First River Trout Trip 2019

I think it may be a bit of a cold day, I mentioned to Alex as I attempted to appeal to his less sturdy side. Conditions should be ok, he said, the hatch just may happen a little later in the day.

” We should get a hatch later in the day

We met by the river and Alex being the legend he is got the frying pan out for some sausage and black pudding doublers. I think this was the act that set us up for the rest of the day.

Low and clear.

I can’t quite remember at what point we realised things were not going according to plan. Thankfully we had chosen to park a car at the top of the river which meant we were constantly on the move walking up this highland river in search of trout.

The river itself was on its absolute bones, a skeleton I called it at one point.

Bones visible.

We even seen some signs of beavers on our walk. They certainly travel about a bit I mused, generally 80 miles an hour in somebody’s boot probably. The impact of having these critters reintroduced have yet to be seen. It does not look like much thought has went into it.

Beaver sign

Alex spotted three olives hatching which did not bring on any trout. We did not even appear to spook any trout even after deliberately walking up to the gin clear water.

Nae fish, nae chance…

We decided to check out a wee lochan, at least to try and fluke a trout. The temperature was dipping and I reckoned Alex was going to fish the whole lochan to try and catch one possible suicidal trout.

It was at this point the entire sole of my wading boot was sucked off by a bit of boggy ground. Turns out my Greys wading boot sole was held on with a measly bit of glue. It is currently drying out in my garage and I will fix them with some evostick which could probably stick me to a wall if someone tried as it is that strong.

Me with my sole!

In summary, freezing cold, walked for miles, no fish and got my boot sucked off.

Had a great day!

Fish 4 Flies

So I am always partial to getting some free stuff in the post however generally the requests I get to review stuff or promote I knock back as they want to retain control of what you write about and usually the stuff is shite anyway.

I have had a few folk asking me to write about their flies over the years and I have never really needed to as I tie the majority of my own – I generally do not tie my loch flies but have a fair old stock anyway (or I steal em’ off mates).

So when I received an email from David at Fish 4 Flies asking me to take a look at their flies I was about to press delete when I remembered Spring is here and I do actually need a few flies. Firstly I needed some Stimulators as my meagre supply are all up trees and I ran out of hooks to tie any up (plus mine are rubbish anyway) and secondly I could do with some loch lures for my local ponds. “Aye ok” I messaged back and promptly forgot all about it until a wee packet popped through the door this morning and out popped the goodies.

I wondered where they originally came from, as in who tied them. I bought some lovely loch flies up in Lewis and it was obvious they were tied by a local, probably after digging up some peat for the fire while having a dram.

I suspect these come from slightly further afield.

On the Fish 4 Flies website it states :

Quality Statement

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so we understand the importance that every fly we have tied meets our quality standards and is made from the very best materials so that they don’t fall apart in the water.

  • Chemically-sharpened Japanese hooks.
  • Hoffman/Whiting hackle.
  • All soft materials sourced in USA or UK. No substitutes
  • Manufacturer has been in business for 35 years.
  • All flies tied by experienced tiers, in factory, under constant supervision.
  • Hourly quality control checks during tying.

Right, so what this tells me is that they are tied outside the UK – seeing as how I do not know any factories that actually advertise for tyers I suspected correctly they are from Kenya. Additionally after I asked they are also tied up in Sri Lanka.

Not that I am against buying flies from Kenya – 99% of the flies you buy online and in shops for that matter are from Kenya so I am not having a dig. Just stating that if you think some pipe smoking old timer is slaving away over the winter to fill up your box they are not. Fulling Mill have all their flies tied in Kenya and they are seen as the cream of the crop which they are not – in fact in my opinion Fulling Mill flies are rubbish (like their tackle).

So anyway, I opened my bag of goodies.

Stimulators

For hot days on highland streams Stimulators are the buzz and now I have a stock of them. Look buddy I am not making out I am some kind of expert reviewer here when it comes to flies – they looked in proportion to me and quite frankly I could not tie any better ones. In fact mine would be a lot worse.

Parachute for reference

I took a photo next to one of my wee parachutes just to show you how big they are (you can take that sentence how you want it.)

Another stimulator..the Hornberg

Look I am not going to lie to you I do not think I would ever tie up a fly like this but it looks damn fishy. The Hornberg is one of those flies that can be pulled as a stream or fished as a stimulator – it is a new one on me.

