Well, that was the season that was!

Where did it end eh?

I know for some of you guys it was awesome!

I know for some of you guys it was shite!

For me it must have been the most varied, shortest and most frantic in the history of this old creaky blog. Instead of being highs and lows it was almost as if my time was so precious that it had to be a season of highs no matter what!

The year started after I almost killed Paul Young on the banks of the Kelvin as my year usually does, not the killing part but the Kelvin part. I slipped down the stairs nearly taking him out and smashing a bottle of the good stuff. Here we all are thankfully safe..

Paul Young is between my youngest and I !

I had one brief stab at the Kelvin and then my third child arrived.

I had to make every trip count and I did – I had lots of wee trips to the Salt with the LRF and some trips for trout catch some lovely big ones..

Kinda wished I had brought my tape measure..

Kinda wished I had brought my tape measure..

I am hoping to squeeze a Pike trip in somehow between the madness of children’s parties and feeding!

How are you faring ?

 

 

Outraged in Kirkintilloch

Someone who I will call Mr. Outraged made a complaint on the official Kelvin Facebook page the other day and I thought I would share it with you as quite frankly it made me splutter over my coffee that someone had the audacity to not share my views on the internet roll my eyes that time is spent on stuff like this.

Mr. Outraged said:

I took a walk down to the river kelvin at the Kirkintilloch side of the kelvin. I was thinking of renewing my membership again.but Deside not to after I have seen the state of the river banks.which has no access to 97 percent of the river.what is the association doing about this. As for the rubbish in the river. I can only think that the persons responsible is not doing their job atoll. as the Kirkintilloch side of the river is very much a disgraced  to the members of this area [sic]

Paul always responds nicely to folk with his usual well-reasoned and thought out replies as he thinks everyone is like him ie. normal.  However as usual Outraged got my goat right up for a couple or four reasons:

  1. Someone is complaining about a wild river with bushes for goodness sake, access is pretty shit  but is perfectly doable with a bit of effort.
  2. The association does do stuff about this, however nobody ever turns up at work parties. I am guilty of this as well however I have three kids and a wife to contend with.
  3. Who is responsible for rubbish in the river? The person that put it there of course! The insinuation is that it is me or the other guys that freely give up their time.
  4. I know lots of people that fish that stretch and love it.

Paul was doing better...

Not that bad! You can fish it if you get in it!

Anyway, I replied like a smart arse:

Bushes ! That’s what you get in the country !

And then followed up with

If you live around Kirkintilloch maybe you can tell your neighbours not to dump rubbish in the river as I can only assume they are the ones responsible. It would take a few people a couple of weeks with a bush cutter to clear a lot of it! If you have a few mates get stuck in as that is what everyone else does ! If you don’t like proper wild fishing you could always try the vet school or even carbeth which even has a chap that makes you a cup of tea!

This did not go down well…

Hi Alastair.I would like to say that I am out raged with a response like that.and don’t no if you are a part of the committee or not.all I would say I hope you are not.because if you are I pity you’re members.all I was putting across is when I was inquiring about being a member to my local fishing club.but with your comment which I received from you I wouldn’t think of purchasing a season ticket from the river kelvin fishing association.but I can ashore you one thing I will be taking this mater further. and I hope you’re members will get involved to see what they say about this post . [sic]

He spelt my bloody name wrong, all he had to do was copy the damn thing down from my reply. This did not get on my goat but made me smile wryly for a few reasons

  1. He would rather be outraged by my reply than reply to Pauls well thought out and reasoned response.
  2. Is he a member or not? I have no idea!
  3. I do not think he ever intended to pay for a permit, just wanted a moan about some bushes.
  4. Taking it further? The internet police will be buzzing about any second……….now!

Anyway, I said..

Are you a member or not? You originally said that you were not going to renew your permit and now you are saying you would not purchase one in the first place? What else is on the agenda to complain about ? puddles when it rains perhaps ? I am just saying that rivers have a lot of foliage around them and their happens to be a few km’s worth up in Kirki! Last time I checked the river flows downstream to Glasgow so I reckon the rubbish is not from their. Please do take the matter further I am sure the river police will be beating a hasty track to my front door, that is if they can find it behind those pesky bushes….

If you are wondering how this was supposed to go Paul’s initial response was:

We organised volunteer session John. Very few people turned up. There is an ongoing issue with invasive species making access difficult in the upper regions. We are currently working on a strategy to tackle the problem. The next volunteer session will be advertised on this page very soon. Can I count on you to come along and help? Try to remember that the association is run by volunteers who have families and jobs. As much as I would love to work in the river full time, I cannot afford to give up my job.

