Tube the loch..

This loch was the reason we had pretty much bought tubes. We had fished it at the end of last season and had a really good session, we wished we could have got out into some of the fish further into the loch and some of the water was unfishable because of steep cliffs so we felt we were missing out.

We met up after work at the bottom of the track and got our stuff ready, inflated the tubes and made sure all the gear we would need was packed away tightly. I had found a couple of straps I could use as I do not think those charlatans at Snowbee gave me any as well as blanking me on facebook so had little other choice.

The stuff is at the car...

The stuff is at the car…

So we got the tubes on our backs and headed off into the hills. I had thought I had found a short cut which ended up being a bit more dodgy due to their being no path to the loch, it was also littered with deep holes. Once this was all passed we had a wee chilax session while we set up our rods n’ stuff. Alex decided on his 7 weight and I rather bravely decided to use my Sage SLT 5 weight – I believe a lot of people use 5 weights in tubes because they do not need to cast as far. I was brave because there was a howling gale coming right down the loch.


Chillaxing! A moment of calm!

Having the wind at my back meant that I could drift down the entire shoreline of the loch controlling my speed the whole way. If I had been in a boat I would have drifted far too quickly however using my Hollis F-2 Techincal Diving Fins – Size X-Large I was able to control my drift and cast at all times. The fins put in a good performance as when you stopped kicking you would not only double your speed but would start turning as well.

The waves...

The waves…

A couple of times a wave would splash up on my back however at no point did I feel in any danger and the waves were fairly rocking. It was a highly efficient way to fish and casting with my 5 weight was easy even with the strong wind. After a while  leg kicking became second nature just like when you are driving a car so you could concentrate on casting.

Can you see the Hollis F2 Fin?

Can you see the Hollis F2 Fin?

You can see that I am talking a lot about tubes, fins and tactics without talking about catching any fish right?

Well, that is because despite the highly efficient way of fishing and covering every inch of that godforsaken shoreline in a howling gale with a combination of flies I thought I was going to blank. However finally at the end of this mammoth drift I managed a wee trout. After some food within a few mins I was into another one which was a bit flukey as I was trying to get Alex’s fly out my tube while after I had just cast.

Saving the day!

Saving the day!

It transpired that Alex had the same experience as I did managing just a few trout. We decided that it was perhaps still too early for the loch and vowed to come back again. We packed up and then headed back down the track. It was a bloody awful walk however finally the cars were in front of us. My wife had been on the telephone complaining that I was late so just decided to stick the tube in the back of the car, this was when I realised a rod that Alex had let me borrow was missing. I had strapped it on to the side of the tube and at some point it must have slipped out on the walk back down. I made the decision to head back up to the loch, a potential hour walk with no guarantee of finding the rod. Just as I grabbed my phone a chap in a landrover stopped at the locked gate and I cadged a lift off him.

It was only when I was in the front seat did I realise that this was no ordinary forestry guy. He was a bit wild eyed with a couple of guns in the back and it turned out he was the estate manager checking on the deer which were going to be stalked in the morning. The whole journey I thanked him as quite frankly he was well within his rights to tell me to bugger off. Considering some of the hassle he has had off some folk I was not surprised. We chatted as I scanned the ground and he told me about his job and some of the chancers he met. I was firmly in the chancer category as I was not fishing with permission it turned out. I spotted the rod at the side of the road and we picked it up, he had saved well over an hour of walking. He said it was not a problem and was in fact quite pleasant as I was not one of “those cunts that try to stab him” [sic]

He took me for a tour while he did his rounds and he gave me a fascinating rundown of his job which is too lenghy to go into here but lets just say the outdoor life must be bleak at times. Also people that view themselves as enjoying the outdoors should pay a bit more attention especially to shutting gates. Wild campers need to be careful they do not look like a deer as they are in danger of being shot.

Got back home at half eleven to an angry wife and sister in law, dived into bed and was asleep quickly. Next day my back was killing me I think due to the amount of casting.

Looking forward to round 2!

Happy Highland Calamity

I had two options when driving to the river, go up and over a railway track which would involve possible death if I fannied up getting over in time or through a small tight tunnel which went under the track. Obviously to save 3 mins I decided on the quick option of staying in the car and not opening any gates.

I was kinda hoping it was stones crunching!

I was kinda hoping it was stones crunching!

As you can tell from the photo this was my first trip out as a 40 year old and it looked like I was going to have the same old problems as I experienced in my 30s – total disregard for sensible solutions to problems !

