Stress Relief

A two day migraine Thursday and Friday followed by a rather snazzy ocular migraine on the Saturday due to sleep deprivation, selling house (and packing up house), preparing for a job interview plus the usual work related stress stuff left me wanting a simple fishing experience on the Sunday.  Consequently the Kelvin was hit by Jim Burns and I in the hope of tempting some rising trout into some action on Sunday.

I enjoyed trying out the new steps set int the wall.

I enjoyed trying out the new steps set int the wall.

Jim was unlucky, every time we got to a pool we would spot a trout rising and I would give him the first bash at it so that I could get an action shot..

Go catch that fish so that I can take your picture!

Go catch that fish so that I can take your picture!

Of course what would happen is that it was always the trickiest damned cast anyone could take. While he was busy trying to get into position or attempting to remove his fly from some overhanging tree branches I would saunter down and catch a few easy ones.

The White House Pool

The White House Pool – we are an imaginative lot!

It was strange actually as the day was overcast and warm however every now and again we would feel a blast of cold in our faces. There were olives coming off in only a few spots in the West End and we just could not figure it out. We walked up the river to a long slow pool where we usually see risers and saw nothing, eventually Jim did catch a fish.

We found a grave!

We found a grave!

I caught a few trout, this was one of the good ones…

Trout

Trout

We ended up heading up the river and it was shite and cold. I got home and was then hit with a weird 12 hour bug that left me shivering, sleepy and wanting to vomit.

Sweet!

Today (Tuesday) however was a different ball game, hot sunshine and it actually felt kinda like summer. I ventured down to my local stretch to meet a couple of guys just packing up. One of the guys I recognised and he told me all he had caught were a lot of half pounders. Now, a half pound trout is in fact a reasonably sized river trout so I really do not see a reason to complain.

I walked to the river and did not see any rising trout whatsoever. I walked up and down several hundred yards of water, had a few speculative casts where I thought I saw a dimple and looked at the trees.

Leaves on the trees!

Leaves on the trees!

Unforgettably, I caught absolutely bugger all and disturbed a couple in their twenties  involved in some kind of covert sex act. The bloke looked even more glum as I walked past them a second time scanning the river for rising trout. 

He should have been happy as at least he was getting some action on the riverbank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redington Sonic Pro Stocking Foot Wader Review

I read somewhere that breathable waders come in two types:

1. Those that are leaking.

2.Those that are about to leak.

As much as people laugh at this it is absolutely and totally true. Of course what you want to know is the time it takes between your waders getting from the 2nd type to the 1st type. Many aspects of wader design can be considered to lengthen this time:seams, layers, materials etc and of course where you fish as no fancy seam will guard against a barbed wire fence. So choosing what waders  are going to be bought next stress a lot of guys out.

My fishing buddy Alex was in the market for a new pair of waders and we got to discussing the pros and cons of various types. We met up in the Glasgow Angling Centre where we had a fair selection to examine closely and compare notes about what works with waders and what does not. He was actually considering buying a pair made by Airflo however I scared him away from them as two of my pals had complained about the fact they have weird bladders in the legs that fill up with water as you wade. Obviously it is some kind of feature of the wader however instead is an epic fail.

So we examined all the waders and discussed where the waders usually fail, the classic place is at the seams. All that bending, squatting and stretching puts a strain on the leg area.I pointed out that my new Redington Sonic – Pro’s do not have seams made in the normal way and then remembered I was supposed to write  a review about them and instead have been enjoying them without any responsibilities at all (they sent me a pair to review last year)I rushed home and started thinking about why they are a fine pair of waders. I was glad that I have been out in them a good few times to give them a workout.

To be fair I suppose us urban fly fishers are kinda rough on waders as we climb over rusty fences, slide down walls and squeeze along brick buildings. Additionally considering you are usually driving between beats on an urban river (especially my home river the Kelvin) they have got to fit well. Of course it helps matters if you do not look like a total wahoo walking through the suburbs.

