I think I may be shooting myself in the foot here however the Suburban Bushwacker is running a competition – the prize is some of his Mum’s jam (I love Jam).
You must come up with the best use for an arm tattooed tape measure.
A short session along the Forth n’ Clyde canal cunningly disguised as a short romantic walk with my wife – I was not kidding anyone, especially not my wife who is now used to me saying things like “hmmmm – we could do this with a buggy in tow” (referring to our new arrival) while casting every 50 yards. The key I have found is to keep talking about what you are doing – any intense period of concentration and silence leads to looks of annoyance – which is why I then talk like a baboon about Pike and their habits.
“What the bloody hell is on my hat” I squealed as I felt something hit it like an acorn falling – turned out a very large dragon fly had decided to have a bit of a rest on my head – I could feel its legs moving around – Those things love my hat – that is the second one that has taken a fancy to it – I am not sure what they think my head is – any ideas?
Something that always amazes me about the canal or rather the people is the fact that everyone says hello. I mean, you don’t say hello to people who are walking along the street on the way to the shops however on the canal towpath almost everyone you meet gives you a nod and a hello – sometimes even a few words about the day – one chap told us he was taking his bottle of Buckfast for a walk rather than his dog which was taking care of itself (a beautiful Dalmatian). I love it – people are so friendly – the world seems to smile on a sunny day.
Anyway, I caught no fish which means I blanked the weekend – ah well no matter – I still got to try out again the first rod which I am reviewing – the Loop Pike Booster. I must say I enjoyed casting it and controlling casts and flies at close quarters was easy – when you are fly fishing for pike on the canal and you want to cast to the opposite bank you must keep half the line you are casting in your hand and cast along the bank you are standing on so you do not catch the trees behind you – at the last moment you change direction and shoot the remaining line at the opposite bank – if you do it right it works perfectly – it takes some practice though – the Loop Pike Booster does that with ease. However it’s not all about the casting (kind of) so I will keep the real reviewing for when I write it up.
I did see some Pike today, rummaging around in the weeds (they look like cabbages) on the bottom of the canal. The canal really comes into its own in about a months time when all the boat traffic dies off and the water becomes a lot clearer – at that point you can catch several nice Pike in the space of a couple of hours – Looking forward to it already. I am not regretting going after the pike early this year as opposed to sticking with trout until the death of the trout season as I have heard the trout fishing has been poor on the rivers that I fish.
Roll on more good days with the Pike!
Cold, wet, miserable – due to, well cold, wet and windy weather – there I was at the loch side at 0600. I stayed in the car until 0700 – only getting out the car when the first rays of light managed to break through the thick fast moving clouds.
I nearly turned back after the first few casts – I was trying out my new Loop rod though so I wanted to catch a Pike. Nothing was happening – even when I moved to a bay that usually fishes well in high wind. I began to suspect the Pike were just not feeding, or if they were they were not targeting moving fish as their lateral line was being messed around with due to the heavy rain.
Still, just to prove there is always one crazy pike in the place one was caught by another pike angler – on the fly as well. He was much chuffed as this was his personal best.
Now here is what I found interesting, this guy was a die hard coarse angler and used to handling pike – you see it s the whole ethos of pike angling – as soon as the pike was landed it was into a bag to be weighed and then an area prepared for a photo opportunity.
I just don’t think trout anglers are as geared up and as organised as that to be honest – also it is that big fish mentality – with trout you just don’t care what size they are (at least I don’t) I am as happy seeing and releasing an 8 inch trout as I am a 12 inch trout – anything bigger and it is a real sense of achievement.
With Pike fishing it is definitely size matters – you laugh at the wee cheeky chappy that had a go at your fly and you smile at the Jack of a few pounds – when you get a big one – you know there are bigger ones and you want to keep on going until you get one.
I was also envious of his neoprenes as while my teeth were chattering and legs going slowly numb he seemed oblivious – I am going to combat that little problem by investing in a pair of long johns!
Hum ho – just back from a cold day after Pike – more on that later.
Thought I would let you know about some up coming reviews regarding the rods and reel I use for fly fishing for pike.
They will be up in that order over the next month.
I will also be reviewing the new DVD from Charles Rangeley-Wilson and learning whether the man can do no wrong !
Ok – so the last time I posted the wish list everyone went bonkers – I thought about what everyone said and so have now ammended my list.
