Flutterby High

Dark miserable January. The days are short and the nights are long. This morning going into work felt like the longest away I will ever be from a nice warm summer day casting a dry fly to a rising trout. Even the Pike are not playing ball at the moment. After doing a lot of research on the net into possible Pike venues I came up with somewhere that looked promising – somewhere that seemed neglected, and Pike thrive on neglect. Anyway, with all the rain the venue essentially turned into what looked like a muddy ditch. We still had a few casts but considering the water looked the colour of milky tea we decided to try elsewhere. By elsewhere I mean we decided to visit the fishing equivelant of a brothel.

Yup – we went to a trout fishery. A stocked hole in the ground with as much character as a politician talking about strategy. If you must know it was Carbeth Trout Fishery – the first thing that annoyed me was that even though they had signs up saying you could fish for four hours on a Β£7 catch and release ticket they bloke behind the counter informed us that we could not get them as too many people were handling the fish roughly causing finger marks. On reflection I think we should have made a bit of a fuss about that but we coughed up the cash and got fishing. I say got fishing as needless to say we all caught nothing – well Alex caught an out of season brown trout which looked wild – not sure how it got in there as it the pond is just a dug hole. It was an absolute fluke actually – his lure got caught on a discarded piece of nylon which just happened to be attached to the fish. There was a lead weight attached to it as well – so much for the “fly only” pool. Just goes to show you that Alex can pretty much go anywhere and still catch a fish.

Oh yea, so today I get into my office at 8am – its all open plan and something catches my attention, something fluttering on the ceiling, cant quite make out what it is, it comes closer – a Butterfly ?? In January? The only thing I can think of is the heat in the office somehow managed to hatch its egg. I watched it flutter around the office with a smile on my face – other people noticed it but did not seem to have the same wonder about it – sure they found it odd but not something to really ponder about. Is it something about fisherfolk that think more of these things as it reminds us of the time when casting flies to eager trout is possible ?


  1. Andrew · February 1, 2008

    [A trout fishery] ‘…the fishing equivalent of a brothel’.

    Nice one. Really enjoyed that line!

  2. John · February 1, 2008

    Hi Alister- At this time of year the length of days does make for bleak short fishing days- but dont let that put you off the pike, who are considered the coolest of the cool, preferingto lie deep and motionless for long periods of time. When the temerature rises even for short periods this can trigger a feeding frennzy. Hooked and lost my biggest pike in the darkest days of late December about three years ago when even my reel was frosted up… Damn fish nearly pulled me in… Cheers John

  3. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    And to add insult to the whole shebang we caught nowt – and paid good money into the bargain (well, my pal Alex paid)

    I think the problem I am having John is to do with water clarity rather than the temp – the days I have went down to my local haunt it has been as muddy as a ditch rather than that nice greeny tinge that I know and love……where abouts are you from by the way?

  4. Simon · February 1, 2008

    Hi Alistair,
    Was the neglected pike patch referred to as the dirty damn in Milngavie?

  5. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Hi Simon – nope somewhere else entirely – what is the place you are talking about ?

  6. James · February 1, 2008

    There’s a suprise – no fish at Carbeth. On the couple of occasions I have been at that place, I’ve been reminded why I hardly ever go to fisheries. It was even more fun in the days when fly fishers still shared the pond with static baiters. Just like the Kelvin, n’est-ce pas?

  7. Simon · February 1, 2008

    Behind the reservoirs at Milngavie waterworks there is a stagnant swamp / lake. It is very neglected, very over grown, but teeming with monster pike. Known locally as the dirty damn. I don’t know if you could cast a fly around it but the Pike are beautiful.

  8. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    James – it most certainly is πŸ˜‰

    Simon – interesting – I have heard of the place actually however was sure there had been some kind of pollution incident. Good grief, just as I was typing this I hve just had a flash about another place that might prove to be a pike all inclusive resort. Investigations will follow….

  9. James · February 1, 2008

    I have to confess I was tempted to visit a fishery this coming Friday, having not dipped a line in the water since a day oot on a Cotswald limestone stream on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, sanity has prevailed, and I’m going to attempt to upset a salmon in darkest Perthshire instead.

  10. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    A splendid idea James – dont pimp yourself out to those slobs of blubbery jelly πŸ™‚

  11. macky · February 1, 2008

    alright alister macky here from maryhill. wee story to tell ye. me and the wee cuz where watchin a fishing program on the descovery channel on friday night .decided there and then we were going up the canal to catch a monster pike. no been fishen in years mind .two of us whent up there half fore in the morning just at lockburn road freezein our haw maws aff sleet snow the lot caught nowt so we wandered along to the basins neer the vally . well whats left of the vally . sitting there five minets and bang a was in.fish put up a great wee scrap . thought it was a pike to start with . got it closer to the net and it was a crackin wee pearch bout
    two and a half pound .couldent belive my luck .so thats me hooked cant wait to get back into it .wee question to when i was a boy the wee frog pond up dawlsholm park was teaming with pearch anyone know if theres anything in it

  12. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Hi Macky – You are a braver man than me – it must have been miserable out on that morning – well done on what sounds like a lovely Perch – 2.5lb is a monster for the canal – i have certainly not heard of any bigger getting caught – sadly I have not caught a perch in years so you have given me a fair bit of confidence.
    What did you get it on and did you get a picture?

    Funny enough, I was thinking about that pond for Pike – I do know there is very little room to cast (for me with a fly rod anyway) so I will probably hit it with a plug -saying that though at this time of year a dead bait might be better.

  13. Farquar · February 1, 2008

    Don’t think much of your technique if you can’t pull in a brothel!;)

  14. James · February 1, 2008

    I haven’t caught perch in the canal in ages, but the stretch next to the Next Generation gym used to be quite good.

