar hackle

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Busy Tying!

Unfortunately I couldn't manage to get away fishing on the float tube this weekend. It's really frustrating  as the end of the trout fishing season is drawing ever closer.
Therefore instead of being out and about as I had intended,  I've been busy tying flies today.
This is the best fly from my vice today.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to get away next weekend.

Size 10 hook
Black thread
tippet tail
yeĺlowish possum body
copper rib
amber body hackle
french patridge collar hackle

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Mostly Benbecula

I arrived at our excellent Stravaig Base Camp on Benbecula along with Lochan Load and our driver Highlander,late on Wednesday night after following a British Army convoy of various trucks and vehicles from Lochmaddy on North Uist all the way to Benbecula.

Next morning after an awfy unusual breakfast for a WFF Stravaig I was off to West Olley with Bob Fly in search of my first trout of the trip, however I didn't get off to the best of starts as I failed to net any trout on the boat and the best I got was a swirl at my flies near the end of an uneventful day,which got even worse for me as just as we were on our last drift, my Rod got broken at a point on the rod which I got repaired a number of years ago.
Bob Fly didn't net anything either, however he did hook and play around with a land locked salmon which got us into a rather messy tangle of line, weed, laughter and quite possibly tears too. I'm sure Bob Fly will describe his unsuccessful but memorable battle better in his report.

On Friday after another unfamiliar WFF Stravaig breakfast I fished a nearby loch with Border Bob. 
We both fished from our float tubes which I enjoyed immensley. I'm  a bit of a novice to float tube fishing but really enjoyed the experience, especially the freedom that it gives you to cover areas of the Lochs you might otherwise not get into by foot.
I caught a few trout, all be it of modest size. Border Bob had a few too and kept one, he promised for our host Donald.

Saturday arrived and after downing yet another uncommon WFF Stravaig brekky, Robbie dropped me off at recommended Benbecula loch which I fished from the tube on a rather windy day. I caught eight trout to various fly patterns. Again I really enjoyed the much needed float tube experience, but felt a bit uneasy in the very blustery squalls out on the open loch, so mostly stayed close to the margins which probably helped in successfully fooling the troots.
I called it a day when I had fished myself out and began a very uncomfortable walk back to base with my float tube on my back and all my gear, while still wearing my waders etc. Fortunately about halfway back, Wilder the Better caught up with me on his walk back from some lochans north of where I was and assisted me by carrying some of my gear, which was very much appreciated.

Sunday morning saw the arrival of the rain and very strong winds to Benbecula and I doubted whether or not we would manage to get any fishing done on such a terrible morning.
However the forecast was showing that the weather was to improve as the day went on and after a late uncustomary WFF breakfast, numerous cups of coffee and  hanging around until midday, Robbie and I set off to a loch that I had visited last year in the changing weather conditions.
We got geared up with our float tubes and ventured on to this interesting loch with great hope. We both got offers to our flies very quickly but it wasn't until we fished just off the far shore where the wind was blowing to that we got our first fish of the day.
I got a further two trout near that shore then moved in among the islands where I got another three trout. Robbie had a few more too from the far shore.
At around six o'clock, my four days of Hebridean trout fishing was over.

My most successful patterns on this trip were muddlers, claret bumbles and Zulus.
All my trout were of a modest size compared to some of the lovely trout caught by the other Stravaigers.
Well done to Lochan Load for winning the Malt Whisky challenge set by our host Donald for the prettiest fish and also congrats to Billy for winning the MP Bowl for the heaviest fish which was hand crafted and kindly donated by Bob Fly.
A big thank you to Bibio for all his forward planning and booking for this trip, Alan for arranging the quiz night and arranging my travel arrangements and also to all the guys who supplied and cooked the wonderful evening meals, they were teriffic.

This was my first real go at Wild fishing from the float tube and thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I learned quite a lot from it.
The most important lesson I learned was to never go for a pee on a shallow rocky shore that the wind is blowing onto. I made that mistake and found it very difficult to get away from that shore, oh and also don't be taking on too much fluids as you will be regretting it and you might end up having to go ashore to that wind swept rocky shore as a matter of urgency.

Two of the most surprising things to arise from this trip was the the lack of fry up breakfasts, which I'm sure we will all have benefited from and lastly some folk actually    did drink that smooooooooooch!
The whole trip was a blast and hopefully it can be repeated next year!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Blue is the colour!