This is like the only one with me in it! plus it was taken up at Kirki

Mr Outraged could have replied:

Oh, that is good you have a plan in place and good work on the work parties. I have looked back through facebook and found lots of pictures of the good work that you have done, well done you chaps. At the next work party I shall come along and offer my services as I so do care about the state of the river. Even though I am getting on a bit I can still pick up some litter etc or hold the sandwiches. Money well spent that is, incidentally Alistair looks pretty sexy in waders and a baseball cap. Good job there are no ladies at the AGM.

It could have gone something like that anyway.

But it didn’t did it!

Quick Visits…

A quick visit between the time I leave work and the time I am supposed to get home from work and take the first born to Taekwondo. The tide was wrong and I forgot to take anything stronger than light fluorocarbon so I used some mono I scavenged from  the shore. I was glad I did…

Pollack

Pollack

I then hooked and lost a couple of huge wrasse which essentially tapped my isome a couple of times and then plunged into snags. I finally hooked into a fish which I thought was a wrasse as it fought like crazy, it turned out it was a nice sized Codling.

Codling

Codling

I still wanted to catch a wrasse so I persevered even though the time was ticking, I watched a shoal of mackerel going wild on the surface and they worked their way along the breakwater towards me at 50 yard intervals. I then caught my wee wrasse..

wrasse

wrasse

It was then a quick dash home with nobody any the wiser, well done!

Tap tap tap…

Up and out early doors to meet Alex and drive to a Sea Loch for mostly two objectives – I wanted to catch a Wrasse and Alex wanted to catch a Thorn Back Ray. I also wanted to catch a thorn back and Alex also wanted to catch a wrasse but you get the idea.  I got the beach caster out (which has now been named “Big Stubby”) as well as my LRF gear and we headed off.

The first mark was quite simply awesome, it was past high tide and instead of gearing up with my spinning rod I used my LRF rod coupled with a 3g Jig head with a rag worm. As I was using bait this was not strictly LRF as you are supposed to use wee plastic baits however as this blog I is called Urbanflyfisher and I have done bugger all of that in the last few months I think we can safely throw the rule book out the window.

First cast and Alex says I bet you catch one…tap tap tap

Pulling away!

Pulling away!

..and immediately into a Pollack, 2nd cast another, 3rd cast another and so on.

Lost count

Lost count

We lost count of the amount of Pollack we caught ranging from wee ones up to three pounds.  The Pollack would tap, tap, tap away at the lure until you felt a solid tug and it would dive for the deep. On my wee LRF rod this meant reel screeching and rod bending fun as it was hauled back to the surface.

DSCN0326

DSCN0328

 

We moved to our next mark seeking out some Rays, we got the beach casters set up and hurled out our mackerel baits. Casting these bad boys out into the abyss is probably the best bit we mused as the huge leads almost cause a tsunami as they land.  This allowed us time to settle down for a rest and prepare some monster doublers combining sausage, black pudding, haggis etc.

Frying Up

Frying Up

Meanwhile we noticed a distinct tapping of our rod tips. What we imagined hypothesised was that a shoal of Thornies had moved over our baits and were happily chomping down on them. When the shoal moved off it would be time to strike into the beasts causing double hook up fun. The only problem would be taking pictures of each other playing our monsters we mused. The excitement built as the rods nodded, I caught a wee Pollack on the LRF to calm the nerves and we waited some more. I imagined a tail whipping about like a scorpion with us defending Steve Irwin however Alex told me that I was talking total shit.

Waiting

Waiting

We waited some more.

More Waiting

More Waiting

Eventually, we struck into our fish!

It turned out Alex had caught a dog fish and I had caught a Coalie.

Dog Fish

Dog Fish

We decided it may be worth staying a little longer so cast out again. This time no rod nods however on striking anyway I had caught a crab and Alex finally had his Thornback resulting in much rejoicing and then a retreat for some more Pollack.

I caught a crab!

I caught a crab!

We decided to keep the spot as marked and come back over the winter to try and catch some more.

Thornback

Thornback

Back to our rock mark and this time we travelled further along a bit on a treacherous path which only a mountain goat should be able to do. I was glad I had not brought the big rods with us. Again it was non-stop Pollack action.  Going against conventional wisdom I started striking into my Pollack. You are supposed to let them tap away until they snatch it and dive however when their taps became insistent I would strike and this meant bigger Pollack.

