This is how a burn dies…

Aye, you know it is Autumn when you get to a burn and some shopping trolleys are emerging on the banks.

I arrived at the burn and quickly set up my wee Tenkara outfit. The burn was at a good height and I fished a few pools without any success. This was weird however I kinda thought it may have been because the trout were not happy  at the burn height being so changeable over the last few days, I was not overly concerned.

A common “Shopinuss Trolleyus”

I only became concerned when a young guy who works at the Golf Course wandered over and asked if I had caught any fish. I have spoken to this young guy a few times in the past, he is always interested and likes to have a chat while I fish. He knows I only have a short amount of time however on this day he had a “look” about him.  A kinda concerned look.

I told him that no, today I was not having much success and he shook his head and told me he thought he knew the reason why. He told me that in the last week a guy had been down fishing with a wee float and maggots and had killed well over a dozen trout. The young guy asked him why he had killed them all and the fisher told him they were for Pike bait. The young guy told me there were a good few big trout in his Asda shopping bag and he had told the guy he did not think the wee burn could sustain that amount of trout being killed, the “fisher” shrugged and said there were plenty more wee burns like this one for him to get bait.

I fished on for a half hour and caught a few wee ones – none of the big ones came out to play. Of course they did not come out to play as the majority of them were in some guys freezer to be used as bait for Pike. He descended on that wee bit of burn like a plague of locusts killing everything in his path. He was at best a pollution incident and at worse an irresponsible asshole who quite frankly should not be allowed to fish for any species. I like to think that gone are the days that Pike get chapped on traditionally “trout waters”  in fact now they really promote the sporting qualities of Pike.

I suppose like litter, urban pollution incidents like the inconsiderate fisher without any real sense of  conservation is just another reason why we cannot have nice things in the city.



Peeing in waders?

Jeffrey Priest over at Taunted by Waters was talking about how once an angler gets to a certain age having good access (like a zip) in the front of waders can be handy as you need to go for a pee quickly. Getting to the riverbank, taking off your vest, taking down your waders, opening your fly and releasing the beast may take a tad longer than what you may like for the “older” gent. Not just the older gent actually as my bladder is not known to hold out long after a few cups of coffee. The other day in the boat I was thankfull when Alex took a piss in the bailing bucket as I was thinking I may have to try and pee over the side of the boat – I had totally forgotton the bailing bucket tip.

Well, fear no more Jeffrey and others who may be caught short I have just the thing:

Could this be the next “big thing” ?

Never let it be said I was not a visionary who was willing to think a bit outside the box. With this device you need not even need to get out the river to pee never mind think about waders that have a zip. Bang a Hardy or Fishtec logo on the side of the member and you are talking fifty bucks right there.

Remember, you seen it here first.

6 fish in 26 hours fishing…

The Time – Friday and Saturday

The Venues – A river on the Friday chosen as someone else writes about it on their blog and I mailed them first for a name and then for where to park the bloody car, they must have thought I was a right chancer. On the Saturday we were going to fish Venachar for Pike and trout however the wind was so strong we had to drive to a more sheltered loch. You know it is bad when a guy drives up and says “I used to own this boat house and no way I would let anyone out there” . We were only being allowed the boat because Alex has a beard.

The Action – Aye, 6 fish in a solid 26 hours of fishing hours (split between two guys is pretty shit by any standards),still we had a good time with plenty of chat and banter. So what the heck went wrong?

Well, we fished.

We fished hard.

Two places, one river one Loch.

When we fished the river the wind was blowing unbelievably hard. The river was crystal clear and we just could not figure it out.

Our first loch destination the next day had to be changed due to huge waves.

On the loch we ended up on we bobbed around throwing streamers at Pike (we think).

We eventually fished for trout and caught a few.

Oh, I snapped the tip of my Sage SLT the day we fished on the river, weirdly I took this well possibly because I had been awake since 2am with the kids so was suffering severe sleep deprivation.

