Pike Lows and Bylaws

Do you remember a few years ago when I was visiting my nearby Pike spot and could do no wrong? It seemed like every trip I was guaranteed if not a dozen pike then at lest some action. By action I mean some follows and at the very least Pike spooked.

This season has been very poor and I am trying to work out why.

My last Pike trip was over a week ago, we arrived at dawn (which was 0730) and it was a lovely calm morning. The water was like glass and the only thing out of place was the tent at the side of the loch with around 4 rods sticking out into the bay, two of which had bite alarms attached.

Right time, wrong place?

Needless to say we stomped around the whole bay (never once getting tangled in their lines which I thought was odd) and failed to connect with any fish. At one point I was using a rather amazing popper that was sent to my by a reader (thanks dude, you know who you are) and was also stripping back streamers at all kinds of speeds. Often when the Pike are not in the mood slower is better as the beast thinks it is going to get an easy meal. When you see lots of Pike activity you can strip em’ back faster.

For a change from the Loop Pike Booster I used my BROMANoDELL’s Esox Lucius 9ft #9/10 coupled with a new 9 weight line as I was informed my previous line bought from Ebay was a “pile of shite” by fishing buddy Campbell.

I bought my new line from Pike Trek after getting some advice from Pike Guro McFluffchucker it cost around 15 bucks and if McFluffchucker does not say it is absolutely rubbish then it must be very good. It was very good and cast out the big flies with ease.

BROMANoDELL’s Esox Lucius 9ft #9/10, Vision Koma Reel and a Pike Trek line.

If you have not visited the McFluffchucker blog I urge you to do it, his posts are long, his flies are pretty damn amazing looking and his attitude and opinions totally rock. If he finds something to do with Pike fly fishing that he does not agree with he will bloody well tell you.

Fishing buddy Campbell did not connect to any of the beasts either despite many a wisecrack about my line.

Fishing buddy Campbell

Anyway, as we were finishing at around 1030 the guys from the tent emerged, their were four of them and one of them was wearing a pink tutu, seemingly it was his birthday. As we walked up to them we looked at the amount of litter spread around their tent and their bleary eyes. I would just like to point out that wild camping has been banned from around this area due to the large amounts of characters not tidying up their shit, sometimes literally. They regaled us with stories of catching over 200 pike since June and only the day before had caught one at 37, nope 37 and a half his pal corrected him while casually chucking his fag packet on the ground.

As we walked back to the car we wondered if this was the reason for the lack of Pike, have they either been mishandled  and died or is the fishing pressure too much. We talked about a statistic that Campbell had heard about from some biologist that a Pike can be caught around 5 times before the stress is just too much and it dies. No idea if it is true but I find it a bit scary.

As we approached the area where the cars were packed a Rangers Van was parked up and four guys were walking towards us, it turned out that two of the guys were from the tent and the other two were Rangers. The Rangers were going down with plastic bags to clear up the rubbish that has been left behind by anglers. It is my understanding that these Rangers can give out fines of up to £500 for breaching the bylaw – I wondered if it would be enforced this time?

In other news we have a Kelvinator in need of likes on facebook to win the fish of the month competition. Davie Cleland caught this 26.5 pounder not on the fly but on deadbait (we do not hold this against him though)

Someone should have said “smile for the camera Davie”

Anyway, please like his photo on facebook – use this link right here. Winning a hundred bucks of Glasgow Angling Centre vouchers may actually make him smile for the camera next time.

It may also earn me a pint at the local pub.

Or a smack in the face.

Go and like it, hurry!




Kelvin in spate – shock !

Laptop is dead so do not expect any fancy posts for a while, this bad boy is being typed on my phone.

Out for a run this morning and the Kelvin once more is in full spate.


In the distance you can see the raging torrent that is the slush!
I also could not help taking a photo of this highly photogenic tree…


I have not seen many chaps out fishing recently, maybe it is the cold. I drove down to Birmingham tonight and watched the temperature rise the further south I went. When I left Glasgow it was 7 degrees, in birmingham it is 11 and that was at midnight.

2012 Trout Season – you were like a batshit crazy girlfriend!

That is correct, you were like a crazy girlfriend. On one hand you promised so much (the sex was good) however on the other you turned up at crazy times at my house and made unreasonable demands.