Apaches White and Black

The Apache white and black

They say “

The Apache White is probably the most exciting and devastatingly successful pattern to hit lakes, ponds and reservoirs.

The pulsing movement of the white mink body plus the stimulating flowing and eye catching movement of the marabou and flashabou tail make it a serious killer.

Two to three short jerks followed by a steady retrieve, repeat and be ready for savage takes. “

Oh man – if there is something I like it is savage takes – especially on my local ponds. I reckon the trouties will love them.

All in all I am impressed – if you must buy some flies and you do not have access to a vice you could do a hell of a lot worse than going to Fish 4 Flies.

RKAA Opening Day 2019

Saturday the 16th March we will be having our usual opening ceremony along in the Islay Inn. The arrival time is 11 with a 1130 kick off – a few drams and free food will be provided.

It is like the weirdest scene from Reservoir Dogs
Willing the Chairman not to fall in.


See you there!

Lamson Warranty Repair

Back in February 2007 I went to New York to celebrate my wife’s birthday and bought myself a Lamson LP2 reel to accompany a Sage SLT that I bought at the same time. Happy birthday wife I said to myself as I waggled it around in the hotel – this caused an entirely different issue which you can read about here.

Anyway, the Lamson was prefect with my 5 weight SLT and many a trout were caught over the years.

Nobody gets left behind

However, at the end of last season it started to grate – unsure if it was a tumble from the car issue a quick email to Lamson and they confirmed it could be sent to them for a repair. Pals scoffed that a new reel should be bought however after Parcel Force managed to send it on a detour to Barbados it ended up back at Lamson who then fixed and returned it – absolutely perfectly.

The other evening I decided two new fly lines for my two main reels of the season – a Rio Perfection for the Lamson and a Barrio Smallstreams for the Vosseler.

All Set!

All I need to do now is actually tie some flies.

First Permit of 2019 bought

Well it was not actually bought by me as it was a very nice surprise – a Christmas gift.

I always think you have got to be careful buying fishing gifts as they can be a hit or a very wide miss – this is definitely a hit. Long time readers will remember my Pike shenanigans on the big loch and I have not returned due to time constraints as well as not having a permit – well this solves that little problem. Another type of fish I have been day dreaming about is Perch – my wee LRF rod will get some action this year.

Watch this space!

Awright mate!

25 years later..

It took me 25 years to get to this wee loch. I remember this loch being described to me by a guy called Bill Murdoch whom I spoke about in my post regarding fly tying boxes. Bill had described how to get to it like this

“You walk around loch redacted, and then follow a burn up the hill. When it disappears keep walking and then just after you think you have went the wrong way you will be at the loch ,big trout are in their”

As a young boy I thought about this wee loch a lot however never got around to giving it a bash until today. I found myself with a free day so agreed to meet Alex and Paul at a car park before the 45min walk into the loch. We had a lot of discussion about this as the forecast was for low temps and a howling gale. Obviously we chose a hill loch that we knew would be madness to fish!

We were heading towards the loch when unfortunately, at a fork we took the wrong way and that is how we decided to just keep on walking until we got the the wee loch of my youthful dreams. It was a bit of a slog at times however it is always shorter the second time we mused dodging ankle breaking holes.

It looks like near the big rock!

Of course none of us had a map other than on our phones and up here the signal went from none to crap every 10 minutes. Eventually we got to the loch and after a quick dram we were soon fishing. It was off dishing this wee loch that I had known about all these years, I am glad it provided a reasonable account of itself.

We each caught some fish and I swore I spotted a trout the size of a grilse jump clear of the water.

Not a grilse..

Of course the wind picked up causing some rather intimidating white horses on the water – Paul managed to keep his line on a straight line long enough for a wee beauty on the wee loch.

After a while though we had covered the whole loch and it was time to head back to the bigger loch for the rest of the day. We walked back through bogs and over treacherous ground and eventually managed to settle the nerves with another dram. Paul then proceeded to catch a whopper of a trout…

whopper

After this the action was fairly solid for the rest of the day, at one point I caught three trout on consecutive casts and also a mythical double perch hook up which I now regret not getting a photo of. The wind was blowing a hooley as well as rain on and off all day.

All in all a thoroughly awesome day – obviously we had to drag Alex away from the loch but the day was getting darker and colder and quite frankly one more trout was not going to make much of a difference at this point.