This may appear a little crass to use in pursuit of Hebridian trout , however, although it may be rather unorthodox it has the same colour combinations of many traditional Scottish and Irish fly patterns, especially sea trout patterns.
There is a lot of snobbery with regards to trout flies and fly fishing in certain in quarters, however I'm no snob and although I do mostly fish traditional wets, sometimes it pays to have something different in the box. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Connemara Black Bumble

I'm sure most fly fishermen are aware of the famous Irish fly pattern the Connemara Black and no doubt have had success with it, but I wonder how many have used the bumble variation of the fly?
Tonight as I was reading "Tales from the angler's retreat" I noted that in the David Peutherer chapter there was mention of his favourite fly pattern for Uist, which happened to be the Connemara Black Bumble.
It looks a lovely pattern and has all the attributes that a sucessful wet pattern should have.
I really enjoy tying patterns such as these and as they are easy to tie, I set about tying a couple for my box. These two are tied on a size 10 B175 Kamasan hook, It might be useful to have it in a size 12 too.
This pattern maybe of Irish origins but it is well known and used here in Scotland too. It is a pattern that I will definitely be using between now and the end of the season.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

More Fly Patterns

Just another brief update to show a few of the fly patterns that I've been continuing to tye and gradually fill my box with!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Meddling with Muddlers

As a rule I tend to shy away from tying muddlers, as they are very fiddly and time consuming and to be honest they are a bit hit or miss as to whether they will turn out acceptable.
Oh! and another thing, they make a bit of a mess, as that deer hair gets everywhere which doesn't go down too well with Swmbo.
I find the trouble with Muddlers is that I never know when to stop trimming them as there is always some imperfection to be tinkered about with, then before you know it I will have cut far too much deer hair off and the fly is no longer going to be anything resembling a muddler, which results in the fly getting tossed into the waste bin.
However today I thought I would have a go at tying them as I could be doing with a few for next months fishing trip. 
I was actually pleased with these and actually started to enjoy tying them once I got the hang of technique of shaping the head.
I look forward to using these as I believe they will work really well on the Lochs for wild brown trout especially in a good wave which I will undoubtedly encounter on the Uists and Benbecula such is the weather in those parts.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Filling my box!

Those of you who read the Hillend Dabbler Facebook page will have noticed that I have been busy at the vice this week.
For those of you who don't do Facebook, here is some of this weeks work.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

At the Vice Again!

After my trip to the Highlands last weekend by appetite has been well and truly whetted.
Tonight I have been at the vice gearing up for my trip to the Hebrides by tying a few trad wets in size 12s to gradually fill up my new box.
So much for me taking only one fly box to the islands! 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Spey Dam

Today I went on my first wild  fly fishing trip of the season.  
I never thought it would take me until August to  catch my first wild trout of the year. 
My friend Scott and I arrived early this morning at the Laggan Hotel to a arrange our days fishing which we had pre booked at the loch of the headwaters of the famous River Spey which is commonly known as the Spey Dam! 
After paying our permit and picking up the oars etc for the boat we drove on up to the Loch. 
Once we were organised and got the engine clamped on we manoeuvred up the loch to prepare for our first drift of the day.
It didn't take long for Scott to catch his first trout which was fooled by a heather fly.
It was cloudy and overcast for the first couple of hours and as the day went on the weather got better an better with the sun making appearances more often. 
After numerous drifts Scott's tally of trout was mounting up and it wasn't until after he had caught half a dozen that I fooled my first trout of the day which took a Connamara Black. 
It was a bit of relief to get that first trout. As the day progressed I went on to catch six more which were fooled by the Doobry and the Loch  Ordie. 
I caught a total of seven trout while Scott went on to catch a total of eleven trout. The most successful pattern of the day was undoubtedly the Loch Ordie which took more than half of Scotts haul.
In conclusion there was a total of eighteen fish for the boat which I'm sure you will agree was not a bad return for day out in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Original Ballinderry

After looking through my book of Irish Fly Patterns I thought I would tie this fly as its a bit more true to the original pattern although looking at pics of original dressing it should maybe be more heavily dressed. I don't suppose it will make any difference to the troot. I imagine the only time you need to stick to an original dressing is for display purposes and the like. Far too much is made of sticking to exact original dressings for success with troot.

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Ballinderry (variant)

Im often inspired by Davie McPhail's tying demos on youtube especially traditional wet patterns. His latest fly tying  demo which I watched  today was no different. It was a variation of an old Irish pattern called the Ballinderry.
Therefore I decided to have a go at tying my version. I was quite pleased with my results. Im now gonna a tie another couple for my Hebridean box!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Finding my Mojo!

Fishing wise, this year has been a complete disaster for me. Somewhere along the line I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for fishing, especially at the local reservoirs which is strange as this year I took out a membership for the Clarkston Angling Club's Lily Loch too. I've only ventured out on the local club waters on a handful of occasions this season and have not been on any away trips to any of the wild waters up north either.
However I aim to get my flyfishing mojo back as I've got a fishing trip planned to Benbecula and the Uists next month and I'm starting to get a little bit excited about that. 
I'm also hoping to go on a road trip up north next week to a reputedly good Highland Loch with my friend Scott.
I have cleared out all my fly boxes and started afresh by tying fly patterns that I will actually use. Far too many times Ive went trekking over moorland and bog etc to reach lochs and lochans overburdened by the weight of my rucksack full of unnescesary fishing gear and boxes of flies that never see the light of day.
With all this in mind this week I've been back at the vice, that was something else I haven't been doing much this year.
However I've really enjoyed getting back to tying again especially traditional wets which is my favourite style of flies to fish and a method which will be fully utilised when I visit the Hebrides and hopefully be of good use next week at Lochaber.
I will keep you posted and let you know how I get on . In the meantime here's a few examples of what's been created at my vice recently.