Monday 17 June 2024

Reeled in Frustration: A Fishing Trip to Caithness

My much-anticipated fly fishing stravaig to Caithness was a massive letdown, marred by circumstances beyond my control that left me frustrated and angry. I had been so looking forward to this trip for some time, eagerly anticipating casting the fly patterns that I had tied and prepared at my vice for months.

Our adventure began with hope and excitement as my friends and I arrived in our Watten village digs around lunchtime. By early afternoon, we were out on Loch Watten, two boats strong, ready to make the most of our time on the water. Although the conditions were blustery, they were manageable—until the rain arrived. It was relentless, but the wind grew stronger. Despite our best efforts, we quit sooner than expected, having risen a few but with nothing in the net. We returned to our digs soaked and weather-beaten, just in time to watch Germany humiliate and embarrass Scotland in the opening game of the 2024 Euros.

Despite the disheartening start, just like Scotland we held onto hope. We had two more chances for success: Toftingall on Saturday and Watten again on Sunday. After a good breakfast made by Scott on Saturday morning, we headed off to Toftingall. Conditions were perfect, with fish rising to the vast number of mayfly that seemed to be everywhere. The loch was alive, and so were we, catching forty-two trout between the four of us, with just as many missed and lost. It was a glorious day on the water, and Tam "The Abacus" kept count with glee.

However, Sunday brought another twist of fate. I woke up early, tied up a few casts before breakfast, and was eager for a promising day on Watten. 

The wind and rain had returned, but the weather apps assured us conditions would improve by lunchtime. Despite the forecast, a ridiculous, ludicrous, poor misguided decision was made by the group—against my wishes—to take the engines back to Hugo Ross which we didnt use but paid for then stay in our rundown digs for the day, go for dinner between 5 and 6pm and then go chucking metal in Loch Calder for troot. Needless to say I expressed by feelings about that which would result in me staying at the digs all day and night on a perfect day and night for flyfishing.

Whilst Scott and Tam went to Wick with the engines cabin fever set in and by early afternoon, I couldn't stand it anymore. I walked down to Loch Watten and found the conditions perfectly playable. Sitting on a bench, looking out over the loch beyond the boat moorings, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of frustration. The trip I had looked forward to for months was essentially ruined.The disappointment was palpable. My much-anticipated fly fishing stravaig to Caithness ended not with contentment and satisfaction but with the frustration of missed opportunities.

It was a trip that should have been memorable for all the right reasons but instead left me furious, disheartened, and exasperated!!!!! 

Friday 24 May 2024

Reimagining the Loch Ordie

While reviewing my blog stats to see which posts have been popular in the last month, I noticed an article I published  about Loch Ordies from a few years ago, during the COVID lockdown. The post featured some variants I had tied.

I then realized that I couldnt recall  fishing these patterns as I had planned.

One variant that caught my eye was the leggy Half Ordie.

Although Im a big fan of standard Ordies I cant believe I never utilised this variant, as it has everything needed to fool trout. Reflecting on the variants I tied perhaps I might have gone a bit heavy with the head hackle.

Inspired by this blogpost, I tied a new version of the Half Ordie this morning before going fishing in the afternoon.

This example is a lot more sparse, which I believe will allow for plenty of movement in the water. I'm really pleased with the result and can see its potential. I'll be tying more of these over the next few days, anticipating success with this pattern when I visit Caithness next month.

Im pleased and enthused to report that this pattern placed on the top dropper of my cast and fished from the boat  caught me two trout this afternnoon at Cobbinshaw! 

Monday 20 May 2024

The Simplest of Pleasures!

On Sunday afternoon I found my myself driving to West Lothian listening to the end of season fortunes and misfortunes of various football clubs on the radio.

The  juxtaposition of the lively football commentary and the quiet setting of Cobbinshaw Reservoir in the West Lothian countryside felt peculiar, as late afternoon seamlessly transitioned into early evening.

