Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dundonnell Stravaig 2015

My annual wild fishing trip with my two friends this year took me to Wester Ross in the North West Highlands to Dundonnell. On the day we arrived we settled into our accommodation which was a caravan on the shores of Little Loch Broom near the hostel I stayed in whilst on a couple of previous trips to the area with the guys from the Wild Fishing Forum. The first lochs we ventured up to was the Peat Lochs up on the shoulder of the 2,516ft Corbett, Sail Mhor.. I had fished here before and was keen to take Tam and Scott up to these lochs which hold modest trout of about half a pound. The weather was fair as we set about pursing the trout. We weren't disappointed as we caught numerous brown trout. The largest being around the half pound mark. While Tam and Scott were happy to stick to the one big main loch I wandered around the hills to get some pics and also fished one or two of the other wee lochs nearby. We fished to around 6pm and made our way back down the hill to the car. However it was not without mishap as I stepped into a bog right up to my thighs. Thankfully I managed to get out without much trouble all be it rather wet. This made me very weary of where I placed my feet for the rest of the trip while tramping the hills and moors. Once back at the caravan we enjoyed a hearty meal prepared by Scott followed by a nice bottle of red wine for me, while the other two enjoyed some fruit cider. On Tuesday morning we awoke to torrential rain and low cloud and after checking the local weather forecast for the rest of the day, there was to be no let up in the wet weather. Therefore after breakfast we decided to fish a lochan which wouldn't take too much effort to get to in the adverse conditions. So we wrapped up in appropriate clothing and off we went to fish, like the weather the fishing was poor as only a few trout were caught at this damp and dreich hill loch. Our fishing was curtailed due to no let up in the weather so we decided to get back to the caravan get dried out , had dinner, had a few drinks whilst studying maps and made plans for the next day. Wednesday was a special day not least because it was my birthday but the fishing was the best of our whole trip too. To be fair I knew this loch had the potential to be the highlight of our trip as I had been to this loch before and knew a few others who had too. The Loch of the Clergy is a wonderful hill loch that holds a great head of superb fish. You will never need to take the Lords name in vane at this lochan as you will always be well rewarded if you are prepared to put the effort in to get up to this mountain lochan. On the way up we disturbed a few deer as they spotted us and made off up over the hill at a faster pace than we humans could only dream of. The three of us fished all around this lochan taking fish at most locations. The climb up takes a bit of effort especially in the rain and mist however on arrival the mist cleared and stayed clear for the rest of our time at the lochan. All our fish were taken on a variety of traditional wets such as soldier palmers, wet daddies, silver Invictas, claret bumbles, golden olive bumbles, Kate's and kee-Hee etc. I was hoping for a birthday drink at the local hotel , however by the time we made our decent, got back to the caravan , got showered and had dinner we were too tired and weary and instead had a few drinks in the caravan which was very satisfying indeed especially after such an enjoyable day of wild trout fishing surrounded by majestic scenery. Next morning after a hearty breakfast prepared by our nominated chef (Scott) we decided we would tackle the Heather Lochs. This was my first visit to this series of Lochans which sit high up on the hills. The views from the hills above these lochs was absolutely amazing especially the view of An Teallach which was glistening in the sunshine. Once again we disturbed a herd of deer as we made our way up the hills. The fishing was a bit difficult as it was bright for most of the day. I explored all around these lochs and fished a few of them. The trout from these lochs were on the lean side compared to the trout of the Loch of the Clergy. The scenery from the hills, around these loch was the best of our whole trip and at one point I made my way up to a rocky hill top and just sat drinking in the views and staring in awe at the magnificent and dramatic ridges and corries of An Teallach. I thought to myself who needs to fish when you can just sit here and be amazed by the impressive mountain scenery which surrounded me. The three of us once again caught numerous trout and once we had burnt ourselves out we headed back down the moors and hills back to the car then the caravan where we had a quick shower then off to the local hotel for a few pints while the evening dinner cooked away in the oven back at the caravan. All too soon Friday morning arrived, the day of our departure. As we journeyed back south to North Lanarkshire we collectively agreed that we would definitely be back here again sometime in the future. I was just happy that the fishing and scenery lived up to the expectations of Tam and Scott as I had been describing enthusiastically the fishing potential of this area to my two mates for the last couple of years.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Lucky at the Lily

