I finally found my tube!

I have no idea why we always wait until the last couple of weeks to get together however on a very cold and frosty morning we decided to hit Carron dam for some float tube action. 

The drive down was very enjoyable – the temp hovered around 1 degree the whole journey from my house and the car was dipping in and out the mist as I drove through a couple of valleys to get to the starting point. 

The temp was up around 6 degrees by the time we got in the tubes – I think at one point during the day it hit double figures. I got sunburn. 

I am always amazed at how ungainly you are when actually getting in the water with a tube and then how graceful you glide along with your enormous fins. As we were preparing to enter we disturbed a civilian who was just waking up from a nights camping – it turned out there was a half dozen guys in that wee 2 man tent.

It reminded me of the time I disturbed some guys on Lomond who were “Pike fishing” – 6 rods rods out and they were still half drunk – one was wearing a pink dress, turned out it was his stag. 

Lots of plucks and pulls ended up with one trout for me – duly chapped as it was a stocky and is now in my freezer. 

I fished back to where I started as there was now a good wave and had a few more plucks. Paul was long gone – his enormous fins propelling him up the reservoir so far in the distance I coul dnot see him.

Alex and I got out the water, stuffed the tubes in the cars and bolted up to the top of the reservoir and dived back in.

There was an interesting bit of water which was all bubbly – obviously we did not tube past the markers but we did cast into the maelstrom – interestingly my intermediate after a minute would be pointing straight down.

It looks very fishy!

We found out the reason why after we were packing up.

Negative buoyancy apparently – not a big fan of being sucked down into the depths of a reservoir so I am glad we did not stray too close.

I headed back to find Paul – typically he had caught half a dozen trout whilst we had caught nothing.

Here he is – I peered over the wall and spotted him drifting in idylic bliss.

The stuff you come across…

And now the end is near!

I’ve got to admit it was a lovely evening to be splashing around in a river. I guess I should have tried to find a trout to catch however by the looks of things all the rivers were too high. However, after being asked to fish the Garnock by Atkins and I was able to get away from work an hour early as well as a free pass from homelife I was soon on my way. 

Atkins arrived late as usual and we quickly decanted my stuff into his car, we had a quick chat with Gordon Donaldson who was already setting off and then just before we were for the off Atkins lost his keys – a frantic 20 mins looking for them ensued while Atkins apologised as it was eating into the fishing time – I was just glad it was not me. I found the keys in some deep grass, a rather lucky and fortunate find as we would have been facing a lengthy walk back to my car. 

I used my 7 weight which meant I was vastly undergunned however it was still fun and I am sure my fly was getting deep enough with the sink tip and tube fly. I had a few casts with my flying c as well which kind of felt like cheating however considering that Salmon are in fact a stupid fish that you must annoy as they forget to feed in fresh water it is deemed an ok method. 

Suffice to say we caught bugger all and here was me hoping to slaughter one of those farmed salmon I have heard so much about. Yesterday morning I stood and watched several of them splashing around in the Leven. 

Only a few weeks to go of the trout season – obviously it has gone far too quickly however I am hoping to get out for a final fling on the tube if I can find the damn thing – how the hell does someone lose a float tube? That’s what I want to know!

Dry fly – loch style!

Ewen, a pal from London was in town and he wanted to meet up for a fish. He had actually messaged me when I was up on my highland river and I had said he could have joined me if he had contacted me a few hours earlier. Aye, he could have joined me in blanking spectacularly and being eaten by around a billion midges. 

Instead after weighing up all the options we settled on my local pond – I had not taken the trek up the hill in a while and the trout had been unmolested for quite long enough. 

The day started off overcast and was perfect however by the time he picked me up the sun was blazing down – no matter at least when we got to the loch there was a nice wave.

Not being one to stress about loch flies I stuck on two likely looking black things was good to go. 

We worked out that that the last time we had fished together was nearly 10 years ago when we fished for Pike together on Lomond.

After gearing up he politely shooed me away to fish and I wandered over to the dam wall and very quickly got into a lovely two pounder that fought like crazy – it fair pulled the 7 weight over. 

After trying for longer at the wall we then moved down to the bottom of the loch – Ewen stopped off as there was some trout rising and I fished a drop off. He called me over and we both switched to dry flies. I tied on a deer hair sedge and cast out to roughly where the trout were dimpling the surface – we had no idea what they were taking – suddenly a trout took my fly and I struck, it jumped clean out the water. 

