A walk along the Forth n’ Clyde

A short session along the Forth n’ Clyde canal cunningly disguised as a short romantic walk with my wife – I was not kidding anyone, especially not my wife who is now used to me saying things like “hmmmm – we could do this with a buggy in tow” (referring to our new arrival) while casting every 50 yards. The key I have found is to keep talking about what you are doing – any intense period of concentration and silence leads to looks of annoyance – which is why I then talk like a baboon about Pike and their habits.

“What the bloody hell is on my hat” I squealed as I felt something hit it like an acorn falling – turned out a very large dragon fly had decided to have a bit of a rest on my head – I could feel its legs moving around – Those things love my hat – that is the second one that has taken a fancy to it – I am not sure what they think my head is – any ideas?

Something that always amazes me about the canal or rather the people is the fact that everyone says hello. I mean, you don’t say hello to people who are walking along the street on the way to the shops however on the canal towpath almost everyone you meet gives you a nod and a hello – sometimes even a few words about the day – one chap told us he was taking his bottle of Buckfast for a walk rather than his dog which was taking care of itself (a beautiful Dalmatian). I love it – people are so friendly – the world seems to smile on a sunny day.

Anyway, I caught no fish which means I blanked the weekend – ah well no matter – I still got to try out again the first rod which I am reviewing – the Loop Pike Booster. I must say I enjoyed casting it and controlling casts and flies at close quarters was easy – when you are fly fishing for pike on the canal and you want to cast to the opposite bank you must keep half the line you are casting in your hand and cast along the bank you are standing on so you do not catch the trees behind you – at the last moment you change direction and shoot the remaining line at the opposite bank – if you do it right it works perfectly – it takes some practice though – the Loop Pike Booster does that with ease. However it’s not all about the casting (kind of) so I will keep the real reviewing for when I write it up.

I did see some Pike today, rummaging around in the weeds (they look like cabbages) on the bottom of the canal. The canal really comes into its own in about a months time when all the boat traffic dies off and the water becomes a lot clearer – at that point you can catch several nice Pike in the space of a couple of hours – Looking forward to it already. I am not regretting going after the pike early this year as opposed to sticking with trout until the death of the trout season as I have heard the trout fishing has been poor on the rivers that I fish.

Roll on more good days with the Pike!


  1. scott · October 5, 2008

    That stretch of the canal looks familiar…..
    close to my goldmine perhaps?

  2. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    Possibly 🙂

    It looked a bit busy – you had much success at this section of the canal?

  3. Paul · October 5, 2008

    Scott and I found one of those exact dragonflies grounded while out piking at the weekend.No idea why they seem to take such a shine to you,mibbe your aftershave smells like horny dragonfly?
    Looking forward to fishing the canal too,no been up for a while.

  4. scott · October 5, 2008

    in a word…no.
    I’ve had a few follows years ago on lures but it doesnt lend itself well to the fly. Im sure with some perseverance you could nail a few though. That section is where i tend to go for the roach, lots of big ones there.
    For pike though you are better off going in the other direction.
    The goldmine tends to be very busy, pretty much always unfortunately.

  5. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    Good grief that place looked as Pikey as ever I had seen a place 🙂 I seen some Pike moving in amongst the weeds beds and there was one chasing fry (roach?) on the surface – it made a massive splash!

    Hmmmmmmm – interesting!

  6. scott · October 5, 2008

    I agree, it looks pikey as feck, especially those water cabbage things, maybe ive just hit it on bad days but ive never had much luck there, other than one day….
    Chances are it was roach fry, although the perch weans will be about just now aswell.
    How big were the pike you spotted?

  7. Alex · October 5, 2008

    Whoah, that’s one impressive dragonfly.

    It’s nothing to do with the hat. They are obviously drawn by the scent of your primrose and lavender shampoo.

    Gotta hit the pike again soon!


  8. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    They were just green backs moving amongst the cabbage weed to be honest Scott – I have found Pike are notorious for being difficult to guage the size of – even when you are playing them never mind when you just spot one skulking 🙂

    Alex – Aye – need to catch up with you – I would have thought you would have been fished out with all those salmon you have been hauling in !

  9. scott · October 5, 2008

    I find it really hard to estimate in the water aswell, a 10lb fish can look like a 5 or a 6 until you see the width of it. Its encouraging that they are still in the margins and havent drifted off to deeper water yet.

  10. Jim · October 5, 2008

    Well done mate, if that landed on my hat I’d be running up the bank screaming like a girl.

  11. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    I was trying to be manly and non wimpy as my wife was taking the photo 🙂 I am hoping that next year a lot more nature walks will be taken with women and child 🙂

  12. Jim · October 5, 2008

    Women?? Plural?? You got something going on Harem style?? LOL
    Seriously, I hope you manage that. And if you get to take a rod along so much the better.

  13. Boab · October 5, 2008

    My god is that a shark fly rod your using? Awe you weans nowadays have got to take the literally route and believe that pike are freshwater sharks. Get a life son and fish like a real fly fisher, the ones (like me) that use use 3 weight rods for everything: try it and get some experience and not a little fun after the initial fright.

  14. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    Boab – 🙂

  15. Jockayethenoo · October 5, 2008

    do you need a permit for the canal, if so who from, and is it Jan 1st to Jan 1st type of thing …thank you Jock

  16. Alistair · October 5, 2008

    Hey Jock – yup a permit for the canal is needed – it costs around £20 for the year or day permits can be bought on the bank – to date noone has ever asked me or offered a permit for sale!

  17. Boab · October 5, 2008

    Just a wee bit of information…that dragonfly looks like one of the migratory variety…the ones that come here from Norway and Sweden during the winter cos Scotlands warmer than Scandanavia.

  18. Boab · October 5, 2008

    Hi Guys,
    A couple of year ago me and one of my pals stopped off at the canal, at Bowling, just to see what we could catch on the fly. After we’d howked out a few perch and a couple of (much to my surprise) jack pike, a nice looking 30 something lassie approached us and said that we’d need a permit to fish the canal, cos it was owned by British Waterways: I am certain the price was a fiver (£5.00) a year. How dare, I thought, British Waterways should be charging us Clyde System anglers money to fish this canal, when, after all, the same British Waterways are dab-hands at taking water from wee burns* etc for to replenish their canal. A good and horrendous case in point was just a year or so ago, when BW took all the water from a burn that was recently recognised as a salmon spawning burn just to north of Glasgow.
    Food for thought fellas!!?!!

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