Bobbin’ for Trossachs Monsters

“You know what we have never done?” I said to Alex as we discussed a plan to go fishing on Sunday “Whats that?” said Alex with a slight hesitancy in his voice as he knew this was the start of another crazy wack plan. “We have never been towed around a loch in our float tubes by an enormous Pike”

“Let’s do it” he said – only with an extra word that kind of sounds like kicking.

So we met at Venechar at around 1000 and got set up – I got talking to some Irish chaps in a camper van and we spoke about the differences in fishing practices in various countries – some of the practices I kind of doubted. I mean I know Polish fishers get a bad wrap but do they actually catch hundreds of immature bream and roach and then grind them to a pulp before eating them?

The Gear!

Anyway, we got the tubes set up and walked to the loch. There was a couple of chaps deadbaiting for Pike and I asked them where there lines were so we did not disturb them – they appeared a bit shocked that we were going out in the tubes with the gusting wind but I assured them we would be fine.

We will be fine…

We fished hard around the first bay with enormous flies and I am pretty sure I spotted a very big swirl on the surface which I am pretty sure was a very big Pike taking something from just under the surface – we spoke about that Pike a lot as quite frankly it was pretty much the only action to be had at this loch.

Still searching….

After we got back ashore after totally blanking we had some fairly tough decisions to make – do we head to another loch, stay and fish for trout or come up with an alternative.

While we decided, Alex got out his legendary frying pan and stove and proceeded to make us sausage, black pudding and haggis doublers.

He then ate a wasp.

That’s right, he actually ate a friggin wasp. The damn thing had got in his can and after drinking it he chewed on it for a bit thinking it was a bit of burnt black pudding – he then spit half of it out in his hand.

He said his mouth felt funny. I am just glad it didnt sting him – I reminded him of the horrific experiance of when he got a hook stuck in his lip and I had to tear the damn thing out. The last thing I wanted to do was go through his pockets for spare cash and transfer his gear into my car before the ambulance showed up try stuff something down his throat while his face swells up to twice its size and save his life in a very manly fashion.

We decided to head to a different loch and continue our hunt for Pike – surely the Pike would be feeding at another loch right? I mean we have actually caught a lot of pike in our time so it is not as if we are newbies at this game.

It had lots of weeds – Pike love that stuff..
I mean they really love weeds – it is like trout and boulders – find one you find the other!

OK – so this time we were even more sure – this place looked like Pike City – I mean it was just perfect, it had weeds and lots of it.

However, the water stayed like glass with no splashes amongst the weeds and no takes to our flies.

Just a jack would be good at this point….

I put on a gurgler at one point and pulled it through the weeds – any pike worth its weight in roach flesh would have went mad with those gurgles however the gurgler came back unmolested.

Like glass….

Eventually the sun was off the water and the temperature plummeted a few degrees – we finned back slowly to the shore.

“This is the second time I have blanked this year” mused Alex as we dragged our tubes up the shore – “..and both times I was with you” pointing out the obvious common denominator. He reminded me of our early season trip to my highland river which turned out equally as disasterous.

To be fair we always meet up at weird times, I mused, when I thought about it later and decided to rectify that next season.

“Wanna meet up and during the winter and do this again?”

“You betcha” I said.

Bobbin’ around.

I managed a sneaky half day from work this week. I arranged with Paul to meet somewhere for a trout attack at an ex fishery which is now hammered by the bait boys. Thankfully, we could get away from that area by using the float tubes.

When I met Paul I told him I reckoned that this would be my last trout trip of the year probably as the season just felt over for me. I had fished my highland river the day before and the place was totally dead so I was not feeling too optimistic. I had stopped my car 15mins away from the loch and felt a nice warm breeze againts my face however at the waterside the rain had started again with rolling clouds.

I stepped into the boat and pushed off, I gave a speculative cast as I finned away from the shore and a trout pounced on my fly. A fluke, I decided, as I finned my way further into the loch however it turned out to be the start of some red hot action.

big fins on the surface

Trout were splashing on the surface and pouncing on the flies and were very agressive. They were not enormous trout, the biggest was shy of half a pound but they sure were pretty.

Pretty Trout

I finned around the islands and was even catching trout in the water that did not have any movement in it – casting with the 5 weight in the stillness was good for the soul even amongst the showers.

casting towards the stillness

I told Paul this may not actually be my last trip however as soon as the action started it all seemed to be over. A cold stillness came over us and the loch went dead. The action lasted maybe two hours whereas a month ago it would have went on all evening.