I edited a bit where I dropped the fish.

I caught another lovely trout which for once someone was around to film. 

Eventually Ewen caught one on the dry as well – however it slipped out of his hands before I could get to him for a hero shot.

The sun was low in the sky and the pond just seemed off with no action – we headed home before we were both skunnered. 

And a little bit of that!

Lack of posts do not mean a lack of fishing – several trips to my highland river as well as Clydewards have occured however a lack of time means I am finding it difficult to write for pleasure.

Two nights camping with the kids seemed ideal to get away from it all – just four men together eating man food and doing manly things sounded like just the ticket to blow the lockdown cobwebs away. 

I booked us into the Glencoe Mountain campsite – nice and safe for the kids with a cafe to retreat to if things got hairy as seemingly their was a spot of rain forecast on day two.

No rain today!

First day and night no issues at all. Sure, putting up the tent with the midges was the usual utter hell as you would expect however after donning the midge nets it was done. Rolls n sausage for dinner and then a stroll through the rannoch moor. 


Day two took us to the end of the glen to meet with Alex and his girls for a spot of sea fishing. The rain was fairly chucking it down however I had brought my giant ikea tarpaulin and we rigged up a  shelter.

I think Alex and I were more impressed than the kids though.

The big rods were cast out and a couple of float rods as well – we started to spin for mackies to keep the kids entertained. Kids being kids were hyper and miserable with the rain at the same time – wet feet is what happens when you go in the water over your wellies.

Giving my wisdom
That is how you get wet

They soon cheered up when we started pulling in fish – mackerel, an eel and a lovely wrasse. 

We gave it a few hours and then retreated to Alex’s caravan. The rain alternated between torrential and merely consistent and we decided that the two big kids should head out for some more action letting the kids watch a movie. 

We scrambled through bushes and fern and along a foot wide path which would have been certain death if you took one wrong slippy step. 

I am in this picture somewhere…

We fished for a couple of hours and as usual Alex was pulling in big Pollack while I was bringing up the wrasse. We spotted a seal which was ok as it didn’t seem to put the fish off. 

A Wrasse

I always do very well for wrasse and I think it is to do with the fact that I always use a simple jig head with my LRF gear and let it sink down to the depths.

I have a lack of photos of Alex as I had left my phone behind to dry out – speaking of which I really must get myself a new waterproof camera.

We then witnessed a strange anomaly – there was a disturbance on the surface of the water, lots of bubbles and splashing. We watched it slowly make its way up towards us and it was in castable distance. We surmised that it was the seal attacking a shoal of mackerel and we changed to spinners – Alex had a follow and then caught one. It then got weird as despite consistently going through the “shoal” we got no more hook ups. I tried letting my spinner sink a bit however this did not produce a result. Meanwhile the big bubbles moved away and we were wondering why we did not see the seal pop its head up – we assumed it was under water bashing away the shoal. 

Alex caught a Corkwing

It was only later that we looked along the shore and saw a couple of divers surfacing – I guiltily thought of how I let my spinner sink deep down however I doubt it would have been anywhere near them anyway. We stoated back to the caravan and I gathered my brood together and started the drive back to the campsite. The rain was fairly lashing down and I did worry slightly that the tent may be letting in a little water however I had removed any electronics and was looking forward to some hearty sausage and bacon rolls with a rather nice glass of wine. I was looking forward to getting out my wet clothes. 

As we drove up the driveway my eldest remarked that he had a horrible thought that the tent wouldn’t be their – I smiled and said that I always think that however it was always ok. Ive been at this a long time I told him – the tent was pitched like a pro, nothing was going to be shifting it.

The smile was soon wiped off my face when we found our camp in utter chaos – obviously some kind hearted soul had decided to try and help and piled the fallen stuff over the tent to stop it all blowing away however it was totally mental. 

I looked at the devastation, at the tent in pieces, all the gear fallen over, the rain and wind and started to laugh and laugh. I was reminded of a time when as a 17 year old I had camped in Glen Etive with a girlfriend at the time and a pal with another girl. We had camped on a wee bit of grass next to the river. It rained during the night however we were quite cosy in our wee tent however in the morning we found ourselves on an island in the middle of the river.

