After work I managed an hour on the Kelvin.

Lets get the facts out the way – I caught two trout, both of which came to dries and one of the was an absolute stonker. The river had lost some of its height and color however is now covered in wee leaves or something and you can hardly see your fly on the surface because of them.

Looking downstream....

Looking downstream….

As I walked down the river I ran into a very pleasant old gent in his 80s. He was dressed immaculately and was sitting on a wee chair gazing at the water. As I got closer I realized he had the  biggest camera I have ever seen. It turns out he was trying to take pictures of the Kingfishers. He told me that he has been visiting this spot for several years and regularly photographs Kingfishers and the mink that roam around. He was passing the time taking pictures of the ducks. He told me that every now and then he makes DVD’s of his videos and pictures so that sometimes he can sit and look back on them. His latest was “Sights of the River”  I asked him if he ever thought about showing them to anyone, for example, on the internet, he smiled and said he did not think anyone would be interested. Even though he is in his 80s he had the technical know how as he explained about editing all the footage together on his laptop.

He had been in hospital for the last few weeks and was on new drugs for his heart, he said, however they did not need to see him for another three weeks – he took that as a good sign.

As we chatted I found myself looking up for a  change as he pointed out the various perches he had seen the Kingfisher. I spotted a lovely looking bird I had never seen before. We both thought it might be a woodpecker and on further reading it turns out it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Being this urban lad who does not get much of a chance to get out into the country air seeing this so near the city was a treat and a half. It made up for the lack of trout rising and the wind.

Maybe next time I will see it again, I will be keeping my eyes open!


An alternative to longjohns?

You guys know that I wear thermal longjohns under my waders right? Well, a few of you got in contact to say that maybe I would get sweaty in the summer heat and provided a possible solution.


Outdoor Look Base Layers

These bad boys are skin tight so no chaffing, quick drying and may cause no questions as you saunter down the road to your car. I will admit I get some funny looks in my long johns. They even have a security pocket for hiding away your car key in case you fall in.

You can thanks me later.

Again, my health fear of Cows has been vindicated!

Several of you mailed me to tell me about the recent tragedy with the two chaps (one of whom died) who were trampled by the cows.

Thanks for that.

Wiltshire cow crush death scene ‘chaotic’

The first paramedic at the scene where a man was trampled to death by a herd of cows and another man injured, has described it as “chaotic”.

The two men were walking their dogs through a field near Bradford-on-Avon when they were crushed by the animals.

One man, in his 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene while the other man was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol with serious injuries.

They are waiting, watching and ready.

They are not happy.


Life and Signs

Sometimes you see signs and portents in your fishing in which it imitates your life. I managed an hour after work down at the Kelvin and it was a much needed session to get away from the stress of real life shit. I had been knocked back from a job and was feeling a bit despondent, not too pissed off as it would have meant more stress and importantly time away from fishing but still it would have been nice. Anyway, like I was saying, I got to the river and strung up my rod and headed to the river. I could hear it before I got there which is never a good sign however was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just fishable and no more. It was up by around a foot and in the shallows I could still see the boulders so walked up the river in pursuit of rising trout. It took a while however eventually found one rising in a bugger of a spot behind a fallen tree that jutted out of the river bank. When you get a sole riser it is always in a bastard of a spot I mused to myself as I figured out if I could get down to it.


Looking downstream, you can see the fallen tree.

I decided I could, I climbed over another fallen tree and felt myself sink into the mud. It was not pleasant. I got myself into position, thankfully the way I was placed meant I could get a clear back cast so all I had to worry about was the particularly debris filled water in front of me. I had a couple of exploratory casts, thought I covered the fish and then when I brought my rod up to recast the fly got stuck on underwater tree branch. I pulled it out and lost the fly. I heard a roaring noise which turned out to be a rain shower hitting the fresh new leaves around me and I scrambled back over the log to re tie my tippet from the ring down. Thankfully the rain stopped and I got myself back in position. There was a steady stream of olives trickling down and a couple of trout were really going for it. I cast once and was too short, I cast again and the fly was engulfed and my rod was bent over. Thankfully it shot down the pool past the sunken branch that had stolen my fly and bored deep. There was a lot of fly line kicking around the place so while keeping tension on the trout I quickly would the spare line on to my reel. This trout was big, the extra oxygen in the water was making it fight even more than normal as it bored deep all around the pool. Meanwhile, I was finding it difficult to move as my feet were stuck in the mud. Every now and again I would see a flash of fish under the surface as it twisted this way and that and I kept guiding it away from the evil fly snatching log. My line abruptly pinged back in my face.