I stuffed my tube into the back of the car and headed home with a wet ass due to leaking waders. I had forgotton how great fishing from the tube is – I should have got the damn thing out months ago.

Refusing trout in high water

I am pretty sure my river level app lied to me today. The app said medium water in a river which is fed by a couple of lochs and another river – I wanted to fish the tributary of the river. This highland stream is usually pocket water however when I got their it was full on fast flowing spate..

Highland River

I immediately felt very under-gunned with my 4 weight and after a 45 minute session walked back to the car to move down into the next river and string up my 5 weight SLT which is a beefier set up for these types of conditions.

When I got to the lower section again I noticed that it was even higher than the last time I was here as I was finding it difficult to get into some of the pools that were usually productive. The force of the water was just too much and it was difficult trying to control the fly.

I decided to walk downstream which proved slightly problematic as I wanted to fish the right hand bank and there is no actual path. This meant making my way through some fairly thick woods all the time stooped over.

Trees

I finally got to my long riffle that looked perfect and worked my way up it with a dry and dropper.

A riffle with no actual fish I mused as I was almost at tthe top of the riffle after 45mins of constant searching.

100m Riffle

It was only when I let my fly swing behind me did I get a take on the nymph – it was then in a moment of madness that I decided to stick on an small Allys Shrimp as I did not have any wet flies with me with the thinking that a crazy salmon could take it as well as a trout. As it was a couple of trout had a go at it but they did not stay on for long.

I started the slog back up the river to another glide and decided on a change of tactic – a stimulator went on and this time the trout were definitely interested. I could tell they were interested as every few casts I would watch trout cruising up to have a go at the stimulator and then refuse it or have a go at it resulting in an angry shake of the head after I tightened up and then the usual lost trout.

I lost count how many times this happened.

Usually thin water

I walked upriver to what is usually some pretty thin water to find it was at least 2.5 feet deep and very fast moving – finally a trout stuck to the stimulator however no picture as I dropped the trout as soon as it was unhooked.

There was a buy watching me from a bridge for a bit in what looked like thermal underwear – I guess he was a salmon fisher.

As I was leaving I noted from a dryer stone that the water must have dropped a half foot while I was fishing.

They always look bigger in real life.

I had a pounding headache all day at work however had based myself in Clydebank so that I could shoot down to the river nice and quick. The temp was hovering over 20 degrees and the sky was overcast, I could tell a change was on the way.

I keep my rod set up in the car so that I save a couple of minutes when I get to the river. It also means that if I have a spare 10mins I can stop at my wee burn, catch a few trout, and by on my way again with my fix satisfied.

The river had a tinge of color to it and was up several inches. It was high enough that the riffles were bigger and longer and just looked in excellent condition. The place was alive with buzzing insects and when I looked downstream I spotted several trout rising.

And we call it an urban river..

From the photo above you would think that this was in fact in the countryside when instead the sounds of cars honking their horns, buses moving and people shouting from a walkway just above me competed with the sounds of birds and flowing water. There are some high flats a few hundred metres away.

With hindsight I should have waded slowly down to the rising trout however I stuck to the riffle and caught nowt. I moved up the river slowly eventually picking up trout on both my size 12 Klink and my PTN dragging under it.

A wee troot.

I used to always say that you can tell a proper Kelvin trout as quite frankly it looks like it has seen a bit of action however over the last few years their condition has improved and they look bonny.

Long riffle..

Once I had finished at that stretch I headed up the road to a different section of river.

Not sure why this was happening however several trout that I caught were false hooked on their body – it must have been the way they were taking the fly.

I have started carrying my net again, I had stopped for a while their as I was just not using it however after nearly losing some big trout and paranoid about attempting to grab a trout and damaging it I decided to carry it again. It is a big net so the size of this lunker does not look that impressive, I was trying to get a classic photo in the hand when it wiggled back into the water.

lunker

There is something about catching trout after some hot weather, the river is full of oxygen and the trout pull like crazy – my wee four weight was bent over a few times and annoyingly on a couple of occasions my reel fell off while this was going on.

I guess I could have stayed out a lot longer however my headache had not subsided so I headed back to the motor and a leisurely drive back home.

No great lunkers.