  15. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Farquar – I was expecting the damn things to commit suicide on me…..you mean i was supposed to be using some kind of technique?????????

    James – yup it used to be great for perch before it was drained….now I am not so sure. I did meet a guy who caught a tiny fingerling perch before christmas and now macky has got his monster so maybe they are returning !

  16. simon · February 1, 2008

    I caught perch last year up to 1.5lb along the Cawdder stretch of the canal using spinners and worm. I was reading previous blog comments about baillifs, (or lack of them), and wondered if anyone has encountered a baillif on the canal? I never have. I wonder if there is a room somewhere where the baillifs are waiting for rescue?

  17. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Hi Simon – if I mind correctly the Cawdder stretch was not drained so it makes sense they will still be their in numbers – I am not sure if there are bailiffs for the canal – I have seen notices saying that permits can be bought on the bank but have never been approached – I always keep a few pounds in my pocket just in case though….Hmmm saying that…could be a little money earner in there for someone !

  18. macky · February 1, 2008

    alright alister macky here . bout your last message . na i didney get a photo of that pearch a caught . av been kicking my ain arse about it ever since .a caught it on a plug with a wee rattle in it . as for the frog pond up at dawlsholm park . i drove up there on my dinner break just to have w wee look . its in some state . not been looked after one bit .the wee pier is no even there.but a might still give it a try .as i said before av no been fishing for years and dont know much about it but av bought a few books looked on some web sites and now i canny wait to get back into it . especaly after my wee stroke of luck with the pearch.ive been looking at a few picks on your siteand the old trout fishing looks the buisness.i would love to try out fly fishing but dont know the first thing about it . where do i begin help me out guys cheers

  19. scott · February 1, 2008

    good on ye macky, a perch of 2.5lbs is a specimen fish from any water. Ive been chasing big perch for a few years and ive not come anywhere near 2.5lbs. In the summer the perch in the canal are suicidal whether your using plugs, bait or flies. just fish on the edge of the lillies under your feet and you cant go wrong

  20. macky · February 1, 2008

    I ment to say , I was talking to a guy in my work about fishing and he said there is a big sort of pond just across the road from lambhill graveyard neer balmore road and its ment to be teaming with pike .anyone fished it or even heard of it . i might give it a bash , hit and hope .

  21. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Hi Macky – sounds like we shall run into each other at some point then! Regarding trout fishing…..hmmm…..just keep reading on the net I guess…there are some great sites out there…check out
    http://www.sexyloops.com/rivers/index.shtml which gives some good info on tactics in rivers on the fly. If I were you before you buy a rod you should invest in a casting lesson so you would be off on a running start – you would end up casting better than I can …I would recommend Alberot Laidlaw….his site is at
    He will give casting lessons pretty much anywhere in Glasgow – especially this side of the city.
    Never heard of the pond across from the graveyard – you could be onto a winner there πŸ™‚

    Scott – I am going to have to make an effort and forgo some trout action this year and head out for Pike and Perch – sounds like great fun!

  22. James · February 1, 2008

    Tha pond at Balmore Road is Possil Marsh nature reserve, run by the Scottish Widlife Trust. It’s a protected site, and nobody will make any friends by trying to fish there.

  23. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Blast – thats that idea out the window.

    Now where are my night vision goggles. !

  24. macky · February 1, 2008

    erm !!! just to say thanks for telling me about the nature reserve possil marsh . you may have saved me a trip to maryhill polis station lol

  25. scott · February 1, 2008

    It is great fun, kind of a novelty at first but he fly is a great method for catching a variety of species. As far as perch are concerned the best way to target them is to use streamers or rainbow trout style lures, the gaudier the better usually, just let them sink to the bottom and use a fairly jerky retrieve, same as the pike flies really.

  26. James · February 1, 2008

    Just following up from my salmon fishing trip to Perthshire. My chosen river was ridiculously high, and it wasn’t long before I was flooded off.

    Two days later, I received an email asking for details of fish caught and what I thought of the beat, etc. I mentioned the high water and yesterday I had another email from the secretary of the organisation responsible for the salmon beat. He asked me to choose another date and I would have that day’s fishing free of charge πŸ™‚

    Now you sure as hell don’t get that kind of customer care at a muddy pond full of pellet-munching couch-potato rainbows.

  27. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Nice going James – sounds like someone actually knows about customer service πŸ™‚

  28. davy · February 1, 2008

    i got 8 today on a yellow dancer put 6 of them back so maybe u just cant fish a mean its a fishery U should catch no probz but then again its called fishing for a reason and not catching. ps the water is clear maybe its ur head that needs clearing

  29. Alistair · February 1, 2008

    Hi Davy,

    Damn, I knew I should have been fishing imitatively – Yellow Dancers, that’s where I was going wrong!

    The murky water was at the pike fishing venue not Carbeth fishery.

    Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  30. alan atkins · February 1, 2008

    I think Alistair neglected to metion that we were attempting to match the hatch of tiny chironomidae that were hatching on that particular day. We were using specialist , ultra light 1 weight rods with midge tip lines and casting only to rising fish. Call me a stickler for imatative fishing , but to us trolling budgie imatations to finless wonders surrounded by characters who would have been more at home on the local park bench is hardly the pinacle of our sport. This excursion cam about out of necessity rather than choice, and we happily looked out of place. As for our heads needing clearing , i can’t vouch for Alistair , but Alex and i certainly could have done with clearer heads, but hey, we like it that way. Why don’t you try some real fishing and target eels with worm imatations in your local drain, it sounds just the ticket for a man of your obvious skill and talent, alternatively there is another sport involving long sticks and a small white ball that might interest you

  31. davy · February 1, 2008

    lol a think i wil give the drain fishing a miss & golf is a waste of a good walk cheers anyway ; )

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