Alternative Reconnaissance!

I had a day with the boys today as my wife was working. I decided that a mission to a river that I have never been to before was on the cards seeing as how I am now living in the sticks. Like I said a while ago this move has opened up one heck of a lot of possibilities. We got to the river and the temperature was hovering around the 9 degrees point. I kind of wished I had put on my wellies as it was a bit boggy however managed to skip over a lot of it. It was overcast and a little bit more rain than a smir was in the air.

We get used to seeing rising trout on the kelvin a few weeks earlier than other rivers and I think it is because it is usually a good couple of degrees above normal in the city. We wandered down the river and I scanned for rising trout – it was wide, flat as glass and was moving at a slow walking speed, basically perfect for the dry fly and also for spooky trout.

First boy to spot trout gets  a bit of chocolate!

First boy to spot trout gets a bit of chocolate!

We walked up the river until we got to a spot on the river which was just before a big bend. The opposite bank was steep and our bank was a sandy beach. It looked perfect for the duo and I reckoned trout would be picked up, however guess what a spotted?

Eye spy with my little eye!

Eye spy with my little eye!

A consistently rising trout on the other side of the river. It was close enough that if I had my Tenkara rod with me I reckon I could have picked it off easily. I watched the trout supping olives from the surface only for it to be joined by a pal. And then when I looked up this high banked stretch I watched many trout rising to the olives.

Many trout rising to olives...

Many trout rising to olives…

How did I know that these were not small fish? Simply because I watched one almost roll on the surface like a bloody big shark as it took an olive. These trout did not seem spooky either as my boys were busy throwing stones and sticks into the water. I half thought about bolting back to the car for my rod and gear as no waders would be needed as I could pick them off from the bank easily however knew that it would be madness despite the small distance. I simply chastised myself and again reminded myself that you should always be prepared and that was part of the reason why I got the Tenkara rod in the first place.

As we walked back to the car I noticed a wee plaque under a bridge…

Memorial..

Memorial..

Someone loved this place, enough that a member of his family would come here and leave this here.

I wonder if he was a fisher?

 

 

First Trouts!

I have been getting decidedly itchy around around catching my first trout of the season considering we do actually seem to be having a half decent spring compared to last years efforts. Considering I am still a 9-5 wage slave I needed to find a spare moment at the end of the working day to try and capture my first trout so decided to hit my wee burn which has done me well in the past. I dragged along a work colleague who was pretty keen to catch a trout on the dry and I regaled him with a half dozen from every pool and I am pretty sure “guaranteed”   was flung in their as well. Being new to fly fishing I wish I had put my Tenkara fly rod in my boot however we made do with the standard set up instead.

The Drift...

The Drift…

I caught the first trout as I was showing my buddy what to do, explaining about where the trout would be holding up. No pictures however it was a thin thing which looked as if it had not recovered well at all yet. Obviously the bigger rivers are fairing better because of the greater amount of feeding however i did notice a few flies drifting down an a rise in the pool above us.

New guy in action...

New guy in action…

Naturally my buddy managed to hook into two (potentially one that came back for another bash at the fly) trout however either he was not quick enough on the strike or maybe some loose line (nowt to do with bad teaching) they or it got off.

All it did was whet my appetite for some kelvin action!

New fins arrived!

After what happened to Alex’s fins last week I decided to upgrade mine to a pair of diving fins – thankfully Hollis took pity on me and sent me a pair of these bad boys out to review.

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I am looking forward to trying these bad boys out. To go with them I have bought some dive boots and some fin keepers to make sure that I don’t lose them in the middle of some loch.

In other news I visited Tickers Tackle in Helensburgh today to buy some aquasure to mend some holes in the breathables. Thankfully he did have some in stock and after chewing the fat about some local fishing I headed up the road to inspect the fly box. It is a nice wee shop with what looked like the essentials, as I left he called out that he could buy in anything that I needed! I kinda liked that!

I have heard that there are plenty of olives coming off the Kelvin just now with trout rising regularly. Looking forward to my first trout of the season!

 

That was absolutely awesome!

