Something new…

I feel as if I have stomped all over the Central Belt of Scotland with just a hint of travelling far North. To my shame I have traveled more in England than I have in Scotland. Before the kids arrived I went camping up North for a couple of weeks with my wife however never made it up as far as John o Groats, well finally we did make it and have a picture to prove it.

We gave up a while ago trying to get folk to look at cameras!

We gave up a while ago trying to get folk to look at cameras!

We were up for a few days staying at Thurso which would have been great for the trout fishing if it had been a couple of months ago however now the season has ended and the Salmon season was way over my budget I was faced with the Sea. So I managed to affix my beachcaster and tripod to the roof bars and some advice sought on some forums and from pals I was off.

The Beast...

The Beast…

I have got to admit that I am a total rooky to Sea fishing however learning about a whole new branch of the sport has really got me interested. Up in Thurso it was fairly standard that I wanted to go fishing, I mean the fishing boats came in at Scrabster and I should maybe have fished their however I decided to fish along at Dunnet Bay purely as I had visited it during the day and it seemed nice. Seemingly Sea Bass are caught at this bay (which seems to be a bit of a sea fish holy grail) however I would be happy with a small flounder. I think it was while I was on the telephone to fishing buddy Alex that I realised my hooks were to big. Anyway, I had been fishing for a while with some mackeral strips that I had carved off a whole fish that I had bought from Tesco that morning when I realised that I did have some smaller hooks in a packet in my bag however by this point it was getting dark and I could not continue because I could see nothing and had forgotten a torch.

Dunnet Beach - Daytime!

Dunnet Beach – Daytime!

Of course what made me feel like an extra special amateur was when a couple of blokes walked down the beach looking like the characters from Tron, I mean they even had little neon things on their tripod and fishing rods. “These guys..” I mused..”know what the fuck they are doing” Of course, these guys had timed it right for proper dark and had all their stuff set up. You learn something new every time you go fishing and this time I learnt some serious lessons:

  • Take a torch
  • Take a proper knife
  • Take something to wipe your hands on as they will stink for at least a day if you do not.
  • Take smaller hooks

Still, I had a good time and even when a boy zipped up on his quad bike it was only to ask me if it was ok to zoom around behind me – he looked like he was having great fun speeding up and down the beach.

On the way back up the road I got a chance to see some of the scenery which I missed out on when I was driving up.




Last trout….

I am more used to scrabbling through bushes and casting between trees rather than walking over marshy uneven ground to get to my fishing. It was strange then that my uneasiness about falling and twisting an ankle couple with my nimbleness improved after some whisky as a few pals and I toasted the end of the season before starting fishing.

You can see a lonesome Jim Burns...

You can see a lonesome Jim Burns…

We decided that the end of the trout season needed something a little bit different, as the Kelvin and most other rivers were out of action the sport was provided by a trip up to a loch. The whiskey was provided by Alex in little white plastic cups!

The forecast was to be breezy and warm for the day and this was kind of true apart from the fog that descended on us at one point reducing visibility to a hundred yards or so.

You could see a few rod lengths at one point....

You could see a few rod lengths at one point….

I am woefully equipped for loch fishing, my 7 weight is in storage and even then it is not an enjoyable rod to fish with especially now that I have borrowed Paul’s Hardy 7 weight which was great to fish with the whole day – it had one of those “Shark Skin” lines on the reel which gave a funny zinging sound every time I cast and retrieved which kind of cut through the stillness of the day.

It rained on and off, this made the ground slippy and brought out the shrooms..

We could have went down the magical route!

We could have went down the magical route!

I was using a two cast set up with a Kate McLaren on the bob fly and I am not sure what on the point. I walked up to the top of the loch where a burn flowed in and started to fish. Within a few casts I had a couple of takes and after the second I covered the same water and caught a lovely hard fighting almost black trout. I always find catching trout in lochs strange as I feel they have nowhere really to go unlike rivers where they usually head straight for a shopping trolley or other handy snag.

My first trout from the bank of a loch this season...

My first trout from the bank of a loch this season, unfortunately also my last…

Alex meanwhile had caught one on the other side of the loch which he said would have been nearer 2lb if it was not so thin. We took a bit of a gamble on this loch as one of us had heard it was full of Perch however there were no spiny beasts spotted at all.

Some Sedge made an appearance!

Some Sedge made an appearance!

Alex as usual was hauling in fat fish as he worked his way down the shore. I asked him his opinion of the loch and he was suitably impressed – from a guy that grew up stomping all over the hills of Northern Scotland that means something..

Into a trout....

Into a trout….

The trout liked a good splash…

Splish Splash!

Splish Splash!

Jim was catching trout on the dry while Paul was struggling with his 5 weight in the wind. He was very chivalrous in not asking for his damn rod back!

Meanwhile I caught another couple of trout within minutes of each other..

2nd trout...

2nd trout…

3rd Trout...