You were like two separate people, the problem was the crazy part far outweighed the good part.

The good part of the relationship was from the start of the season until June the 22nd when Chuck from the states came to visit. This was the getting to know you stage, you were totally great and I was happy getting to know you. The spring was mild and I spotted my first rising trout on March 25th in just about every pool of a wee burn in a park I where I was having some family fun. Of course, forums and the Central Scotland boys were already talking about the great amount of rising trout even before the season opened so it was not really a surprise to most folk. We had a mild winter after two rotten ones and almost immediately a hose pipe ban was slapped on most of England, up here in Scotland we do not get hose pipe bans as we know it will rain “during the week” at some point which is why the fishing is better.

Of course, I was still sitting around a lot just looking at the water …..waiting!

Being out at the start of this new relationship was great even though there was lots of sitting around and gazing at each other – I will always be reminded of you when I smell wild garlic and the buzzing around of busy insects reminds me of your voice.

Early and mid-relationship was made even more interesting by the fact my soles kept falling off my wading boots, I found some old carpet in the street and tried to stick them on to my sole as my local stopped selling felt soles for some reason. You found this pretty funny even though I was getting a bit pissed off by it all.

Like walking on carpet..

It took another couple of months before I finally got the right carpet (taken out of someones bin) and the correct glue (Evostic) and I was happy with them, of course just at that point Orvis kindly sent me a new pair of boots so the old ones were lovingly placed in my shed. Every trip was a trial of some new glue that I had bought, waterproof no more nails is no good, by the way.

Of course, during this early part of the season I was catching trout in the few snatched hours..

Nice trout….

Oh yea, and Theo Pike published his book Trout in Dirty Places: 50 Rivers to Fly-fish for Trout and Grayling in the UK’s Town and City Centres and I went on the radio to be the Glasgow punter fishing while he sat in a studio in London. That was great fun and to see my picture in a book was ego boosting.

The sex was amazing Kelvin was fishing its socks off however it was anything but easy. I remember creeping up behind a few rising trout and presenting a dry to them and after a few refusals they were gone. I started to meet other trout anglers who were also marveling at the big trout. You played me well, you knew what I wanted and was a bit of a tease about it.

For the Kelvin this is a specimen on the fly..

Our good weather stated in mid May and we started being able to head out for dusk sessions – they were amazing. Slipping away from the wife felt all a bit dangerous even though she knew where I was heading too. However there were some flies in the ointment. It was around this time that I started to notice the amount of assholes out fishing without permits. I printed out a leaflet to give these guys as I could not be bothered talking to them any longer than needed. It was around about this time that I started to think that the evening sessions were going to be very productive come proper summer in July and August. I could just imagine heading down to the river before dusk and plonking myself down at a pool and watching the trout rise. There was some pools opened up by some arbour work and I was looking forward to exploiting it to its full advantage. I tied small flies, lots of them and even bought some new tippet.

However, it was around  June the 20th (just after) that Chuck visited from the states and you showed yourlsef to be an absolute pyscho that would drive me crazy with your downright bizarre behavior. I remember it well, the day was warm and humid and I was sure Chuck was going to be in for a belter of an evening. Instead we found ourselves down at a pub feeling pretty cold remarkably early, a cold front had moved in and killed the action. That action never returned for the rest of the season. The next day it started to rain and did not stop, the river rose and fell however never cleared as normal, eventually the ground became so saturated that some rain upstream hit the river almost immediately. One evening fishing buddy Jim Burns phoned me to tell me the river was looking great, in the time it took me to drive to the river and set up (around 20 mins) the river had turned a chocolate color and was rising, we continued to watch it rise for another hour and were amazed at how fast it shot up. The secretary for the association discovered run off from a building site on the Luggie was making the river turn the color of clay when it should have cleared.

Up, down, Up, Down – a chocolate river that never cleared and the rain just kept on coming. Sometimes you gave a reprieve for a few days and just as soon as the river was about to return to something that may resemble normal you rained again.

I still managed to winkle some trout out however they were hard fished for and it wad difficult going. I also found that the rain was affecting other rivers when I visited the Lake District and was almost washed out on the Eden however it turned into a great session.

I also caught some lovely trout down on my shit pipe river – somewhere I hope to be fishing more of next year.

