My friends were worried, but I’ll be 0k.
Found a fantastic blog – Fly Fishing the River Irwell and other Streams
Some of the pictures remind me a lot of the Kelvin.
With the fantastic line of “Three fish rising here caught none of them.”
That is the kind of report that I think we can all relate to!
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..
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..
I am hoping to squeeze a Pike trip in somehow between the madness of children’s parties and feeding!
How are you faring ?
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
Mr. Outraged said:
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:
Anyway, I replied like a smart arse:
And then followed up with
This did not go down well…
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
Anyway, I said..
If you are wondering how this was supposed to go Paul’s initial response was:
Mr Outraged could have replied:
It could have gone something like that anyway.
But it didn’t did it!
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…
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.
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..
It was then a quick dash home with nobody any the wiser, well done!
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
..and immediately into a Pollack, 2nd cast another, 3rd cast another and so on.
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.
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.
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.
We waited some more.
Eventually, we struck into our fish!
It turned out Alex had caught a dog fish and I had caught a Coalie.
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.
We decided to keep the spot as marked and come back over the winter to try and catch some more.
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.
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.
Alex then proceeded to catch an even bigger one and that it was for the wrasse for the day.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Still, when the sun came out between the rain showers this lonely old glen became simply stunning.
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
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.
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.
You can fish this pool first I said to Alex as I lay down in the grass for a bit of a rest.
We got out the tubes for the tail end of the first day, drifting down the loch picking up trout here and their.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This will certainly not be my only trip out on the tube!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It cannot come quick enough !