I feel as if I have stomped all over the Central Belt of Scotland with just a hint of travelling far North. To my shame I have traveled more in England than I have in Scotland. Before the kids arrived I went camping up North for a couple of weeks with my wife however never made it up as far as John o Groats, well finally we did make it and have a picture to prove it.
We were up for a few days staying at Thurso which would have been great for the trout fishing if it had been a couple of months ago however now the season has ended and the Salmon season was way over my budget I was faced with the Sea. So I managed to affix my beachcaster and tripod to the roof bars and some advice sought on some forums and from pals I was off.
I have got to admit that I am a total rooky to Sea fishing however learning about a whole new branch of the sport has really got me interested. Up in Thurso it was fairly standard that I wanted to go fishing, I mean the fishing boats came in at Scrabster and I should maybe have fished their however I decided to fish along at Dunnet Bay purely as I had visited it during the day and it seemed nice. Seemingly Sea Bass are caught at this bay (which seems to be a bit of a sea fish holy grail) however I would be happy with a small flounder. I think it was while I was on the telephone to fishing buddy Alex that I realised my hooks were to big. Anyway, I had been fishing for a while with some mackeral strips that I had carved off a whole fish that I had bought from Tesco that morning when I realised that I did have some smaller hooks in a packet in my bag however by this point it was getting dark and I could not continue because I could see nothing and had forgotten a torch.
Of course what made me feel like an extra special amateur was when a couple of blokes walked down the beach looking like the characters from Tron, I mean they even had little neon things on their tripod and fishing rods. “These guys..” I mused..”know what the fuck they are doing” Of course, these guys had timed it right for proper dark and had all their stuff set up. You learn something new every time you go fishing and this time I learnt some serious lessons:
Still, I had a good time and even when a boy zipped up on his quad bike it was only to ask me if it was ok to zoom around behind me – he looked like he was having great fun speeding up and down the beach.
On the way back up the road I got a chance to see some of the scenery which I missed out on when I was driving up.
I am more used to scrabbling through bushes and casting between trees rather than walking over marshy uneven ground to get to my fishing. It was strange then that my uneasiness about falling and twisting an ankle couple with my nimbleness improved after some whisky as a few pals and I toasted the end of the season before starting fishing.
We decided that the end of the trout season needed something a little bit different, as the Kelvin and most other rivers were out of action the sport was provided by a trip up to a loch. The whiskey was provided by Alex in little white plastic cups!
The forecast was to be breezy and warm for the day and this was kind of true apart from the fog that descended on us at one point reducing visibility to a hundred yards or so.
I am woefully equipped for loch fishing, my 7 weight is in storage and even then it is not an enjoyable rod to fish with especially now that I have borrowed Paul’s Hardy 7 weight which was great to fish with the whole day – it had one of those “Shark Skin” lines on the reel which gave a funny zinging sound every time I cast and retrieved which kind of cut through the stillness of the day.
It rained on and off, this made the ground slippy and brought out the shrooms..
I was using a two cast set up with a Kate McLaren on the bob fly and I am not sure what on the point. I walked up to the top of the loch where a burn flowed in and started to fish. Within a few casts I had a couple of takes and after the second I covered the same water and caught a lovely hard fighting almost black trout. I always find catching trout in lochs strange as I feel they have nowhere really to go unlike rivers where they usually head straight for a shopping trolley or other handy snag.
Alex meanwhile had caught one on the other side of the loch which he said would have been nearer 2lb if it was not so thin. We took a bit of a gamble on this loch as one of us had heard it was full of Perch however there were no spiny beasts spotted at all.
Alex as usual was hauling in fat fish as he worked his way down the shore. I asked him his opinion of the loch and he was suitably impressed – from a guy that grew up stomping all over the hills of Northern Scotland that means something..
The trout liked a good splash…
Jim was catching trout on the dry while Paul was struggling with his 5 weight in the wind. He was very chivalrous in not asking for his damn rod back!
Meanwhile I caught another couple of trout within minutes of each other..
Of course after a bit the fog began to rise, Alex positioned me next to this cliff face and had me cast across it. It sure looked fishy however on this occasion nothing came from it.
How annoying that on the day of the season I find a brand new appetite for fishing lochs from the shore. In terms of tackle I used Pauls Hardy which begrudgingly I admitted was nice however it made me realise I need a nice fast actioned 10 foot 7 weight for next season. If anyone has any recommendations for a rod well under a ton let me know.
I had a look on the Glasgow Angling Centers Preloved Tackle page on facebook and was amazed at some of the bargains that have been their in the past, will let you know what I end up with!
So, I will give a good round up of the season later on in the month however when it comes to trout that is pretty much that!
