Top Form

Well, the Kelvin was on absolutely top form this evening.

It was a warm muggy day, hovering around 20 degrees with cloud cover and the occasional smattering of rain. Going by my water level app the Kelvin was at a nice height, up a few inches and it had that lovely earthy smell that gives it the name “Smelly Kelly”. Not that it is a bad smell as it is actually from rotting vegetation allegedly. Whatever, when I smell it I know I am in for a good one and it came up trumps as usual.

Smelly Kelly

I actually fished at a few locations, sticking the rod in the car and driving from place to place – fishing several stretches from the bottom of the botanics right up the river several kilometres.

The trout were consistent in all the pools…

With some lovely ones amongst the smaller ones…

I was using a standard dry and dropper and the trout were equally taking both. The only annoying thing was I lost a couple of nymphs and realised that I really need to tie some up. By tie some up all I really do is wrap some wire around a hook, the trout seem to love the simplicity of it.

Just because…

One thing I noticed on a lot of the trout I was catching was some kind of parasite on their backs and heads. it was like a wee jelly like thing that was easily flicked off. I remember someone asking about it on the River Kelvin Fishers Facebook group so I will have a hunt their to find the answer.

You can see it on the head of the trout.

If you know what it is leave a comment here or in the River Kelvin Fishers Group.

Edit – turns out it is Argulus. Freshwater fish louse . Argulus is a common parasite of freshwater fish, found in fisheries throughout the UK. Adult lice are flat, round, jelly-likeparasites that feed on skin and mucus. Heavy infections can quickly cause irritation, condition loss and death

What always gets me is that you have know idea how big a trout is by the size of the rise. Big splashes end up tiddlers and tiny sips end up as good half pounders.

Tiny riser

Another thing I noticed in a lot of the big deep pools was the number of Salmon splashing around. I think I counted at least 5 spread from the West End right up the river several kilometres.

I finished the evening at a rising trout in some slow deep water. One of those sporadic trout that has far too long to gaze at your fly. I cast a few times and it too my klink on the third cast.

I headed home in the fading light.

Wilsoning it!

I have been watching John Wilson’s (the Glasgow one not the one that blanked me at the Glasgow Angling Centre) videos on the River Kelvin Fisher’s facebook page (the good one, not the shite one) with a mixture of envy and admiration.

He has been dragging the depths with nymph frenchy style and posting videos of himself catching clunkers from the bottom of the river. It has been great fun. It has certainly kept me amused in my run up to the school holidays meaning a break for me from the hum drum of driving kids to activities etc.

I got tackled up and noticed a squirrel trying to get a fag out of a packet – you don’t see that on the Tay that’s for sure.

Should be vaping!

So I hit the river last night after work – I stomped down to the flint mill running into just one angler and then back up to the rocks pool. I then spooked a few trout before slowly making my way up the river.

I ran into a non angling angler and we had a brief chat – I had just lost a clunker on the dry and could feel things were heating up. He asked if i was using nymphs and I laughed and said I was not into any of that Wilson nonsense. About 3 mins later I was dangling a nymph under a dry and caught this lovely trout..

I then lost another clunker just as dusk was setting in. I managed to spook a dozen trout with my enormous dry fly before going microscopic and then not striking quick or slow enough. Bloody typical!


That is me shivering by the way.

I got to the river mid-afternoon for a couple of hours, the temp was to be a maximum of 11 and it certainly felt like it. I was wearing shorts under my breathablea and my toes were numb on the drive up the road to pick up the youngest.

Not that the ice cold wind put the flies or trout off, they appeared in abundance – not that I got to see many trout though.

flies in abundance..

My first trout from the Kelvin of the year was thankfully an unfluked trout – I spotted it rising, waded to it and then cast a few times until the drift was correct and then BAM!


Sadly my 2nd trout from the Kelvin and probably around 5 times the size of the first did not come to my hand, instead I cast for it, hooked it and it launched itself around the pool before getting below me. I had a brief flash in my head that at least I managed to see it and already knew for some reason it would not be posing for a photo when the line went slack and the trout and my fly was gone – bad knot (angler error).

I made a phone call to SEP reporting this rather evil looking thing and stuff…

Evil stuff,,

It was only when I got home did I find out that there had been a significant discharge of something upstream and this was why I kept thinking their was a white sheen to the water – you can probably see it in the first picture.

As ever I was appalled at the amount of litter in the river and wondered why someone would chuck water tablets in the river – at first I thought they were benzo’s but turned out they were simply water tablets.

No Diazepam!

I watched a couple of guys ledgering catch a trout and then take what felt like an age before I watched them toss it back in the water with a splash – they looked down for a bit so I assumed it was struggling.

I waded back down the river covering a few trout on the way, at one point stopping to scale everything down as my comparadun was too big.

It was still great to be out and about.