Pollack!

Pollack!

We noticed that when there was a good current we were catching the most fish; the wee LRF rod was great at hauling them up from the depths, the wee reel giving line when needed. Finally however a fish took my worm and tore line off to the deep and would not be subdued as quick. It was a more dogged fight and finally revealed itself to be a wrasse.

Wrasse

Wrasse

Alex then proceeded to catch an even bigger one and that it was for the wrasse for the day.

More Wrasse

More Wrasse

Oh yes and the midges, they were particularly vicious when the wind died down and even then sometimes not. Usually it only takes a breath of wind to ensure they stay away however not these ones as they were made of much sterner stuff sticking around just when you thought you were safe to look at the world with your real eyes.  They were so bad that when we were packing up I left my LRF rod on top of the car.

We had to drive back and found it on the road, lucky it was not nicked or had another car drive over it.

Incidentally I then managed to catch a wee wrasse at my local mark on the LRF when I got home a day or so later – no pictures but hey, their is always next time!

 

Too big for the hand!

The best kind!

The best kind!

Weekenders

Okay, I am pretty much resigned to the fact that this season is a total bust! The birth of son number three has hit my evening sessions incredibly heavily due to the other two boys playing merry havoc as it ensures they get to stay up late.

Anyway, enough of my parenthood musings and more to the fishing. I think in the past we may have changed our plans for the weekend however as I had managed to organise help for the wife for the couple of days it was a case of fish or nothing – we chose fish. Even though it rained pretty much constantly conditions could not have been better.

On the Thursday and Friday evening I had tied up a half dozen poly yarn olives, some high riding poly yarn and deer hair sedges as well as some nymphs and they did the business for the two days of hard fishing.

 

Trout with a Poly Yarn Olive

Trout with a Poly Yarn Olive

They are great flies and at some point I will post a proper picture of one but I reckon you can tell what it looks like.

Another one to the olive..

Another one to the olive..

Like I say over the course of the weekend we experienced some proper downpours. However, with proper waterproofs it did not matter one bit and we fished through them without any problems.

Fishing through the downpours..

Fishing through the downpours..

Still, when the sun came out between the rain showers this lonely old glen became simply stunning.

Stunning old glen

Stunning old glen

It turned out the first fish of the day was the best fish. Alex had kindly let me fish the first best looking pool on the beat, a trout took my nymph and gave an almighty big pull and was gone. Another few casts and a fish jumped clear out the water, I think it was a Salmon and a trout had took my nymph again. It ran around the pool and came to my net without any problem

Biggest trout of the weekend!

Biggest trout of the weekend!

The first beat was long and we searched all the pools and riffles for trout. Some of the spots looked ideal however were totally fishless.

No Fish

No Fish

We even braved a pool that was being guarded by a great big pale monster. I swear its balls were bigger than a couple of tennis balls together.

The Pale Beast!

The Pale Beast!

You can fish this pool first I said to Alex as I lay down in the grass for a bit of a rest.

A brief rain respite..

I kept my distance…

We got out the tubes for the tail end of the first day, drifting down the loch picking up trout here and their.

Alex on the outside...

Alex on the outside…

"You are to close" Alex kept moaning.

“You are too close” Alex kept moaning.

I even had another double hook up out on the loch – no photos of it though.

Day two on a different beat was one helluva lot posher – It was the 2nd time we had managed to fish the beat as we had been deemed “the right sort” by the chap who ordinarily charges hundreds for Salmon or thousands for stalking. The cash we gave him probably paid for the weekend papers. Saying that we were very grateful even just for the chat at the end of the long day.

BIGGER AND BOLDER

BIGGER AND BOLDER

One memorable trout had me scaling down my flies and casting from a tricky spot for a half hour. Eventually I timed my cast to its rising pattern and set the hook into a small wily trout  that was one helluva lot wiser than some of its pals.

Old wise trout

Old wise trout

We ate shite all day, used the foulest language we could and drank cans of Stella. We then had a double whiskey with a pint and a steak pie in the campsite restaurant. We were pretty cold so sat in the car drinking rum and cokes out of our empty cans of Stella – we were reeking sheer class.

Perfect!

Perfect!

 

Double Trouble Tubetastic

I was allowed out of work an hour early so managed to get to the loch before Alex who was stuck doing some grueling task imposed no doubt by people who do not understand the needs of an angler.