3rd Trout…

Of course after a bit the fog began to rise, Alex positioned me next to this cliff face and had me cast across it. It sure looked fishy however on this occasion nothing came from it.

Fog rising?

Maybe next time?

How annoying that on the day of the season I find a brand new appetite for fishing lochs from the shore. In terms of tackle I used Pauls Hardy which begrudgingly I admitted was nice however it made me realise I need a nice fast actioned 10 foot 7 weight for next season. If anyone has any recommendations for a rod well under a ton let me know.

I had a look on the Glasgow Angling Centers Preloved Tackle page on facebook  and was amazed at some of the bargains that have been their in the past, will let you know what I end up with!

So, I will give a good round up of the season later on in the month however when it comes to trout that is pretty much that!

You guys have a good season?







Suunto Vector X

I notice that my Suunto Watch is now at the bargain price of £116 over at the Polimil Factory Shop

It is a sweet piece of kit which apart from being a watch also includes a compass, barometer, altimeter and increases your ultimate sexiness by a factor of ten. One of those was a half truth however I shall let you guess which one.

The altimeter has been good when I have been out hill walking as well as watching the numbers go up and down when zipping up and down in elevators in the high flats that I so often visit.

When fish are just nor responding we anglers like to come up with just about any old excuse and quite often we talk about the air pressure –  the theory proposes that a dropping air pressure brings on feeding activity, rising pressure turns the fish off feeding, high pressure results in the fish moving to shallower water, and low pressure results in fish moving to deeper water. That is the standard theory however I have often found the opposite to be true – for example just before all this rain we had a period of high pressure and then the next day the pressure dropped – on the last night I fished for trout it was pretty tricky however I suppose that could have been something to do with the lower temps as well. Sometimes I think that the theory holds more weight in deep water like lakes or ponds rather than rivers as it may affect the movements of trout more.

However, I reckon it may just all be connected with the wind and rain that is connected to the changing of air pressure rather than the pressure itself.

Grab yourself a bargain.


Kelvin Badges?

I like the idea of the new start we have had on the Kelvin and thought it would be nice to commemorate it in some way.  I keep hearing about these mythical “Gold Cards” that some guys got years ago when the association was formed and obviously it would be good to have done something on the 20th anniversary and the 25th anniversary is 4 more years ago so it would be nice to come up with something a bit sooner.

I was actually thinking about a rather snazzy enamel badge for each member. We could get get one for trout only permits and one for Salmon. I kinda half thought we could get a new badge for each year however considering how difficult it is to organise the permit packs maybe we could buy some of them and the members could order them from us?

We do not have a lot of folk on the Kelvin that buy the Trout/fly only ticket on the Kelvin. At £15 it is pretty good value for folk that want to add an extra river on to their existing list of rivers they fish in the West of Scotland and I was wondering if a custom badge would be something that may make them stand out a little bit more. At the moment a lot of guys are using the handy attachment on the back of their permit and attaching it on to their waistcoat or bag and I think that is great as it means you can instantly see whether someone has a permit or not. This is what I have been doing over the last season after being pulled up by a member when I was not carrying mine. The rules clearly state that if you catch a Salmon you must have your permit and your tags with you and I think that is why a lot of Salmon anglers have taken to wearing their badge at all times.

Personally I would rather have something that I could easily attach to my waistcoat and then forget about it – just like a wee badge.

What do you guys think?


Video Nasty!

Midway through the season I bought myself a wee handheld video cam – this wee thing here:

Kodak PlaySport Zx5 Full HD 1080P, Waterproof, Dustproof and Shockproof – Aqua

I had grand designs of taking some videos throughout the season however this is all I managed!


Fear em’


Otterly Good!

Went fishing on the Kelvin after work for an hour. River at a great height and the color of strong tea without the milk. Caught nothing however lots of trout rising….

Trout rising....

Trout rising….

The undergrowth is now at its wildest and it is strange to think that the end of the season is on its way. I spotted what I thought was a salmon however it turned out to be an otter..

The Kelvin Otter

The Kelvin Otter

It splashed about a bit and then after spotting me headed into the bushes. After a few moments the trout started to rise again.

I kind of regretted not going after the salmon however all my gear is in storage……

Off to Hamburg for a Stag weekend so no fishing, you can see some drunken mayhem on my twitter feed possibly. 

Well, that wee gem was insanely difficult…

After work I gained my early pass and drove to the starting point of a path that led close to the burn. As I was getting my gear together I realised that I had left my forceps and snips back at the house. No matter, I drove back to the house and picked them up; the only thing taking the time was the dodgy right turn onto the main road.

I heard a roaring noise as soon as I got close the burn and knew it was going to be a bit fuller after the rain we had last night. It was, and was totally fishable. At the bottom of the first big waterfall I caught maybe half a dozen, all micro trout with one slightly larger. I never managed to take pictures of the larger trout so you can imagine them instead.