I managed a few hours on my highland river this evening. There was a lot of water coming down it and I actually had a thought I might spot a Salmon. Consequently I strung up my 7 weight with an Allys Shrimp and went for a yomp down some likely pools – needless to say I did not have a scooby what I was doing and soon became bored at the lack of action and then agitated by the number of slurps from trout I was walking past.

Slurps.
Slurping..

I yomped it back up to my car and got out my 4 weight, after a few casts I kinda wished I had my 5 weight SLT however soon my klink was being pounced upon by several trout in the faster water.

Not a lunker..

After a few trout I decided to head home as I currently have some house visitors that I abandoned.

Glad I went though.

Top Form

Well, the Kelvin was on absolutely top form this evening.

It was a warm muggy day, hovering around 20 degrees with cloud cover and the occasional smattering of rain. Going by my water level app the Kelvin was at a nice height, up a few inches and it had that lovely earthy smell that gives it the name “Smelly Kelly”. Not that it is a bad smell as it is actually from rotting vegetation allegedly. Whatever, when I smell it I know I am in for a good one and it came up trumps as usual.

Smelly Kelly

I actually fished at a few locations, sticking the rod in the car and driving from place to place – fishing several stretches from the bottom of the botanics right up the river several kilometres.

The trout were consistent in all the pools…

With some lovely ones amongst the smaller ones…

I was using a standard dry and dropper and the trout were equally taking both. The only annoying thing was I lost a couple of nymphs and realised that I really need to tie some up. By tie some up all I really do is wrap some wire around a hook, the trout seem to love the simplicity of it.

Just because…

One thing I noticed on a lot of the trout I was catching was some kind of parasite on their backs and heads. it was like a wee jelly like thing that was easily flicked off. I remember someone asking about it on the River Kelvin Fishers Facebook group so I will have a hunt their to find the answer.

You can see it on the head of the trout.

If you know what it is leave a comment here or in the River Kelvin Fishers Group.

Edit – turns out it is Argulus. Freshwater fish louse . Argulus is a common parasite of freshwater fish, found in fisheries throughout the UK. Adult lice are flat, round, jelly-likeparasites that feed on skin and mucus. Heavy infections can quickly cause irritation, condition loss and death

What always gets me is that you have know idea how big a trout is by the size of the rise. Big splashes end up tiddlers and tiny sips end up as good half pounders.

Tiny riser

Another thing I noticed in a lot of the big deep pools was the number of Salmon splashing around. I think I counted at least 5 spread from the West End right up the river several kilometres.

I finished the evening at a rising trout in some slow deep water. One of those sporadic trout that has far too long to gaze at your fly. I cast a few times and it too my klink on the third cast.

I headed home in the fading light.

Wilsoning it!

I have been watching John Wilson’s (the Glasgow one not the one that blanked me at the Glasgow Angling Centre) videos on the River Kelvin Fisher’s facebook page (the good one, not the shite one) with a mixture of envy and admiration.

He has been dragging the depths with nymph frenchy style and posting videos of himself catching clunkers from the bottom of the river. It has been great fun. It has certainly kept me amused in my run up to the school holidays meaning a break for me from the hum drum of driving kids to activities etc.

I got tackled up and noticed a squirrel trying to get a fag out of a packet – you don’t see that on the Tay that’s for sure.

Should be vaping!

So I hit the river last night after work – I stomped down to the flint mill running into just one angler and then back up to the rocks pool. I then spooked a few trout before slowly making my way up the river.

I ran into a non angling angler and we had a brief chat – I had just lost a clunker on the dry and could feel things were heating up. He asked if i was using nymphs and I laughed and said I was not into any of that Wilson nonsense. About 3 mins later I was dangling a nymph under a dry and caught this lovely trout..

I then lost another clunker just as dusk was setting in. I managed to spook a dozen trout with my enormous dry fly before going microscopic and then not striking quick or slow enough. Bloody typical!

K…….k….kkkelvin

That is me shivering by the way.

I got to the river mid-afternoon for a couple of hours, the temp was to be a maximum of 11 and it certainly felt like it. I was wearing shorts under my breathablea and my toes were numb on the drive up the road to pick up the youngest.

Not that the ice cold wind put the flies or trout off, they appeared in abundance – not that I got to see many trout though.

flies in abundance..

My first trout from the Kelvin of the year was thankfully an unfluked trout – I spotted it rising, waded to it and then cast a few times until the drift was correct and then BAM!