By the time that  I arrived at Cobbie and got my boat ready, the Saints had just secured their Premier League status, while County faced the disheartening reality of dropping to the playoffs

As I motored the boat up to the north East corner of the reservoir  I was surprised to see that there was only a couple of other boats out taking advantage of the very pleasant early evening weather. 

I didnt have to wait too long to net my first fish as i located a fair bit of  trout activity at the peat hag shore of the reservoir.

It was great fun to have a good nunber of trout interested and rising to my flies.

Throughout the evening, I managed to net three vigorous trout, lose  a couple, and witnessed several others making splashy rises to my flies, only to come up short. 

The fly patterns that proved most successful were a leggy green-tailed Kate and a pearly palmer.

The sun still had a few hours to shine before setting in the west, and the breeze continued to blow gently as I motored back down the reservoir to the boat moorings. I felt a great sense of contentment and success as I tied up the boat, gathered my gear, and loaded everything into my car.

On the drive home, I learned that City had won the League again and I thought of all the multi  millions of pounds that was required just to achieve that success and happiness.

This day had been a perfect blend of tranquility and excitement, a reminder that some of life’s greatest joys come from the simplest of experiences without the need for extravagance.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Up @ Daft O'Clock

It had been a busy old weekend so the last thing I needed was to be up at daft o' clock on Monday morning just to go fishing! However thats what I did My friends arranged to pick me up in the pitch dark just so we could arrive at the loch for first light. However their idea of leaving Airdrie at the ungodly hour of 4.OO am proved to be daft Indeed.
Just as dawn was breaking on our arrival at the loch its waters were flat calm and motionless. 
We never gained any advantage by the early start as no troot action started until a breeze picked up after nine o clock. 
A good day was had by all though and the forecast of rain all day didnt materialise. I managed to fool a good number of trout but netteed five with patterns such as The Wingless Wickhams and the Watten Warrior. 
I think 17 trout were caught between the four of us.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Sunday 28 April 2024

Harold's Grouse & Claret

Hope you enjoy this video I put together of the fly pattern "Harolds Grouse and Claret" 
I came across this pattern in a lovely wee book about flyfishing in the Outer Hebrides by Eddie Young called "A Fisher in the west" which then led me to the book "Fly-Tying with Harold Holsworth"
Two great books well worth getting.
The pattern here is a slight variation as explained in the video.
Pleas click the link below....

Monday 15 April 2024

The Clan Chief

Ive been asked by a flytying club in Shropshire England to do a flytying  demonstration via the social media platrorm of zoom next month.
Ive never did such a thing before but I accepted the invite and very much look forward to the experience 
By way of a trial I'm going to be uploading a few tying videos to You tube over tfe next few weeks to test out my equipment etc. 
Find attached a link to a video I uploaded today: I hope you like it.
Click the link below.

Saturday 6 April 2024

My Angling Library

As an enthusiastic Flyfisher, Flytyer and book collector of the aforementioned pastimes, I often find myself immersed in the vast world of angling literature. 

Over the years, my collection has grown to include a wide range of angling novels, essays, reference guides and a few how - to books. However, despite the assumption of some people that I've read every page of every book in my library, the reality is quite different.

Many people are surprised at this  and some may even question, why not?

But to truly understand the essence of my passion for angling literature, one must grasp the multifaceted nature of this genre.

First and foremost, my collection serves as a valuable resource of knowledge and inspiration for me.

My library also serves as practical guide that I can refer to whenever I encounter a new challenge.

Moreover, angling literature encompasses more than just instructional manuals. It delves into the rich history, culture and traditions surrounding flyfishing and flytying. 

From the timeless wisdom of legendary anglers to the captivating narratives of fishing adventures, angling novels offer a unique glimpse into the soul of the angler.

While I may not have read every  book in the how - too section from cover to cover, each one holds significance in its own right.

Some books even serve as cherished mementos of past fishing trips, others represent a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the rich social history and traditions of angling.

For those who question why I collect books I haven't read, they fail to grasp the true essence of my passion.

