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 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!
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.
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!