Anyway, as I surveyed the wreckage a chap approached with three boys and said “here are three strong lads to help you” It later transpired that the three teenager had literally just arrived after walking 18 miles to get to their camp. I was most grateful and am ashamed to say I did not catch their names.

The gear was stuffed in the car and then a crazy two hour drive home – flooded roads and one 999 call as a car came off the road into a ditch. My clothes were still soaked and thankfully the heating was on when I arrived home – at last I could have that glass of wine.

A little bit of this…

Had several sessions over the last few weeks – I was out on a highland river the other night. The one where I had just bought my permit and then had to tank it up the road from in my previous post. Annoyingly, this time I had a totally free pass and as soon as I left my house it started to horse it down with rain.

I outran the rain though and by the time I got to the river it was way behind me. All evening though it threatened to creep up on me and was coolish – usually this means hot trout action but they just did not respond – to further complicate matters I was fishing a part of the river that I did not know at all. Judging by the amount of bank that appeared to be part of the river it looked like the river was up by a couple of feet. This meant that the pocket water that I wanted to fish was actually a lot faster and scarier than it should have been  – I wandered about for a bit before missing some trout at dusk. 

Wandered about for a bit…

I decided I should have just fully embraced the nymphs and stuck on an indicator – obviously this was during my musings as I drove up the road. 

At the start of my week’s annual leave I asked the kids what they wanted to do and one of the things was fishing – so I took them up to my local pond. Usually I take them sea fishing however we had no bait. Seemingly the mackerel are in however I do not fancy battling through the hoards to actually get to them. We got to the pond and I described what was going to happen – I would cast for them and then they would retrieve, on my first cast as I was demonstrating a suicidal trout took my fly. This was obviously good for the excitement factor however poor as they thought this was going to happen on every cast as per my demo. 

Headed out last night after sea trout however caught several mackerel instead – all good as I killed them for bait. Gonna head out with the boys with the big rods at some point.

Cowal Blunders & other havoc

After a blunder on the cowal peninsula in which I decided to not take any fishing gear with me on a day trip with the family despite being near some lovely rocks at high tide I was gagging for some action when I got home. 

No fishing gear!

I am on a week’s annual leave and the wife is about to end her annual leave. I speculatively asked if she minded me heading out for a couple of hours and despite the look and the fact she did not actually say yes I headed to the car and was on the way to a highland river. This is a river I had been obsessing about for the winter once I had found they did season tickets – I loathe a day ticket on somewhere I cannot go to for a couple of hours when the mood fancies so as the 5 mile limit has now been relaxed it was time to get permitted up. 

I bolted up the A82 and made a quick dash to the cottage to buy my permit. I stopped off at a bridge to check the river and pretty much decided I was not going to get much action due the amount of water whooshing down the river. A quick chat with the gamekeep and the coinage changed hands and then another quick drive to where I thought I might be in with a chance. 

The river looked great although it was a bit windy – I decided to fish for an hour and then bolt back down the road. My waders were on when a phone call informing me that the children were causing havoc and could I come home urgently. 

Damn the luck!

Billions of them

I headed out last night for a few hours. 

I went straight to my local sea trout mark however a burn was running high and brown mud was pouring into the loch. I fished around it as much as I could however eventually decided to head elsewhere. 

The temp was hovering around 15 degrees however it still felt chilly somehow. I headed to a small local river instead of my stocked pond and within a few minutes was fishing up some fast water – possibly a little too fast. I worked my way up a few pools with the nagging feeling that I had forgotten something. 

It was at this point a billion midges descended on me and drove me back to the car – the nagging feeling was the lack of midge net of course. 

Conditions look great all week  – gonna try and get an evening on the Kelvin at some point…

Like a Release!

Pretty much as soon as we were able to, I went fishing!

During the whole lockdown my life pretty much did not change, it only got around 10 times harder. The family got up in the morning, got dressed – my wife went to work in the hospital and I dropped the kids off at the school on my way to work in social work. The end of the day was just the reverse.

It was incredibly stressful. Usually during stressful times the only release that I get is fishing (aside from kid time) – this was obviously not the case here. I am not going to blab on about it however this whole pandemic for me started a week or so before everyone else. I was called in to meetings with some very sensible people and we were read out numbers of infections over the coming weeks and the numbers of people that would likely die. A likely roadmap was given to us and we started to prepare. Everyone else’s life went on as normal – I fell out with Paul and Alan because they were not taking it seriously enough and they were still wanting to go ahead with the Kelvin opening ceremony – nobody seemed to get it. My work ramped up and usually calm people started to panic. I would go on facebook and see folk laughing about going fishing, that it was allowed because it was part of their daily exercise. Meanwhile I looked at death numbers in care homes and had to make the decision whether someone should stay at home or be admitted. If people had taken the lockdown seriously would this still have happened I wondered – probably would have helped people tell me who are way more intelligent than me.