So where to begin? For a start traditional wader construction consists of sewn fabric then sealing with water-proof tape to cover the many stitch holes. These holes are where waders fail and start to leak. Usually after a season you can start finding damp patches on your legs or embarrassingly around your crotch and you end up using aquasure on what feels like a new pair of waders. Redington’s new method  features “Ultra Sonic Welding”, which is where holes are eliminated. Through the welding process the materials are just as (if not more) durable as sewn seams, but the welding process leaves the seams flat and eliminates wear and stress at this vulnerable point. I imagine someone standing in their factory shouting at the waders to “not bloody leak” for a couple of hours however obviously it is all a bit more technical than that.  The construction of the waders feel great, I ordered a pair simply from inputting my body shape (short and a wee bit tubby) and the cut feels like they are  individually tailored. They have a zippered, brushed micro-fleece hand warming pocket and a laser cut exterior pocket with a water resistant zipper, obviously do not trust this zip too much to keep your phone or camera dry however for other things it should do the job.

sonicpro-229x550Additional inside storage is provided by a flip-out interior welded storage pocket with a mesh pocket with additional places to put your gear. The waders come with a 2-inch stretch wading belt with Redington buckle, Gravel guards with custom moulded lace hook and Hemostat clamp d-ring. The belt is the comfiest I have worn and it sits nicely on the waist. I found the lace hook slightly too small to fit over the laces of my Orvis boots however I am not going to grumble about it too much as probably all it needs is some extra effort. The built in gravel guards are great, I have no idea why not all waders have them.

I chose the size of the waders through the Redington website – the sizes were spot on and I have a kinda of a funny shape. When crouching down I did not feel like the seems were being put under any pressure.

The uppers of the waders feature 3-layer DWR fabric and a large portion of the lowers are 4-layer (the darker color). The front has 4-layer up to mid-thigh. And in the rear,  the 3 extends all the way to the wading belt for added protection. I like that as I find that these are the areas that get the most damage when barging through brambles or sliding 5 foot down almost vertical banks.

You can see the 4 layers come up to mid thigh…handy going through brambles and other scratchy bushes.

I have mentioned how comfy these waders are and I would just like to reiterate this fact again. I wear my waders with a pair of thermal long johns underneath whether it be blazing hot or just a bit chilly and I have found them comfortable at all times. They just feel like you are wearing a nicely fitted pair of trousers. The belt is tight enough that it actually does the job of pulling the waist in and keeping the waist where it is supposed to be. Obviously I could not test the safety aspect of the belt (to keep water out if you fall in) however it feels tight enough and wide enough to do the job. Redington have certainly not been in my list of makes of waders to go for in the past however these bad boys have propelled them into top off the class territory.

redington-sonic-pro-pocket

It has two inside pockets and a place to keep forceps etc.

They have other types (some with zips) that you can ckeck out over on their site. 

In the car it is easy to drive with them on and I get lots of admiring glances from women out walking their dogs next to the river. Well, the driving bit is true anyway!

My usual benchmark for checking out prices is the GAC  and they currently have them at the price of £250 which places them firmly in the middle market of waders. The middle market of price however with the features and durability of waders a lot more expensive. I did find them for a touch under at around £225 so it pays to shop around. Always make sure you do a spot of the haggling when it comes too waders, often you can get a discount on a pair of boots if bought at the same time. For some reason breathable waders appear to be the one piece of gear that are consistently discounted every year.

Bottom line  I think they are great and if you are in the market for a new pair of waders you could do a helluva lot worse for your money (although not much better)

An afternoon right up the shit pipe!

The weather was for high winds, heavy showers and low temps. Feck all that lets go to the river of shit pipes on Sunday I said to myself on the Saturday as I was starting to feel real withdrawal from fishing. Usually at this time of the year we can choose to not go fishing however finding the times to hit it right has been getting difficult.

I managed to convince a couple of fishing buddies to come along to the shit pipe river (so called because of all the weird pipes and sewage in the river) and the game was on.