It's not just about consuming every word on every page; it's about embracing the diversity and depth of the angling experience. Whether it's discovering old and new fly patterns, learning new techniques, gaining insight into the history of the sport, or simply finding inspiration in the words of fellow anglers, each book in my collection adds value in its own unique way.

Understanding why I collect angling books goes beyond just reading; it's about experiencing the journey and inspiration they offer me one page at a time.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Fishing a Perthshire Loch

Situated within the picturesque grounds of Drummond Castle, south of Crieff in Perthshire, lies the scenic Drummond Loch. This small freshwater loch has a rich history and offers a very attractive environment in which to fish for trout. Drummond Loch’s origins trace back to the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising with the flooding of an area which was planned for the site and construction of a village to house veterans and their families who had supported the Government during the uprising. Over time, the loch has evolved into a haven for wildlife and is now designated as a site of special scientific interest, showcasing its ecological significance. Managed by the Crieff Angling Club, the loch attracts anglers drawn to its trout fishing and lovely surroundings. I've had the pleasure of visiting Drummond several times in recent years. The loch's shallow waters hold numerous brown trout, presenting anglers with a delightful challenge. These trout come in various hues, from buttery yellow to a shimmering silver, hinting at their diverse origins. I was informed by the Club Secretary that the silvery trout date back to a stocking over 30 years ago of Loch Leven trout.
The club are always happy to hear from you if you encounter any of these as they like to know that this strain continue to thrive in the loch. During a recent visit to Drummond Loch with three fellow anglers, we were greeted by a brisk north-easterly wind, less than ideal for fishing. However, after patiently making various drifts in various areas, we discovered an area where the trout were very obliging. Between the four of us a good number of trout were caught, missed and lost, all fooled by various traditional wet fly patterns. Despite the chilly weather and the  looming threat of rain it was a grand day to be out drifting around in a boat fooling trout. In closing I have one slight criticism of Drummond Loch and Crieff Angling Club and that is that it’s getting rather pricy to fish the loch. As fees increase, there's a risk of alienating anglers. It's essential to strike a balance between maintaining the loch's conservation efforts and ensuring that its affordable for all anglers.

Friday 29 March 2024

Two Days at Cobbinshaw

On Monday, March 18th, I embarked on my first day of the fishing season at Cobbinshaw Reservoir. 

As a new member, I was eager to get out and get to know Cobbie.

I had booked a four-hour slot on one of the excellent Coulam boats.

The wind proved to be a formidable opponent but despite my initial enthusiasm, the southwest wind and strong gusts made for challenging conditions. Positioned in the north-east corner of the reservoir, I found myself battling against the elements, struggling to maintain control of my drifting boat even with the drogue set up.

After a series of fruitless drifts, I made the decision to relocate to the south-west  part of the reservoir. 

Here I found refuge from the exposed main body of water and felt more at ease navigating the slower drifts. Equipped with my sink tip line, I fished deep in search of trout.

Throughout the day, I made various changes of flies. 

It wasn't until the final hour that I struck gold, or rather, lime green and black. Opting for a single, eye-catching lure proved to be the correct choice for fooling a trout.

As my time on the boat ended, I reflected on the day with a sense of satisfaction. 

Despite the challenges posed by the wind, my maiden voyage at Cobbinshaw Reservoir had been a good one.

With the promise of future outings on the horizon, I eagerly awaited the next opportunity to visit Cobbie.

Ten days later it was a little different at Cobbie.

Weather conditions were much better as the wind wasn't as strong.

My day is best described as sitting in a boat waving a stick at invisible trout whilst listening to an audio book titled “ Standing in a river waving a stick” by John Gierach.

It was a very enjoyable day all the same and it was good to meet  a couple of fellow anglers when I got back to base. Although they too found it a little tough they actually managed to catch a couple of trout. 

I'm already looking forward to my next day out at Cobbie.

Reeled in Frustration: A Fishing Trip to Caithness

My much-anticipated fly fishing stravaig to Caithness was a massive letdown, marred by circumstances beyond my control that left me frustrat...