Awright mate!

25 years later..

It took me 25 years to get to this wee loch. I remember this loch being described to me by a guy called Bill Murdoch whom I spoke about in my post regarding fly tying boxes. Bill had described how to get to it like this

“You walk around loch redacted, and then follow a burn up the hill. When it disappears keep walking and then just after you think you have went the wrong way you will be at the loch ,big trout are in their”

As a young boy I thought about this wee loch a lot however never got around to giving it a bash until today. I found myself with a free day so agreed to meet Alex and Paul at a car park before the 45min walk into the loch. We had a lot of discussion about this as the forecast was for low temps and a howling gale. Obviously we chose a hill loch that we knew would be madness to fish!

We were heading towards the loch when unfortunately, at a fork we took the wrong way and that is how we decided to just keep on walking until we got the the wee loch of my youthful dreams. It was a bit of a slog at times however it is always shorter the second time we mused dodging ankle breaking holes.

It looks like near the big rock!

Of course none of us had a map other than on our phones and up here the signal went from none to crap every 10 minutes. Eventually we got to the loch and after a quick dram we were soon fishing. It was off dishing this wee loch that I had known about all these years, I am glad it provided a reasonable account of itself.

We each caught some fish and I swore I spotted a trout the size of a grilse jump clear of the water.

Not a grilse..

Of course the wind picked up causing some rather intimidating white horses on the water – Paul managed to keep his line on a straight line long enough for a wee beauty on the wee loch.

After a while though we had covered the whole loch and it was time to head back to the bigger loch for the rest of the day. We walked back through bogs and over treacherous ground and eventually managed to settle the nerves with another dram. Paul then proceeded to catch a whopper of a trout…


After this the action was fairly solid for the rest of the day, at one point I caught three trout on consecutive casts and also a mythical double perch hook up which I now regret not getting a photo of. The wind was blowing a hooley as well as rain on and off all day.

All in all a thoroughly awesome day – obviously we had to drag Alex away from the loch but the day was getting darker and colder and quite frankly one more trout was not going to make much of a difference at this point.

Firm plans have been made for a pollock,wrasse and thornback ray trip in a few weeks time.

Glad I got to finally try out the wee loch though!


Fly Tying Box – I wish mine was made in Scotland by Barr n’ Stroud!

Anyway, so I was in Decathlon and found a box that would be absolutely ideal for storing fly tying materials.

The only downside was it was £40 and made of plastic. It is actually some kind of coarse fishing box, something about Carp apparently. It sparked off a whole host of memories about fly tying storage which I am about to bore you with.

You see, back in the 80s when I was learning to tie flies (the first time) I used to rock up to Goldenhill Primary School in Hardgate to be instructed in a group setting by a guy called Danny. Danny was ancient to my early teenage eyes, he would tie a fly and then materials would be distributed around for us all to tie it up. I still remember him showing us parachute flies – these new fangled flies that people wanted to tie, not that he seen much use for them on lochs. 

The group was run by members of the Jaw and Cochno club which  I also had a membership to however to this day I have still not fished the lochs, I just had a membership to attend the classes. Danny had a pal named Jimmy who also provided light entertainment by asking lots of inappropriate questions and by telling him that quite frankly his flies were totally shite with great admiration. He would hold up one of his immaculate flies and with a quizzical look on his face ask “and you say this will catch an actual fish Danny?” 

To my early teen eyes these people were giants in the angling world – one of my friends fathers attended and for the first time I heard a grown up that I knew curse – in fact everyone here cursed and there was an understanding that I would not clipe on them and I did not. 

I was taken along by my mentor at the time a chap called Bill Murdoch who lived in Westerton and took me up to the Burncrooks on occasion. He also took my out on Loch Lomond with his brother Malkie who took great delight in stabbing his leg in front of me to give me a fright – turned out his leg was wooden and had been pulled off when at sea. They let me drink cups of tea with whiskey and then looked at me worriedly as I was obviously a little drunk and they had to drop me off at my parents. 

