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Showing posts from 2021

Feeling the Heat!

The local fishing has been tough these last few weeks with high temperatures and very low water levels. This resulted in some disappointing and frustrating nights in July at Hillend. However I did have a very enjoyable but tough session at Cobbinshaw the other week!  We had 3 fish for the boat! 1 for me and 2 for Mr D. Even though it was mad hot we had better than expected troot action with various takes, rises and breakage!!!!  Temps of 26° and Blazing sunshine! It was Hot!Hot!Hot!

Tying the Storm Crow


The bigger the better

Most anglers and flytyers will be of the opinion that wet flies in size 12s and 10s are the go to flies for Loch Style fishing especially in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. However the more fishing books I read and after talking to other anglers as well as from personal experience too,  sometimes big bushy patterns in size 8s and even 6s are what is required to lure the trout up through the waves.  Lately I've neglected tying  big flies and been more focused on the more common sizes. However while organising my boxes for my much anticipated stravaig to the Outer Hebrides next month I realised I was short of a few Big Flees. So over the last couple of days I've addressed that situation by filling a few rows with some big size 8s which I must say are a real joy to tie!   

Filling my box!

As well as the odd flyfishing trip up to Hillend I've been as busy as ever at the vice tying in between the Euro football matches, numerous patterns for the local Loch as well as further afield in mind! Heres a flavour of what I've been tying!

Satisfied but annoyed!

When I arrived at the loch tonight it was blazing hot with not a breath of air and the surface was like a sheet of glass. I really need to get rid of the weather app on my phone as its predictions are getting increasingly wrong .  I sat for over an hour contemplating whether it was worth fishing or not!  Then unexpectedly a westerly breeze picked up and blew down the Loch. So I got myself ready and headed down the south shore to the wee moss area. By the time I got there the wind had changed to a North Eastetly which made casting a little bit difficult but I was coping working a big muddler and a midas through the waves!  Then just as unexpectedly as the change of wind direction, three guys appeared  from behind me and waded into the wee moss area to the left of me but slowly made their way over to the right until all three were standing In front of me which left me bewildered and casting into the area at the back of them. It's a shallow area and usually holds fish.  Rather than co

Tempting Trout

After a couple of recent disappointing nights at the loch I was delighted to get in among some trout action at Hillend on Sunday night!  Conditions were just about perfect with lots of fly life about including the famous Hillend Big Sedge which made an appearance late on.  However when the light westerly  breeze dipped the midges were absolutely hellish!  But I was suitably protected by applying my new midge repellant Midge Los from   which I am very pleased to report has worked very well now on two ridiculously insane midge nights at the loch and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a reliable midge repellant.  My success on the night was down to a fly pattern called the Midas, recommended to me recently by  Hillend regular Phil aka Toad! It's a rather unusual and messy looking pattern which is intended to be fished dry and has a very good reputation in the competition scene in England. I'm not entirely sure if my interpretation

Third Time Lucky.

As mentioned in my previous blogpost, on my last two visits to the Loch I frustratingly hooked played and lost a troot on both occasions. However last night I faired better. But it didnt start well as within the first fifteen minutes or so I managed to lose another trout which was fooled by a wee mini lure I tied up the night before and is pictured here! For the next few minutes I started thinking this night was gonna follow on just like my previous two visits up the Loch. The reason for the failure on this occasion was I had made up my leader using a dropper ring! The mono must have cut through the ring which must have a sharp edge as all I was left with was a 6 foot piece of mono and my flees gone! The packet has now been binned!!! However it proved to be third time lucky!  A short while later I changed tactics  by using a couple of old favourites A Conamara  Black on the tail and a 80 shilling Sedge on the dropper! The old Irish Pattern fooled a nice blueback and later on a rather s


My two most recent visits to Hillend have been rather frustrating!  Last Wednesday night I had the boathouse bay to myself, probably because it was a rather murky night with a brisk cold easterly wind blowing down the loch. As a result there wasnt much fly life around and I only saw a couple of fish showing all night.  However I did fool a troot with the fly pictured top here. Never the less i only managed to hook  play and lose it,  much to my ire as it was the only troot action I encountered all night!  On Friday night I ventured down to the wee moss area where I once again hooked, played and lost a troot this time fooled by a suspender buzzer pictured here. On close inspection of my flies I noticed that the hook got straightened.  Since then I've tied a few more SBs on good strong kamasan hooks.  Heres hoping that my next time up at the Loch proves to be more successful.   

Tying a Claret Bumble

So I'm having another try at making a flytying vid. Hope you find it both  useful and enjoyable!  