A trout from the shit pipe !

I cannot remember the exact date that I bust my Greys GRX however I was not happy with the response from Greys. In the end I swapped a filleting knife with reader Dougie for his GRX and the issue was resolved – yippeee!

Where was I?

Oh yea, when the season went totally psycho I decided to go after Pike they were not playing ball either. 

The one positive and total saving grace was that a wee burn that I often pass by due to work holds plentiful trout which are eager to take the dryfly when it is high with a tinge of color.

A tinge of color.

I spent quick half hour sessions on this wee urban burn whenever I could squeeze the time in, unfortunately on my last visit I was told someone had killed over a dozen trout for pike bait. I just hope it will be able to recover for next year.

2012 season – it will take me a while to get over you, you crazy batchit like a horse wench!

Did you guys have a love affair or was it like a visit to a strip club?


Milngavie fly dressers started..

..well, it was actually last week actually however I am just getting round to posting this just now due to shock at the trout season ending and a nasty bug AND a bloody sore back due to lack of movement.

A triple whammy!

Alberto says:

The Milngavie fly dressing club goes from strength to strength and its that time of year again when we publish our program and dates. We always seem to have a core membership that remain loyal and others that drift in and out. Some come for a little bit of instruction others to listen to a speaker and others simply for a chat. We welcoming everyone whatever their motives.

What does he mean? Whatever their motives?

You can see the program here however I see a couple of good demos coming up – Dougie Loughridge will be tying up some Pike flies and Alberto is showing us all about Tenkara.

See you there (when I am better)


So this is the last day?

So this is what the last day of the season looks like? I say “season” however on the Kelvin it was pretty much half a season.

Autumn in a photo!

The trees still have leaves and the invasives are still still kicking around. The river looks perfect to be honest, it looks that lovely full up way. It has a nice color to it and I could see some trout coming to the dry fly if I was so inclined. However, today was a family day and I was only out to take photos and wander. I did not see any anglers out for trout or salmon for that matter which I found kinda strange as it was such a nice day. When the sun was out it really warmed your face however you can tell that Summer is now properly in its very old age and the weak sun only gave hints at what it can really offer, and even then not for very long.

I suppose half a season that was great is better than a full season that was mediocre ?


So I visited the Glasgow Angling Centre on its Open Weekend.

And I enjoyed it.

Never let it be said that I am a moany bastard who never looks on the bright side of anything, today I spent a good couple of hours in the Glasgow Angling Centre and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Gary Wingate (Game fishing manager or something like that)  had asked me if I was coming down and I had told him the chances were against me unless he had a creche, however it turned out I had a spare couple of hours with only one of the boys so headed down I did. Gary also kindly a while ago turned a small amount of fishing vouchers into a rather large amount of fishing gear for some of my social work clients who have now formed a highly successful fishing group *

I think I hinted at it before however long time readers will know how I started out thinking the GAC (as it is lovingly known) lacked a bit of soul. However over the last few years it really has started to gain a bit of character and the staff have been there long enough to get to know the punters that come in. Nicolas Valentin the most famous Frenchman with a Kayak also works there, he is one of the first person I look for when entering the shop. He is probably the person that got me into pike fly fishing purely by being so passionate and  about it and telling me stories and most importantly places to try.

Dare I say I actually enjoy my browsing around the shop – yep!

They usually put on two open weekends a year, one in the Spring and one in September, they are big events lasting the whole weekend with lots of reps from tackle companies and fly tying demos. They also have some fishing “celebrities” stoating around the place like Matt Hayes and Paul Young. A few years ago I asked for a photo with John Wilson and after told me he was too busy he has not been back – I like to think it is because he totally blanked me and I moaned about it here however it is probably because showing his holiday slides cost a fortune.

What the hell, here is the official video and advert for the event.

I remember when John Norris of Penrith was the big boy of angling gear. I visited them on my way to the Lakes and was super disappointed by the amount of gear they sold compared to the GAC.

This was the smallest the queue was the whole time I was there..

It was nice stoating around with the boy in tow, first stop was the fly tying demo area and watched some Pike flies being tied up by Dougie Loughbridge. Dougie is the man I think of when I think of Pike fly tyers.

One question: where the crikey did you get that shirt?