The Photos – You can click on the photos to make em’ full size..

The Analysis – It took a couple of days to sink in what happened to my Sage, thankfully on the day I had stuck my 4 weight Superfine in the bag as well so I got to use that with my 5 weight line (it cast great by the way).

This two day madness was in place of travelling down South to meet up with Matt from North Country Angler – a couple of nights were planned and then abandoned because of a mixture of shitty weather and family stuff. When I spoke to Matt it turns out he has been having a shit a season as I have, turning up at rivers to find them too big and brown.

F*ck knows where the trout were on the river, probably flying kites in that wind. I did actually have a kite in the back of my car and if Alex had said yes I would have had that bad boy out doing stunts. As it was we rolled cast to possibly the spookiest trout known to man. Every now and then I would think I had spotted a rise, turned out it was twigs falling off the trees.

The loch was great fun, the electric motor was grand and the chat was great. No Pike however even the hardened Pike heads who were also out struggled in the conditions and shared their knowledge with us.  For some reason I always find Pike guys a lot more forthcoming with info than game anglers, friendly guys, you know?  Maybe it is the madness of catching something so big and with such big teeth that is pleasing in some way to share eh?

We have a few weeks left until the end of the season, I am kinda hoping to have another bash at the trout before it all goes pear shaped. We have already planned another Pike trip.

Still, on the way driving to pick up Alex on Friday morning I noticed the stars were pretty incredible – at least the close season is good for a bit of astronomy.

Orvis on the Kindle…

It looks as if Orvis have really embraced the old (or should that be new) Kindle generation:

The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide, Completely Revised and Updated with Over 400 New Color Photos and Illustrations

The Orvis Guide ToBeginning Saltwater Fly Fishing: 101 Tips for the Absolute Beginner (Orvis Guides)

The ORVIS Guide to Beginning Fly Tying

Actually, I am geeky enough to own a Kindle and love it – unfortunately there are not a lot of quality fishing books on it. I kinda like reading fishing books on paper anyway.

Any of you guys own one?

Kelvin Work Party – now with added free booze and girls*

Every time there is a River Kelvin Angling Association work party there is always some excuse why I cannot attend – just like this Sundays. The wife is away to Spain on a hen gig and I am left with the kids. Anyway, I always ask for folk to take photos and send me them, guess how many I have been sent.

Times requested = dozens

Photos received = 0

I always ask for photos as at the last three work parties a bunch of semi clad young women turned up with free beer and gave away money*

So if you fancy going kamikaze on some bushes with a chainsaw then read this:

On Sunday the 9th of September we will be carrying out some improvement work, all members are invited to drop by and lend a hand. We will be meeting at Balmore Bridge at 10.30am. Depending on how many numbers we have we may decide to tackle more than one particular stretch. Come along even if it’s just to say hello. Equipment will be provided. Wear old clothes and wellies if you have them!

I have arranged for some strippers from a local club that I attend on a regular basis to attend to give us moral support, Alistair cannot make it unfortunately however I will not moan at him as he is an all round good guy who we appreciate greatly. He is also struck with a severe case of the handsomes!

Kind regards

Remember you can read more Kelvin Angling Association news on the site.

*May be a lie.

First Tenkara Action..

So today I got a chance to try out Tenkara.

If you have not at least heard of Tenkara then you must have been living in a bubble as it is the new fly fishing craze that is sweeping the states and has gradually moved over here. Tenkara as described by my fishing buddy Atkins is “that huckleberry fin shite” where at its most basic level some kind of fish attracting lure is tied on to a piece of string and then on to a pole – no reel!

Of course, it is a little bit more complicated that that as the fly fishing industry must justify selling us lots of “stuff”. Over in the states they are making a big deal of the fact it originated in Japan where Tenkara when translated literally means – from heaven.