Now, maybe I am being mean posting about Salmon fishing on the Kelvin seeing as how I do not do it, however considering the increasing runs of Salmon and an influx of Salmon anglers I think it is relevant to this die hard trout angler that some form of action plan is put in place to protect this recovering resource. I would also like to think that if I do fancy trying to catch a Salmon at some point in the future there might actually be some left. Even our resident Salmon fisher (although we dont hold that against him much) Charlie Dunn is complaining about the increased numbers of anglers.
So without further ado these are the minimum actions I would like to see in place:
Ok – so not much has changed – although I like to think that I am meeting a lot of folks half way.
There are still no signs at all along the whole course of the river – nothing to say a club is in existence which leads to widespread poaching of both salmon and trout. From what I gather you can fish the river for trout without a permit (at least that was what I was told by the old chairman) however it still makes sense to buy one.
There are no qualified bailiffs on the river, the people I speak to have never seen the volunteer ones either – that just isn’t right. Salmon were being caught and killed well into November last year – they were black fish too.
Am I being unreasnable?
I have recieved an email from Craig Robinson Environmental Impacts Group - Fisheries Research Services
I am writing having seen your River Kelvin website, and I have a request to make, but first I will give some background to it.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a remit to ensure that food is not hazardous to consumers. That remit extends to levels of environmental contaminants (such as heavy metals, dioxins, etc) in “wild-caught” food items, such as marine and freshwater fish and shellfish. FSA therefore commission research to monitor such things, and I am currently working on a project to identify suitable sites and obtain samples of coarse fish and brown trout for chemical analysis. The rationale behind the work was that increasing numbers of Eastern Europeans living in Scotland are likely to result in increased consumption of coarse fish, and the FSA had little information on the concentrations of environmental contaminants in these (although they hold data from farmed salmon/trout). In addition, wild brown trout may be more widely consumed than coarse species, and also spend their full life-cycle in one river system. Fish caught for the project will be analysed for an extensive suite of environmental contaminants, including heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides, along with compounds of more recent environmental concern, including potential “gender-bending” compounds such as phthalates and brominated flame retardants. Data from the study will be made available to SEPA and may highlight areas that require further water quality improvements.
I have contacted Doug Brown and been given the go-ahead to take fish from the Kelvin AA’s waters on the Kelvin and the Clyde, but I am short of the means to do so, therefore I wondered whether you (and/or any pals) may like to assist the project by collecting fish for me? In order to provide sufficient material for chemical analysis, half-a-dozen fish of about half a pound each are required. I am not sure about your preferred quarry, but I suspect it is trout and I would be very happy to obtain trout alone and not worry about pike, perch, etc. If you would like to assist, or would like more information, please contact me by reply to this email or on the phone number below. The advantages to people who fish the Kelvin/Clyde would be knowledge about whether the fish are safe to eat (the Kelvin AA could put up notices if they were not and so probably reduce poaching), and the data generated may also highlight whether further water quality improvements are required (SEPA will be provided with a copy of the final project report and with access to the data arising from the study). Any assistance received would of course be acknowledged in the project report and a copy of it would be sent to yourself.
If you have got this far through the email, many thanks for considering my request and I look forward to your reply,
PS if you were to assist, it would just be a question of hanging on to any fish that you caught (frozen and wrapped in kitchen foil) until I am able to collect them on a convenient date in October. If fewer fish were caught than I suggested above, then the analysts would simply measure a smaller number of contaminants.
I think this is a great opportunity to find out exactly what condition our Kelvin trout are in!
So – who is up to helping Craig?
His email addy is c.robinson(nospam)marlab.ac.uk
(replace (nospam) with @
So I have now used my Orvis Troutbum 8 foot 4 weight for the best part of a season – I had been looking for a nice four weight for lazy days on the Kelvin as well as something for low water conditions on the Clyde. It must be said that I am no expert caster however I know what I like and definitely know what I don’t like. I like a rod that has feel and personality, a rod that is nice to cast and makes catching trout a pleasure rather than a chore.
I won’t lie to you, I like my bling (as if you did not know) – it’s a curse that I have to bare. I was not disappointed- getting this rod out of its bag and tube was great – it was a thing of beauty…
The rod bag is well made and there was a smell of new rod newness – I am sure that rod bag had just been made the previous week. The tube is sturdy however its bottom is arched so you cannot sit it up unsupported.