Also the numbers of people that have been taken advantage of is still growing – people stealing money off someone’s granny because she is scared to go to the shops is deplorable but you would be appalled by how often it happens.

At least the weather was sunny during that time – it would have been harder to cope with if the sun did not shine.

However, you are not here to read about my shitty work life, you are here to read about fish. So let us begin….

I do not have many photos or stories just now – I have had a few trips to the sea loch for Sea Trout, I have certainly caught a few however not in the numbers that I would expect. I have been up to my Pond and caught a fair few overwintered stocked trout.

They fought like utter fiends and I did feel a little guilty as I killed, gutted and then cooked them on the BBQ. 

But only a little bit. 

The serious fishing started on the big river – and one of the days that I took off work ended up being bright and sunny. It was still good to be out. My next day out on the big river was better – I went with Alex. On the way their,  there was torrential downpours and the day remained overcast. Alex gave me his nymphing rod and I scraped the bottom and aside from a stonking grayling I did not do well.

Alex as usual caught his monsters and I caught my trout on dry flies – it is what I had been waiting on all year. 

Later in the week I had an evening session on the Kelvin. I started down at the Botanics however the park was totally hoaching with dog walkers and other folk.

I texted John Wilson to see if he wanted to meet up for a chat – he had blocked me on facebook as I guess he felt attacked after my last post gained so much attention on facebook. Someone sent me a screenshot of a conversation where it was inferred I  orchestrated people coming out of the woodwork in support of the committee. 

I wish I had that kind of clout to be honest.

He blanked me anyway, or maybe I had the wrong number.

When someone threw a ball into the water for their dog next to me I decided to retreat to the car. I travelled up river and after fishing for an hour I had nothing to show for it – well, I had caught one trout however I wanted more from the Kelvin. 

I travelled even further upriver and finally found my rising trout – I caught a half dozen around 3/4lb. Their rises were the smallest dimples on the surface and they took micro flies at dusk. I left when I coud no longer see my fly on the water.

A bit of a calamity then occured however if you want to know what it is you can ask me in person – just remind me!

Something I posted over at the Kelvin Fisher’s facebook page.

Hiya, I have been fishing the Kelvin now for over twenty years and writing about fishing it over at urbanflyfisher.com for the majority of that time. I was the main drive towards “social media”for the Kelvin – some of you can remember the infamous Kelvin Forum wars we had and some of the characters we had to deal with. At least with facebook they are forced to use their real names so we can see them for who they are.

John Wilson made some points in his video and I would like to clarify some things that have been bugging me for a while.

AGM – John spoke about his first AGM where someone stood up and spoke about postcodes and why the meeting should not go ahead. The members were asked and it was a resounding 66 to 1 vote for the AGM to go ahead. That aside I think our AGM’s are utterly appalling. The behaviour displayed by some members has got a lot to be desired.

At our last AGM we could not even hold a minute’s silence for a chap who ran the pub where we held our opening ceremony due to the fear that it would be disrupted. When the wildlife crime officer was speaking these guys were asking questions designed to be disruptive and talking amongst themselves. Even when other members did ask questions important to the river these guys spoke over them and I felt like a schoolteacher telling them to shoosh. At the end of the night one of them walked past me and said “see ya later bawbag” My kids are better behaved than this.

This is the sort of person that argues about postcodes and a constitution but does not abide by the being respectful to your fellow angler bit. I remember the last time we tried to invite someone along to give us a talk on the fly life in the Kelvin – one member (now ex member – one of the ones that people may want the amnesty for) shouted at the guy that this was “alright for the kids but nothing to do with the salmon” Dr. Willie Yeoman’s (Clyde River Foundation scientist)then told us he would not put a member of his staff through that ordeal again.