I blew up the bladders in the tube for its maiden voyage of the year and got all the rest of my gear together, I had settled on a 5 weight as the forecast was to be for warm conditions with a light wind. I walked up the hill with the tube on my back with the rest of my stuff in the tube bag. I had learnt my lessons from the last time that minimal stuff is required with a dedicated place to put everything. Last year after getting back to the car after a day’s fishing  I realised I had dropped a rod and started to walk back to the loch however thankfully a wild eyed gamekeeper picked me up and drove me back as he was checking his deer. I would never be so lucky again.

Nobody gets left behind

Nobody gets left behind

I mused that the first few times I set up my tube it took a while whereas now it seems to take just a few quick pumps and it is done.  I attached the straps and it was on my back with the large tube bag in my hand with all my stuff, I looked like an enormous Trout Catching Ninja Turtle and began the 45 min hike up to the loch. My first view of the loch was good, trout rising all over and a gentle breeze.

I put on a two fly cast and backed into the loch. I experienced the usual moment of blind faith panic as my ass came down to meet the inflated tube seat, I always think that the whole thing is just going collapse under water and I am going to be upside down not only looking like a chump but also a dead chump which is in fact the very worst of chumps. I was wearing my life jacket however I have always mused that if you are wearing a life jacket on a float tube that has four distinct air chambers what horrific accident must occur for you to need to inflate your life vest. If one of the bladders burst then you could still get to the shore and even if the worst came to the worse and you had to swim you would still have a couple of bladders you could use for a float. Still, it takes up no space at all when the lifejacket   is on and is soon forgotten about so it is better to be safe than sorry I suppose.

I backed into the loch and had a few casts, immediately I started getting plucks and pulls but nothing stayed on. Usually this is the last place you end up after drifting the whole loch however I had decided to leave the far end for when Alex arrived.  Plus the fact I was hot and sweaty after the walk in, wearing thermal long johns under waders and walking uphill for 45mins starts to chaff a bit.

I worked my way out of the corner, I was disappointed that none of the trout I covered took and I had a worry that maybe none of the trout would even look in my fly’s direction the whole evening (this happens surprisingly often) and I worked my way around a corner all the time working my two fly team – within a half hour I had my first trout in the tube. I realised I might be pulling my flies too fast so slowed right down and had my first trout of the day.

One of the nicest

One of the nicest

 

It took the fly under the water and bored deep, I think this may have been my nicest of the evening. It was a good dark wild brownie and was perfect. Before long I had its relative and I started to work my way back to my starting point to meet Alex.

Getting the shit together!

Getting the shit together!

 

We met up and dumped the rest of our stuff and it was a hike up to the top of the loch and then while Alex strolled confidentially a few hundred yards down an embankment I picked my way gingerly any minute thinking I was going to be impaled on something.

We set off from the shore and were immediately into fish – on my bank the wind died down so I went on the hunt for a riffle. I found it and started getting plucks and pulls again, some trout stayed on and some did not.

Big Spots

Big Spots

Wee Spots

Wee Spots

And that was it for the evening – a thoroughly fantastic evening with lots of wild brownies to the tubes, crashing takes on the surface with trout pouncing on the fly and then cartwheeling through the water. Spotting a rising trout, casting to it and feeling the unmistakable electric feel of a trout pluck, pluck plucking at your fly until eventually it properly takes it. Alex had drifted over and we slowly drifted together on my bank as an otter was patrolling his and we chatted as we took pictures of each other catching fish.

Explosive..

Explosive..

At one memorable take my rod was bent and what felt like a good trout bored deep and even took a little line from my hand, it fought like a big fish however when I spotted its flank it looked smaller than it should. I suspected that I had foul hooked it however as I brought it to the net I realised the awesomeness of the moment “Fucking double hook up!!” I told Alex “Fucking double hook up!” he agreed sagely!

A good bend...

A good bend…

The cause...

The cause…

As the sun dropped further I found myself casting to trout right at the end of the loch and even though they crashed into my fly and they were on for a few moments were gone just as quick. I doubled my species count not long after my double hook up by catching a nice perch  which put up a nice scrap on the 5 weight.

A nice Perch

A nice Perch

As the sun dropped even further I tubed across the loch and even though I was still getting the occasional pluck the action died out. I did not mind and found myself realising that this was one of those fantastic sessions where you have forgotten the number of trout caught, after 5 or so the number becomes less important as it is just about fishing and having fun.

Alex

Alex

Nice trout

Nice trout

This will certainly not be my only trip out on the tube!