Dogs, Boats and Sexism

It was my birthday last week and I decided to visit my local pond and also to attack the Sea Trout at my wee bay. Sadly nothing came to the hand however I did feel a slight warmth in the air which filled me with some optimism for the coming weekend.

As I had an afternoon free today I decided to head to my highland stream to see if it had woken up yet and was glad that within a few mins of my arrival I spotted some trout slurping away at “something” on the surface. There was nearly double the amount of water in it from the last time I was here with Alex so things were looking good.

However, the spooky trout were certainly living up to their reputation in this river and I never really worked out what they were taking, sure I spotted some olives drifting past but the rises did not appear to correspond to their drifts. Plus there were as sporadic as anything.


Anyway, I had just arrived at a lovely pool with trout slurping when I heard a banging noise and a “Hello there” from down river. A girl of around 13 was trying to get a boat upstream using a single paddle. She jovially told me this as she whacked the oar in the water. “Sorry” she called out as she moved the boat pretty much all over the pool. As she couldn’t paddle the boat in the fast water she dragged it up the bank over the stones. I could see she wanted some help and wanted to have a conversation so wandered off upstream a bit to the next pool to get away from her. Same situation with slurping trout and then the girl was back. I walked downstream this time and found a pool with a rising trout. I waited a while and then slowly crawled up to the river only for a dulux paint dog to jump into the water. At least the owner had the good grace to apologise profusely. I walked back up to my banker pool to find that gladly the trout were back – I covered a few only to hear a loud bang upstream. The girl was back with her boat, I swear to goodness she was doing this on purpose. Turns out she could not get it up any further so decided to turn back.

This time I yomped it upriver, overtaking dog walking man to a lovely wee riffle with rising trout.


After a few casts finally a trout took my dry and it fought well above its weight.

A wee highland trout…

I wandered downstream to my spooked pool where the trout were slurping again. As my fly drifted into some slack water I noticed how deep this pool actually was. Probably around 12 feet. I raised my rod and felt resistance, my first thought was that I had hooked the bottom however there was no chance of that because of the depth – the solid resistance moved a foot or so and my fly pinged back at me. I realised I had came into contact with a whumper and cursed my luck.

I wandered back down past the tied up boat and met some boys jumping into the river. I spoke to them briefly and then they pointed excitedly upstream – the girl in the boat was coming downstream. I laughed and asked the boys if they knew her – they told me that the girl was in fact a boy. But she has long blonde hair I told them – you are being sexist I was told as boys too can have long hair.

It was time to call it a day anyway.

Fun with the glue.

Pretty sure I have written before about evostick and it’s ability to mend wading boot felt soles. I did not realise I would have to actually glue the whole sole back on to a boot however I spent an hour last night doing just that. Good job too as I noticed the other boots sole was coming away at the heel. Typical.

Might look messy..

Look, I don’t go fishing to look good so I,don’t really care if it looks a bit messy. Then, seeing as how I had the glue out I stick the top joint of my beachcaster in the goop and popped on a new top ring as the last one flew off for some reason.

Dipping my rod..

I have left it drying in position, the kids are asking to go shark fishing (as in dogfish) so guessed the sooner the better.

Drying happy.

Next outing is being planned…..

First River Trout Trip 2019

I think it may be a bit of a cold day, I mentioned to Alex as I attempted to appeal to his less sturdy side. Conditions should be ok, he said, the hatch just may happen a little later in the day.

” We should get a hatch later in the day

We met by the river and Alex being the legend he is got the frying pan out for some sausage and black pudding doublers. I think this was the act that set us up for the rest of the day.

Low and clear.

I can’t quite remember at what point we realised things were not going according to plan. Thankfully we had chosen to park a car at the top of the river which meant we were constantly on the move walking up this highland river in search of trout.

The river itself was on its absolute bones, a skeleton I called it at one point.

Bones visible.

We even seen some signs of beavers on our walk. They certainly travel about a bit I mused, generally 80 miles an hour in somebody’s boot probably. The impact of having these critters reintroduced have yet to be seen. It does not look like much thought has went into it.

Beaver sign

Alex spotted three olives hatching which did not bring on any trout. We did not even appear to spook any trout even after deliberately walking up to the gin clear water.

Nae fish, nae chance…

We decided to check out a wee lochan, at least to try and fluke a trout. The temperature was dipping and I reckoned Alex was going to fish the whole lochan to try and catch one possible suicidal trout.

It was at this point the entire sole of my wading boot was sucked off by a bit of boggy ground. Turns out my Greys wading boot sole was held on with a measly bit of glue. It is currently drying out in my garage and I will fix them with some evostick which could probably stick me to a wall if someone tried as it is that strong.

Me with my sole!

In summary, freezing cold, walked for miles, no fish and got my boot sucked off.

Had a great day!

Fish 4 Flies

So I am always partial to getting some free stuff in the post however generally the requests I get to review stuff or promote I knock back as they want to retain control of what you write about and usually the stuff is shite anyway.