And here is some English chaps having a bash with Grayling taking duns, you get the general idea though:

The rods are surprisingly long – anywhere from 11 to 13 feet, but telescope down to just 20 inches and weigh just 3 oz on average. You can buy a rod for around £100 and a line for an extra £10. A few folk have told me I should get into some of the Tenkara action, honorary Kelvinator’s James Bennet and Chuck from the States (you remember Chuck, he was the one that brought all the rain with him) have been going on about it for donkies,

So, my Tenkara rod (a Seiryu 12foot) has been sitting in the car for the last week and I have been gagging to try it out, I had watched a few videos and read up on as many blogs out there as I could. I got myself a half day from work and had a spare 45mins before I had to be home. I walked to the wee burn that should have been ideal to try it out as that was the kind of water it was developed in Japan for. Pretty much everything was against me though as it was a fair bit windy plus the burn was running very low, I reckon if I had been here last week I would have been hauling them in. Still, I was there fishing and managing to cast the Tenkara rod absolutely atrociously. When I have been watching the videos it looks bloody easy however I was surprised at just how hard it is. I was finding it difficult to get a good line out and weirdly I was getting a pain in my hand as you do not grip the rod the same way you do an ordinary set up.

You do not grip a Tenkara rod the same way…

Saying all that after 20mins I was fair chuggging away at some of my wee pools, unfortunately my favourite wee pool was spoiled by a guy pulling out golf balls so moved down to some pocket water – I cast and as the fly drifted down a wee splash intercepted the fly and it was game on. I had no idea what to do, it looked bloody easy in the videos however I found myself with an extremely bendy rod and a wee fish going bananas. Fairly quickly I realised that the rod can put up with a lot more bendy punishment than an ordinary rod.

First wee Tenkara troot!

I think I can honestly say nobody has caught a trout from this burn fishing Tenkara style ever. I then spent some time on a bridge trying to catch some trout below me – a golf cart put paid to them rising though and it was time to head home.

Oh yea, the sun was at my back also!

I got home to take over child rearing duties only to find the door locked and the family away to the shops not to be returning for an hour or so. “You’ll just have to go fishing” I was told, I did not have to be told twice.

I headed for the Kelvin and I reckon I am the first punter to have a crack at Tenkara on it (or should that be in it?) and got myself set up again. From a distance the river looked ok however as I waded up I realised it was still a bit colored and high. After about 20 yards I was starting to have doubts, I just could not seem to cast it consistently, once cast would be incredibly accurate and straight and the next it would end up in a pile at the end of the rod. Even though the leader was around 12 feet long it did not feel like 12 feet I was casting – in fact the fly was probably around 24 feet from my hand. I suppose that should be enough eh?

Of course the wind did not help, or the lack of rising trout for that matter. I really started to enjoy fishing it again when I got up to some riffles at the top of the pool. At least here I could target areas that I knew would hold trout, on several occasions I watched trout come up from the depths, inspect my fly and then bugger off.

I will tell you something though, not only is Tenkara accurate it also seems like a breeze to control the fly without any drag – I enjoyed trundling my fly down a seem of fast water without the fly dragging like a speedboat. Because the Tenkara rod is so long I could hover the leader and line off the water. This was much more enjoyable and then…..Fish On!


Tell you something, for such a wee fish it put up a fair old scrap on the Tenkara rod, it had an almighty bend in it. I managed to get the trout in with less fuss than the first, a quick photo and then it was gone.

Yussss! 2nd trout on the Tenkara and from the Kelvin…

I am pretty sure that I am the first person to catch a trout from the Kelvin on a Tenkara rod as as well.

I am most annoyed that it is only a few weeks until the end of the season – I wish I had longer to really get to grips with it, I wish I could use it during those dusk sessions when the trout are very willing to take the dry. I will probably get a few more bashes at it before the season is done and then it will really come into its own next season – watch this space!

Araneus diadematus

So my wife told me there was a monster spider in the back garden and wanted to know if it would bite the children. She thought it may have come across in a banana boat or something. I walked over took one look at the beast and went in to get my flamethrower.


