This season like last has left me wondering why the hell I do not carry a net when I fish the Kelvin. To be honest up until last year I have always been happy with brining my fish to hand to release them even if I have had to take a photo of them however now that the trout are getting bigger I just cannot get away with that any longer. Last spring I found myself cursing regularly as I tried to photo another fat trout and when I went out on Sunday evening I encountered the final straw when a lovely trout well over the pound felt my hand around its meaty girth and with a flex of its muscle was gone into the depths leaving me with a camera in one hand a fly stuck in my other.
Here is the story….
The day was overcast all day with good temps. I knew that if I had fished during the day it would have been good however I was still packing up my stuff. I managed to obtain a fishing pass and drove top speed to my local stretch only to find it totally dead. Things were not looking good. I walked down river and finally found a few rising trout. As the evening was warm there was a lot of folk walking around and people would stop and watch me cast. Some of the joys of urban fishing is the amount of folk you get chatting too it is also one of the curses – I just went with the flow and appreciated the applause when I caught an 8 incher. Some young guys who I think were Muslims due to their beards cheered when I caught a fish and asked if I only fished for pleasure as I returned it – I nodded and they thanked me for letting them watch.
It started to get a bit darker and the park started to clear of fish. It was around this time that I started to notice a trout that had been rising in some slack water below some trees. I had cast to it a couple of times and the fly drifted without being taken due to drag however I felt it was time to really concentrate on it. The tricky thing about casting to a trout in this kind of position is that your fly must drift naturally long enough for the trout to take however for a short enough time that the drag from the faster current is not going to affect it. I usually get by this by constantly recasting until either the trout is spooked or stops rising or my brain finally works out how to cast and position the fly so that the trout takes.
The trout was not spooked and it took my fly. It went bananas, tearing across the pool and jumped out the water. It was totally pissed off. It tore back to its spot and then took a tour around the pool taking line and almost wrenching my rod out my hands. I took a quick look behind me and was glad to see nobody watching, when you catch a trout this fine you want no bugger to actually know where it is. I did not campaign for catch and release for years for some idiot to chap the nice fish now that we have them. After a minute or so the trout was settled and I brought it towards me, the trout’s head was out the water and it was then I realised just how big it actually was, its mouth yawned open and I could see down its throat past its gills, my tiny fly was stuck in its lip. At this point I should have netted it, got my camera out and took its photo before slipping it back in the water. However what actually happened was I reached into my pocket and turned my camera on and then with my other hand reached out and gripped the trout round its middle, as I lifted the trout it flexed its body and as I did not want to squeeze the beast it fell out my hands and then sat in the water looking at me for a second with a look on its face that said “Fucking Mug” and then bolted off.
It was round about that point I decided that this was the last time I would not carry my net. There is no reason to be disappointed, I had fooled the trout, played the trout and landed the trout and it was released without harm apart from to its dignity.
I am still going to take a net next time.
Fishing opportunities have been curtailed due to the fact I am packing up my house and move in with the in-laws for a bit. The house market took us by surprise and our house was sold within a week. I think that is a positive. Still, I have managed to wet a line a couple of times.
Last night I headed out with the mighty Jim Burns (he had been helping me along with some other fishing buddies to move my families belongings into storage) for a late evening session down the Kelvin. He had spent the day down the Clyde with the other guys that helped me out and within a few minutes spotted more trout rising on the Kelvin than he did all day on the Clyde.
We had a go at some incredibly tricky trout, the tricky part was the trees and bushes behind us which meant that to get a fly to the confident risers tantalizing us a few rod lengths away I had to roll cast. I cannot roll cast that far, especially with an 8 foot rod. OK to be honest I can barely roll cast a couple of rod lengths. Needless to say they stopped rising as I spooked them.
Next stop was to have a gander at a blackbirds nest, Jim had almost put his hand in it the other night. What it shows is that we must be extra careful to watch out for birds nests at this time of year.
It was Jim’s turn next to have a go at some risers and he scrambled down the bank…
He did about as well as me…
We met a young guy fly fishing on the other side, we asked him for his permit and he did not have one. We told him he would have to go buy one. We both felt pretty shite about it as the guy was polite and was obviously a beginner. I was half inclined to just let him fish however Jim reminded me that we could turn the corner and meet someone without a permit. I told him the story of last week when I had met a guy down at the Botanics, I asked him for his permit……
Me: I am Alistair, Vice Chair and all round good guy, you got your permit handy?
Young Chap: Aye
Me: Can I see it?
Young Chap: Aye (shows me it) I ave already been asked fur it the night, two guys doon the water.
Me: Yes, that will be the other bailiffs
Young Chap: Well lets see it then?
Young Chap: Your permit?
Me: (I pat my pockets, I appear to have left it in my running shorts) I, um, er, appear to have left it in my running shorts
Young Chap: You cheeky bastard, I bet you don’t even fucking have one. You were just gonna ask me to make yourself look good in case I asked you.
And after a bit of banter he insisted that he take my photo to show some pals to make sure I was legit.
Anyway, back to the session. After a bit we came across some lovely debris from some folk that had obviously just made a visit to the Glasgow Angling Centre
It’s cool, we crunched down all the stuff they left and put it into the plastic bag they had also left next to the river. The fire they set on the bank had not burned too much grass either. Jim stuck it into his backpack to take to a bin.
We both caught nice trout on the walk back up, Jim’s was bigger though!
Now that Urbanflyfisher has turned the grand old age of a decade I decided that instead of being a grumpy old sod that complains about all the “new” media I should actually embrace some of that shit and created a Facebook Page.
The mighty Jim Burns is on the cover photo seeing as how he is the legend of the Kelvin and I stuck the old trusty shopping trolley as the main pic. The Glasgow Angling Centre gave a big push through their facebook page (thanks Gary) and it has all kicked off.
