I have been laying off encouraging the oldest boy coming fishing with me.
I have pals with kids in their twenties who do not fish and I always wonder why. Their dads (my pals) tell me they encouraged them when younger however they just drifted away from it. I wonder if they encouraged them too much. One piece of evidence is my pal whose son does go fishing all the time, I asked him what he did to encourage him “nothing” he told me “I neglected him” What this did of course was make fishing look kinda grown up and a treat in the kids eyes instead of just another activity that is done and then discarded when they are bored with it. I have learned that if I desperately want my kids to do something I tell them to do the exact opposite which is kinda maybe what I should do with the boys.
Hopefully I can make tying flies into a game for them too. “Whooeee” I will say” You managed to complete 10 size 10 grey dusters, let’s take it to the NEXT level and try 10 size 12 Comparaduns”
Before long those keen eyes with their nimble fingers will be in production with this exciting new game. I am reminded of having a chat with a pal in work who was a past Scottish River Champion (if that means something to any of you guys) and I asked him about getting more kids into fly fishing “Fuuuuuuuuuck off” he said with a twinkle in his eye, or something along those lines “The last thing we need is wee bastards with keen eyes and superior casting cruising down the river in front of us, keep em’ at home in front of the X-Box”
Different strokes, different folks n’ all that.
Sitting on the train my phone rings, unknown number. I pick up.
“Is that Alistair?” said a very polite voice.
“I got your number from a pal, I wanted to tell you something”
“Greys warranty still sucks” he said and then hung up!
Middle of the summer I went up to Ullapool for a few nights camping. The car was stuffed full of camping stuff and their was barely any room for my youngest. I had a split decision to make about what fishing gear to take and decided on my beachcaster. Of course now I realise if I had got into this Light Rock Fishing slightly earlier then this would have been amazing what with the nice rocks around. However considering the times I got to fish being wrong and the distinct lack of bait I was thoroughly skunked.
I also did not take any trout gear whatsoever.
That is correct, you can hardly spit up their without hitting a trout in a loch and I did not take my trout gear.
But hey ho, it’s not just about the fishing eh?
While Gary Wingate was putting together my light rock fishing outfit I asked him for a few tips. He was happy to give me advice and even some spots to try. I had already done some looking about on various forums so kinda had a good idea.
I knew that the best of all fishing is probably past so asked him if I would still be in with a chance. He told me that he has noticed the sport dying off when it gets unsettled but will soon pick up again with some calm weather. Its funny as Light Rock Fishing (LRF) to Sea Fishing is kinda what Tenkara is to fly fishing, they are also both Japanese techniques. There are a number of reasons why I am atracted to this type of fishing however the main driving force is probably that it will be another option for me to choose from. My biggest fear is is that I have a couple of hours free and nowhere to fish because conditions are wrong.
Gary told me that wind would be a LRF killer however even if the water was dirty still give it a go.If it is too windy then you can not feel takes which makes the style of fishing impossible. He also ran through a quick list of species that I may catch – even after all my reading I still have absoloutely no clue what I may catch. Seemingly one stings and will hurt like hell.
Well, no sooner than my PIN number was in the machine the wind slowly began to pick up. I wanted to try the outfit out though and after a quick stop at an old jetty to find no water due to the tide being too far out we drove on a bit and found an even more abandoned jetty with good access to deep water.
With each step we took along that pier to the end of the jetty the wind got stronger.We are talking about proper blowing a hoolie here not just a gentle breeze.
It was still good fun however we were freezing and so quickly headed back to the car after trying it out. Not being one to stomp around these places that Sea fishers inhabit I was interested to see that the same amount of junk is left behind by a certain type of angler.
My second trip out was equally as poor as the first however was more successful in that I managed to get the artificial bait into the water. I was able to let the weight drop down and feel it jangling about on the bottom through the rod. I was fishing on Helensburgh pier a known hotspot for not actually having any fish. I was hoping though that some of the wee ones would be feeding however I suspected the dirty water and the unsettled weather was again against me. Turned out I was not wrong!