The day was warm, I think it topped 16 degrees on the drive to the river and it was slightly cloudy. It was also very bright. Because of all this I was hoping to maybe snag a couple of trout on the nymph as Alex had tied me up a few for my birthday however I was not feeling too optimistic after the tunnel fiasco.

The river was low and crystal clear, there was a lovely long deep pool at the start of the beat and I was looking forward to giving it a bash however there was two young guys with rucksacks peering into the water and I knew they had spooked it. As I walked up I heard a huge splash behind me and it turned out the boys had stripped off and jumped into the water. It looked a bit cold to me however at least I now know how deep the pool is.

I walked up the river and first tried a dry and dropper in a pool that I had fished up to last time without so much as a sniff. It is weird walking up a river that is totally crystal clear; I wondered how many trout I was spooking and kept as far back from the water’s edge as I could. Seeing as how I have never fished this far up before, turning every corner was interesting as I did not know what I would find. luckily what I found was long shallow sections with usually a deep pool at the top.

The water was crystal clear!

The water was crystal clear!

I started to pick up trout on the dropper and then after losing it on a rock kept catching trout on the dry. From one pool I managed two brace of nice trout probably just shy of a pound and a dozen smaller trout. The pools are all fairly similar in that they shelf off quickly into deeper water.

I am glad I have started to carry my net again!

I am glad I have started to carry my net again!

As I positioned myself at the bottom of a long pool I noticed the two young guys walking right up the side of the opposite bank peering into the water, they bid good day and I politely asked them if they would mind walking back from the pool, they obliged but the damage was done and the pool produced nothing despite it looking great.

As I walked up the river I found another long slow pool, you could see every pebble on the bed of the river and also a rising trout on the far bank. I slowly got myself into position feeling that I was going to spook it, I watched it take another fly from the surface and this time its fin broke the surface, it was like a nature film. I cast my fly which I felt just looked out of place with its long thick looking tippet and amazingly I watched the trout move towards it and take it without any hesitation – drag was not a problem as the water was so even across the river. It was again a lovely trout!

A long fairly shallow crystal clear pool, the trout was sitting under the final tree.

A long fairly shallow crystal clear pool, the trout was sitting under the final tree.

The prize !

The prize !

It was around this time that I realised that my trusty old snips had fallen off. I felt I had walked as far as I could anyway so decided to head back down the river scanning for them as I went. Maybe I should spend more time looking at the bank of the river as I found a hoof just where I head been fishing earlier.

The Hoof!

The Hoof!

As I walked back to my car I realised that it did not actually feel like a bad walk. The day was still warmish however because I was walking downstream I think the trout were spooked in every pool even though I tried my best to stay back from the edge.

After missing a couple of trout at the pool where the guys had been jumping in I disturbed a couple of young lovers.

Ah! young Love !

Ah! young Love !

You would have thought that I would have got back to the car to find the scratches to have softened slightly after such a good days fishing. You would in fact be totally wrong, they were in fact a harsh rip across an otherwise lovely day!

My snips were nowhere to be found either!

Friday Frolickers!

It was one of those days that had everything going for it – good pals, half decent weather and a fairly good fishing  pass allowing me to access a few fishing spots. However, it turned out to be one of those days that turned into “its not just about catching fish” 

The craft...

The craft…

First up was a Pike trip to the big loch, we had to change our actual destination on the loch due to signs on all the fields asking all anglers to bugger off due to lambing so we bolted around to the other side of the loch. Alex had new fins after his last disaster with his Snowbee fins snapping on him. I decided to get myself some new fins as well – Hollis were kind enough to send me a pair of their Hollis F-2 Techincal Diving Fins..

Even though I had new better fins and was travelling faster than last time, Alex still managed to power down the loch ahead of me – rather than the fins we put this down to my being a fat bastard as opposed to anything to do with the fins themselves. I must say these fins felt great and seemed to provide a lot of power when kicking.

As I bobbed along I mused about the changes that may be festooned upon us in the fishing world. After Alex Salmond opened the fishing season on the Tay he used the opportunity to announce a major review of the management of salmon and freshwater fisheries to ensure they are “robust, sustainable and fit for purpose in the 21st century”  This is of course all made a bit of a joke by 

“What was made clear was that the issue of salmon farming did not enter Mr Thin’s remit of his Wild Fisheries Review. “

So essentially the main threat to wild fish stocks around farmed salmon causing disease and the decline of the population will not be discussed.

Alex salmond

Alex salmond – he is after your cash!