Just quick post to report that I had a few hours at the Lily Loch on Thursday and enjoyed the peace and quite and very pleasant weather up there in the morning which was in stark contrast to what Ive been experiencing at Hillend recently. To make things even better I even managed to fool an acrobatic trout with an olive nymph.
I have to admit that I was very lucky as I took along the wrong reel as I had packed in my bag, my reel with the sink tip line instead of my favourite floating line. I didn't feel too confident as a few trout were rising occasionally and thought that I might be fishing my flies too deep however I was proved wrong with a nice rainbow succumbing to my fly pattern.
When the rain started in the afternoon I decided that one trout would do me so packed up and walked back over the hill, changed out my wet clothes and headed home for coffee and a bite to eat.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

It's Just not Cricket!

After a cessation from fishing for over a month I at long last managed to get to the Loch on Sunday for a trip out on the boat and also a trip up on Monday to fish from the south shore.
Sunday was a big disappointment as the only fish I came into contact was one which I fooled with a silver invicta, however It was only on very briefly as my whole leader came away from the loop on my fly line most probably because I hadn't taken care in insuring that my knott was secure.
My boat partner Davie didn't fair any better. We tried various locations without success.
Before we ended our boat session late on Sunday night we moved to the Boathouse bay where I have never seen so many fish for a long time. The surface bubbling all over the place with trout but they were not interested in any artificial fly I cast at them. How I failed to make contact with any trout in the boathouse is beyond me.
It was suggested that the trout were feeding on the Caenis otherwise known as the Fisherman's Curse and I can totally understand why they are so named.
However Monday was slightly better.
I walked down the south shore to the wee moss where i watched numerous fish rising. A few casts later I caught a nice trout of around 1 1/2lb which was fooled by a small olive nymph.
However as I was dispatching the trout a young lad appeared from nowhere , wanted to know what I caught the trout on and proceeded to move into the area I was fishing and if that wasn't bad enough he waded right in up over his waist which undoubtedly would have spooked all the rising fish that were around. Then I noticed he was on his phone calling his mate who was over at the cliffs, telling him to come over as someone had caught a fish.
I decided there and then that was enough and just packed up.
Hillend is far too busy these day for me to enjoy my fishing there,  not only that a lot of these folk don't have a clue about fishing etiquette.  Its very frustrating and fishing shoulder to shoulder with dunderheeds is not my idea of fishing.Its just not cricket!
Roll on July when I get up the Highlands so that I can experience real fishing!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Border Trout

Saturday 2nd May. After being given a recommendation to visit a little known reservoir reputed for its brown trout and which is rarely fished I took the opportunity to travel down to the Borders.
My friend's Tam and Scott and I arrived in Galashiels early on Saturday morning and had a hearty breakfast in the local supermarket restaurant after which we drove to St Boswells to pick up our permits for the day's fishing.
However after enquiring about out permits the owner of the outdoor shop informed us that he couldn’t help us as he didn’t deal with the fishing on this particular water and directed us to a newsagent in a nearby village.
However on arrival at the said shop they didn’t deal with the fishing either. Nevertheless they knew people who did so therefore the newsagent forwarded a phone call to tell a local farmer that we were on our way over to get permission to fish.
With the directions to the farm in hand we set off once again this time to get the permits.
We eventually arrived at the farm after travelling on never ending twisting country roads.
We thought we were never going to get away from the farmer as he didn’t half like to have blether but ultimately we got what we desired and were off at last to the reservoir which we reached soon after.
It was bitterly cold with a brisk east wind blowing across the reservoir, not idea fly fishing conditions to say the least; however we had gone to a fair amount of trouble to eventually fish here so we soon strung our rods and tied on our flies and were soon off casting into various areas of the water.
Tam was first into a fish and as it turned out the best trout of the day, which was between ¾lb and 1lb mark which foiled with a Bibio. It was a lovely fish. However, Tam kept it for the pot. Personally I think he should have returned such a beautiful creature.
I was next to hook up. I caught three nice trout however they were not quite in the same size bracket as Tam’s. However it was very pleasing indeed to catch a trio of trout especially when all were fooled with my favourite and most successful pattern the Kate McLaren.
Scott took some considerable time to eventually get his one and only trout which he caught with a mallard and claret and was pretty much the same size as the trout which I caught.
Tam caught a second just before we packed up and headed back home.
It was a lovely piece of water to fish set in a lovely picturesque setting surrounded by fine rolling hills and farms.
Conditions were not the best and as a result we never saw much fish activity on the surface but we agreed that this reservoir has the potential to be superb when the weather is more favourable.
So with that in mind we agreed that we would like to return in the not so distant future.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Vinyl and Flies.