I am not entirely sure what will happen over there however it should add to the fun this year. If you have not done so already it would be great if you could head over there and “like” the page as I can swap them for sex and money possibly.
I am busy packing up my worldly belongings at the moment and am moving house next week into some temp accommodation supplied by the in laws. Turns out the housing market is not all that bad when your house is sold in a week.
Still, I should get a spot of fishing in.
I am always amazed at the cost of actual branded fishing jackets. I was recently looking for a new packable jacket and thought that my fishing fund balance was going to suffer – there was a distinct possibility it was going to slip into negative if I bought one of the brand names. As I was scouting around as usual I realised that the best bargains for fishing clothing are usually found outside fishing shops. An example of this might be that you can pick up a lot of fly tying gear in craft shops. I bought huge sheets of foam which usually cost a few pounds online for a tenth of the amount as well as eyes for pike flies for a pittance. Christmas decorations are not safe either when the winter fly tying season is underway.
So eventually in my hunt for an easy packable rain jacket I came to the tried and tested outdoor gear brand of Regatta.
They have the above great super lightweight, breathable and packable rain jacket for under 30 bucks. This can fit under your breathable waders a treat or can be shoved into your waistcoat just in case it rains as let’s face facts it rains a lot.
After work I managed an hour on the Kelvin.
Lets get the facts out the way – I caught two trout, both of which came to dries and one of the was an absolute stonker. The river had lost some of its height and color however is now covered in wee leaves or something and you can hardly see your fly on the surface because of them.
As I walked down the river I ran into a very pleasant old gent in his 80s. He was dressed immaculately and was sitting on a wee chair gazing at the water. As I got closer I realized he had the biggest camera I have ever seen. It turns out he was trying to take pictures of the Kingfishers. He told me that he has been visiting this spot for several years and regularly photographs Kingfishers and the mink that roam around. He was passing the time taking pictures of the ducks. He told me that every now and then he makes DVD’s of his videos and pictures so that sometimes he can sit and look back on them. His latest was “Sights of the River” I asked him if he ever thought about showing them to anyone, for example, on the internet, he smiled and said he did not think anyone would be interested. Even though he is in his 80s he had the technical know how as he explained about editing all the footage together on his laptop.
He had been in hospital for the last few weeks and was on new drugs for his heart, he said, however they did not need to see him for another three weeks – he took that as a good sign.
As we chatted I found myself looking up for a change as he pointed out the various perches he had seen the Kingfisher. I spotted a lovely looking bird I had never seen before. We both thought it might be a woodpecker and on further reading it turns out it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Being this urban lad who does not get much of a chance to get out into the country air seeing this so near the city was a treat and a half. It made up for the lack of trout rising and the wind.
Maybe next time I will see it again, I will be keeping my eyes open!
You guys know that I wear thermal longjohns under my waders right? Well, a few of you got in contact to say that maybe I would get sweaty in the summer heat and provided a possible solution.
These bad boys are skin tight so no chaffing, quick drying and may cause no questions as you saunter down the road to your car. I will admit I get some funny looks in my long johns. They even have a security pocket for hiding away your car key in case you fall in.
You can thanks me later.
Several of you mailed me to tell me about the recent tragedy with the two chaps (one of whom died) who were trampled by the cows.
Thanks for that.
They are waiting, watching and ready.
They are not happy.
Sometimes you see signs and portents in your fishing in which it imitates your life. I managed an hour after work down at the Kelvin and it was a much needed session to get away from the stress of real life shit. I had been knocked back from a job and was feeling a bit despondent, not too pissed off as it would have meant more stress and importantly time away from fishing but still it would have been nice. Anyway, like I was saying, I got to the river and strung up my rod and headed to the river. I could hear it before I got there which is never a good sign however was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just fishable and no more. It was up by around a foot and in the shallows I could still see the boulders so walked up the river in pursuit of rising trout. It took a while however eventually found one rising in a bugger of a spot behind a fallen tree that jutted out of the river bank. When you get a sole riser it is always in a bastard of a spot I mused to myself as I figured out if I could get down to it.
I decided I could, I climbed over another fallen tree and felt myself sink into the mud. It was not pleasant. I got myself into position, thankfully the way I was placed meant I could get a clear back cast so all I had to worry about was the particularly debris filled water in front of me. I had a couple of exploratory casts, thought I covered the fish and then when I brought my rod up to recast the fly got stuck on underwater tree branch. I pulled it out and lost the fly. I heard a roaring noise which turned out to be a rain shower hitting the fresh new leaves around me and I scrambled back over the log to re tie my tippet from the ring down. Thankfully the rain stopped and I got myself back in position. There was a steady stream of olives trickling down and a couple of trout were really going for it. I cast once and was too short, I cast again and the fly was engulfed and my rod was bent over. Thankfully it shot down the pool past the sunken branch that had stolen my fly and bored deep. There was a lot of fly line kicking around the place so while keeping tension on the trout I quickly would the spare line on to my reel. This trout was big, the extra oxygen in the water was making it fight even more than normal as it bored deep all around the pool. Meanwhile, I was finding it difficult to move as my feet were stuck in the mud. Every now and again I would see a flash of fish under the surface as it twisted this way and that and I kept guiding it away from the evil fly snatching log. My line abruptly pinged back in my face.
I looked glumly at the tell-tale sign of a poorly tied knot, the tiny circles of nylon that had given way. I had rushed tying the fly due to the rain and need to catch this fish and now it was gone. I kinda made comparisons in my head to almost getting the new job to losing the fish and smiled to myself that sometime your head can come up with a right load of shite.