Bought a Whip!

So I have been thinking recently about how to get the boy interested in fishing. I have heard far too many stories about how fathers can stuff their hobby down their kid’s throat and thus put them off it totally. I certainly do not want to do that. I suppose there is no real correct or wrong way to get kids interested in fishing (one guy who shall remain nameless told me that his fishing mad son was that way due to being neglected every weekend while he was away fshing) – the general consensus with fly fishing is that when they are 8 or 9 they are ripe to learn how to cast a fly. But what can I do just now to foster some kind of interest?

The boy like puddles - don't argue with that!

The boy (eldest who is 2) has been out walking with me a few times on the canal when I have been casting for Pike and enjoys waving the rod about a bit however has never actually had a go himself obviously. I have a pal who has a son the same age and he has been out watching him catch trout from a back pack and this would be ideal if I did not fall over all the time.

Listen bud - I like your effort however that happens to be a 9 weight!

Interestingly I think I may have solved the issue and will get some fun out of it as well – I have seen some huge shoals of roach down my bit of the canal and was going to target them on the fly. I came home on Thursday and told him it was time to buy his very first fishing rod – he was pretty excited – we went down and after a bit of advice bought a 4m Whip. For those of you that have absolutely no idea what this is it is essentially a long stick with a bit of string on the end. Of course we anglers have turned this into a long pole with a ring on the end where you tie your line and to the end of this a hook and then to the end of that……the horror – a maggot (or any other weird “bait”)

Someone suggested I get a Tenkara rod however personally I think that is just a fad – plus a Telescopic carbon fibre Tenkara rod costs £100 and a telescopic carcbon fibre whip costs £10 so you do the math.

Anyway, with a Whip the idea is seemingly is you plop your maggot amongst the fish and then you lift them back towards you when they take – it is really only used for small fish so do not go getting excited. I will tell you something though – I was excited, I could not wait to try it out – it is like a whole new way of fishing that I have never tried. Someone even said in the forum there are Rudd in the canal – a Rudd? I have never caught one of them in my puff.

Anyway, the first time we went out was a disaster – we walked down the canal and found the shoal of Roach – I threw out some maggots and then got the whip together.

Obviously you cannot tell from this picture however there are hundreds of Roach just under the water..

I cast out the wee float and then waited on a bite while the boy held the whip. Another “angler” walked past us with wife and three kids in tow – he was carrying a spinning rod with an orange bubble float. We said hello (he asked where I got the maggots) and then noticed the shoal of roach, he walked up the bank a couple of yards and then Whoooooooooosh an orange bubble float whizzed past me over the shoal - he immediately caught a couple of Perch which he then dragged through the shoal. All the kids thought this was great and I was left looking like a chump as the shoal scattered in panic. “Its only wee ones” he stated to the kids giving me a wink .

I wanted to punch him in the face, break his rod and throw him into the canal! – I decided that telling him to bugger off would have made me look like a proper dick.

As it was I smiled and moved on to try and find some more Roach – we did not.

A whip can be used as a weapon!

Anyway, cough – I am going to dig up some worms next and try and catch a Perch on the Whip.  Meanwhile as I stated in a previous post I am gonna catch one of the pesky roach on a fly.

Coarse fish on the fly?

I admit I have no experience of this so am about to but this book:

(The picture is an amazon affiliate link)

You see, there is this huge shoal of roach on the canal that are taunting me every time I walk past – I know they can be caught on the fly as I have read other people doing it on other canals.

Any advice?

Comfy Feet on the Kelvin

So Sunday night I decided on a dusk session on the Kelvin – it was another good session with lots of trout caught. No big ones this time – as I walked up the river there was a chap fishing down and across through the pool I wanted to stake out – this meant the pool was now pretty much gubbed for the big trout as they would all have been spooked – ah well. There was a chap just downstream (it was a busy evening) who was carrying a spinning rod and a fly rod – Sundays are strictly fly only on the Kelvin. He was the other side of the river so called out to him – when he answered I reminded him that it was fly only and he was carrying a spinning rod. I felt a bit of a dick to be honest however due to being on the committee (and the damn and blast Vice Chair) when someone is blatantly breaking the rules you kinda have to say something. He called out that he had been fishing for Roach in the canal – a bit of quick thinking from the man, the canal is a mile or so away.

Funny the things you find in the bushes...