I looked glumly at the tell-tale sign of a poorly tied knot, the tiny circles of nylon that had given way. I had rushed tying the fly due to the rain and need to catch this fish and now it was gone. I kinda made comparisons in my head to almost getting the new job to losing the fish and smiled to myself that sometime your head can come up with a right load of shite.

Kelvin = HARDCORE!


Surprise !!!

Aaaaaaaaaaand it is Winter again.

Temps hover around the 10 degrees mark and it never really seems to heat up.

I checked out the Allander on Sunday as it is next to a park so the boys were happy.


Long slow deep pools!

The boys were happy with chucking stones at the water ..


One of the joys of fatherhood is taking a new appreciation of making a bloody big splash !

I heard a couple of guys had been on the Kelvin and had a good session.

Me? I am thinking about the Pike !


Saying “Tight Lines”

Going by what people have been searching for on my fancy blog stats some people are trying to work out why anglers says “Tight Lines” to each other. Here from my archives is what I have got to say on the matter:

I loathe the saying “tight lines”, I can remember when people started using it (or possibly when I first noticed it) and I try and avoid it as much as possible. To me it just seems twee or maybe just a wee bit cheesy. Somehow it always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, a bit like when you meet someone else fishing and you want to know how they are getting on – “Any Joy?” is the standard question, you are assuming that the person when catching a trout is so full of wonder that there heart is full of joy, probably after stalking and casting to a particularly belligerent 8 inch trout that eventually took the dry fly after scaling everything down to a spider web tippet and a microscopic fly – sure I get joyful but I also get a sense of deep satisfaction. However “Any satisfaction?” sounds like you have been trying to score rent boys at some of the more savoury parts of theRiver Kelvin.

However I digress, I was glad that Murdock decided to come up with some alternatives to the standard parting of “Tight Lines” and would like to add a few more.

Bag Up -oh yes the standard for the boys that fish the competitions on the reservoirs who catch so many trout they require a large bag (possibly a sack) to carry their trout home, once only an English saying it has now came into good old Scotland. You can also turn this into a question for the end of the day – Bag Up?

Kill em’ all – Could be used on the fishery scene where you are paying for the privilege of killing fish (is that not the best part of fishing?) – look pal I have paid for 5 fish and I expect to slaughter the lot and keep the buggers in the freezer. Oh I suppose this can be used as a question as well some people pay for extra killing tickets…..Kill em’ all?

Bent Rods – I suppose this could be taken the wrong way and I am assuming this is why Murdock never came up with it. Oh, to hear a pile of anglers leaving the loch side all shouting out “Bent Rods” – it would bring a tear to my eye that would.

Wet Indicators – This one goes out to one of my fishing buddies who constantly utilises an indicator – you are hoping his indicator is permanently under the water instead of floating along quite happily. Although to be honest I pretty much know his is wet as I can see him hauling them in like a commercial fisherman most of the time.

If you feel embarrassed about saying any standard angling greeting you can also add and extra “n’ all that” to show your slight embarrassment to your hope that the other person does well. Assuming you want the bugger to do well in the first place of course.

A picture of a Kelvin trout, you can tell it is a Kelvin trout as quite frankly it looks a bit fucked!

Stress Relief

A two day migraine Thursday and Friday followed by a rather snazzy ocular migraine on the Saturday due to sleep deprivation, selling house (and packing up house), preparing for a job interview plus the usual work related stress stuff left me wanting a simple fishing experience on the Sunday.  Consequently the Kelvin was hit by Jim Burns and I in the hope of tempting some rising trout into some action on Sunday.

I enjoyed trying out the new steps set int the wall.

I enjoyed trying out the new steps set int the wall.

Jim was unlucky, every time we got to a pool we would spot a trout rising and I would give him the first bash at it so that I could get an action shot..

Go catch that fish so that I can take your picture!

Go catch that fish so that I can take your picture!

Of course what would happen is that it was always the trickiest damned cast anyone could take. While he was busy trying to get into position or attempting to remove his fly from some overhanging tree branches I would saunter down and catch a few easy ones.

The White House Pool

The White House Pool – we are an imaginative lot!

It was strange actually as the day was overcast and warm however every now and again we would feel a blast of cold in our faces. There were olives coming off in only a few spots in the West End and we just could not figure it out. We walked up the river to a long slow pool where we usually see risers and saw nothing, eventually Jim did catch a fish.

We found a grave!

We found a grave!

I caught a few trout, this was one of the good ones…



We ended up heading up the river and it was shite and cold. I got home and was then hit with a weird 12 hour bug that left me shivering, sleepy and wanting to vomit.