Bam!

Sadly my 2nd trout from the Kelvin and probably around 5 times the size of the first did not come to my hand, instead I cast for it, hooked it and it launched itself around the pool before getting below me. I had a brief flash in my head that at least I managed to see it and already knew for some reason it would not be posing for a photo when the line went slack and the trout and my fly was gone – bad knot (angler error).

I made a phone call to SEP reporting this rather evil looking thing and stuff…

Evil stuff,,

It was only when I got home did I find out that there had been a significant discharge of something upstream and this was why I kept thinking their was a white sheen to the water – you can probably see it in the first picture.

As ever I was appalled at the amount of litter in the river and wondered why someone would chuck water tablets in the river – at first I thought they were benzo’s but turned out they were simply water tablets.

No Diazepam!

I watched a couple of guys ledgering catch a trout and then take what felt like an age before I watched them toss it back in the water with a splash – they looked down for a bit so I assumed it was struggling.

I waded back down the river covering a few trout on the way, at one point stopping to scale everything down as my comparadun was too big.

It was still great to be out and about.

Dogs, Boats and Sexism

It was my birthday last week and I decided to visit my local pond and also to attack the Sea Trout at my wee bay. Sadly nothing came to the hand however I did feel a slight warmth in the air which filled me with some optimism for the coming weekend.

As I had an afternoon free today I decided to head to my highland stream to see if it had woken up yet and was glad that within a few mins of my arrival I spotted some trout slurping away at “something” on the surface. There was nearly double the amount of water in it from the last time I was here with Alex so things were looking good.

However, the spooky trout were certainly living up to their reputation in this river and I never really worked out what they were taking, sure I spotted some olives drifting past but the rises did not appear to correspond to their drifts. Plus there were as sporadic as anything.

Sporadic

Anyway, I had just arrived at a lovely pool with trout slurping when I heard a banging noise and a “Hello there” from down river. A girl of around 13 was trying to get a boat upstream using a single paddle. She jovially told me this as she whacked the oar in the water. “Sorry” she called out as she moved the boat pretty much all over the pool. As she couldn’t paddle the boat in the fast water she dragged it up the bank over the stones. I could see she wanted some help and wanted to have a conversation so wandered off upstream a bit to the next pool to get away from her. Same situation with slurping trout and then the girl was back. I walked downstream this time and found a pool with a rising trout. I waited a while and then slowly crawled up to the river only for a dulux paint dog to jump into the water. At least the owner had the good grace to apologise profusely. I walked back up to my banker pool to find that gladly the trout were back – I covered a few only to hear a loud bang upstream. The girl was back with her boat, I swear to goodness she was doing this on purpose. Turns out she could not get it up any further so decided to turn back.

This time I yomped it upriver, overtaking dog walking man to a lovely wee riffle with rising trout.

Riffle..

After a few casts finally a trout took my dry and it fought well above its weight.

A wee highland trout…

I wandered downstream to my spooked pool where the trout were slurping again. As my fly drifted into some slack water I noticed how deep this pool actually was. Probably around 12 feet. I raised my rod and felt resistance, my first thought was that I had hooked the bottom however there was no chance of that because of the depth – the solid resistance moved a foot or so and my fly pinged back at me. I realised I had came into contact with a whumper and cursed my luck.

I wandered back down past the tied up boat and met some boys jumping into the river. I spoke to them briefly and then they pointed excitedly upstream – the girl in the boat was coming downstream. I laughed and asked the boys if they knew her – they told me that the girl was in fact a boy. But she has long blonde hair I told them – you are being sexist I was told as boys too can have long hair.

It was time to call it a day anyway.

Fun with the glue.

Pretty sure I have written before about evostick and it’s ability to mend wading boot felt soles. I did not realise I would have to actually glue the whole sole back on to a boot however I spent an hour last night doing just that. Good job too as I noticed the other boots sole was coming away at the heel. Typical.

Might look messy..

Look, I don’t go fishing to look good so I,don’t really care if it looks a bit messy. Then, seeing as how I had the glue out I stick the top joint of my beachcaster in the goop and popped on a new top ring as the last one flew off for some reason.

Dipping my rod..

I have left it drying in position, the kids are asking to go shark fishing (as in dogfish) so guessed the sooner the better.

Drying happy.

Next outing is being planned…..