Brief Rod Waving

I had a blank at the LRF while on a short session on the way home from work – I stopped off at a popular spot with divers a couple of hours before high tide and was glad to have it to myself. I found that sea weed was being blown into my shore which resulted in a great difficulty in getting the jig head to actually get to the bottom. The sea weed when it was catching on the braid was acting like a float which meant the 2g jig was not scraping the bottom on the retrieve.

Sea Weed

Sea Weed

I moved up the loch and pulled into a wee layby I had not tried before. I found some really nice rocks which gave good access to deep water, well from what I could see it was well over 10 feet from the shore. It was pretty windy but this died down to allow me to fish – I tried some pink isome and then some red. I tried a heavier jig at 5g but still had no joy. I was pushed for time so only stayed until high tide and then high tailed it home.

More Weed

More Weed

I managed a wee quick session down at the wee burn where the small trout were very obliging – my fly box has now been totally re organised so finding a few suitable flies to leave in the trees for the future was easy.

Wee Burn

Wee Burn

 

I caught a half dozen trout in quick succession however none of the bigger ones which sadly I now think have all been taken away for Pike bait.

Pike Bait?

Pike Bait?

I have a session on a loch planned on Monday for monster trout – I shall be armed with the float tube and a FishHunter   portable fish finder.

It cannot come quick enough !

Quick!

I managed a quick session down at the breakwater – I met a chap (Glen) who fishes with the legendary Frenchman Nicholas from the Glasgow Angling Centre and we exchanged some info.

A chap walked past me and headed to the furthest away point after Mackerel while I hung about at the rocks.

Rainbow

Rainbow

I was their just after high tide, their was a lot of weed on the water. Glen had told me he was getting lots of plucks and pulls however I only managed one wee Pollack. I had tried down at a lovely spot on a local sea loch however had only had a wee wiggle so I was glad to get something.

Pollack

Pollack

It didn’t have pull on the wee rod!

I was using a wee 2g jig with a couple of inches of pink isome.

I am currently putting the finishing touches to an application of aquasure to my waders to make sure my legs stay dry. So far I have spotted a few places that have become worn.

 

 

Micro trout and midge madness

Two trips, one to a local burn with work buddy to catch micro trout and one to Highland river to be destroyed by the midge.

Work buddy

Work buddy

We fished a few pools as their was a nice amount of water in wee burn. We fished fish about and we had a lot of interest from every pool.

Micro trout

Micro trout

This burn has never fished as well since the parkie told me that some guy had killed a load of trout for Pike bait. They are/were pretty easy to catch so probably a lot more fun than going to tesco.

Pike bait? Really?

Pike bait? Really?

2nd trip was a crazy dash up to my Highland River to meet Paul, I promised him Salmon and enormous rising trout. When I finally arrived after several mishaps he was throwing metal for salmon.  He was also wearing a net on his head.

Throwing metal.

Throwing metal.

Turns out the midgies were out in full force making changing flies an absolute nightmare as you had to stop moving for a few mins. Even with the midge net on the bites on our hands were driving us crazy.

Midge hands - I wiped my hand which felt like a furry glove and then reached for my camera. In that time these had already descended!

Midge hands – I wiped my hand which felt like a furry glove and then reached for my camera. In that time these had already descended!

The fishing was poor for the fly however Paul caught some good trout on the metal which does not count. I managed one small trout which did not even stick around for a photo.

How rude!

How rude!

Conditions seemed ideal, warm and overcast with a good amount of cloud cover. Their was plenty of water in this wee spate stream as well. I have no idea why the trout were not responding. Even as the sun set the trout did not respond.

Perfect

Perfect

My hands continued to be bitten as I rummaged through my fly boxes for a specific pattern, the memory of those agonizing extra seconds was enough to make me reorganise my fly boxes when I got home. They were in a sorry state and I could hardly find a half decent fly.

AAaaaaghrgh

AAaaaaghrgh

I removed all flies and gathered together all “spare” flies around my gear. I then organised them into

  • Ordinary flies – Emergers, klinks, comparaduns, paraloops in fairly large sizes 16 and up.
  • Nymphs and streamers – I carry a few black wooly buggers just in case.
  • Micro flies – 18 and smaller, one was so small that my breath blew it on to my carpet and it was gone.

Once completed I found that all I was really needing was some high riding dries to suspend nymphs and some nymphs. Not bad for someone that has hardly tied a fly in total anger for a few years.

So this week the vice comes out and I am in business again!

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