So the day finally dawned on not only the first trip out of the year but also the first time using a float tube. The temp was hovering around 5 degrees and did actually hit 3 as I went up and over the Dukes pass towards the destination. Alex wanted to meet at 5am however I voted for a more sedately 9am start due to a severe lack of sleep the night before. When we got to our chosen loch we quickly got the tubes set up – Alex had to have a bit of help due to obviously not trying to put his up whilst drunk however all was good.

Quite frankly we all looked like an advert for Snowbee as we all had the same tubes, it was only when we compared stuff we received did I realize that the straps needed  to carry the tube a greater distance was not included with mine. It was not an issue today however would be in the future, I will fire them off an email in the morning.

Seeing as how I was the main driving force behind us buying these tubes I took it upon myself to be the first person in the water. It may have been better to have someone with us who knew what the hell they were doing however we decided that YouTube videos was just as good.

I put all the stuff together and started to back into the water – the one thing I remembered was that you always walk backwards, I found out why later.

Thankfully nobody made wide load noises as I crept back.

Thankfully nobody made wide load noises as I crept back.

I kinda felt that the moment called for something more serious and somber than us all laughing as we got in the water, Jim Burns seemed to be the most organised.

The 2nd time?

The 2nd time?

Alex actually had two times getting into the water, the first time he fannied up putting on his flippers, turns out that was the least of his problems.

Jim Burns - like a giant duck with a mustache!

Jim Burns – like a giant duck with a mustache!

Jim took to the tube like a, well like a duck to water basically. As I was still trying to work out how to actually get things moving he was having a few exploratory casts into the margins for the Pike. I mean, when they tell you the movement is like cycling backwards it is actually quite hard to do it imagine it.

Did I tell you we were fishing for Pike?

Other folk were out having a bash at trout however I just do not see the point at the moment. Saying that the Kelvin may have fished well today with the good temps. Anyway, we were after a massive female Pike however sadly none were forthcoming.

Bobbing along.

Bobbing along.

One of the things I like was the fact that I managed to move so slow along that my fly was moving at a nice speed for any fly that did not want to expand too much energy to engulf it. Casting was easy and i did not feel that anything was going to get lost overboard because of the massive side pockets. I was comfy in the lifevest and my feet were not too cold. I was wearing a pair of thermal long johns and lined walking trousers and was warm enough.

Disaster struck at half time when both of Alex’s flippers snapped off as he was getting out of the water.

Both flippers snapped!

Both flippers snapped!

Alex has no idea how this happened however thought he might have taken a step forward. He then tried to set fire to his car with a stove however saved the day with some sausage, bacon and black pudding doublers.

Jim and I went back the water for a quick hour while Alex headed up the road to scour Ebay for new flippers. As our legs were getting sore and the Pike were not playing ball we headed off the water at around 3pm. I did have some video of the event and I may post that at another time. It is interesting as I am now thinking of past venues that may be suitable and am coming up with lots of places that may be interesting.

Watch this space.

 

Shaking off the cobwebs!

It has been an interesting couple of months, I find myself thinking remarkable un-urban thoughts such as where can I get firewood and don’t the stars look nice without their usual haze of urban street lighting. Because of all this I was thinking of re-branding the blog again, not that I won’t be fishing urban but because I have moved out the city. I would welcome your thoughts on that little conundrum, although it is a state of mind dammit!

Living outside the city is weird, there is surprisingly little litter and everyone has a dog, and there are more breeds than the standard Rottweiler or other miscellaneous devil dog. I really do feel as if I am kind of settling in.

On my own fishing front I appear to be spoilt for choice – I now have 4 rivers within striking distance with the big loch and a number of small lochs stuffed with Pike.  I was even walking through my local woods (I now have a gate at the bottom of my garden into some woods) and noticed some olives flying around, I think they came from a nearby burn which sadly look devoid of trout.

There have been no dogs like this…

On the fishing front we had the opening day on the River Kelvin, it was a most grand day out with lovely bacon/sausage rolls, free whiskey and Paul Young kindly agreed to have the first cast on the river. For those foreigners and strange people that do not know who he is, Paul Young is the host of pretty much the only fishing show that everyone agrees on has the best format for a show where fishing is the focus – basically a guy goes fishing and catches fish! Who would have thought something like that would be universally accepted as the best format for a fishing show. You can catch some of them on the good old YouTube if you fancy it.