Of course what this will all lead to in my expert opinion of someone with a website that writes a lot of opinions is that a rod licence will be introduced. Not that this would be a bad thing  if the money actually went towards assisting the fisheries however realistically all that would happen is the money would be absorbed by some government agency as a bit of a bonus income. The fishing clubs would probably be used to enforce this by making you show your license before you can buy your permit. However the downside for clubs is that lots of people would just  stop  buying a permit probably.

Ideally it would stop the headbangers from simply just turning up somewhere and fishing as you would have to be “licensed” before you bought a permit however in reality the law abiding folk would foot the bill and the headbangers would still fish without one. It is a bit like the no drinking in public spaces law, I am unable to have a beer on a sunny day in the park without a stern talking to  however a group of hoodlums will get steaming drunk without being collared.

The SNP had in their manifesto they would scrap all student debt which resulted in every student and anyone with a student loan voting for them 10 years ago. Why then have I been paying my student loan for the last 10 years when they got in power?

Anyway, Alex managed one pike and I trawled around for a bit seeing nothing.

We decided to head to the Kelvin in the afternoon now that the temperature was up a bit. I am not sure if you remember Friday however it was pretty warm and bright so we chose a shaded part of the river.

Alex hauling them in...

Alex hauling them in…

While I wandered about catching nothing Alex as normal caught a few lovely trout with one being shy of a pound. I meanwhile should have heeded my own advice and should have stuck to the slow water and instead headed up the river only to find another angler who it appeared had been fishing down and across. He had obviously just fished through all the pools that I wanted to fish.

The Dog Pool

The Dog Pool – me at the pool between dog walkers!

Their was a few green leaves on the trees and some lovely dippers were flying up and down the river.

The wee Dipper!

The wee Dipper!

We decided to change venue and move up the river so I cut up through the woods. Of course no visit to the Kelvin would not be complete without a weird find…

I am no expert but those leaves look weird!

I am no expert but those leaves look weird!

Something tells me that this was not wee Mrs McGlunkers washing!

We moved up the river after meeting Paul Reid the association secretary.

Paul Reid

Paul Reid

He caught bugger all as well!

Next session out? No idea!

It is my 40th birthday next weekend and am feeling decidedly old – you can buy me something off my amazon wishlist if you are a millionaire! and have it sent straight to my house if you like 🙂

You guys been enjoying the Spring?




Pishing down!

Jim picked me up at around 1000, after cutting some wood for the old woodburner we were at the river by around 12. It started to rain pretty heavily although ever the optimist I stated that the forecast was for sunshine and showers which equaled perfect olive hatching weather and consequently huge trout slurping action.

Mr. Burns in action - in the fucking rain!

Mr. Burns in action – in the fucking rain!

We fled the river after seeing not even a hint of a trout, we both used nymphs as well.

I need to score some brownie points over the next week or so. Saying that though it is my 40th in a couple of weeks so will have a week of work and will quite possibly be able to get some free passes.

Anyone else been fishing?



Lucky number 3

Today after work I was still being bugged by the river that has taunted me over the last couple of days. Consequently instead of heading home I headed straight there to try and catch the end of the large dark olive hatch. I got there and found a couple of trout rising which quite frankly ignored my fly. This river has a reputation for needing long leaders and spooky casts and obviously I was not cutting the mustard. I jumped between two trout, whereas the other day they were not spooked by my kids throwing stones at them today they were spooked by the gentle ripple of my wading.

I did no have any of these in my box..

I did no have any of these in my box..

I moved up the river and decided that at least I knew that this river cleared quickly after a downfall of rain. As I walked I spotted the occasional rising trout in the glass like water and spooked them all with the first cast. Things were not going well, I even switched flies a few times as well as lengthening my leader a couple of feet. I even used a thingymajig to float a nymph through some pools without any takers.

I found myself at an interesting little pool I had attacked with a wooly bugger yesterday, lots of twisty currents with a trout rising at the far side just in front of the bush. I had a few casts and just as usual the trout ignored my fly and disappeared like all the rest.

Interesting little pool...

Interesting little pool…

I cast again and a trout took my fly, my rod was bent for a moment and and I took a few steps backwards as I had too much loose line out and then the trout was gone. I cursed loudly as quite frankly I thought that this was my trout of the day. It felt like a good trout as well.

Another trout was rising and I tried again, this time the trout took the fly and I quickly rose the rod and the trout went bananas jumping out the water. It ran around the pool and nearly dived under a ledge. The pool went from a gentle slope to a ledge and then around 8-10 feet deep.

It nearly went under a ledge...

It nearly went under a ledge…

Finally the trout came to my net (thank goodness I had brought it) and I quickly unhooked it for a photo on top of the net.

