Italian Style Casting

Long time sufferers readers will remember my first proper fishing buddy Emanuele  who I used to fish the Clyde with around 10 years ago. He buggered off to Hull and has been casting his micro drys on chalk streams to willing huge trout unlike our belligerent Scottish trout.

He has emailed me a few times about his Italian style of casting which can overcome situations like strong currents and drag, check out this video

Massimo Magliocco (the chap in the video) and Fly Fishing Masters UK are bringing a wee workshop to Scotland  on the Annan at Hoddom Castle on the 13th July. They are a  non-profit organisation. However a charge is necessary to cover their costs. For the day course the fee is £30 per participant (this includes fishing the river Annan in the evening – Hoddom Castle beat)

Information and booking:

The program is:

9.00 – 10.00Demonstration and discussion on techniqueThis will be undertaken on both grass and water by Massimo Magliocco and compared by Philip BaileyThe technique will be explained and a range of different casts will be demonstrated

10.00 – 12.00Tuition of u how to make the basic Angular cast used by FFMThe FFM Instructors will work with individual participants to explain the technique and how to make the cast. This is the basic technique used in all FFM casts. This will be undertaken on grass

12.00 – 1.00 Lunch, strippers and lap dancing

1.00 – 3.00Demonstration and discussion of all casts used by FFM in ‘fishing’ situations.This will be undertaken by Senior Casting Instructors.Each cast will be demonstrated in ‘live’ fishing situations and benefits explained to participants. This will be undertaken on running water.

3.00 – 5.00Tuition on different castsThe FFM Instructors will work with individual participants to explain each of the ‘Backhand’, ‘Totally Under Tip’, ‘Slowed Down Angular’ and ‘Overturned’ casts. This will also be undertaken on running water.

It all sounds good however I am attending for a chin wag with Emanuele and the possibility of a huge trout off the Annan.

Anyone else up for it I urge you to book and I will see you their hopefully!

Right Place, Wrong Time

The dry run ceased with an evening session on a highland river. It almost did not as when I arrived it was very low and barren looking. The day was hot and I had been day dreaming about finding a nice long deep pool where trout would be rising at dusk however after an initial tramp up and down for an hour or so it was looking unlikely that I would find one suitable. The long deeper sections were like glass and any trout I spotted rising were immediately put off by my presentation. The tippet just seemed to be far too glaring on the surface of the water.

Boulder Strewn

Boulder Strewn

However, I did catch trout – the main pools where there was rises was a waste of time due to the number of parr however at the heads of pools where the water was quicker and there was a little depth some trout were usually sitting and were obliging.

Some trout were obliging...

Some trout were obliging…

As it approached 10pm the wind dropped and the midges rose making standing watching the pools impossible as I could not concentrate. It is really difficult trying to explain to someone what midges are like to someone who has not experienced them full on, sure some folk have felt the occasional annoying tickle but when the wee bastards are truly out to get you there is nothing you can do if you do not have protection.



Water like glass...

Water like glass…

I ended up with bites all up my arms and some Cleg bites!

Dry Spell Continues!

So my dry spell continues despite a serious attack at the Pike yesterday.

A wee lochan which has been on my radar for quite some time was finally accessed using the tubes. The lochan could not look any more Pikey – it was entirely reed and lilly pad lined. In fact getting into the loch was problematic however not as bad as I first thought. We had to  seriously push our way through using the flippers but got their in the end..

The whole bank of the loch looked like this..

The whole bank of the loch looked like this..

The day was warmish with a couple of showers and just looked perfect for Pike. I used a selection of streamers and at one point even put on a popper to rip it over some of that nice calm water. the difference with this loch and a lot of places I fish for Pike is its depth – it is very deep going from about a foot to many meters very quickly. At one point I trawled a fly at a few meters deep right up the shoreline next to the weeds however got nothing.

We did catch a couple of Pike…

Alex into a pike

Alex into a pike

Alex’s pike was a few pounds and so was mine. Before starting we commented that we have still not had a big pike from the tube yet,we had some pretty high hopes from this place but alas it was not to be.

After a spot of dinner and some beer we headed to another loch and spooked some monsters.

spooking monsters

spooking monsters

I caught some micro pike and Alex had one try to smash his fly.

Trout evening sessions this week hopefully!



I appear to have missed out posting some outings over the last few weeks however to be honest there has not been much to write home about.

Usually time off work means extra fishing  however after my family holiday to Holland I just never got around to heading out after trout. Well, that is not strictly true as I scheduled in three evening sessions on a highland river however was then scuppered at the last minute due to the route being shut. I then went on the hunt for some Pike fishing down on Loch Lomond however was hit by a coughing virus. I even went out after some Sea Trout in the salt for a change after a potential fishing buddy sent me a text however my heart was not really in it. I did catch one very nice trout from the Kelvin during the day which I was pretty happy about. Here are some pictures for you..