I had a couple of hours free between dropping the wife and kids off at a party and going to another kids party in the afternoon which I had to attend because it was a family one. My life has now become incredibly rock n’ roll. I now tell people in work on Mondays that I attend wild parties at the weekend where fights break out and everyone is running around crazy but omit the fact the attendees are under the age of 6.
As I had this free couple of hours I decided I had a choice of either actual fishing or popping by the open weekend at the angling centre. I was glad I was not a day late like last time when I turned up to view a couple of empty crisp packets blowing in the car park as opposed to stalls and boats blocking the spaces.
So I parked up a side street after being stung by the tiny car park in the past and was glad to find it was still on unlike last year when I turned up a day late. I wandered past the boats on display and went on the hunt for Paul Young for a natter however ran into Gary Wingate who is the Game Fishing Manager. He roped me in to a casting competition with a few other guys round at the back of the store. As we walked around the back I kinda felt like we were a bunch of schoolboys with some rizla and a bit for a joint but this was totally legit.
Gary showed me the new prototype Greys reel which was on the rod which we would be using. “string it together” he told me as he went to place wee orange cones to help with the competition. He told me that the reel should under no circumstances be fucked up in my hands or words to that effect. I thought he was half joking however realised the seriousness of the situation when I rested the reel on the ground to assist with lining the rod and one of the guys put a wee blanket under it after checking it for scuffs. I was going to make a quip about Greys warranty not being that bad but decided not to push things considering I was going to have to cast in front of them.
I was up first and felt the gaze of far more competent casters on me. I was glad then that the Gods of the Kelvin sent a gentle breeze which assisted in wafting the line out ahead of me which made me look half decent. I swear to goodness I have never actually cast that far in my puff.
Humiliation averted I got to wander back through the store room of the shop and was impressed by the sheer size of the place back their, it is huge. Rows of fishing tackle in in order with guys walking around I can only assume filling mail orders.
Throughout all this I was musing on something that Gary had said. I had told him about my problems with having too much choice down here in Helensburgh and he then regaled me with his exploits with light rock fishing which sounded like one helluva lot of fun. I knew about LRF due to Brian and Colin over at Streamside Diary who appear to less stream side fishing these days than I do urban. They seem to catch an unbelievable amount of species and looks fantastic fun. It also looks like a fun way to get the kids into fishing, and by kids I mean my kids.
I walked back through the store and ran into Paul Young and we had a good chin wag about the cost of fly rods and how you can buy a good rod at any budget as long as you are willing to try out a few. We were joined by Stevie Munn for a bit and we talked about kids and fly fishing.
Alas my time was soon up and after a quick stop off at the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland to pick up a membership form it was time for me to be off home.
Anyone into this LRF malarkey?
Seeing as how it feels like Scotland is about to be shafted by the Tories and weirdly by around just over half its own people the end of season has been pretty shit. I had a trip out with Alex last week which resulted in no pike caught. I reckoned we were wasting our time as we should have been their at dusk, I wish I had that startling thought in the morning instead of when we were waste deep in the loch.
I met up with Paul to see if we could tempt some Kelvin trout but for me it jst did not happen. I was pissed off and grumpy after battling my way to the river only to find no trout for my efforts. We were fishing an upstream stretch of the Kelvin and the vegetation was out of control.
I wouldn’t mind so much but then you get to the river and you have a roughly 8 foot drop into the river which pretty much scares all the trout away. The 8 foot drop is essentially the original river bed that was scooped out and left on the bankside so that the river does not break its banks.
Of course when I slipped into the water I was almost up to my armpits in it, a few feet later it was around a foot deep. I had managed to slide into the only deep hole in a hundred meter stretch.
Paul was doing better as he manged to miss a few trout so I watched him for a bit and got annoyed as the sun then came out. We then went down the Allander however it was so overgrown, low and milky then I did not see any point in casting.
After getting home I thought I would cheer myself up and post a thought that I had earlier and them almost immediately lost a follower who thought my bad language was inappropriate.
What can I say, he said it with such a straight face I cannot believe he lied.
I am glad he did not read the post about when I asked a pal to ask her pal who was having a baby to shave her vagina so I could tie some super powered wooly buggers.