Today (Tuesday) however was a different ball game, hot sunshine and it actually felt kinda like summer. I ventured down to my local stretch to meet a couple of guys just packing up. One of the guys I recognised and he told me all he had caught were a lot of half pounders. Now, a half pound trout is in fact a reasonably sized river trout so I really do not see a reason to complain.

I walked to the river and did not see any rising trout whatsoever. I walked up and down several hundred yards of water, had a few speculative casts where I thought I saw a dimple and looked at the trees.

Leaves on the trees!

Leaves on the trees!

Unforgettably, I caught absolutely bugger all and disturbed a couple in their twenties  involved in some kind of covert sex act. The bloke looked even more glum as I walked past them a second time scanning the river for rising trout. 

He should have been happy as at least he was getting some action on the riverbank.







Redington Sonic Pro Stocking Foot Wader Review

I read somewhere that breathable waders come in two types:

1. Those that are leaking.

2.Those that are about to leak.

As much as people laugh at this it is absolutely and totally true. Of course what you want to know is the time it takes between your waders getting from the 2nd type to the 1st type. Many aspects of wader design can be considered to lengthen this time:seams, layers, materials etc and of course where you fish as no fancy seam will guard against a barbed wire fence. So choosing what waders  are going to be bought next stress a lot of guys out.

My fishing buddy Alex was in the market for a new pair of waders and we got to discussing the pros and cons of various types. We met up in the Glasgow Angling Centre where we had a fair selection to examine closely and compare notes about what works with waders and what does not. He was actually considering buying a pair made by Airflo however I scared him away from them as two of my pals had complained about the fact they have weird bladders in the legs that fill up with water as you wade. Obviously it is some kind of feature of the wader however instead is an epic fail.

So we examined all the waders and discussed where the waders usually fail, the classic place is at the seams. All that bending, squatting and stretching puts a strain on the leg area.I pointed out that my new Redington Sonic – Pro’s do not have seams made in the normal way and then remembered I was supposed to write  a review about them and instead have been enjoying them without any responsibilities at all (they sent me a pair to review last year)I rushed home and started thinking about why they are a fine pair of waders. I was glad that I have been out in them a good few times to give them a workout.

To be fair I suppose us urban fly fishers are kinda rough on waders as we climb over rusty fences, slide down walls and squeeze along brick buildings. Additionally considering you are usually driving between beats on an urban river (especially my home river the Kelvin) they have got to fit well. Of course it helps matters if you do not look like a total wahoo walking through the suburbs.

So where to begin? For a start traditional wader construction consists of sewn fabric then sealing with water-proof tape to cover the many stitch holes. These holes are where waders fail and start to leak. Usually after a season you can start finding damp patches on your legs or embarrassingly around your crotch and you end up using aquasure on what feels like a new pair of waders. Redington’s new method  features “Ultra Sonic Welding”, which is where holes are eliminated. Through the welding process the materials are just as (if not more) durable as sewn seams, but the welding process leaves the seams flat and eliminates wear and stress at this vulnerable point. I imagine someone standing in their factory shouting at the waders to “not bloody leak” for a couple of hours however obviously it is all a bit more technical than that.  The construction of the waders feel great, I ordered a pair simply from inputting my body shape (short and a wee bit tubby) and the cut feels like they are  individually tailored. They have a zippered, brushed micro-fleece hand warming pocket and a laser cut exterior pocket with a water resistant zipper, obviously do not trust this zip too much to keep your phone or camera dry however for other things it should do the job.

sonicpro-229x550Additional inside storage is provided by a flip-out interior welded storage pocket with a mesh pocket with additional places to put your gear. The waders come with a 2-inch stretch wading belt with Redington buckle, Gravel guards with custom moulded lace hook and Hemostat clamp d-ring. The belt is the comfiest I have worn and it sits nicely on the waist. I found the lace hook slightly too small to fit over the laces of my Orvis boots however I am not going to grumble about it too much as probably all it needs is some extra effort. The built in gravel guards are great, I have no idea why not all waders have them.

I chose the size of the waders through the Redington website – the sizes were spot on and I have a kinda of a funny shape. When crouching down I did not feel like the seems were being put under any pressure.

The uppers of the waders feature 3-layer DWR fabric and a large portion of the lowers are 4-layer (the darker color). The front has 4-layer up to mid-thigh. And in the rear,  the 3 extends all the way to the wading belt for added protection. I like that as I find that these are the areas that get the most damage when barging through brambles or sliding 5 foot down almost vertical banks.