Anyway – at the first pool I got to the trout were rising. I could not see what was on the surface. I managed one to a size 16 CDC n’ Elk however they were proving difficult – also what was making changing flies a pain in the ass was the fact had managed to forget my line clippers and forceps. Forceps were not too much of a problem as I was lugging around my Pike forceps however I hate cutting nylon with my teeth and what made it even harder was my habit of cutting off nylon above the knot meaning on flies I use a lot I had to bite off a knot. So it took my ages to change flies.

Trout Rising....w43e

At dusk proper moved up to a big pool – there were lots of trout rising, small rises just dimples about the size of a saucer on the surface – I knew they were not Parr as they ignored my fly. There was a lot of fly life around – in fact the river seemed alive with buzzing and flying, it was great to watch.

I changed fly a few times (pain in the ass) until eventually I settled in a micro dry about half the size of the width of your pinkie nail – it was small. Anyway the trout loved it and all the trout I had targeted which had ignored my fly were now picked off one by one – Yay!

I am aware of terrible the picture is - the fly is small though eh?

Also, wading was one heck of a lot more comfy with a decent pair of wading boots on – I rooted around in my shed and found two pairs of Orvis wading boots – as luck would have it both boots had a felt sole off on different feet so I was able to wear the other left and rights which still had soles (think about it), they are identical so style did not matter. Talk about annoyance, I have no idea why I put these boots away in the first place and also no idea why I have struggled along with those crap Scierra boots which were falling apart on me.

Eventually, it got a bit colder and I walked up the river disturbing Alan (a reader) in the bushes – we chatted for a bit and he showed me his set up while telling me about a huge trout the length of his upper leg. I pointed out I thought his dry was too close to his fly line and how I would have the nymph in a different position and then stopped – “What the hell do I know” I told him “ You are the one catching enormous trout”

We parted company and I wandered up the river – I found some more rising trout however I think my silhouette on the bank may have spooked them.

Ah well – I need to tie up some tiny flies then!

Saturday Day Trip..

It was a hard day even with good conditions. By good conditions I mean the temp hovered around the 17c point with some cloud cover – sure it was bright however we did have spells where the sun was covered. We fished a big river which had just recovered from a spate and it was maybe a good foot above its usual level – this meant some of the water was not fishable due to the water moving pretty fast. Thing is though I have fished that bit of river when it has been like this and it can be pretty good – no idea why we had to work hard for all our trout.

A hard one trout...

The majority of my trout were caught on the dry fly apart from  couple which came to a nymph suspended under a huge sacrificial dry – a crazy trout even took that in one pool. Some trout were switched on and feeding so if you managed to spot a rising trout and as long as you did not fluff up the cast then it was yours.

Paul lost a monster - not in the picture - that is just for effect!

Paul managed to lose a good trout on the dry fly – he estimated its weight at around 2lb. This was after we moved upstream to some slower and deeper water to see if we could spot rising trout.

I sent Paul in to catch them...

The main problem we had was the wind (and not even the funny kind) - essentially it would whisk your fly away at the last moment leaving you with a thoroughly piss poor presentation, which admittedly some people say is slightly better than my average . So sure there were rising trout – we just couldn’t catch the buggers! Of course I only found this out after berating Paul for moving from what I perceived to be an ideal casting spot – heck it would have been if it was not for that damn wind.

Anyway, we enjoyed some absolutely lovely wild life including butterflies and found that almost every step we took was stamping on hundreds of tiny frogs – we only found this out by sweeping aside some of the grass and undergrowth that made up the bankside – Paul assured me they were resilient creatures, although resilient to 15 stone and a pair of size tens?

We did not stamp the Butterflies!

At one point Paul stated he could see a half dozen butterflies without moving his eyes – we did not stamp them!

Eventually we moved back down to the faster water mostly because I thought the trout might have been moving as there were wee flies coming off – they were not any more into having their picture taken than before.

A camera shy trout!

Even though I had a pass until 6.30pm (when the boys go to bed and an extra pair of hands are needed) we left fairly early – a dive down the new M74 extension and I was at home. I do not think it is any quicker – it is just a straight road.

I am very aware I have fallen behind my weekly water photo – the old android phone is playing up again when I try and upload photos when I am out and about – will get it fixed this week.

I am just about to post this – it is nearly 7pm on Sunday evening – I am planning a dusk raid on the Kelvin tonight. I had to look out an old pair of Orvis wading boots as my current ones fell apart in the river – the sole almost came away from the body of the boot after I had stepped off a ledge into some waist deep water – after almost shitting myself realising the boots acted like a sail under water forcing my foot out through the hole making clambering out on to the ledge again damn near impossible. Luckily I did actually make it in one piece!