One of the flies looked like a realistic wee fishy, I was kinda disappointed when he told me it was not a “fishing” fly it was really just as a  demo fly tied for fun. Bloody hell, I thought to myself, he obviously does not have any kids! I can barely find the time to tie flies to actually fish never mind some just for a bit of fun. Still, he was fair churning them out and was not slowing down when I left.

The Bug Bond guy was sitting next to Dougie and was hard at it..

Bloody Impressive flies!

What is this?, I asked, holding up a hook with a blob of something stuck to it, turns out it was an egg fly – I mumbled something about it being good for Grayling and he smiled and nodded. Obviously he thought I was a baboon and should be encouraged to complete complex things like tying my shoelaces so I moved on with a mental note to get myself some of this wonder bondy stuff. Hopefully I will not get high off it like the epoxy which took me yonks to get out my system. Noone ever tells you this when you start fly tying.

Anyway, if there was a fishing Royalty then Paul Young would be it (not just saying that as he reads this blog) and as usual it was nice catching up, we have been threatening to meet up for a pint for years and have just never got around to it.

The paparazzi have been trying to see him in a thong for years!

Alberto Laidlaw joined us and we had a chat about fishing programs, we mused that anglers were a funny bunch and that pretty much every presenter had folk that thought they were shite whereas nobody had a bad word to say about Paul. He simply turns up and goes fishing and enjoys himself no matter what. There is none of that extreme shite or falling in the river or any bloody nonsense.  Paul had gone by this point so was not witness to our praise, he was signing a wee laddies “Trout and Salmon”.

Gary Wingate dragged me down to look at the new Daiwa rods – I picked a few out and they were pretty nice, I mused that the next time I get to buy a fishing rod there will be laser guided sights on them or something or we will only catch fish in a virtual reality world due to the technical advancements while my kids grow up. Purely by accident I picked up a new Hardy 9 foot 5 weight and waggled it around.

Gary pointed out some of the features and I got embarrassed as I thought it was a Daiwa #grin#

This is what a £1000 rod looks like in my hands…

As I was waggling it around I considered just what would happen if I arrived home with it and showed it to the wife plus the price tag. Let us just say that my dinner would not be on the table for quite some time. Living in my shed would be pretty shit as well.

Speaking of Hardy I got chatting to Stevie Munn who is a Hardy/Greys fly fishing instructor and all round good guy..

Stevie Munn

At this point can I just point out how creepy it is asking someone for a photo of them “foor ma blog” 

Stevie looks a bit terrified as I had just moaned at him for a half hour about my GRX that was snapped a couple of months ago. ” Yes, I bought the rod over ten years ago and now insist on a new one due to my own incompetence” is probably what he heard instead of my well thought out reasoned argument about shady warranties. I was telling Paul Reid (RKAA Secretary)  later on about the conversation and said that Stevie Munn agreed with me that I should have got a new rod for a lot less than the fifty bucks, “Best course of action when you are dealing with bams is to agree with them” said Paul.

Sarcasm is not lost on me unlike this huge wall of Sea Fishing rods..

I actually felt a bit intimidated!

Anyway, Stevie Munn had to dash as I think someone stole a couple of lines from his desk. His pal, another Hardy rep, said not to worry as they were in security cases. Obviously a man who does not know Glasgow I thought, those lines were either now sold to someone or were actually being fished by this point.

Next on my wanderings around the shop I bumped into Alberto and Davie McPhail .

Davie McPhail & Alberto Laidlaw

Now, as fly fishers and fly tyers go Davie McPhail is proper famous in Europe, I suppose not just in Europe as his YouTube videos are world famous and meeting the man left me speechless. The man after all has over 10000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. I cannot remember if it was when I was talking to him or someone else that I suggested I tie some flies at the demo table at a future event – Gary Wingate quickly said a flat out big no. How rude, I can tie over three flies as long as they are biggies and I have had a bit of practice.

All in all a rather good affair. On my way out I met a couple of well known Kelvinators and we had a chat about some stuff to do with the Kelvin. If I did not have the bloody work party cutting down trees tomorrow I would be back as it is that will be my whack until the Spring.

Did any of you guys head along to the open day? What did you think? Is there anything they could add?

*and that my friends is one of the few times I will write about work.


Broken SLT – returns process started.