I have had a few folk asking me to write about their flies over the years and I have never really needed to as I tie the majority of my own – I generally do not tie my loch flies but have a fair old stock anyway (or I steal em’ off mates).

So when I received an email from David at Fish 4 Flies asking me to take a look at their flies I was about to press delete when I remembered Spring is here and I do actually need a few flies. Firstly I needed some Stimulators as my meagre supply are all up trees and I ran out of hooks to tie any up (plus mine are rubbish anyway) and secondly I could do with some loch lures for my local ponds. “Aye ok” I messaged back and promptly forgot all about it until a wee packet popped through the door this morning and out popped the goodies.

I wondered where they originally came from, as in who tied them. I bought some lovely loch flies up in Lewis and it was obvious they were tied by a local, probably after digging up some peat for the fire while having a dram.

I suspect these come from slightly further afield.

On the Fish 4 Flies website it states :

Quality Statement

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so we understand the importance that every fly we have tied meets our quality standards and is made from the very best materials so that they don’t fall apart in the water.

  • Chemically-sharpened Japanese hooks.
  • Hoffman/Whiting hackle.
  • All soft materials sourced in USA or UK. No substitutes
  • Manufacturer has been in business for 35 years.
  • All flies tied by experienced tiers, in factory, under constant supervision.
  • Hourly quality control checks during tying.

Right, so what this tells me is that they are tied outside the UK – seeing as how I do not know any factories that actually advertise for tyers I suspected correctly they are from Kenya. Additionally after I asked they are also tied up in Sri Lanka.

Not that I am against buying flies from Kenya – 99% of the flies you buy online and in shops for that matter are from Kenya so I am not having a dig. Just stating that if you think some pipe smoking old timer is slaving away over the winter to fill up your box they are not. Fulling Mill have all their flies tied in Kenya and they are seen as the cream of the crop which they are not – in fact in my opinion Fulling Mill flies are rubbish (like their tackle).

So anyway, I opened my bag of goodies.


For hot days on highland streams Stimulators are the buzz and now I have a stock of them. Look buddy I am not making out I am some kind of expert reviewer here when it comes to flies – they looked in proportion to me and quite frankly I could not tie any better ones. In fact mine would be a lot worse.

Parachute for reference

I took a photo next to one of my wee parachutes just to show you how big they are (you can take that sentence how you want it.)

Another stimulator..the Hornberg

Look I am not going to lie to you I do not think I would ever tie up a fly like this but it looks damn fishy. The Hornberg is one of those flies that can be pulled as a stream or fished as a stimulator – it is a new one on me.

Apaches White and Black

The Apache white and black

They say “

The Apache White is probably the most exciting and devastatingly successful pattern to hit lakes, ponds and reservoirs.

The pulsing movement of the white mink body plus the stimulating flowing and eye catching movement of the marabou and flashabou tail make it a serious killer.

Two to three short jerks followed by a steady retrieve, repeat and be ready for savage takes. “

Oh man – if there is something I like it is savage takes – especially on my local ponds. I reckon the trouties will love them.

All in all I am impressed – if you must buy some flies and you do not have access to a vice you could do a hell of a lot worse than going to Fish 4 Flies.

RKAA Opening Day 2019

Saturday the 16th March we will be having our usual opening ceremony along in the Islay Inn. The arrival time is 11 with a 1130 kick off – a few drams and free food will be provided.

It is like the weirdest scene from Reservoir Dogs
Willing the Chairman not to fall in.

See you there!

Lamson Warranty Repair

Back in February 2007 I went to New York to celebrate my wife’s birthday and bought myself a Lamson LP2 reel to accompany a Sage SLT that I bought at the same time. Happy birthday wife I said to myself as I waggled it around in the hotel – this caused an entirely different issue which you can read about here.

Anyway, the Lamson was prefect with my 5 weight SLT and many a trout were caught over the years.

Nobody gets left behind

However, at the end of last season it started to grate – unsure if it was a tumble from the car issue a quick email to Lamson and they confirmed it could be sent to them for a repair. Pals scoffed that a new reel should be bought however after Parcel Force managed to send it on a detour to Barbados it ended up back at Lamson who then fixed and returned it – absolutely perfectly.

The other evening I decided two new fly lines for my two main reels of the season – a Rio Perfection for the Lamson and a Barrio Smallstreams for the Vosseler.

All Set!

All I need to do now is actually tie some flies.

First Permit of 2019 bought

Well it was not actually bought by me as it was a very nice surprise – a Christmas gift.

I always think you have got to be careful buying fishing gifts as they can be a hit or a very wide miss – this is definitely a hit. Long time readers will remember my Pike shenanigans on the big loch and I have not returned due to time constraints as well as not having a permit – well this solves that little problem. Another type of fish I have been day dreaming about is Perch – my wee LRF rod will get some action this year.

Watch this space!