Anyway, a lot of these guys worked in Barr and Stroud and were engineers although they seemed to spend the majority of time in their work making fly tying tools and also boxes for their materials. My very first vice was made by an apprentice in the factory – the vice head was no fancy metal though, it was made out of a hardened clothes peg. I still have and use the whip finish tool that he gave me that was made at the same time. At one point I had thought I might join this long line of fly fishers that worked in the factory and would be reminded of it when seeing the huge billboard in one of the back gardens in the Knightstwood area that was used as a target by the periscopes. Of course this daydream was I guess shortlived as they shut down in 1992 and I was unable to attend as an apprentice. The closest I ever got was in a house I bought in Anniesland that was built in the same place as the demolished imposing red building of the factory. 

100% original Barr n’ Stroud

The fly tying boxes made in that factory were quite frankly amazing to my young eyes; people would start arriving with wooden cases which would open up to a whole multitude of drawers and compartments. Sides would slide up to reveal places for tools and feathers and fur were always meticulously labelled. It was amazing!

I tried at school to create my own box in Craft and Design however it was far too bulky, I still have it as it is in my garage however it was never really used for its intended purpose. A few years ago I bought a couple of boxes from Ikea that did the job for a while. 

Now of course, I just keep my gear in a couple of bags with an over-spill plastic container.

Not my actual bag however a promotional picture of one  – this one looks better!

My J Vice is kept in its laptop bag and my materials in an orvis travel bag (see above). I have been planning for quite some time now to obtain an old lockable writing bureau for my living room and I am pretty much constantly scouring 2nd hand shops  for one that is not too big for my living room – I have a plan that if I find one in not that good a nick I can have a wee project to myself but hopefully I will find one that is ready to rumble. I need a lock as quite frankly the kids will play with anything including a £60 cock cape and never mind all the miscellaneous feathers.

Something like this..

Anyway, after seeing the box in Decathlon I had a look online and found some on Amazon…SODIAL Fishing Tackle Box Portable 4 Layers Fishing Box Sea Boat Fishing Accessory Box Case With Handle Utility Box It has everything that someone would want, just check the sizes I guess as they can come small as well.

On the fishing front my season has been a bust – the joys of three children I guess. Hopefully I will get out Sea Fishing with the kids again before everything cools down again. Next season I will be back on the trout – this is the reason why I need to concentrate on flies and storage.

What do you guys use? You can tell me here or on the Facebook page.




Seeing them out – the demise of the fishing blog and the rise of the Facebook ignoramus keyboard warrior.

Last week saw a somewhat lively, but productive, Club meeting held during which certain memories touted as fact by some members were proved incorrect, and the misconceptions held by some others dispelled.
Thank you to all who attended, it was good to clear the air, though unfortunate that some of those who were the most vociferous ( and who were also very keen to point out that it’s the members who make a Club ) did not actually make an appearance.
It is to be hoped that we can move on from here, without the constant sniping endured by the Committee and other active members, who give up a lot of their valuable time towards the running and organisation of the Club. Please note, as has been stated before many times, if you have any questions or complaints on any subject to do with the Club, these should be raised at the monthly meetings. The Facebook page is for information and news, and should be used as such.

The Kelvin?

Nope – this was taken from the East Kilbride Angling Club Page Facebook page.

It just goes to show that all the local clubs are the same – still it makes me roll my eyes though as it makes the links between keyboard warriors on Facebook and how their talk can cause annoyance and disruption.

There was a time when being an opinionated arsehole on the internet was actually quite difficult. I should know…

It’s mouth is the same size as your fist…

You had to create a blog, write authoritatively and have actual evidence (see above) to back up the fact that you are not in fact a chancer/bam.  Over time you built up enough readers that what you wrote about actually meant something. Even on forums folk recognised you and at least what you had behind you was your blog as people knew your opinions and what you stood for.

Now of course with Facebook we have a whole other issue. People are given kudos and are listened to if all they did was click a few buttons to create a page first. It is not all bad though – the Fish Clyde page is pretty good even if they did ban me from their forum for quoting a Bob Wyatt book. Ironically, the person that banned me then went on to be banned himself and has now set himself up as an advocate for poaching the Clyde Catchment area, you couldn’t make some of this stuff up. They then contacted me months later annoyed that I had wrote about it. 

