And Now For Some Great Scottish Muzic!

Ok – I am away on holidays for a bit – hopefully catching Bass, Mackeral and Sea Trout off the Cornish Coast or quite possibly catching Carp, Roach and Tench in a stocked pond.

So, no posts for a bit however I thought I would push you to buy some Scottish bands which I think are simply fantastic.

Four great Scottish bands which are well worth a listen !

Dean the Diving Decorator

Thanks to Stuart B in the forum for finding this little gem from the BBC I Player

Wildlife documentary. Dean is a painter and decorator by trade, but he dreams of being a wildlife cameraman. He’s spent the past few years filming in a freezing flooded quarry in Leicester. Although he’s an amateur, Dean’s footage of courting pike was so good it was used in The Nature of Britain. This film was made to share more of Dean’s fantastic footage. It also features Dean talking about his experiences

Great footage of Pike spawning and generally bullying each other.

Dean the Diving Decorator

Picky Pike!

Two sessions of Pike fishing since we last spoke – both strange for different reasons – both occasions I have been using my Loop Pike Booster with a floating 9WF line, 3 foot 30lb leader and a bizarre EP fibre monstrosity.

The First Session (overcast, warm – lasted 3 hours)

Scanning with Polaroids

Scanning with Polaroids

I spooked Pike – lots of them – I counted over a dozen – big ones – all spooked by lining them as I cast in amongst weeds, they shot off like rockets – they were not amused. I lost two Pike – I worked hard for those takes and both were unlucky. The first broke me off at the braided leader, I have no idea how this happened as I check all my connections before commencing fishing for the beasts. After tying on a new leader I then dropped my scissors into the murky depths, it then started raining.

Added Insult - Rain

Added Insult - Rain

Have you ever tried to cut 30lb mono with your teeth?

However the Gods were not against me for long as the second beast I cast to was spotted because its tail was sticking out the water – I cast towards it and there was another huge displacement of water behind my fly – “take it take it take it” I chanted as I continued the retrieve – it took and then dive bombed into some weeks taking several yards of fly line off my reel in a few seconds – it then broke free and my fly flew back in my face.

Weeds on the Loch

Weeds on the Loch

The Second Session (bright, sunny, stayed until dusk)

At least I caught two pike on this session – however this time I spooked no pike – like none at all – I have no idea where they were. I took along Paul (KAA Secretary) – he blanked for the first time this season, obviously due to the infamous curse of the first time fisher at a new spot.

Paul Reid - flailing away!

Paul Reid - flailing away!

Both Pike were fluked caught with extreme skill and knowledge – no picture of the first however it was a few pounds bigger than the second.



The beasts fought hard even though they are summer fish – on returning to the water they shot off like angry tigers!

A Beast!

A Beast!

At the time I decided to not go back until Autumn however maybe I am being a little quick – I am being spurred on by Scott’s excellent adventure on his secret loch.

I need to tie flies!

Cookshill Interview

Steve Cooper of Cookshill Fly Tying is “the man” when it comes to natural fly tying materials – I once telephoned him about getting some cdc, he picked up the telephone (a mobile) and said “wait a moment” BANG BANG “I am just out shooting some ducks just now”

Quality action!

A Classy Pose

A Classy Pose

I bought some deer hair off him for Comparaduns and Deer Hair Emergers – tying with his  good quality deer hair made me realise just what I had been missing – the fur was really nice to work with and made tying with deer hair almost bearable great fun.

I decided to interview Steve so over the last few months he patiently answered some sporadic questions fired at him between nappy changes.

Steve also organises the highly successful British Fly Fair which is on the 7th and 8th November in Stoke on Trent.

Is selling Fly tying materials a full time job?

Retired as a full time secondary science teacher in 2003 – now split time between Cookshill, The British Fly Fair and some supply teaching

The British Fly Fair looks like a job in itself – what exhibitors are you most looking forward to in 2009 ?

Difficult to say – we are very particular about exhibitors ( its not just a free for all ) the emphasis is on quality – the BFFI does not support a bargain bucket mentality so prevalent at other shows. All our exhibitors are fly fishing and fly tying specialists so it would be hard to single out any one set up.


The BFFI is a massive undertaking which relies on the efforts of my family and friends – the real heroes of the show. Also of vital importance are the fly tyers who travel from across the globe to demonstrate.