I had no idea this was so close to where I am living...

I had no idea this was so close to where I am living…

Standard micro trout...

Standard micro trout = 2.5lb rainbow…

It was a fairly steep ascent as there is a series of these waterfalls and at the bottom of each I would pick up a few trout. It was when I reached the last one that the problems started. This area has a fascination (a bit like North Lanarkshire) for barbed wire – I swear even some of the trees had the stuff wrapped around. It was not even a simple case of walking up the middle of the burn as every 50 yards an obstruction was across the river coated in barbed wire – even a metal fence had a wad of the stuff for good measure.

Trick casting...

Trick casting…

Added to the barbed wire was the issue with the casting. After the first few pools I was starting to regret not bring a Tenkara rod with me. I had considered it in the morning however it was one of the things I had left out the car after I had cleaned it on holiday.

Better with the Tenkara rod

Better with the Tenkara rod

Lots of micro trout...

Lots of micro trout…

The bigger trout were not that much bigger.

I scrambled back to the car as I decided to head to the Kelvin for a bit, turned out SEPA lied and it was up around a couple of feet…



Lots of Salmon coming off the Kelvin just now, I am still trout focused!



Gem Found!

Google maps examined, gem found on edge of housing estate..

But does it hold trout?

But does it hold trout?

Permission sought and granted to fish before the boys go to bed so that my fishing and exploring time is maximized – rain started within a half hour of this being granted. As I write this I am renegotiating for the pass to be transferred to tomorrow!


It happens too often…

I have a history with my pal Alex around having crazy days involving boats – Saturday was no different, due in part to the weather forecast which was was heavy rain for the whole day. It did not put us off though as we were heading back to Katrine in search of Pike and Trout. We had fished it last season and even though we had not caught any pike we had caught some trout and it was a lot of fun. We kinda thought something was up however as the chap who organises the boats was a bit late. It turns out that he was not going to let us out on the loch because of the weather – sure it was a bit breezy but it was pretty good conditions for fishing. Seemingly the wind had to change later and they were not willing to let us out. We were disappointed however got a weak coffee and a nice roll n’ bacon out of it.

We headed over to Loch Venachar  instead where even though the guy thought we were a bit crazy due to the rain still gave us a boat.

The weather was changeable..

We could see the waves of rain coming across the hills....

We could see the waves of rain coming across the hills….

The rain stopped for a couple of sessions and the sun came out, these were the times we caught fish..

The rain stopped for a couple of sessions and the sun came out, these were the times we caught fish..

It is always tricky fishing somewhere new and even more difficult when the conditions are against you, still we each caught a Pike…

Alex was please with his Pike

Alex was please with his Pike

In these conditions any fish is a good fish.

In these conditions any fish is a good fish.

As we cruised around the loch we gazed at the chaps on the bank, lots of them had tents and bivys. There was a fair few fires on the go as well, in fact one chap decided he could not be bothered carrying his huge umbrella back to his car so he decided to burn it on his fire. Of course he left the debris of the brolly as well as his metal rod rest sticking out the mud but it looked like a long couple of hundred yards back to his car.

We get that a lot on the Kelvin as well, guys that just do not give a monkeys. A lot of these guys had been camped out overnight as well.

At last - a fish!

At last – a fish!

Obligatory hero shot!

Obligatory hero shot!

During one of the lulls in the rain we witnessed a very strong rainbow ..

Rainbow shining high..

Rainbow shining high..

It was in fact a double rainbow, you can see the other one just above the strongest one.

Later, after our session on the loch had finished we headed over to the big loch to see if we could catch any more Pike from the bank. However as we were setting up the wind caught up with us and things got a bit breezy.

A bit breezy!

A bit breezy!

We found evidence of other fishers however: footprints, litter and a shot seagull.

Shot through the chest..

Shot through the chest..

I do not want to cast any aspersions on the characters of the individuals that shoot seagulls and burn umbrellas however I have noticed a distinct amount of headbangery in their lineage. Their are general bylaws about not lighting fires and no wild camping as well as alcohol free zones and it seems to me that only certain folk follow these laws. That is, folk that actually cause problems through drinking alcohol in public as well as wild camping (through not tidying up after themselves) will continue to do so despite the law. Folk that actually consider laws and democracy in society to be meaningful will try and uphold them. However, the Police and Park Rangers would probably not tackle a bunch of guys drinking heavily setting fires  however are happy to tackle a single lassie waiting for the T in the Park bus while she is swigging a single bottle of beer.

Finding the shot seagull was weirdly not long after I had retweeted The Suburban Bushwackers call to arms about air guns being licensed in Scotland. Personally I do not believe the above legislation would actually do much good as the crazy folk who would shoot birds would continue to do so while other folk like myself would decide not to buy an airgun due to the paperwork etc.

Anyway, I think it is time I caught a trout again and there is a tiny stream not to far from me so this week I may hit its ass in anger!







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