To be fair it was a fairly honest but anonymous interaction and I do not hold it against them.

Thankfully, my credentials are well known though – this site was the first (not the best) fly fishing blog on the internet. It is about fishing in urban and sometimes the non urban places in the Clyde Valley.I used to walk to the Kelvin for my fishing whenever I wanted, now I drive and have kids – they both even each other out. Around 10 years ago we staged a bit of a coup and took over the association that managed the Kelvin as quite frankly the old farts that ran it were doing bugger all apart from draining the club funds down the bookies. I created a wishlist and campaigned hard and eventually we have a great river and a great bunch of guys that fish it.

When people talk about fishing clubs online all I see is negativity, misinformation and rumours that are spoken about as facts. Relative new guy on the blogging front Colin Liddle aka The Dogged Angler  (Hurrah a new blog) summed it up quite nicely:

I saw a thread the other day concerning LLAIA and how the accounts for this organisation should be publicly available for members and others to view and to demonstrate transparency.

As a member I was interested to see this information.

Having asked for a copy of the report of accounts for last period from LLAIA I was duly sent these. I have yet to read this report but as I suggested earlier such information IS in the public domain and freely available. I am advised by LLAIA that the Report of Accounts is also distributed within the minutes of annual AGM.

So I am afraid that I cannot see any evidence of concealment or withholding of information.

Colin, I suspect you will find this is a fairly common occurrence.

I suppose the thing to remember is that the clubs on the Clyde catchment are ran by  ordinary guys with families that really do not have the time or inclination to counter every negative aggressive attack online. I should know as at one point I tried it and now I just find it wearisome.

When we do try and sort out issues online and answer with a reasoned response we are faced with folk that do not play with the same rules. We have got to be polite and answer truthfully as quite frankly being caught out with a lie or talking bollocks just means that the detractors shout louder ” YOU SEE HE WAS WRONG WITH THIS TINY DETAIL WHICH PROVES MY POINT THAT THE CLUB IS RUN BY MASONIC BIGOTED ELITIST UPPER CLASS TOFFS THAT WANT TO RESTRICT ACCESS TO THE WORKING MAN ON A SUNDAY” 

Even Lord Kelvin hears gossip!

Anyway, on the fishing front I have not been out much (as you can tell), caught a few mackerel last week and hopefully will manage to catch a trout from a river soon.



You take it when you can get it!

Boiling Hot!

A quick tramp up the hill and I encountered a total flat calm. I had considered going to the Kelvin and also hitting the salt with the beach caster however I had thought this was a good idea at the time. The sweat was dripping off my nose and I thought I was wasting my time.

Wasting my time!

I had a quick few casts and could not help but notice the occasional rising trout. I scoured through my box and found pretty much the only dry fly in their – a dry daddy. Having not only forgotten my dry fly box but also my floatant I used some chap-stick instead.

I cast over to where a trout was rising and an enormous splash……

Ya Dancer!

Another couple of wee ones and then the sun started to get a bit lower in the sky. The view when i looked back was stunning…

The Clyde..

Baboom another stonker!


This time though I had to slide down the bank and got nettle stings all down my arms. I suppose it was a decent price to pay considering there was no midges.

I started the walk down the hill and was thinking about the evening and how good a session is for the weary old soul when I heard a sinister munching sound – aha, my arch nemesis was in the field!

Well, you lot can fuck right off!

Heart thumping I got to the gate and was up the road at a respectable time!

Good to be out!

K action!

Actually lack of action to be fair.

I got to the river at around 5pm and even though it was hot and bright at around 15 degrees in the shade there was a real cool breeze. There was flies on the water but a lack of actual trout rising for them. I fished the botanics and it certainly looked fishy enough…

I wandered up to where there are some trees close to the water where there is usually a definite riser and finally found my fish. It looks idyllic however barking dogs and groups of joggers were running around like crazy behind me.

Thankfully there was a break in the mob and I managed to fire off a few casts – obviously I left a few flies in the trees and then finally after covering the trout a half dozen time it finally took. I reckoned it would be a leviathan due to its picky nature however a hand sized trout put a bend in the rod instead. 

