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Showing posts from 2014

Ring out the old and Bring in the New!

This will obviously be my last post of the year. For me personally it has been a year of change as I finally got my act together and made lifestyle changes which will benifit me in the years ahead because for too long I have been restricting myself and not fulfilling my life because of my health and weight etc. Therefore I look forward with great relish and excitiment to 2015 on the fishing front as I intend to get out and in among the lochs and lochans of the Scottish Highlands in search of brown trout and a real wild fishing experience. Don't get me wrong I will be going along to my local loch , Hillend as often as I can too but my main aim this year is to get up north more. I have many lochs and mountains in mind which I intend explore and hopefully get some wild camps too. Inbetween trips my focus will as always be flytying, however its my intention to carry less flies, I say this every year and I have cut down , but hope to restrict myself to just the one box this year.

Now thats what I call A Selection Box.

Good afternoon and a coolyule to y'all. Im now stuffed and enjoying a few after dinner drinks. I thought I would share with you something which I'm certain you will agree is the kind of selection box all anglers and flyters would love to receive. Or perhaps it might be something the trout fancy . I certainly hope it is as this will be going to the Outer Hebrides with me next year.

Hillend Sedgehog

Recently I've not had fishing or flytying on my mind as other stuff has taken precedent.  However tonight I got a chance to sit at the bench and I thought I might as well tie up some sedgehogs for the Uist fly box. The first few I tied are in size 10's but will knock up some 12's too. These are great patterns for wild highland broonies as well as rainbows @ Hillend. 

The Ultra Bumble!

I give you the Ultra Bumble. Nothing to do with football supporters groups you understand. Yesterday I was in the GAC watching Davie McPhail @ his vice giving free fly tying demonstrations. Inspired by the patterns I watched him tie, I walked the fly tying isles and picked up some new materials with a few new ideas in my head. Once again I had Outer Hebrides in mind when I tied these tonight. I really like the look of the purple tails on these. I tied one of them with a sky blue tinsel rib the other three have a blue wire rib. I think I prefer the blue wire.

A Bibio Quartet

A fly pattern which I have had great success with over the years at Hillend and beyond is the Bibio. The Bibio is a fly of Irish origin and was originally designed for sea trout but over the years has proved to be a great deceiver of wild brown trout on highland lochs as well as rainbows from reservoirs. As with most patterns these days there are quite a few variants of the original deressing going around. Its usually tied small and sparse for reservoirs but for highland lochs its tied big and bushy and usually with a hen collar hackle to create movement. Its predominantly a bob fly and as such usually fished on the top dropper. With this mind I tied this quartet of Bibio variants for use on the Scottish highlands and island's lochs and lochans particularaly in a big wave.

Black n Blue Bumbles.

Its on dark cold November evenings such as tonight that my thoughts turn to fly tying and spending a few hours at the vice with a warming glass or two of a smokey malt whisky or maybe sometines just a few good cups of coffee with various podcasts or music playing in the background. On nights such as this its heart warming to imagine long summer nights in the North Western highlands or Islands out on a lochan with obliging wild brown trout for company. As a consuquence I added a few more trad wets to my Uist box. I must have been subconciously thinking of sea trout with the black n blue bumbles that emerged from my vice this winter's night.

Six for a North West Archipelago

Tonight I was at the vice again. I set out to tie a another three dark mackerels with a red holographic body but soon realised I hadn't left enough space to tie in the wing before tying on the final hen collar hackle. So I just proceeded to carry on and form three claret bumbles of sorts. The other three flies haven't got a name. The body is greenish holographic tinsel. It has a sooty olive body hackle ribbed with silver tinsel and an orange partridge collar hackle I'm sure these will be the ideal style to use on the Outer Hebrides. I cant get that archipelago out of my mind at the moment.

The Dark Mackerel

After picking up my copy of FF&FT this week I found within its pages an interesting article on an old traditional wet fly pattern called the Dark mackerel. Its was first devised by a tackle dealer from Edinburgh called John Dickson and was said to be a great pattern for sea trout as well as brown trout in peat stained lochs. Through the years there have been many variations of this old timer. It became popular on Loch Leven too but is more synonymous with the sea trout of the North West Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Hope you like my take on this old traditional pattern. Its a fly that will no doubt find its way on to my leader when I visit the Uists next year. 