Alex was first up seeing as how he was driving so he fished the first pool – one I knew would produce a fish. He fished his dry and dropper and first cast almost the dry plummeted down and a nice fat brownie came to his net..

First fish from the banker pool!

First fish from the banker pool!

I managed the 2nd trout however after a quick splash on the surface it was gone. I was pretty gutted as it looked a fair old size from my high vantage point however we had only been their a few mins so reckoned it could only get better.

Jim then had a bash with no joy and we started walking down the river. The temp at around 1pm was around 8 degrees, the wind had not materialized and the rain was non existent -  nice one BBC Weather!

We walked up the river, the same thoughts went through our heads as we walked along – bandit country!

Its a dead sheep next to a giant cage - what the fuck?

Its a dead sheep next to a giant cage – what the fuck?

We speculated whether the dead sheep had anything to do with the giant cage next to it. The cage was empty, Jim remembers seeing something about a guy catching crows on the telly however on closer inspection the mystery was not solved. The smell of the dead sheep was pretty horrible, was it bait for something? Some monster that feeds off dead sheep next to a sewage and polluted river?

We fished on!

Fishing this wee river gets even more difficult later on in the year as the leaves start growing on the trees. It is tricky enough as it is.

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Oh, even though the fishing was difficult we still all managed to pick up trout. There was the odd time I cursed the branches that would make casting and fishing a nice looking wee pool impossible and I considered bringing a saw with me next time to take away a few branches. Nothing crazy, just a few of the branches that made fishing a pool impossible. I suspect I have thought about this before and would probably do it if I fished here very often. The problem is sometimes this river runs a milky color which makes the trout unresponsive. I have had SEPA out investigating however they could not come up with an answer as to what it was.

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The trout were not easy won. I felt as if I was spending the afternoon changing from a dry and dropper to a dry. When I spotted a rising trout I would then have to take off my dry and dropper for a proper olive imitation – the trout would then bugger off or I would get my fly caught in a tree.

An Olive.

An Olive.

The river is not wide however has pool after riffle after pool.

When we stopped at a pool we would scan it for risers before hitting it with a nymph.

When we stopped at a pool we would scan it for risers before hitting it with a nymph.

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There are of course some sections that are quite easy to fish.

My most enjoyable trout was to the dry, it was rising close in to a bridge. I covered it a few times and I missed it once. It took the 2nd time and it was a corker of a fish.

"Sit there for a hero shot"

“Sit there for a hero shot”

A great afternoons sport, I ignored the two chaps with the beachcasters who strolled past.  Possibly on their way to check their cage to see if they had caught anything in it.

 

Hey Buddy!!!

Hey buddy, long time no see!

Hey buddy, long time no see!

An uneventful birthday…

Well, I do not know if it will be or wont be as it is actually next week and I am saying it is uneventful as it is my last year of being in my 30s so in the grand scheme of things it is not like a “big” birthday yet is kinda symbolic…….and breathe!

I hope I can get the day off work and go fishing for a few hours.

If not I hope I can convince my boss to let me away a couple of hours early for a spot of trouting.

If any of you fancy buying me a birthday gift you can head over to my Amazon Wishlist and have something sent straight to my house. Alternatively you can just do a nosy at all the stuff that takes my fancy - I happen to like old school aftershaves and shaving okay!

 

The Airflo Story

I will be honest and say that I have not used an Airflo line in years. They used to have a reputation of being a bit poor however to be honest I never noticed any difference between them and other makes. Like anything some folk swear by them and some do not!

Kieron Jenkins shared a video discussing Airflo fly lines up on YouTube which is actually pretty interesting.

Follow Airflo’s Production Manager Richard Wothers for a behind the scenes look into the development and production of Airflo fly lines. An on the water and in the factory tour explaining Airflo’s patented materials and processes.

Check it out:

 

Rained overnight, the temp has now risen giving us….

Presented without comment.

Presented without comment.

Oh Fuuuuuuu….

So last night I got the vice out and tied some flies.