Do you see the format or itinerary of the fly fair changing over the next few years? For example, in the USA they have the AEG Film Tour which is very popular – Do you think this type of media could be incorporated into the fly fair?

I like the current BFFI format and will keep it similar with a few tweaks along the way.

I think the key thing is to maintain the great atmosphere.


No reason why something along the lines of the US media idea could not be done – as long as someone took it on board ( too high tek for me!!)

So how long have you been fishing?

Since before I can remember – my dad was a keen coarse angler and I fished from being 3 or 4. Spent all my childhood coarse fishing – caught lots of nice fish 2lb Roach, 20lb Pike, 8lb Bream etc etc.

When I was 16 my dad took up fly fishing – I followed – mainly fising the large reservoirs.

You ever fish for coarse fish on the fly?

Not deliberately – something else I need to do!

What is your favourite ? Rivers or lakes ?

Like both but fished lakes more

Now lets talk about your materials – what got you started in selling materials?

Used to tie lots of flies on a semi pro basis when I was a kid 18 +. Also did a fair bit of beating and shooting so I could get loads of pheasant tails etc . Realised what I got myself was way better than you could buy so started selling a few bits and pieces to our club where I was tying instructor. Went from there.

So where do you get most of your materials? I remember phoning you once and you were out shooting – your source most of them yourself?

Anything UK origin I source myself, from Gamedealers, game keepers, pest controllers, shooters etc. I do all the selecting, skinning, packaging etc. This gives me total quality control – hopefully resulting in a better product. I also buy in and import a few items. I do a fair bit of shooting myself and this also contributes a few bits and pieces.

I have all the dyeing custom done for me.

You must get a lot of orders – do you ship worldwide – ever get any strange requests?

Yes get all sorts of weird requests. Especially from tyers of Classic Salmon flies and North Country Spiders. Many are trying to tie flies from over 100 years ago which rely on materials from species which are now strictly protected – obviously it is not legally possible to resource such materials except from old materials collections and old taxidermy specimens. The two spider fly materials I regularly get asked for are Landrail (old name for Corncrake) and Dotterel both of which are now really rare in the UK – but were once more common and were then shot.

So do you have sources for old taxidermy specimens ?

Anywhere you can find them Ebay, Auctions, antiques fairs – usually the best finds you just stumble across.

So do you actively look for hard to get items before you are asked?

Just keep an eye open for the unusual stuff – if you find it their are always people on the waiting list.

Anything strange on your list just now?


Florican Bustard
Blue Chatterer
Colobus Monkey
etc etc

Most will never be obtained unless some old collections come available

Got any final words?

Just that I think that flytyers sometimes fail to appreciate natural materials – they are all beautiful in their own right – not just something to use with careless abandon in the pursuit of catching more fish!

I have got to ask you to explain that one Steve – you mean that there is more to materials than catching fish – like the beauty of a nice feather or the softness of fur?

Correct – and they come from living things which are pretty amazing too!

Is there anything you have ever refused to supply?

Not really – as long as its legal

So there ya go – Steve can get you just about any legal fly tying feather you are after – he also puts a lot of hard work into organising the British Fly Fair.

Imagine having Steve as your teacher at school – probably one of the most enjoyable lessons going (between smoking sessions behind the PE block)

A Contemplative Man

So Sunday evening I had a big family meal – full of fajitas I decided I wanted to go and catch some fish – problem was I could not be bothered getting my shit together to catch some trout – I stringed up my Loop Pike Booster and “ahem” boosted a few hundred yards from my front door to the Forth N Clyde canal.

The Pike were not playing ball – even the perch were just chasing my fly – every now and then I would spook tiny jacks by just walking past them.

I had one hook up and that was too a cruising Pike that was just simply swimming along in plain sight – it was maybe three feet long (you measure Pike in feet not inches) and was cruising a few inches under the surface at walking speed. I walked along next to it for 20 feet and then I ran ahead – no pictures of the green submarine as my heart was pounding like a steam engine – I cast at the beast and stripped my fly past its snout – it changed direction and snapped at the fly – it was on.

Here Be Monsters

Here Be Monsters

Two things happened.