You guys have a good season?
It is a sweet piece of kit which apart from being a watch also includes a compass, barometer, altimeter and increases your ultimate sexiness by a factor of ten. One of those was a half truth however I shall let you guess which one.
The altimeter has been good when I have been out hill walking as well as watching the numbers go up and down when zipping up and down in elevators in the high flats that I so often visit.
When fish are just nor responding we anglers like to come up with just about any old excuse and quite often we talk about the air pressure – the theory proposes that a dropping air pressure brings on feeding activity, rising pressure turns the fish off feeding, high pressure results in the fish moving to shallower water, and low pressure results in fish moving to deeper water. That is the standard theory however I have often found the opposite to be true – for example just before all this rain we had a period of high pressure and then the next day the pressure dropped – on the last night I fished for trout it was pretty tricky however I suppose that could have been something to do with the lower temps as well. Sometimes I think that the theory holds more weight in deep water like lakes or ponds rather than rivers as it may affect the movements of trout more.
However, I reckon it may just all be connected with the wind and rain that is connected to the changing of air pressure rather than the pressure itself.
Grab yourself a bargain.
I like the idea of the new start we have had on the Kelvin and thought it would be nice to commemorate it in some way. I keep hearing about these mythical “Gold Cards” that some guys got years ago when the association was formed and obviously it would be good to have done something on the 20th anniversary and the 25th anniversary is 4 more years ago so it would be nice to come up with something a bit sooner.
I was actually thinking about a rather snazzy enamel badge for each member. We could get get one for trout only permits and one for Salmon. I kinda half thought we could get a new badge for each year however considering how difficult it is to organise the permit packs maybe we could buy some of them and the members could order them from us?
We do not have a lot of folk on the Kelvin that buy the Trout/fly only ticket on the Kelvin. At £15 it is pretty good value for folk that want to add an extra river on to their existing list of rivers they fish in the West of Scotland and I was wondering if a custom badge would be something that may make them stand out a little bit more. At the moment a lot of guys are using the handy attachment on the back of their permit and attaching it on to their waistcoat or bag and I think that is great as it means you can instantly see whether someone has a permit or not. This is what I have been doing over the last season after being pulled up by a member when I was not carrying mine. The rules clearly state that if you catch a Salmon you must have your permit and your tags with you and I think that is why a lot of Salmon anglers have taken to wearing their badge at all times.
Personally I would rather have something that I could easily attach to my waistcoat and then forget about it – just like a wee badge.
What do you guys think?
Midway through the season I bought myself a wee handheld video cam – this wee thing here:
Kodak PlaySport Zx5 Full HD 1080P, Waterproof, Dustproof and Shockproof – Aqua
I had grand designs of taking some videos throughout the season however this is all I managed!
Went fishing on the Kelvin after work for an hour. River at a great height and the color of strong tea without the milk. Caught nothing however lots of trout rising….
The undergrowth is now at its wildest and it is strange to think that the end of the season is on its way. I spotted what I thought was a salmon however it turned out to be an otter..
It splashed about a bit and then after spotting me headed into the bushes. After a few moments the trout started to rise again.
I kind of regretted not going after the salmon however all my gear is in storage……
Off to Hamburg for a Stag weekend so no fishing, you can see some drunken mayhem on my twitter feed possibly.
After work I gained my early pass and drove to the starting point of a path that led close to the burn. As I was getting my gear together I realised that I had left my forceps and snips back at the house. No matter, I drove back to the house and picked them up; the only thing taking the time was the dodgy right turn onto the main road.
I heard a roaring noise as soon as I got close the burn and knew it was going to be a bit fuller after the rain we had last night. It was, and was totally fishable. At the bottom of the first big waterfall I caught maybe half a dozen, all micro trout with one slightly larger. I never managed to take pictures of the larger trout so you can imagine them instead.
It was a fairly steep ascent as there is a series of these waterfalls and at the bottom of each I would pick up a few trout. It was when I reached the last one that the problems started. This area has a fascination (a bit like North Lanarkshire) for barbed wire – I swear even some of the trees had the stuff wrapped around. It was not even a simple case of walking up the middle of the burn as every 50 yards an obstruction was across the river coated in barbed wire – even a metal fence had a wad of the stuff for good measure.
Added to the barbed wire was the issue with the casting. After the first few pools I was starting to regret not bring a Tenkara rod with me. I had considered it in the morning however it was one of the things I had left out the car after I had cleaned it on holiday.
The bigger trout were not that much bigger.
I scrambled back to the car as I decided to head to the Kelvin for a bit, turned out SEPA lied and it was up around a couple of feet…
Lots of Salmon coming off the Kelvin just now, I am still trout focused!