Araneus diadematus


Before doing that I had a quick look on the internet just in case I was being a bit hasty and what I found surprised me. It turns out the monstererous spider is one of the most common garden spiders there is. Its name is Araneus diadematus and is largest in the Autumn when it is full of baby spider eggs. After laying their eggs the females die. Going by the most excellent Nicks Spiders it is:

 … easily identified by the distinctive white cross on the abdomen (although in some specimens it is indistinct or missing). This spider is most commonly called in England the ‘garden spider’, it is also known as the cross spider. They are common in woodlands, heathlands and gardens. They build circular orb webs and can be found either sitting at the center of the web with facing down or in a retreat at the end of a signal line a short distance from the web itself.

So there you go, not a horrible beastie after all. The kids loved looking at it however seeing as it was not catching any insects at that time they wandered off.

Along with my wee books on trees and flowers I think I have a new addition to my Christmas wishlist on Amazon:

Collins Gem – Spiders


Rained Off.

I got to the river at around 6pm, it was up around a foot an running a dark color. There was some visibility in it as pointed out by John in the comments so I was kinda hopeful as I started. I wanted to try out the Tenkara rod that I had swapped for an ad in the sidebar however first I used my conventional rod to check out whether there would be any point.

No pictures as to be honest I could not be bothered transferring a picture of the rain from my camera to my computer. Instead here is a random photo of my last years permit.

2011 Permit.

Thinking about it I must have got to the river at around half six as I got back in the car at 7pm with the rain bouncing off my car windscreen.

Plans dashed by the rain as usual – it is a common theme or this year.


Winter Mode?

Winter Mode? I now drink better beer!

Greetings New People! (and Urban Veterans)

Greeting new readers and urban veterans – if you are a long time reader then do not switch off as you may find out something interesting.

Visitors have jumped in the last month or so and I thought I would tell you again how to access the content of Urban Fly Fisher as well as get more involved if you wish.

To access the content on Urban Fly Fisher you can:

  •  Go to the page (some people only read the email) If you do receive the content by email do not be shy in coming to the site and leaving a comment. I love getting emails from you guys however sometimes I think other folk might like to hear what you say in the comments as well.
  • Subscribe by email – on the right side bar you will see a wee box where you can add your email address and receive posts direct to your email – I will never pass your email into anyone else by the way as quite frankly I do not know how #grin#
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed. In order to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsfeed you will need two things, an RSS reader (also known as a news aggregator) and url (web address) of the RSS feed that you wish to subscribe. For example probably the most common RSS reader around these days is Google Reader – go and check it out. My feed is located up at the top right of this page – it says RSS with a little symbol next to it – click it and then click “subscribe with Google”

If you have a smartphone you can actually subscribe to many different blogs and sites and that is what I use to keep myself updated on what other fisher folk with blogs are doing – usually this happens when sitting on the toilet and often when on the train to work.

Many people have mailed to say they like the new design and I thank you  – I have also got to thank my pal Campbell who took a few of the photos on the header – I have to supply him with a bottle of wine and some dilly wax .

Anyhoo, I have also restarted the Urban Fly Fisher Forum after wiping all memories and members from it – if anyone wishes to join that would be nice. I have made it as serious and fishy as I possibly can in true urban gritty style #smile#

Talking of reading stuff while sitting on the toilet over over the last wee while I have spotted a few blogs that I have really been enjoying:

Owl Jones – I feel like he is a kindred spirit!

Troutrageous – I wish I could have thought of that name – the writing is superb!

 Back Country Nerd – Oh, the stories this man weaves!

So, that is my wee housekeeping post out the way. Autumn is fast approaching and so is the 10th anniversary of Urban Fly Fisher so if there is anything you want me to write about or do (apart from use commas as one wag said in the comments) then drop me an email or post in the comments.