Will let you know how I get on!

Kids and the Kelvin – its lookin’ Grrrrrrrrrrreat!

I thought I would check in to see how the Kids and the Kelvin project is doing over at there site.

Quite frankly I think it looks great fun – he has somehow managed to convince the Teachers that keeping a hatchery in the classroom and then releasing the fish into feeder streams is a good idea. In fact it is a great idea – I want to know why I was never allowed to do stuff like that when I was at school – at school for me it was all SRA (do you remember that?) and 50 lines for gazing out the window thinking of fish.

I think I have mentioned this before however it is worth pointing it out again. Willie Yeomans and his crazy kids team are educating lots of kids around the Kelvin catchment area about the river and how good it is..

Yeomans showing off some dirty water...

Here he is about to drive these school kids into the river to do a bit of his science work.

He jumps in - the water jumps out!

I wish there was something like that I could do – hang on, there is – it is called the Angler’s Monitoring Initiative for the River Kelvin. Remember I used to go on about the hatch chart for the river well here is a step towards it and we urgently need volunteers.

The AMI was set up in 2007 by the Riverfly Partnership and has been adopted by a growing number of angling associations and local groups across Scotland. The idea is that once some anglers get some riverfly ID training, they can then apply a simple monitoring technique to record the presence (or absence) of 8 invertebrate groups. This is good for 3 main reasons:

- Flags up issues with water quality and alerting the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to carry out further investigation

- Acts as a deterrent to incidental polluters

- Generates long term biological data for our river that can be used to monitor change

We will be having a meeting pretty soon to sort out who wants to help coordinate the Kelvin AMI and carry out monitoring work. Anyone who wants to undertake the monitoring work will take part in a one-day workshop probably sometime in mid-October. Monitoring involves getting some sampling kit (net, tray etc) and then identifying the invertebrates from a river bed sample. This process would be carried out frequently but flexibly throughout the year at the same sites to help build up a picture of the river health. It is not a massive time commitment, so if you would like to find out more, and get clued up on riverflies then come along to the meeting. As soon as I know the date I will post it here and on the Fishkelvin site.

Will let you know soon.

Like real soon.

Possibly in the next few days.

Possibly.

Now that’s good fishing…

You know – I may just have had one of the best holidays in a long time, it was a great mixture of family fun (own plus the in-laws) at Center Parcs and some unexpected big trout action on the Eden with Matt from the North Country Angler blog.

Before my holiday I had made some posts on a fly forum about spots to fish and was given some advice by Matt about public beats – however getting away was proving difficult due to tight timescales and it was only another chance message to Matt which allowed us to meet up. I can honestly say that on every holiday I pack my fishing gear and make some plans however I hardly ever get around to actually getting some fishing done – there is something about the Lake District though (or at least being near it) that makes things so much easier. Additionally being able to get a 24 hour rod licence online without any trips to a post office was great – it would have been just my luck to get caught without one.

A random picture of my bag and net! (you would think it looks kinda arty until you find out the reason it is sitting there in a heap is because I had to pee!

As Matt and I shook hands I was half expecting sparks to fly or a lightning bolt to strike the ground as we have both been keeping out respective blogs going for quite frankly fucking ages! However it was grins all round and then a quick dash to where we were going to fish.

Matt has already written up a rather lovely and generous account of our evening  together and I want you to go over there and read it just now and then come back here for me to fill in the blanks.

I would like to draw your attention to this little gem:

“Alistair was duly rewarded for his excellent casting and presentation with a cracking brownie of 2lb 5oz..”

Thankfully he did not follow this up with an account of my second trout of the evening:

“After spotting a rise the size of a thimble in the pocket water for Alistair he proceeded to catch his fly in a tree twice and then the top section of his rod fell off – when he could get his fly in the water it was by sheer luck the trout took”

Picture courtesy of Matt - he obviously used an extra sexy filter!

Before all the trout catching action actually started I had already missed a couple of trout and caught a nice Grayling. In fact the first trout sipped down my fly and I was away in a world of my own watching the fly drift along like a wee boat before realising I should strike and finding nothing there. “The big ones often do that” mused Matt – I fished on. The next rising trout ignored my fly again until I changed to a smaller cdc fly – I drifted over a tiny rise in a shallow pocket of water (again spotted by Matt), the trout took, I struck, there was an enormous displacement of water and the trout was gone – I said the F word and Matt very nonchalantly and unfaltering commented how big the fish are in the river.

I was amazed – if had not actually caught anything else after this I would still have been happy that I had escaped from Center Parcs for the evening.