Firm plans have been made for a pollock,wrasse and thornback ray trip in a few weeks time.

Glad I got to finally try out the wee loch though!

 

Fly Tying Box – I wish mine was made in Scotland by Barr n’ Stroud!

Anyway, so I was in Decathlon and found a box that would be absolutely ideal for storing fly tying materials.

The only downside was it was £40 and made of plastic. It is actually some kind of coarse fishing box, something about Carp apparently. It sparked off a whole host of memories about fly tying storage which I am about to bore you with.

You see, back in the 80s when I was learning to tie flies (the first time) I used to rock up to Goldenhill Primary School in Hardgate to be instructed in a group setting by a guy called Danny. Danny was ancient to my early teenage eyes, he would tie a fly and then materials would be distributed around for us all to tie it up. I still remember him showing us parachute flies – these new fangled flies that people wanted to tie, not that he seen much use for them on lochs. 

The group was run by members of the Jaw and Cochno club which  I also had a membership to however to this day I have still not fished the lochs, I just had a membership to attend the classes. Danny had a pal named Jimmy who also provided light entertainment by asking lots of inappropriate questions and by telling him that quite frankly his flies were totally shite with great admiration. He would hold up one of his immaculate flies and with a quizzical look on his face ask “and you say this will catch an actual fish Danny?” 

To my early teen eyes these people were giants in the angling world – one of my friends fathers attended and for the first time I heard a grown up that I knew curse – in fact everyone here cursed and there was an understanding that I would not clipe on them and I did not. 

I was taken along by my mentor at the time a chap called Bill Murdoch who lived in Westerton and took me up to the Burncrooks on occasion. He also took my out on Loch Lomond with his brother Malkie who took great delight in stabbing his leg in front of me to give me a fright – turned out his leg was wooden and had been pulled off when at sea. They let me drink cups of tea with whiskey and then looked at me worriedly as I was obviously a little drunk and they had to drop me off at my parents. 

Anyway, a lot of these guys worked in Barr and Stroud and were engineers although they seemed to spend the majority of time in their work making fly tying tools and also boxes for their materials. My very first vice was made by an apprentice in the factory – the vice head was no fancy metal though, it was made out of a hardened clothes peg. I still have and use the whip finish tool that he gave me that was made at the same time. At one point I had thought I might join this long line of fly fishers that worked in the factory and would be reminded of it when seeing the huge billboard in one of the back gardens in the Knightstwood area that was used as a target by the periscopes. Of course this daydream was I guess shortlived as they shut down in 1992 and I was unable to attend as an apprentice. The closest I ever got was in a house I bought in Anniesland that was built in the same place as the demolished imposing red building of the factory. 

100% original Barr n’ Stroud

The fly tying boxes made in that factory were quite frankly amazing to my young eyes; people would start arriving with wooden cases which would open up to a whole multitude of drawers and compartments. Sides would slide up to reveal places for tools and feathers and fur were always meticulously labelled. It was amazing!

I tried at school to create my own box in Craft and Design however it was far too bulky, I still have it as it is in my garage however it was never really used for its intended purpose. A few years ago I bought a couple of boxes from Ikea that did the job for a while. 

Now of course, I just keep my gear in a couple of bags with an over-spill plastic container.

Not my actual bag however a promotional picture of one  – this one looks better!

My J Vice is kept in its laptop bag and my materials in an orvis travel bag (see above). I have been planning for quite some time now to obtain an old lockable writing bureau for my living room and I am pretty much constantly scouring 2nd hand shops  for one that is not too big for my living room – I have a plan that if I find one in not that good a nick I can have a wee project to myself but hopefully I will find one that is ready to rumble. I need a lock as quite frankly the kids will play with anything including a £60 cock cape and never mind all the miscellaneous feathers.

Something like this..

Anyway, after seeing the box in Decathlon I had a look online and found some on Amazon…SODIAL Fishing Tackle Box Portable 4 Layers Fishing Box Sea Boat Fishing Accessory Box Case With Handle Utility Box It has everything that someone would want, just check the sizes I guess as they can come small as well.

On the fishing front my season has been a bust – the joys of three children I guess. Hopefully I will get out Sea Fishing with the kids again before everything cools down again. Next season I will be back on the trout – this is the reason why I need to concentrate on flies and storage.