The midgies were hell

The midgies were hell

A little dimple turned into a nice trout...

A little dimple turned into a nice trout…

One chap estimated this to be at a pound and a half  - I rolled my eyes!

One chap estimated this to be at a pound and a half – I rolled my eyes!

Like some anglers these bags are full of it...

Like some anglers these bags are full of it…

Potentially inedible mushrooms

Potentially inedible mushrooms

I feel like the summer is almost over when it has not even really started – plans for the next month are Trout evening sessions, Pike and possible Sea Fishing.

At least someone might get some fishing…

I was heading out for an evening session and then turned back due to the road being closed. I am at home now as quite frankly it was the last sign I needed that I should just stay home. I had asked everyone I knew today if they fancied joining me however between football and work they were all busy – I even put a post on the Urban Fly Fisher facebook page with no takers. (edit:one taker however I was already home)

Anyway, Atkins (Chair RKAA) has been asking me for months now to ask you guys if any of you fancy joining him for some Salmon fishing on the North Esk.

Not the North Esk

Not the North Esk

The dates that he has on Pert are August 4th – 9th inclusive. Pert is 5 miles form the sea and has 14 named pools, with excellent fly water. Accommodation is available for those that require it,at  £20 per person , per night. He has 2 rods available on every day from the 4th to 9th, with a cost of £ 65 per rod , per day.


You can see more about Pert on their site. 

You can contact Alan Atkins directly via email at or by telephone  0785 333 0471


Interesting fishing..

I headed to my highland stream after work only to be confronted by my arch enemy at the start of some nice pools. This was my first proper evening session of the year.



Look, I am perfectly aware that they are totally harmless, you just shoo them away etc etc blah blah blah however I just do not trust them as far as I can walk past them. They had calf’s with them as well which makes them a bit more edgy as well.

Anyway, I headed to another bit of river which i wanted to explore anyway and found a lovely pool.



As you can see there was a high bank on the opposite side with some deep water which was moving at almost walking pace, this was below a faster moving tongue of water- perfect!

Sure enough trout started to rise, little dimples on the surface. I was using a dry and dropper and a few times trout would boil at my fly. I would see a good sized head and shoulders yet these trout did not connect. My dry fly dipped a couple of times resulting in some solid pulls to the nymph yet my luck was not in with these fish. Eventually a fish stayed on..

Good acrobatics too!

Good acrobatics too!

It leapt around the pool and unfortunately I realized my net was left at home – I still managed it though!

A nice dark skinned trout, if I did not know better I would have taken that for a trout ready to spawn..

A nice dark skinned trout, if I did not know better I would have taken that for a trout ready to spawn..

I realised I had been fishing that pool for an hour or so and a cold wind was blowing, I decided to head up the road while it was still light.

Before the rain…

Fishing has been slow of late for a few reasons. One is that I have not had the chance to have my usual couple of hour sessions on the Kelvin due to living just too far out of reach to make it feasible. This will be less of an issue come July when the kids are out of their nursery and I get my car back for full days instead of half days, in the past I was able to just dive to the river after work whereas now I get to get the train in home. I seem to be in this weird transition of part of my life being still in Anniesland.

Come July I will have some interesting local places to check out – Sea Trout in the salt for one. Not that t wont have that urban vibe, my pal told me his dog came back with a drug habit after walking down the beach the other day due to the discarded needles.

Anyways, Friday I did actually manage a short session however the general vibe was one of something has already happened and something will happen later. Basically the trout had already fed for the day and were just waiting for the sun to dip before starting to feed again.

Looking upstream, a few risers but sporadic!

Looking upstream, a few risers but sporadic!

Sure I spotted a few trout rising however they were firmly in the one rise every 10 minute category. I walked up the river and it was nice to be spotting wildlife, I marveled at how green everything is. The spring this year has been especially kind to us and I have been enjoying watching my new garden spring into life as well. Speaking of life…


Its now downhill all the way…

I spotted a trout next to a bush and it rose twice, I cast and it took. I think it may have been my first proper kelvin trout of the season. I know that other guys including the legendary Jim Burns have been pulling them in however I was still pleased.

Still pleased!

Still pleased!

I packed up my gear and headed up the road. I have had two days of entertaining the kids as my wife was working and am now pretty keen to get some fishing done, any kind of fishing. I think this is why I looked out the spinning rod as a back up for some salt action this week hopefully.

How have you guys been getting on?

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?