I put the rod joints together and was impressed by the quality of the handle – I could tell very good cork has been used to make it. I have heard of poor cork and now that I have felt good cork I know which I like – the handle was like holding silk. It also has a maple wood and cork inlay reel seat which reeks class. The blanks also have little dots to align the sections – I always thought this was a gimmick however I have found them great and now miss them on my other rods.
The rod has an olive finish with gold wraps. It also has Orvis Superfine written on the blank with another “Troutbum” stamp further up the blank which I did not like – the first stamp was enough.
Good quality wraps – they looked like speckled tinsel..
You can probably tell by this point I like how it looks – however the proof is in the fishing rather than how something looks, so read on my friends…
Casting & Action
Ironically when I received this rod I was under the impression it was a full flex rod. Orvis have gone all fancy and now rate rods full, mid or tip flex. Full flex is a slow action rod (that’s a bit whippy to the masses) and tip flex is a faster rod (a stiff rod). Anyway, I thought this was going to be a full flex as that is what it said on the Orvis site – turned out the site was wrong and it is a mid flex. No matter as long it does not cast like a wooden stick. I like my rods slow. The error on the site is now fixed.
I don’t like all this nonsense about using the fastest rod possible – thankfully, Orvis still realise people want to fish and feel the whole act of casting rather than just thinking about power and distance. Not that this is not a powerful rod it is – just on a smaller scale.
This did not feel like a “light” rod – there is an element of old fashioned weight behind it – I don’t mean bad weight I mean solidness – it felt like holding a rod – you know what I mean?
Initially I used this rod with a five weight line even though it is rated for a four. I would like to go all fancy here and say I was just overlining the rod to fish close quarters (I was) however the truth is I only had a five weight line handy at the time. I also liked my Lamson on the rod. It was lovely to cast. I suppose here is where my ineptitude at writing rod reviews come in – I can’t talk about tight loops etc as I just cast and hope the fly gets to where I want it. I did and …well… it did. The rod is lovely to cast, with my five weight line I could feel when it was ready for the forward push and it put out a fair bit of line.
Maybe a month later I found a four weight line and tried that – it was like getting a new rod. The rod again was lovely to cast – sure I had to use a little more effort with timing as it is easier to cast with an overlined rod however that was not a problem.
This rod is lovely with dry flies which is what I prefer to fish – accuracy was high and I never felt under gunned. I used the rod on the Tummel…
The Tumel is a place where I would usually use a true 5 weight and I managed to fish the rod all day with no problems.
It felt equally at home fishing this wee stream that I found..
Initially I loathed using a dry and dropper with it – just did not feel right however as I got more used to the rod and the extra weight of the nymph it proved less difficult – dare I say I started to enjoy using the dry and dropper due to the bonus fish…..possibly!
This rod quickly became my main tool of the season for trout. Like I say, It was as happy fishing a tiny stream as it was something bigger like the Kelvin. I also used it on the Clyde and it handled all the trout with ease. Damn, the rod is just fun to fish with!
I finally settled on my old vossler reel to go with the rod – the whole outfit reeks class (unlike the photo above) – which is handy really as when I am staggering down the bank I usually need something that is going to drag up points for style. I was able to bully trout and get them to hand with the minimum of fuss – this rod bends with a fish which makes using light tippets very easy as it acts like a very good shock absorber.
As usual you get the high standard of Orvis customer service so you know that if you ever stand on it you will be up and running again in no time at all.
I thought it was perfect conditions for Pike today – it was cloudy, warm and a slight breeze. Turns out the conditions don’t matter if the Pike are not in the mood – turns out you have got to go hunting and change all your tactics. If the first rule of pike fishing is “First, find your Pike”, then the second is “find a feeding Pike” – well I managed to comply with the first rule no problem – although they just kind of sat there – or did a quick bolt as soon as my fly hit the water. I managed to winkle a couple out after a couple of hours however things were definitely different.
I ended up heading for another spot which was not shielded from the wind like my first spot. At this place the waves were crashing into the weeds and there were a few scary moments when the waves came right up my back. I will just stay for ten mins I told myself and then I will head home….
Bang, bang, bang – five pike one after the other – all on my white EP fibre streamer – they must have been sitting right next to the weeds hiding in the waves.
I walked along the shore and located another similar spot – another two although they were a lot smaller than the others – still it shows to go you that if Pike are not in the mood in one place then they might be in the mood at another.
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