What do you guys use? You can tell me here or on the Facebook page.

 

 

 

Seeing them out – the demise of the fishing blog and the rise of the Facebook ignoramus keyboard warrior.

Last week saw a somewhat lively, but productive, Club meeting held during which certain memories touted as fact by some members were proved incorrect, and the misconceptions held by some others dispelled.
Thank you to all who attended, it was good to clear the air, though unfortunate that some of those who were the most vociferous ( and who were also very keen to point out that it’s the members who make a Club ) did not actually make an appearance.
It is to be hoped that we can move on from here, without the constant sniping endured by the Committee and other active members, who give up a lot of their valuable time towards the running and organisation of the Club. Please note, as has been stated before many times, if you have any questions or complaints on any subject to do with the Club, these should be raised at the monthly meetings. The Facebook page is for information and news, and should be used as such.

The Kelvin?

Nope – this was taken from the East Kilbride Angling Club Page Facebook page.

It just goes to show that all the local clubs are the same – still it makes me roll my eyes though as it makes the links between keyboard warriors on Facebook and how their talk can cause annoyance and disruption.

There was a time when being an opinionated arsehole on the internet was actually quite difficult. I should know…

It’s mouth is the same size as your fist…

You had to create a blog, write authoritatively and have actual evidence (see above) to back up the fact that you are not in fact a chancer/bam.  Over time you built up enough readers that what you wrote about actually meant something. Even on forums folk recognised you and at least what you had behind you was your blog as people knew your opinions and what you stood for.

Now of course with Facebook we have a whole other issue. People are given kudos and are listened to if all they did was click a few buttons to create a page first. It is not all bad though – the Fish Clyde page is pretty good even if they did ban me from their forum for quoting a Bob Wyatt book. Ironically, the person that banned me then went on to be banned himself and has now set himself up as an advocate for poaching the Clyde Catchment area, you couldn’t make some of this stuff up. They then contacted me months later annoyed that I had wrote about it. 

To be fair it was a fairly honest but anonymous interaction and I do not hold it against them.

Thankfully, my credentials are well known though – this site was the first (not the best) fly fishing blog on the internet. It is about fishing in urban and sometimes the non urban places in the Clyde Valley.I used to walk to the Kelvin for my fishing whenever I wanted, now I drive and have kids – they both even each other out. Around 10 years ago we staged a bit of a coup and took over the association that managed the Kelvin as quite frankly the old farts that ran it were doing bugger all apart from draining the club funds down the bookies. I created a wishlist and campaigned hard and eventually we have a great river and a great bunch of guys that fish it.

When people talk about fishing clubs online all I see is negativity, misinformation and rumours that are spoken about as facts. Relative new guy on the blogging front Colin Liddle aka The Dogged Angler  (Hurrah a new blog) summed it up quite nicely:

I saw a thread the other day concerning LLAIA and how the accounts for this organisation should be publicly available for members and others to view and to demonstrate transparency.

As a member I was interested to see this information.

Having asked for a copy of the report of accounts for last period from LLAIA I was duly sent these. I have yet to read this report but as I suggested earlier such information IS in the public domain and freely available. I am advised by LLAIA that the Report of Accounts is also distributed within the minutes of annual AGM.

So I am afraid that I cannot see any evidence of concealment or withholding of information.

Colin, I suspect you will find this is a fairly common occurrence.

I suppose the thing to remember is that the clubs on the Clyde catchment are ran by  ordinary guys with families that really do not have the time or inclination to counter every negative aggressive attack online. I should know as at one point I tried it and now I just find it wearisome.

When we do try and sort out issues online and answer with a reasoned response we are faced with folk that do not play with the same rules. We have got to be polite and answer truthfully as quite frankly being caught out with a lie or talking bollocks just means that the detractors shout louder ” YOU SEE HE WAS WRONG WITH THIS TINY DETAIL WHICH PROVES MY POINT THAT THE CLUB IS RUN BY MASONIC BIGOTED ELITIST UPPER CLASS TOFFS THAT WANT TO RESTRICT ACCESS TO THE WORKING MAN ON A SUNDAY” 

Even Lord Kelvin hears gossip!

Anyway, on the fishing front I have not been out much (as you can tell), caught a few mackerel last week and hopefully will manage to catch a trout from a river soon.

 

 

You take it when you can get it!