I spoke to my pal Alex about it who summed up the start of the season by observing that the hatches had started but the trout were not interested yet.

I agreed!

Thanks to Yorkshire Water!

There has actually been many benefits to us anglers thanks to Europe – lots of improvements have been thanks to various European Directives and our improving water quality across our rivers is fantastic for trout and salmon.

However in collaboration with Yorkshire Water I am able to reveal some exciting news about the Little River Don also known as the Porter which is a tributary of the River Don in South Yorkshire. It arises on the Langsett Moors in the northern Peak District, the Little Don River feeds the Langsett and Underbank reservoirs. It runs through the town of Stocksbridge before joining the River Don. I have fished the River Don a few times and it is a great river that it looks like may improve even more thanks to Yorkshire Water.

Yorkshire Water, you see, are funding three fish passes which will open up spawning habitat for trout, salmon and grayling. The investment into the new fish passes also contributes to the Don Catchment River Trusts ‘Salmon to Sheffield’ project, which aims to return salmon to Sheffield for the first time in 200 years. I hope that there will be some keen and budding urban angler in Sheffield right now who is starting to gear up at the prospect of Salmon returning to the city.  In the 18th century the Don was considered one of the finest salmon rivers in England.  Salmon were once so common in the River Don in Yorkshire that they formed a staple part of the local diet. However, the harnessing of the river to drive the Industrial Revolution in Yorkshire, and the increased pollution from industry in the 19th and 20th centuries made the river uninhabitable for most wildlife.

This new fish pass was a joint project between Yorkshire Water and the EA

Over the last 20 years, water pollution has been reduced. However this rich local heritage is still undervalued, and the river remains fractured by weirs and locks which threatens this recovery.

Sound familiar?

Yes, because it is almost the same as the Kelvin that runs through Glasgow and look how good that is doing – fantastic!

Yorkshire Water is planning to use the opportunity of opening the fish passes to educate the general public about the importance of fish migration and maintaining and improving the environment in which we live.

You can read more over at Yorkshire Water






Kicked in the ass by the Kelvin

You know that you have fished somewhere a long time when you notice that when you first started to fish somewhere there was no actual path.

This path used to not exist…it shows just how busy this place is.

I managed an hour or so after work and the sun was fairly blazing in the sky however I knew where I could find some shade and headed there. I caught my first trout on the dry fly within a few casts however by the time it came to my hand it was gone. I was using an olive comparadun and sadly it turned out that this would be my only trout as even though I covered a few more they were just not in the mood – very sporadic risers.


Very sporadic risers..

I wandered up to a corner pool where rising trout is guaranteed however they were all just a foot beyond where I could cast. I moved further forward until I reckoned I was balanced on the abyss and managed to spook them. I waded to the other side of the river and found a lovely wee beach where if I had just gone their in the first place  I would have actually caught the trout.

Perfect position….

There was olives on the water and enormous Large Dark Olives dancing around – it was great to be back!

How time flies..

I am never one to push taking up fishing to my kids – sure there have been times when I have happened to have a rod around on certain occasions like holidays, however I don’t bang on about them taking it up. I have a few reasons – most of the guys I know that have older kids that do not go with them it is because they forced them when they were younger and the ones that are passionate it just so happens they were neglected – so I keep it simple by not discouraging them but not full on jumping at them to come.

My eldest and I usually go swimming on a Monday evening however I mentioned I might head around for an hour to the local pond. He asked if he could come instead of swimming and I thought it would be a good idea. Turns out it was not the best of conditions, cold and bright even though it was 7pm.

We shared a rod – I was using my 5 weight Sage SLT and was letting him retrieve the fly after I had cast for him..

“Can I cast?” he would ask every now and again however I did not want to spoil it for him so recommended we continue doing what we were doing. I told him that we would have one last cast and that sometimes it was more about getting out and having some fishing time as opposed to catching time (you know, the usual shite we tell ourselves when we blank) when suddenly he said that he had caught something.

Turns out he had caught a lovely wee trout which put up a fair old scrap before being safely returned.

I was very pleased and so was he I think!