Jack & Blue

I ventured out afloat @ Hillend today for the first time this season!  The day out on the boat was made all the more comfortable this time around as I was using a boat seat for the first time which was gifted to me by a fishing buddy!  It might look bit rudimentary however it made some difference for this auld yin!! It was a tough day fishing wise as I only managed to fool one pesky jack pike which was showing the scars of an attack from its elders as well as a nice plump blueback troot which put up a great fight, leaping from the water several times to avoid my net!  All in all it was a very enjoyable day at the Loch.  I'm now Looking forward to future days on the boat when the troot will hopefully be more active! 

Dabbler Fashion!

Dabbler style patterns are among my favourite style of flies to fish and tie. According to Ted Malone's excellent book, Irish Trout & Salmon Flies, the Dabbler style is of Irish origins and credited to Donald McClearn of Dromore County Down, whose schoolboy nickname was Dabbler. It makes sense I suppose that Donalds style of cloaking the mallard fibres be named Dabbler style. However Ted goes onto say that there is no such fly as The Dabbler but just a new style of old traditional Irish trout flies dressed "Dabbler fashion." As you know I'm not keen on giving names to patterns I tie, just incase they are not accurate! However on this occasion I'm going to make an exception and declare that here is a Claret Dabbler tied by the Hillend Dabbler! Which according to Ted's point of view must  really just be a claret bumble pattern tied Dabbler Fashion! It's fair to say that I'm a dedicated follower of Dabbler fashion! 

Charlie McLean

A couple of Charlie McLeans!  This Hebridean wet fly pattern was a favourite of the late Bruce Sandison. Bruce got to know about this worthy trout pattern whilst researching his excellent book "The Sporting Gentleman's Gentleman."Which is a collection of fascinating and entertaining stories about Highland Gillies. I'm lucky enough to have a copy of this book which I managed to source in a wee secondhand book shop in Thurso whilst in that area on a fishing trip a few years ago. Today I refreshed my memory by reading chapter 2 "Hebridean charm and the heather Isles." In this chapter Bruce gives some insight into Charlie McLean a man who appears to have been a very popular gillie and a bit of a character too. Bruce mentions that the fly was devised by one of Charlie's guests as a mark of affection for Charlie’s ability and unfailing courtesy. I recommend you track down a copy of Bruce's book. It really is an enjoyable read.

Sunday Night!

On Sunday night I visited Hillend Loch or the first time in around three weeks or so!  I chose to fish from the south shore between the wee Moss and the Big Stane!  I arrived on the shore about 7pm. The wind was blowing from the west and was surprisingly quite cold. I started fishing with a daiwl Bach on the dropper and a Pheasant tail nymph on the point. There was a fair wave on the water as I began fishing but I just didnt feel confident with the two small nymphs so it wasn't too long before I made a change to my set up.  I stuck a yellow dancer on the point and a black snatcher on  the dropper and within a handful of casts I got a response.  The fish had three attempts at my lure before finally sticking!  A nice rainbow of about 2lb was netted and dispatched to take home. I didnt bother continuing on for much longer after landing my trout so soon packed up and headed home to feed the cat! 

A bit of this, that and the other!

Its  been a frustrating time for me of late due to a  bout of sciatica. I've not been fit enough to get out and about with my rod and reel. However I'm spent my free time at my new vice tying this that and the other, with the my summer trip to the Outer Hebrides in mind!  Ive really enjoyed using my new vice which has so many advantages over my old regent! Pictured here is a dozen colourful examples of my recent vice work!  Which I hope you enjoy!  My condition is improving and I hope to get out and about in the next week or so! In the meantime I'll just keep on keepin' on! 

New Vice!

For over a year or so Ive been contemplating on upgrading my 20 year old regent vice. The jaws on my regent have been playing up a bit as there seemed to be a fault of some sort as they were very stiff and seizing up on the odd occasion. Still very usable though. I considered replacing the regent with another as I really like the simplicity of mounting the hook in the spring lever action jaws. However after much thought I decided to opt for a rotary vice and all its advantages. Budget played a part as I really was tempted  by the vices in the £500 bracket however I just couldnt justify that cost so in the end I opted for the Wolff Indiana Atlas vice. First impressions are encouraging. its certainly a solid  piece of kit and beautifully designed and engineered. I have to admit that I found mounting the hook a bit fiddly, having to adjust the jaws etc. However I seem to have it set now to suit the size of hooks I'll be most commonly using. I've tied a few flies with it now and fo