About 250 boats, including small ships, yachts and clippers sail up the River Clyde as part of the city’s Commonwealth Games celebrations. I headed down to Bowling on Saturday to catch them before they went under the Erskine Bridge. I was most impressed with the sight – boats hooting, pipers on the decks and people lining the banks cheering. It really made me proud to be Scottish.
Please click the pictures for a pop up gallery.
If you live in the central belt of Scotland I am pretty sure you have heard the stories about loch Ba! The first that it is stuffed full of bandies that fight like a trout double their size and also that the place is littered with empty crisp packets and buckfast bottles. Any time you read a trip report the writer always has to take a fly off his three cast outfit as catching three trout at once is too troublesome.
It looks so fishy !
The loch is surrounded by peat bogs that will kill the unwary angler and the midgies are the most evil in Scotland. The loch was also raped by anglers on club outings who would turn up and kill everything they caught for the weigh in at the end of the day. This was long before anglers went all lovey dovey with catch and release, this was when you drank as much as possible whilst chain smoking your cigarettes. If you were a young boy this was when you got your first taste of alcohol. I went to lochBa when I was around 15 with the queen Elizabeth angling club and caught a trout on a worm. Except it was not actually loch ba we were dropped of at it was the one before it.
Flipper action ! I think I am almost ready to review these Hollis fins…
Consequently all these years later I was keen to get back and fish it as an adult angler, additionally I have my float tube!
This is what I found :
1. I did not see any litter even though I was expecting too see loads.
2. Nobody tells you how weedy this loch is. I mean maybe it was just where I was but their was loads of weeds.
3. They lied about the midgies , they are not evil. These little bastards make evil look like a gentle kiss on the lips. They were waiting for me on the shoreline with baseball bats.
4. It is quite possible to blank at Ba, if the fishing is totally shite everywhere because it is 24 degrees it will be shite for trout their too.
5. Their are perch in the loch, I thought I had caught the biggest trout in the loch but it turned out to be a lovely big perch. Sadly, it did not stick around for a photo but at the last moment went back to tell its trout pals about the crazy sunburnt guy bobbing about on the water.
6. You can get stuck on top of a rock in a float tube. This sounds funny however is in fact truly terrifying !
Imagine those rocks just under the surface ! I dare you !
I was going to stay for the gloaming however the wind dropped and my midgie net went on for some protection.
The wonky sunset shot. To be fair I was being bitten by a billion bugs!
Now that I have broke my duck for tubing by myself I have in fact another 4 lochs I need to try out. I also need to get back to Ba to experience some of that legendary bandie craziness.
You guys got any stories of Ba ?
Their was a figure sitting beside the river however because of the gloom I could not quite make them out. It was a pat of this river that I had never fished before however I knew it was popular with walkers so reckoned it was someone having a rest. I said hello however the figure did not say hello back. As I got closer the hairs on the back of my neck started to rise as quite frankly the person did not look quite right and I started to get a feeling that I should get the hell away from their and let the weird person get on with whatever they were doing. However, Kelvinators are made of sterner stuff than being scared (I have faced masturbators in the bushes after all).
What the actual fuck?
After finding the above monstrosity I managed to winkle out another trout before finally calling it a day.
Calling it a day..
Weirdly (as dusk sessions go) all my trout were caught just before proper dusk on both of this weeks evening sessions. The sun was still kinda on the water however shadows were starting to form.
All my trout were caught in two pools that could not have been more different. The first pool was long, depth of maybe a foot and a half and crystal clear. I could see the trout occasionally taking flies off the surface. I crept up on that trout on my hands and knees and was glad when my fly drifted right on target and a trout was in my net.
Returned as standard..
In the net..
The trout were loving my messy klink..
The second pool was short deeper and with a faster flow, one of the trout was even blacker. It made me think of the true highland burn trout or even loch trout at spawning time.
Again the trout fought like tigers..
I was surprised at the good action due to the low water and the high temps. There was some additional water in the river however it could be doing with another foot. Even though I am just learning about this river I know I am just scraping the edge of its potential. I am still haunted by the many rising trout I spotted at the start of the season when I did not have a rod with me.
Next trip out will be a Rannoch Moor loch with the tube! If anyone fancies joining me send me a mail or leave a comment – evening session!
I have a couple of bugbears when meeting and talking to other anglers (not the two chaps I met this evening) but other guys who shall remain nameless. One of my bugbears is some guys ability to tell the size of a trout by the way it rises. Oh sure, I am quite aware that sometimes it is plainly obvious it is a micro trout however other times you see some tiny dimples and it could be a micro trout or it could be a two pounder. I have been chatting to some guys bait fishing and they point to some lovely looking rising trout and they tell me they are tiddlers.
This lovely trout was simply kissing the surface gently..
Anyway, I got to the river straight from work at around 5pm. It was warm and slightly muggy, Atkins had told me the river was desperately low however I thought it looked to be at a great height. To be fair he was talking about Salmon heights of water so I let him off. I immediately had to put a chap bait fishing off the water for not having a permit, he said he was fishing for Perch and Roach however I had to advise him their was none in the river.
River Kelvin at a good height
I wandered about looking for some rising trout after meeting another couple of fly anglers who did have permits. I then met another chap who used to do some work for the Clyde River Foundation
To be honest I did not think the trout were up to much and I could barely be bothered hanging around however at a long pool under a bridge an absolutely stonking trout took my dry fly and led me a merry dance because my net was missing from my back (my tatty old net was left in the car).
A Stonker of a Kelvin Trout!
I wandered further up the river to another long pool and spent around an hour trying to work out what the wee buggers were actually taking. I first of all tried a comparadun however that was ignored, I then tried a micro fly which was shunned, I then finally put on a klinkhammer which just seemed to sit in the film and I managed to hook two of maybe a half dozen rising trout.
A hard won trout.
I have no idea what they were taking as my klink was then shunned – I seen some large olives, wee midges, smaller olives and one of these bad boys…
It is red!
I decided that seeing as how I had a good session I could pack up early and be home at a reasonable 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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.
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…
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…
I ended up with bites all up my arms and some Cleg bites!
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 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’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.
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
A little dimple turned into a nice trout…
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…
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.