North Country Angler playing a huge fish - but what is it?

I remember having a chat with  The Suburban Bushwacker  about folk actually finding it interesting when bloggers get together to find out what their impressions are of them. So what are my impressions of North Country Angler? Put it this way – this is a guy that pretty much sacrificed his own evening of fishing so that I could catch some fish – he is bound by the same time constraints as I am family wise yet still managed to wangle an evening fishing with only a couple of days notice – after all that he lugged around an absolutely enormous camera and took pictures of me fishing as well as hero shots – now that is what I call a thoroughly decent chap.

Bah! not ANOTHER 2lb Grayling!!!

Additionally he has one of the best sayings I have ever heard – let me explain. Your fishing session can be split up into various times – there is the wading around, the gazing at the water looking for trout, the chat if you are with a pal and the actual act of fishing when you are actively trying to catch a trout. After my second trout (the one when my fly got caught in the tree and my rod tip fell off) he said it again – the phrase was “That’s good fishing” , and you know something it was bloody good fishing, the best in a long time if truth be told. Matt was worried about the curse – you know, when your home river looks like a muddy ditch and the trout show a particularly high level of belligerency for visiting anglers – he did not have to be worried in the least!

You always learn when you fish and I learned a valuable lesson from Matt – I need to get back to my roots of spotting fish as well as taking a bit of time reflecting on my trips – that is after all the reason I started this blog.

As I looked at the final quote on Matt’s  blog it really struck a cord with me – in fact I think it will strike a chord with every family man out there:

“don’t get me wrong here, I accept  – and am very grateful – that I still get out plenty……..it’s relative – I used to get out a lot!”

I will be back if Matt will have me – below you can look at around a dozen pics that were taken on the evening – the best ones are Matt’s.

Now that my friends is good fishing!

 

 

Decision: Pike or Trout?

So I had one evening to go fishing and consequently a decision to make – would it be Pike or Trout?

It was the conditions that made me wonder – you see I pretty much can only get out after 7pm once the boys are put to bed which pretty drastically cuts down on fishing time if driving any distance. The night before I had fished the Kelvin for Salmon (with a spinning rod) so wanted some proper fly action. I studied the weather and noticed a very definite divide in conditions – if I traveled to the Clyde the temp would be be around the 12 degrees mark with an east wind and if I traveled up to the big loch it would be warmish and muggy. The big loch won and Alex picked me up just after seven.

The cloud cover keeps the heat in...

Let me tell you right now that even with a hundred or so casts I managed to blank – I spooked a Pike however none of the critters wanted to play with me. Alex on the other hand managed to hook three of the brutes and land two of them – one of which was his personal best.

I have a habit of taking pictures of folks personal bests...

Still, it is not all about catching – no seriously – it was a gorgeous evening,  not too warm and not cold, overcast and a flat calm.

Muggy, Warm, the Sun...

The clouds were huge in the sky – that might seem weird however if you are a cloud watcher you know what I mean – there did not seem to be just one single big cloud, more hundreds of massive clouds that made you feel small under them. I was using my new evening Polaroids with rather nifty yellow lenses – I am always amazed when I wear polaroids that actually seem to brighten the place up. They did the job well although the fancy side shields were not needed as they was no side sun to bother us.

"Look Serious"

 “Look Serious” I instructed the fishing buddy as he played his croc – “make the beast jump” and “try and get it to swim past me and I can take its picture underwater”

The crocs showed him who was boss though...

There is always something a bit of intimidating about big Pike when you have not handled them in a while – when you have a fly lodged in a Pike’s mouth and the creature is coming towards you and you just know that you are gonna have to pick it up and get that fly out you can get a little anxious – only with the first couple  though and then once you know that your fingers are not going to get scraped when you hold it correctly and you have the proper tools to get the fly out your confidence comes back….

It's mouth is the same size as your fist...

We did not see a lot of crashing Pike – at dusk there was two Pike that crashed into its prey – Alex managed to catch his however mine never came back.

Seeing as how I was catching no fish I took pictures of my rod…

We seek em' there...

It was a great evening anyway, there is something relaxing about being up to your waist in water and casting to likely spots – it improves your accuracy as you are trying to get your fly right next to the weeds. It is funny that, as after a while pretty much every cast can be as accurate as you want it – often the fly lands within an inch of the weeds without too much thought.

Within inches of the weed.....

It is Saturday morning just now – I am wondering if the Kelvin has cleared at all for an other evening trouting?