1. I thought how the hell am I going to land this beast as there was about 3 feet of vegetation between us and I was two feet above it

2. The beast jumped clean out the water – gave me a glare straight from the depths of hell and spat my fly back at me.

I walked home a contemplative man.

The last time I fished…

Bemused at lack of trout action...

Bemused at lack of trout action...

Sea Lamprey’s in the Kelvin (Sex Show)

I was given this lovely video of Sea Lamprey’s  in the Kelvin last night by Charlie Dunn – he braved the “Heebie Jeebies” to follow them and film them having sex on his mobile phone.

More info on Sea Lampreys can be found here.

This has got to be a good sign for the cleanliness of the river.

What could have been!

Thursday – hot – roasting hot – Glasgow was boiling – overcast and oppressive – Kelvin has no water so we headed to the big sister/brother The Clyde in search of some kind of evening rise – it was even hotter out that way with the added problem of there being no clouds – we cast to spooky sporadically rising trout (possibly huge) which were not interested in my huge flies – and only a couple of smaller ones were interested in my fishing buddies molecular sized flies.

Spooky Water

Spooky Water

At dusk into darkness the long slow pool came even more alive with trout – big ones too – at one point I looked down the long slow pool and could hardly count the number of rising trout – we could not work out what they were taking – we could not see anything on the surface – no spinners, duns – I suspected they were taking something just under the surface – when I tried casting a fly which sunk just under the surface the trout ignored it.



Finally a trout took my fly – I had put on a deer hair emerger out of sheer desperation – I spotted some nervous water and drifted my fly downstream over it – a trout nosed towards my fly causing a v and gulped it down – I set the hook– it ripped 20 yards of fly line before jumping all over the pool – when I landed it I estimated it to be around 2lb – a monster brown in anyone’s book.

More than Two Location shots mean no trout caught!

More than Two Location shots mean no trout caught!

Hang on – that story was totally fabricated – what actually happened was I had put on a deer hair emerger out of sheer desperation – I spotted some nervous water and drifted my fly downstream over it – a trout nosed towards my fly causing a v and gulped it down – I set the hook and with an almighty splash the trout was gone.

What could have been eh?

From the urban – to the not so!

It is sometimes easy to see why some people think the Kelvin is not an urban river – especially from the pictures that I post on this site. You see – there is a green corridor that cuts through Glasgow and down this passageway the Kelvin runs – the corridor has its own compliment of wild animals including its very own deer population. The whole length of the river is covered in bruises from its industrial past – a lot of the river bed is not just made up of gravel – it is made up of masonry from old mills and destroyed bridges.

Kelvin Maryhill

Kelvin Maryhill

I love walking along this green corridor – you feel as if you are doing something secret – when you see the ruined bridges and old abandoned mills it makes you think of what the river will be like in another hundred years – in fact it makes you wonder what the whole city will be like !

While fishing the river you feel as if you are doing something secret – especially if you are somewhere only an angler can get to – this is why I like to find wee spots that are not easily accessible – you are still guaranteed solitude.

To the not so Urban..

I took reader Ewen Thomson out for a trip to the Clyde on Friday night – rumours of my death from swine man flu have been greatly exaggerated  by the way.

(Ewen is a TV Director – his current show is on Sky 1 and is called “Ross Kemp in Search of Pirates” – seeing as how he faced up to pirates I reckoned he was man enough for the Kelvin however it is desperately needing rain – the last time I fished it an evening rise just did not occur)

Turned out the Clyde is in need of rainfall as well- the rocks stuck out parched like bones…

Bones of the River

Bones of the River

Still, we both managed to catch some trout on the dry fly and Ewen managed to catch his first Clyde trout within a few minutes of starting which took the pressure off things.

Ewan Thomson

Ewan Thomson

Ewen is sporting a rather nice pair of Polaroids bought using the discount code I mentioned a few posts back – I forgot to ask him what he thought of them – I found them great in the low light conditions – this section of river has treacherous wading which means a good pair of quality Polaroids are a must to see ankle breaking boulders never mind your fly on the water.

At around 11pm the wind picked up blowing sedges and upwings into our faces, hair and mouths – the trout responded for a few moments and were then gone.

Talking of sedges – they are out in force on the Kelvin – now where is my cdc and deer hair – I have a dozen sedges to tie up!

Friends of the River Kelvin – Gala Day Video