It was my intention over the weekend to have a trip up to Rannoch Moor to fish some of the fine Lochans up there, however that never materialized and I never even manged any time to wet a line at Hillend either as I attended the Record Store Day in Glasgow and got carried away with my other passion of music especially anything Paul Weller related.
So over the weekend I purchased some new vinyl and dug out the stereo and  boxes and boxes of records from the loft.
Whilst listening to my old vinyl I did a bit of flytying. More Stragglers!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Hillend Stragglers!

Today whilst on my lunch break from work I poured myself a coffee and sat at my tying desk and tied up these patters which are loosely based on a pattern which won me a prize in the Fly Fishing & Fltying magazine a few years ago.
The straggle fritz is a material I would normally use in the tying of lures, however it works well on a size ten hook and adds life and sparkle to a wet style pattern.
Straggle fritz is a wonderful material that I found to be used in a lot of my successful patterns especially at Hillend. I have a selection of colours of this material in my tying chest which I intend to make use of. Over the next few days I intend tying more.
I'm hatching a plan for a trip to the lochans on Rannoch Moor next week and I'm intrigued to see how these patterns in various colours will perform in the peaty waters of the Moor. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

My Old Rod!

After having a look at the weather app on my ipad around lunchtime today I decided I would take a run up to the Loch this afternoon.
Despite it being a rather wet and dreich morning the weather did improve after midday.
Today as I was rummaging around in my fishing cupboard,getting my gear organised for my afternoon at Hillend I noticed my old Diawa Lochmore Z sitting at the back of the cupboard and decided I would take his with me as it had been a number of years since I used this rod. I had replaced this rod with a Sonik rod after breaking my Lochmore at the River Clyde in an unfortunate clumsy accident.
I did however get auld Johnny to fix my rod but ever since I got it repaired I have never used it as I liked my Sonik fly rod so much.
So of I went with my old rod to the North Shore.
I had fished for over an hour down past the Shields burn before I eventually hooked and landed a nice trout of about 2lb plus which was fooled by my gold head olive dancer. After the obligatory photo I fished on and about an hour later I duped another about the 2lb mark once again with the same flee.
To be honest the old Daiwa Lochmore felt really heavy compared to the Sonik so I m not sure if I will hurry to use it again. I would never part with it though as it holds so many happy memories. The pick of the bunch being when I caught my first ever Salmon with that old rod on the River Naver.
All in all a I had a very satisfying and fruitful afternoon at the loch today made all the more pleasant as there wasn't too many anglers about today and got that part of the loch today to myself.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Hillend was on fire today!

I had a few hours at Hillend this afternoon and was fortunate enough to have some sport, first of all with a jack pike and then a little later a rainbow trout of about 1 1/2 lb. Both fish were fooled by my black uv lure.
However I had to wait a couple of hours before I got a pic of the trout as my phone battery was drained. Therefore I had to wait until I returned to the car to charge my phone and as you can see from the pic the trout doesnt look its best in fact it looks very deed indeed. Yuk. However my neighbour will most probably enjoy the trout for his tea tomorrow night.
Oh! and I thought I might mention that Hillend was on fire today! Apparently a group of school kids were setting fire to the very dry grass and it got pretty bad, so much so the fire brigade had to attend to the blaze!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The one that most certainly got away!

Tonight at Hillend I was fishing in and around the area known as the wee moss and I had the most thrilling experience With the largest fish I have ever had at Hillend, a pike somewhere in the region of between 15 & 20 lb,however there's a twist in the tale, so to speak. 
There I was casting away with my uv lure on the point and a small cormorant lure on the dropper and wading from the cliffs across to the wee moss when this time I cast across in front of the moss and let my black uv lure sink for a number of seconds then I felt a long slow draw on my line. I raised my rod and I was into the pike.
I kinda knew this was a pike as it bored down and then as expected the big predator showed itsself with a tail walk. After that it was a nervous battle for about twenty minutes with a brute of a fish. I had it in at the bank on a couple of occasions but I was totally helpless as I hadn't a net and such was the power of the fish.
Just as I thought I had some as-semblance of control the beast went off with one last surge and broke my line! However it was such a beautiful evening at Hillend tonight as I sulked off into the sunset!