1st trout

1st trout

It was then followed fairly quickly by number 2

Number 2

Number 2

And then fairly quickly number three put in an appearance…

Can I just point out how difficult it is taking these pictures whilst holding a rod...

Can I just point out how difficult it is taking these pictures whilst holding a rod…

Lucky number 3

Lucky number 3

The last trout was a tiny dimple on the surface and then the same when it took my fly.

I tried to take a photo of the trout shooting off.

I tried to take a photo of the trout shooting off.

I am glad I went back today as I kinda feel as if this is now going to my “other” local river that I fish regularly. I can just imagine summer nights up in this place – total midge hell!






Should have been here yesterday!

It was cold, or at least it felt cold and it was windy with rain. Not just any old rain either, this was proper rain, the kind of rain that ensures you have got to keep your hood up at all times. I was carrying my non waterproof camera and I was scared of getting it wet so did not get it out much!

A rare moment when the rain eased...

A rare moment when the rain eased…

From yesterday it had risen a fair amount. The sandy beach where my boys were playing yesterday was totally covered by at least a foot of water. I should have guessed it was going to be like this as the rain was torrential on the drive up here. Some of the waterfalls off the mountains were mighty impressive. I got the nymphs out and realised that in my haste I had forgotten my floatant. Never mind, I would make do with blowing on it every 5 mins.

I worked my way up the pool where I had seen trout the day before, absolutely nothing stirred. Interestingly I had spoken to the secretary of the club that runs this river and he had told me that on some occasions you would swear there were no trout in this river. I believed him.

I used watercraft for what it is worth...

I used watercraft for what it is worth…

There was still definite pools and runs and I let my nymph drift all the likely looking spots.

Alas, it went unmolested.

The clouds were pretty oppressive!

The clouds were pretty oppressive!

I walked to where the river split into two and I considered walking on to the island. I was glad I did not as on my walk back down the river I noted the river had risen by another foot. It was still crystal clear however apart from this dead sheep which drifted past and freaked me right out.

Dead Sheep

Dead Sheep

I am looking forward to a good warm spring day when I hit it right and manage to actually catch some trout!


Alternative Reconnaissance!

I had a day with the boys today as my wife was working. I decided that a mission to a river that I have never been to before was on the cards seeing as how I am now living in the sticks. Like I said a while ago this move has opened up one heck of a lot of possibilities. We got to the river and the temperature was hovering around the 9 degrees point. I kind of wished I had put on my wellies as it was a bit boggy however managed to skip over a lot of it. It was overcast and a little bit more rain than a smir was in the air.

We get used to seeing rising trout on the kelvin a few weeks earlier than other rivers and I think it is because it is usually a good couple of degrees above normal in the city. We wandered down the river and I scanned for rising trout – it was wide, flat as glass and was moving at a slow walking speed, basically perfect for the dry fly and also for spooky trout.

First boy to spot trout gets  a bit of chocolate!

First boy to spot trout gets a bit of chocolate!

We walked up the river until we got to a spot on the river which was just before a big bend. The opposite bank was steep and our bank was a sandy beach. It looked perfect for the duo and I reckoned trout would be picked up, however guess what a spotted?

Eye spy with my little eye!

Eye spy with my little eye!

A consistently rising trout on the other side of the river. It was close enough that if I had my Tenkara rod with me I reckon I could have picked it off easily. I watched the trout supping olives from the surface only for it to be joined by a pal. And then when I looked up this high banked stretch I watched many trout rising to the olives.

Many trout rising to olives...

Many trout rising to olives…

How did I know that these were not small fish? Simply because I watched one almost roll on the surface like a bloody big shark as it took an olive. These trout did not seem spooky either as my boys were busy throwing stones and sticks into the water. I half thought about bolting back to the car for my rod and gear as no waders would be needed as I could pick them off from the bank easily however knew that it would be madness despite the small distance. I simply chastised myself and again reminded myself that you should always be prepared and that was part of the reason why I got the Tenkara rod in the first place.

As we walked back to the car I noticed a wee plaque under a bridge…



Someone loved this place, enough that a member of his family would come here and leave this here.

I wonder if he was a fisher?



First Trouts!

I have been getting decidedly itchy around around catching my first trout of the season considering we do actually seem to be having a half decent spring compared to last years efforts. Considering I am still a 9-5 wage slave I needed to find a spare moment at the end of the working day to try and capture my first trout so decided to hit my wee burn which has done me well in the past. I dragged along a work colleague who was pretty keen to catch a trout on the dry and I regaled him with a half dozen from every pool and I am pretty sure “guaranteed”   was flung in their as well. Being new to fly fishing I wish I had put my Tenkara fly rod in my boot however we made do with the standard set up instead.