Looking at the SEPA water level site I think maybe it will be ok..

Looking good?

Lets see if I can score some brownie points eh!

On the Kelvin just now…

image

Having a go for salmon!

Weekly Water Photo….er 25, 26 and 27

Ok – so I managed to fanny up and not get around to posting my weekly water pictures however this time I actually have a decent excuse, in fact I have two of them. One – I have actually posted pictures of fish and two I could not upload photos to the blog from my android phone as something was messing with it. So they may be rubbish reasons however pefectly valid in my wee world of fantasy.

Glue for my waders - 25


Also I finally got around to putting all the bits of my Kelvin permit together – is this a shaky one?

Kelvin Permit - 26

And finally…

The Kelvin - 27

Right – phew, caught up again!

At the moment it is pouring with rain and we have flood warnings across Scotland – that can only mean one thing – the Salmon boys will be sharpening their worming hooks on the Kelvin.I may well have a fling for the Sea Beasts if the notion takes me – I just need to look out the tags.

In the meantime we are having an interesting discussion in the comments in the previous post about whether there are any truly huge trout in the Kelvin – go join in if you feel up for it.

See you guys on the river dudes!

I had forgotten…

Sometimes you forget something good that is right under your nose – For a few years I fished the same stretch of the Kelvin and got to know every nook and cranny there was to know – it was maybe a mile or so of water. That is in fact a lot of pools, riffles, runs and holes to keep anyone occupied.

Challenge Accepted!

Then for one reason and another I moved on to other parts of the river and then on to other rivers – I still came back to my home mile every now and again however everywhere else just seemed better and new.

Sunday evening I decided to hit the old stretch and relive the memories – and boy did I make some new ones. I remember fishing it at the start of last season and marveling at some of the nice trout – by heck I have left them alone long enough as they have gotten big and fat without me along to stalk their asses!.

Looking Good!

It was roasting hot so I managed to tie up a half dozen flies before heading out. With this heat I knew the best time was going to be dusk so headed out at around half seven – my plan was to walk down the river to where it is shaded by lots of trees and fish my way up until dark and then fish some exposed pools.

It was a good plan and for once it worked – the first pool I came to I found rising trout, I managed to spook them all with some downstream drifts – I had forgotten how tricky some of these trout are. At one point I considered how you should be aware all the time your fly is in the water as the fly drifted out of where I thought the trout was it struck – I was left with line around my shoulders and a fly lost in the bushes behind me.

Th etrout was just next to that bit of wood - it was a tricky downstream cast!

I decided to turn around and face upstream – there was a lovely long riffle maybe around 5 yards long with some depth to it – I ran my dry over it a dozen times and decided that it would be a waste to not try a wet. I decided to stick an unweighted clyde style wet on as a dropper and on my first cast a trout took it – the trout took the fly just under the surface – it was a hefty trout that bent my Orvis Superfine – it jumped all over the pool. It was in great condition and I was glad to slip it back.

A nice one!

I worked my way up the river in some riffles without offer until I got to a big deep slow pool – at its head there were maybe a half dozen trout rising consistently – good confident rises – it was maybe about half nine at this point. I caught two of them – big beefy trout that leapt all over the pool – one was maybe just shy of three quarters of a pound. No photo as the water was just a few inches below my waders – I almost had an accident getting myself out of the pool (by accident I mean in the toilet sense).

At least people cannot see you from the riverbank!

 

I walked up the river leaving alone a big pool that I was going to keep until dark – I walked up the river to a narrow bend where I have usually done quite well in the past.

Narrow Bend before darkness...

there was a series of tiny rises on the surface – maybe about half a dozen fish (at this point I had no idea if they were trout or parr) taking “something” off the surface – I covered them with a size 17 cdc n’ elk with no takers and then a small cdc fly – still no takers. There were rising very quickly and confidently with no indication of there size – they were not line shy which made me think they were parr however they were locked on to something and the pickiness made me think they were trout. I decided on a small comparadun (the old favourite) as there was some Yellow Mays around – not that the trout were taking them but just as a change of plan – first cast and the trout took (yes they were trout) and it sped off down the river – it was a fat sleek half pounder.

Nifty bit of juggling camera work there...

By this time it was truly dusk and the bats were out – what followed was a great hour or so of casting to these rising trout – I reckoned every one of them must have been over a half pound in weight – I think the biggest one was just shy of a pound and gave a helluva fight on the four weight.

Photos never do trout justice...

Eventually the trout stopped feeding and I wandered up the river to the car.

All in all it was a great session!

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