So I mailed Gary Wingate at the Glasgow Angling Centre about my broken Sage SLT and the answer was “bring it in and we will deal with it for you”

The Glasgow Angling Centre for folk not in the UK and the Americans is this islands biggest fishing shop, it is actually a nice place which over the years I have warmed to as it now has a bit of character about it. The guys are always polite and willing to give some advice.

I am kinda kicking myself now as I did not take any photos of the broken tip (for science) however have managed to create a fairly accurate representation of the process.

Sage, unlike Hardy/Greys will actually take your old rod section and either mend it or make a new one for you however I am not going to drag up that old chestnut again. I have 6-10 weeks to wait until the rod comes back however I do not think I would be using it much anyway unless I went Grayling fishing. I think I will be having a bash at the Pike over the next few weeks anyways.

It is the Glasgow Angling Centre open weekend on Saturday and Sunday (I actually thought Friday was part of it as well so looked like a bit of a chump however that must be the Spring one) and I am hoping to head down for some of the fun at some point – even if it is just to try and blank John Wilson if he is there.

Have a good weekend – hopefully I will either see you at the Glasgow Angling Centre or the Kelvin Work Party where we will be attacking stuff with chainsaws.


Like the boots I look back on all the tents I did not get to use this year either. I love camping and every year I usually get away for a week and the odd weekend with the family. I have all the gear and it feels like a home from home when my huge tent is set up – it has a couple of bedrooms and a sitting area and with some inflatable mattresses and duvets we never get cold.

I got to use my big tent when I went to Loch Lomond however I also had a couple of short overnight trips cancelled due to the weather. These were going to be overnights with a fishing buddy when I would not have needed a wad of camping equipment – just a sleeping bag, a beer and some zeds.  I have always wondered about those pop up tents for short overnight stays:

Peakland Sonic 200 Pop Up Tent


The blurb:

An amazing tent for 2 people – Just unzip the carry bag, take the tent out and allow it to pop itself up in an instant – a dream come true – camping without the tent pitching.

There is no need to connect or insert any poles; the integral pole system is designed to allow the tent to erect itself. Pegs and guylines are supplied and are advised to increase the stability of the tent in adverse conditions.

The Peakland Sonic is ideal for any occasion where you desire a fast and easy tent to pitch, available in a range of colours to lift the gloomiest of camp sites.

  • Flysheet: 180T 100% polyester PU coated F/R
  • Hydrostatic head: 1500 mm
  • Taping: Flysheet fully taped
  • Pitching: Quick erect, single skin
  • Floor: 100% polyethylene
  • Poles: Fibreglass 6.0 mm
  • Pack size: Dia. 76 x 5 cm
  • Weight: App. 2.1 kg
  • Dimensions: 145 x 98 x 245cm (L x H x W)

This is a pretty good time to buy tents actually as it is the end of the “camping” season and I notice Yeomans Outdoor Leisure has the above tent at a rather reasonable twenty pounds as opposed to sixty. Actually, now that I come to think about it that could be a good Christmas present for someone. I suppose it may be a bit on the cosy side for two however for a short sharp stay somewhere I reckon it cannot be beat. I like the idea of guy ropes as it would make it a bit more robust in the wind and I suppose you would not camp and fish in pouring rain anyway.

Bring on next summer!


Another Kelvin Work Party – this Sunday!

From Fish Kelvin:

Thanks to all those that attended on Sunday the 16th. We managed to open up another pool above Balmore Bridge, I look forward to hearing about the first Salmon caught from it. The days have been really productive (we have opened up several pools in the City and Balmore), so we intend to continue this Sunday (30th) at Kirkinntilloch. Meeting at the bridge behind McNair’s, on Campsie Road. 10.30am start, soft drinks and equipment will be provided. The limiting factor so far has been the number of bodies. The more that show up to help, the more we can get done.
Kind regards

Random Photo 2008

Since no fishing exploits here is a random photo from a whopping 4 years ago (it feels like yesterday) of  Alex (pre beard) and Mike (Tamanawis) fishing down the Kelvin on a nice Spring morning. On either side of the river there are paths and this is in one of the major parks in Glasgow West End.

Alex and Mike (Tamanawis)

Tamanawis looks awfully hopeful with that net, he caught bugger all!

None of us did!