The Drift...

The Drift…

I caught the first trout as I was showing my buddy what to do, explaining about where the trout would be holding up. No pictures however it was a thin thing which looked as if it had not recovered well at all yet. Obviously the bigger rivers are fairing better because of the greater amount of feeding however i did notice a few flies drifting down an a rise in the pool above us.

New guy in action...

New guy in action…

Naturally my buddy managed to hook into two (potentially one that came back for another bash at the fly) trout however either he was not quick enough on the strike or maybe some loose line (nowt to do with bad teaching) they or it got off.

All it did was whet my appetite for some kelvin action!

New fins arrived!

After what happened to Alex’s fins last week I decided to upgrade mine to a pair of diving fins – thankfully Hollis took pity on me and sent me a pair of these bad boys out to review.



I am looking forward to trying these bad boys out. To go with them I have bought some dive boots and some fin keepers to make sure that I don’t lose them in the middle of some loch.

In other news I visited Tickers Tackle in Helensburgh today to buy some aquasure to mend some holes in the breathables. Thankfully he did have some in stock and after chewing the fat about some local fishing I headed up the road to inspect the fly box. It is a nice wee shop with what looked like the essentials, as I left he called out that he could buy in anything that I needed! I kinda liked that!

I have heard that there are plenty of olives coming off the Kelvin just now with trout rising regularly. Looking forward to my first trout of the season!


That was absolutely awesome!

So the day finally dawned on not only the first trip out of the year but also the first time using a float tube. The temp was hovering around 5 degrees and did actually hit 3 as I went up and over the Dukes pass towards the destination. Alex wanted to meet at 5am however I voted for a more sedately 9am start due to a severe lack of sleep the night before. When we got to our chosen loch we quickly got the tubes set up – Alex had to have a bit of help due to obviously not trying to put his up whilst drunk however all was good.

Quite frankly we all looked like an advert for Snowbee as we all had the same tubes, it was only when we compared stuff we received did I realize that the straps needed  to carry the tube a greater distance was not included with mine. It was not an issue today however would be in the future, I will fire them off an email in the morning.

Seeing as how I was the main driving force behind us buying these tubes I took it upon myself to be the first person in the water. It may have been better to have someone with us who knew what the hell they were doing however we decided that YouTube videos was just as good.

I put all the stuff together and started to back into the water – the one thing I remembered was that you always walk backwards, I found out why later.

Thankfully nobody made wide load noises as I crept back.

Thankfully nobody made wide load noises as I crept back.

I kinda felt that the moment called for something more serious and somber than us all laughing as we got in the water, Jim Burns seemed to be the most organised.

The 2nd time?

The 2nd time?

Alex actually had two times getting into the water, the first time he fannied up putting on his flippers, turns out that was the least of his problems.

Jim Burns - like a giant duck with a mustache!

Jim Burns – like a giant duck with a mustache!

Jim took to the tube like a, well like a duck to water basically. As I was still trying to work out how to actually get things moving he was having a few exploratory casts into the margins for the Pike. I mean, when they tell you the movement is like cycling backwards it is actually quite hard to do it imagine it.

Did I tell you we were fishing for Pike?

Other folk were out having a bash at trout however I just do not see the point at the moment. Saying that the Kelvin may have fished well today with the good temps. Anyway, we were after a massive female Pike however sadly none were forthcoming.

Bobbing along.

Bobbing along.

One of the things I like was the fact that I managed to move so slow along that my fly was moving at a nice speed for any fly that did not want to expand too much energy to engulf it. Casting was easy and i did not feel that anything was going to get lost overboard because of the massive side pockets. I was comfy in the lifevest and my feet were not too cold. I was wearing a pair of thermal long johns and lined walking trousers and was warm enough.

Disaster struck at half time when both of Alex’s flippers snapped off as he was getting out of the water.

Both flippers snapped!

Both flippers snapped!

Alex has no idea how this happened however thought he might have taken a step forward. He then tried to set fire to his car with a stove however saved the day with some sausage, bacon and black pudding doublers.

Jim and I went back the water for a quick hour while Alex headed up the road to scour Ebay for new flippers. As our legs were getting sore and the Pike were not playing ball we headed off the water at around 3pm. I did have some video of the event and I may post that at another time. It is interesting as I am now thinking of past venues that may be suitable and am coming up with lots of places that may be interesting.

Watch this space.


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