Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Over the hill @ 60

On Monday morning the 1st of August I was four days into my 60s and sitting at home after a fantastic few days away celebrating becoming a sexagenarian.
I was now in possession of a bus pass, some new fishing gear, a new android tablet and a fitbit.
I still had one free day before returning to the mundane routine of the working week.
I thought of making a bus pass road trip to some far off place somewhere north but decided I'd take the car and try out my new waders and wading boots and go fishing locally instead.
With Hillend Loch pretty much unfishable due to the continuing critical low water levels, I decided to head over the hill to the Lily Loch as there are no such problems up there.
So off I went knowing I'd be clocking up plenty steps on my new birthday present gadget.
The walk up to the Lily wasn't too bad but I was a little uncomfortable in the new wading boots.
After visiting the club hut and having a chat with the bailiff I made my way along the south shore up to just beyond the broken wooden jetty where I noticed a Grebe sitting in its  nest with its family.
Not wanting to disturb the Grebes I stayed clear of the nest and sat on the nearby bankside iron seat stringing my 5# weight Snowbee Diamond 2 rod with a floating line and attached my two flies to a12 ft leader of 6lb clear maxima.
On this occassion I placed a Clan Chief Cormorant on the point and a black Zulu on the dropper.
I was soon casting into the margins after which I entered the water and began working my flies out into the main body of the loch and gradually waded my way down the Loch parallel to the South shore. My intention was to fish all the way down to the footbridge
About halfway down the shore I was into the first fish of the day however after a few brief tugs and dives the fish was frustratingly off and as expected it was away with my full leader and flies. It looked like a decent sized trout (the ones you lose always do) as it made several leaps clear of the water trying to dislodge my fly.
I must learn to check and tie my knots more securely.
It's bad enough when a trout swims off with your full leader and flies but what frustrates me more is not knowing which fly it actually took a fancy to.
At least I knew I probably had the right flies on, so I quickly  made up a new leader and tied on the same patterns.
I slowly made my way along down the south shore and soon had another offer but again the splashy rise didnt stick.
I soon reached the bridge, got out the water and sat on a bench watching a flotilla of Canadian Geese cruise about the Loch while I sat drinking a coffee and enjoyed a well earned rest.
I was pleased to note that my new waders and boots were working as intended all be it I reckoned the boots need more breaking in.
Feeling refreshed I walked back up along the shore to my starting point and noticed the Grebes were no longer in the nest, perhaps mum and dad were away teaching the young ones how to fish for food!
As before I was soon in the water and making my way down towards the bridge parallel with the south shore.
Feeling enthusiastic and hopeful I really enjoyed casting and wading my way down the Loch.
There was as fair old westerly breeze blowing down the Loch creating a nice wave which was ideal for pulling my flies through.
All of a sudden there was an almighty splash a second or two after my leader landed on the water, and I was into another trout.
As expected this fish was fooled by the black Zulu.
Despite its greatest efforts this trout wasnt coming off, as this time I was in control, I let it run when it needed to, and applied pressure when I needed to.
It was a great joy to land a nice plump Lily Loch  rainbow trout in my net.
I briefly considered returning the fish but decided I would dispatch it  to give my wee Belle a culinary treat.
My Cat ate well that night!
I didnt continue fishing after that as I was delighted with my capture and considered my work done for the day!
I clambered my way ashore and sat on the bank enjoying the tranquility of the moment and making the most of that feeling of fulfilment that we fly fishermen know so well after fooling a fish.
So with a great feeling of satisfaction, I broke down my rod, packed away my reel, flies, leader and trout into my bag and headed off down the loch to make my way back over the hill. 
However just as I was passing the sluice at the east end of the Loch I met a local chap from a nearby village who anyone who fishes the Lily Loch and Hillend Loch will be familiar with ! Hes up there every day of the year walking round the Lochs and local back roads no matter the weather.
Hes a bit of an enigma and eccentric to say the least.
If I'm being kind, I'd say hes a couple of nymphs short of a full fly box!
Usually he blanks me when I say hello but on this occassion he was up for a chat and really keen to tell me one of his ridiculously imaginative stories that hes so well known for.
Incredibly he told me the Loch was in danger from a disease that a bunch of kids from a sanatorium in England brought up on their boots and infected the Loch.  He then went on to infom me that the Loch's built in alarm system was alerted to the danger and as such activated and opened up the tanks that are built into the bottom of the Loch which then lowered the water level and brought the fish down into them for their safety. Aparently most Lochs in Sotland have these tanks. I swear that's what he told me! 
He wanted to talk some more but I said I was in a hurry and off I went back over the hill.
I dont think Ive ever laughed so  much in all my life as I made my back to my car.
I thought to myself well at least the next time I blank at the Lily or elswhere for that matter,  I'll know the exact real reason why the trout never showed up!!

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