Alas, I did not get to cast a fly due to my Vice Chair duties ensuring that everything ran smoothly, to be fair I did not have to do much. I am trying to get the video sorted out however have put some pictures up on facebook if anyone is interested.

My boy showing his favorite dinosaur to Paul Young

My boy showing his favorite dinosaur to Paul Young

 

In other news I had my first bash at public speaking a week or so ago. Mark Caffrey over at Antermony Rise wrote a very nice write up over at his blog entitled The Urban Fly Fisher Loses his Cherry which leaves out the bits about alcohol fueled rantings and getting pulled down before I finally gave someone my view on Independence for Scotland (the chap who asked me to speak at the night knows my views so brought the hook out). Still, all in all it was an interesting experience which left me knowing I would be joining their most excellent club  if I lived a bit closer. After the talk their was a most excellent buffet with a fantastic quizz and raffle. Nobody even guarded the prizes like at the Kelvin AGM – it was great!

I received my life jacket today for using the float tube, I had read many various people on the internet saying you do not need one however I decided that for the sake of of a few pounds it would be a handy thing to have and if it saved the old life then that would be a bonus. I ended up buying the Bluewave 150N Navy Manual Gas Lifejacket and it fits like a glove.

At the end of my talk to the Caurnie Angling club I rambled a bit about the chap that died last season on the Kelvin and asked everyone to look after themselves for the sake of their families. I reckon that this was another reason for me taking a plunge and buying a life vest – someone (one of my pals) unkindly told me I should have bought a stab proof vest instead!

This weekend all going well it should be a trip out on the tube after the Pike – hope you guys are having a great start to the season!

38 worms!

Today on my walk from where I got dropped off to my work I counted 38 worms chilling out on the pavement. Some of them had been trodden on by folk on the way to work however after I had avoided a couple I started moving them on to the grass as they were heading towards a squishy end on the main road!

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Of course the reason they are moving around so much is because they find it easier with the mild temps and moist ground.

Keep your eyes open guys!

Today I visited the GAC open day….

Goddammit!

Goddammit!

I missed it by a day!

Kelvin AGM this evening!

I used to think that Kelvin AGM’s were just a waste of time, now I actually look forward to them.

Got my permit early!

Got my permit early!

I have now moved house and am settling in nicely, if anyone is wanting to give a house warming present some wood for the stove would be welcome :-)

See you guys tonight !

Tilley Hats?

I cannot believe it is that time of year again that I am looking at hats. For around 10 years I used the same baseball cap, my lucky hat, however finally it is looking too tatty for it to be wearable – the peak is slowly easing out the stitching. In the middle of last season I started wearing some of my spare baseball caps and have just not been happy with them. My Orvis hat was too bright and a cap I bought off eBay despite having wee patches for flies turned out to have too short a peak.

I was down in Luss and was browsing around a traditional Scottish shoppe when I came across a rather snazzy tweed cap – you know the old school kind. I tried it on and it felt great however all it took was one look from the wife to tell me that this look was never going to go down well.

So it was back to the drawing board.

I remembered trying on some Tilly Hats a few years ago and she thought they looked rather snazzy. Seeing as how the wife is the main person who gives me hat advice in life (you cannot trust yourself seemingly) I browsed around and found some of them on E – Outdoor

Tilley_Hemp_Hat_TH51

They have some nice wide peaks and keep the rain off your neck as they are so wide. Of course because of their style they also keep the sun off your neck as well. At around 50 bucks these hats are not cheap however they come with a lifetime warranty so if it gets too tatty then they will replace it. Of course I think that the tattier a hat is the luckier it is however I am pretty sure something can be worked out. Sure, some folk might give you the odd funny look as the standard hat for fishing in an urban environment however all you would have to say is that your hat is made out of “hemp” and then you are back in with the cool kids.

It’s hogmany , I have the float tube out !

The boys are in bed and the wife is on the nightshift !

The rum is out and the pizza has been scoffed !

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Enough said !

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