You can see the 4 layers come up to mid thigh…handy going through brambles and other scratchy bushes.

I have mentioned how comfy these waders are and I would just like to reiterate this fact again. I wear my waders with a pair of thermal long johns underneath whether it be blazing hot or just a bit chilly and I have found them comfortable at all times. They just feel like you are wearing a nicely fitted pair of trousers. The belt is tight enough that it actually does the job of pulling the waist in and keeping the waist where it is supposed to be. Obviously I could not test the safety aspect of the belt (to keep water out if you fall in) however it feels tight enough and wide enough to do the job. Redington have certainly not been in my list of makes of waders to go for in the past however these bad boys have propelled them into top off the class territory.


It has two inside pockets and a place to keep forceps etc.

They have other types (some with zips) that you can ckeck out over on their site. 

In the car it is easy to drive with them on and I get lots of admiring glances from women out walking their dogs next to the river. Well, the driving bit is true anyway!

My usual benchmark for checking out prices is the GAC  and they currently have them at the price of £250 which places them firmly in the middle market of waders. The middle market of price however with the features and durability of waders a lot more expensive. I did find them for a touch under at around £225 so it pays to shop around. Always make sure you do a spot of the haggling when it comes too waders, often you can get a discount on a pair of boots if bought at the same time. For some reason breathable waders appear to be the one piece of gear that are consistently discounted every year.

Bottom line  I think they are great and if you are in the market for a new pair of waders you could do a helluva lot worse for your money (although not much better)

An afternoon right up the shit pipe!

The weather was for high winds, heavy showers and low temps. Feck all that lets go to the river of shit pipes on Sunday I said to myself on the Saturday as I was starting to feel real withdrawal from fishing. Usually at this time of the year we can choose to not go fishing however finding the times to hit it right has been getting difficult.

I managed to convince a couple of fishing buddies to come along to the shit pipe river (so called because of all the weird pipes and sewage in the river) and the game was on.

Alex was first up seeing as how he was driving so he fished the first pool – one I knew would produce a fish. He fished his dry and dropper and first cast almost the dry plummeted down and a nice fat brownie came to his net..

First fish from the banker pool!

First fish from the banker pool!

I managed the 2nd trout however after a quick splash on the surface it was gone. I was pretty gutted as it looked a fair old size from my high vantage point however we had only been their a few mins so reckoned it could only get better.

Jim then had a bash with no joy and we started walking down the river. The temp at around 1pm was around 8 degrees, the wind had not materialized and the rain was non existent –  nice one BBC Weather!

We walked up the river, the same thoughts went through our heads as we walked along – bandit country!

Its a dead sheep next to a giant cage - what the fuck?

Its a dead sheep next to a giant cage – what the fuck?

We speculated whether the dead sheep had anything to do with the giant cage next to it. The cage was empty, Jim remembers seeing something about a guy catching crows on the telly however on closer inspection the mystery was not solved. The smell of the dead sheep was pretty horrible, was it bait for something? Some monster that feeds off dead sheep next to a sewage and polluted river?

We fished on!

Fishing this wee river gets even more difficult later on in the year as the leaves start growing on the trees. It is tricky enough as it is.

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Oh, even though the fishing was difficult we still all managed to pick up trout. There was the odd time I cursed the branches that would make casting and fishing a nice looking wee pool impossible and I considered bringing a saw with me next time to take away a few branches. Nothing crazy, just a few of the branches that made fishing a pool impossible. I suspect I have thought about this before and would probably do it if I fished here very often. The problem is sometimes this river runs a milky color which makes the trout unresponsive. I have had SEPA out investigating however they could not come up with an answer as to what it was.

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The trout were not easy won. I felt as if I was spending the afternoon changing from a dry and dropper to a dry. When I spotted a rising trout I would then have to take off my dry and dropper for a proper olive imitation – the trout would then bugger off or I would get my fly caught in a tree.

An Olive.

An Olive.

The river is not wide however has pool after riffle after pool.

When we stopped at a pool we would scan it for risers before hitting it with a nymph.

When we stopped at a pool we would scan it for risers before hitting it with a nymph.

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There are of course some sections that are quite easy to fish.

My most enjoyable trout was to the dry, it was rising close in to a bridge. I covered it a few times and I missed it once. It took the 2nd time and it was a corker of a fish.

"Sit there for a hero shot"

“Sit there for a hero shot”

A great afternoons sport, I ignored the two chaps with the beachcasters who strolled past.  Possibly on their way to check their cage to see if they had caught anything in it.