Paul, Alan, Jim and myself put a lot of thought into the AGM’s and for some folk to cause disruption throughout is just disheartening. Personally, I dread the AGM’s and the total lack of common decency is appalling. One guy told Paul to get out of “his fucking way” at the start of the meeting – when Paul challenged him on this the guy thought this was perfectly reasonable behaviour. At the second last AGM the janitor complained to us about the smell of cannabis outside the hall. I guess this is better than when we held the meetings in Partick when lots of folk would turn up drunk to the meeting. One guy was shouting at us because he had never had his permit checked by a bailiff despite always talking to him – he did not realise that the same guys who were talking to him every time he fished were bailiffs. He then started ledgering with two rods and rod rests coming up with the bullshit story that his son was away having a pee – it must have been a long pee as he was away the whole day.

Personally, I think it is elitist to not have the AGM in places that actually have the most members – there is more of the river outside the city than in. At the last AGM Paul was quizzed about spending a couple of hundred pounds on bailiff stuff – where were the questions when the previous secretary used to spend money on new tyres for his car or his MOT?Certain people quiz me where I live now and where Paul lives as if you have got to live a stone’s throw away from the river to do admin for it. One of the previous long standing chairman did not even fish the river and neither did the treasurer – why was there no questions of them? I think it is pretty much because they just gave away free permits to the bams and let it become the wild west that it is.

Personally, I think that every person with a so-called “Gold Card” should be expelled from the association for not doing enough to manage the river. Banning members – very few members are ever banned from the association. Each one of them knows the reasons why. They know this as if they are banned they get a letter with a right of appeal. Unfortunately we are not dealing with honest people which is why folk only ever here one side of the story – “

“I was banned for having a fishing forum”

“I was banned because the secretary took a dislike to me”

“I was banned because I just did not know a simple rule”

All total rubbish – banning folk from fishing a river is actually a very hard thing to do and is always a last resort. For a start you’ve actually got to police it in some kind of way. Also, you have then got to put up with all the other nonsense about their mates who tell untruths. I read on another fishing page that a guy with the second name of Murphy would have a hard time from the RKAA committee because of his name. I mean come on, we live in 2020! I actually had to look up why this might be the case.

How about the guy who we ran into on a Sunday with his Salmon fishing gear – “i’ve been out walking the river since Saturday” An Association – John made reference to the fact that this is the anglers river and yes he is correct. However we have a lease to pay to the crown estates and believe it or not we are not one big happy family of reasonable people- some folk are unreasonable and actually want a level of anarchy just so that they can do their own thing. In no other association would anyone get away with fishing in a bowl like the so called “falls pool” There used to be a place like it on the Leven at the barrage many moons ago and guess what the LLAIA banned people from fishing there. Lots of folk act surprised that we still accept fishing at such a spot.

That aside you need a level of administration to attend to the day to day affairs of running a fishing club and that is what we do – volunteers doing a pretty boring job. If folk just turned up to fish the river like normal people then that would be that – but no, folk decide to hurl abuse or fish on a sunday or cause random people to complain about people shouting down at the sea pool. Or random people complain to us about anglers threatening dog walkers at the science park. And we try to deal with it. And people, the ones that are causing the problems do not like it, and say they are doing nothing wrong – that it is the “people’s river” or their mate was banned because the secretary does not like them.

All utter bollocks and I am sick of it. At pretty much every AGM their are rumours of coups or a vote of no confidence in the committee, even when we put ourselves up for reelection we are still voted back in – Paul put himself up even when he did not have to and I pointed out to the room that they could now get rid of him – nope,voted back in. All because this small vocal minority cannot get three honest folk together to actually do the jobs – instead they will plot about petitions and draw other people into their bullshit conspiracy theories.

So yes,something needs to change about this association and it has nothing to do with the committee – as quite frankly we are there for the silent majority that are appalled at the vocal minority that think that sticking the boot in to “authority” is their own sad way at some kind of rebellion. Even if that “authority” is an admin at a fishing club.We need more of the silent majority to get involved and call out the bullshit when they see it – we need more guys at the AGM that actually want to see positive changes for the river and it’s fishings.By the way, when I get voted out I will have a smile on my face as it means I get to do the complaining for a change at someone – I think I know who I will nominate in my place.

TL:DR A small number of bangers cause problems for the majority of anglers. They look on admin workers at a fishing club as “authority” and an easy target. Some folk believe their bullshit – we need more good guys to call them out.

I have turned the comments off for this post however feel free to join in over at the River Kelvin Fishers Facebook page.