Hebridean Flee Box!

Hello there . Its been a while since my last post. The reason for my absence from these pages is simple. I haven't been fishing or flytying. However this weekend I will be tying as just this afternoon my fishing trip to the Uists next year was finally booked and my friends and I are in the process booking boats and arranging which lochs to fish. So suitably inspired my thoughts have been turning to fly patterns etc. So off I went to GAC this afternoon for some new tying threads , hooks and tinsel etc. Looks like I will be tying my favourite style of flies, the Trad wets, as they would appear to be what is required on the Outer Hebrides. While I was in the GAC I purchased what is most likely the cheapest and handiest flee box I have ever had. It was only 55p. That's 50p more expensive than the carrier bag lol. So folks, I will be posting a few pics of what ever falls from my vice over the next day or two. So please excuse me I'm off to tie some flees.

The Dabbler Live @ The Lily Loch

As the Lily Loch fishing season doesn't end until the the end of October I decided to have a few hours up at the Lily Loch this afternoon and as well as my fly rod and flies etc I took along the recording equipment and put together a very amateurish podcast. Give it a listen by clicking the link below!

The Fly tying season begins! #winter

Ach! well I never did manage to have one last day at the loch today. I've had a better than average season by my standards and have enjoyed every minute of it. As always I never got away as much as I would have liked but did manage a couple of very memorable trips to the highlands. My bread and butter fishing was my home loch Hillend, where I probably had my best season from the boat. Nothing spectacular by any means but it was great for me. Although the brown trout season has ended the fly tying season now begins. Here's a wee soldier to herald the start of the season. #winter

Wild Flyfishing Stravaig Slideshow!

A concise slide show of my recent wild flyfishing stravaig to the Highlands

Oot n Aboot - Catching Troot!

I’ve just returned from a four day Stravaig to the North West Highlands of the United kingdom. I had an absolutely magnificent time tramping the hills through heather and bog to the numerous hill lochs that abound in this part of the country. The fishing was amazing and a couple of the lochs I visited are very special indeed. I fished the Loch of the Buttery troot, The Loch of the secret canoe, The Shooder Loch and The Loch of the bandy troot to name but a few. The weather was fine apart from two days when the wind was ferocious to say the least, however it didn’t put off the trout it just made catching them a little bit more challenging. All in all it was a very successful trip in the company of a group of like minded fisher folk with a passion for wild fishing in the remote mountainous lands of the North West Highlands.

Sunshine & Trout!

Today I went out on the boat at hillend for probably the last time this season as I have a busy few weeks ahead as well as going on one last Fishing Stravaig to the far North West of the UK next week. My boat partner today was non other than the Hillend Veteran Davie G! Conditions were not ideal as we set afloat as we had bright sunshine with clear blue skies as well the surface of the loch looking like a mirror. We concentrated our efforts on the north shore of the loch as well as the big back bay behind the woods. Davie hooked and lost a cracker of a rainbow which must have been about 4lb but he lost the fight after a good ten minutes or so. I was next to lose a fish which pinged my fly close to the boat and then swam off. There after we did rise quite a few fish which was surprising as the conditions were far from ideal. However every now and again a breeze would pick up and we would feel more confident fishing in a nice ripple. In the afternoon I eventually hoo

The Hillend Dabbler Podcast [05]

It was a long time coming but I finally got around to putting together my latest fishing and music podcast. Please be gentle its only a simple, unpretentious and humble fishing and music podcast. Get yer lugs roond my pod by clicking the link!

Back in Blue!

Having the day off from work today I decided to have a couple of hours around midday at Hillend. It was the first time I had fished the loch for a few weeks so it was pleasing to fool a blueback trout from the north shore area of the loch. The trout was deceived by my favourite fly pattern, the ever faithful Kate McLaren.

Glasgow Angling Centre FOTM comp!

I make no apologies for again posting  a pic of this awesome wild brown trout caught at Loch Caladail when were up there on our annual wild fishing stravaig. The reason for this is that this trout caught by my mate Scotty on a mallard and claret tied by me the Hillend Dabbler has only gone and won the GAC fish of the month. It's well deserved as this is a truly wild trout and these Caladail trout are not fooled easily. Well done Scott. You can view all the details etc here @

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 wor

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

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.