At last.

I am one of those people who do actually need to have a purpose to tie flies so the fact that I needed some comparaduns to imitate olives was good enough reason to get the bad boy out and get tying. However forget about seeing any pictures of them as I totally forgot.

Instead have a report.

I managed an hour or so after work today, it was touch and go however seeing as how I had some outstanding child care in the shape of my Mother n’ Law I was able to squeeze it in. When I got to the river I thought I was totally wasting my time however by the time I walked along the stretch a hundred yards I spotted a trout popping up from the depths to start taking one of the many olives that were drifting slowly down. It was around 7 degrees.

There is nothing nicer when fishing than seeing a confident riser.

I watched the trout come up from the depths to take the fly...

I watched the trout come up from the depths to take the fly…

It fought like a beast and put a bend in my four weight.

I walked/scrambled up the river until I came to what looks like a new bothy that someone has built.

Every season these wee bothies spring up along the Kelvin, sometimes it is alcoholics and cannabis smokers getting some nature time!

Every season these wee bothies spring up along the Kelvin, usually it is alcoholics and cannabis smokers getting some nature time!

I kept on walking up the bank until I got as far as I could without getting into the water until I had too. I waded out into the river as I spotted some risers in the pool in front of me. It was like walking on ice, a combination of ledges with old weed and felt soles made every step dangerous. I took baby steps until I got around half way cross. It was at this point I started to slide, I was going down into the water and totally shit myself. Out loud I said “Oh fuuuuuuu..” before stopping a few inches lower than I started after travelling/sliding around a foot and a half. I must have looked like some kind of crazy skier sliding into the water.

I mean it was not that deep, maybe up to my wait however it was deep enough to give me a proper dunking. I stayed on the ledge and started to inch my way back, I knew as long as I could follow a sandy bar I should be alright – it started to rain.

Obviously no dunking occurred and I walked down the riverbank.

I spotted another riser behind some fallen trees however I judged that it was just not worth it.

So the rising trout was beyond these trees, obviously after the experience with the ledge I was being a bit cautious..

So the rising trout was beyond these trees, obviously after the experience with the ledge I was being a bit cautious..

Oh, and it was still raining. It did not stop me from catching another trout though.

This one rose twice in some slack water, the trout  kissed the surface!

This one rose twice in some slack water, the trout kissed the surface!

This is where it lived.

This is where it lived.

As you can see the water is a bit of a funny color, it is probably snow melt causing it to be that milky way rather than something else more sinister. It was strange today, it was back to not really feel like Spring, it felt more like Autumn fishing apart from the new keen spring trout. On the way back to the car I met a gent who fishes the Leven regularly for Salmon and we had an interesting conversation.

From here on in the temps are set to rise reaching some giddy double digits by Sunday.

Bring it on!

Static Accounts!

I managed a second trip out after work the other day however this time it was a much chillier affair. Even though the temp was hovering around the 7 degree point the wind chill brought it down significantly. Consequently the spot I chose for the assault was a poor decision as it is quite exposed as it is wide.

It is was exposed and low.

It is was exposed and low.

I checked a few likely runs for some risers however the place appeared barren. I walked up to a long bend that is usually a good place to pick up some trout however it was being whipped up by the chilly wind, no self respecting olive would be seen ascending in that water.

I walked down the river a distance and spotted two risers under a bridge.

Under the bridge.

Under the bridge.

I have spotted trout under this bridge before and just like then they proved to be incredibly spooky not even letting me get one cast at them before disappearing. It feels strange casting for trout as the noise of buses and cars thunder above you.

I walked further down and rearranged the floral tributes that had been left for Daniel Marchbank the angler who drowned in the Vet School. Some of the flowers had fallen over in the wind. I have stayed away from this spot even whilst being out for my run and this was the first time I had taken a walk down.

Flowers for Daniel Marchbank

Flowers for Daniel Marchbank

I decided to not walk any further downstream at this point as quite frankly the mood had been taken from me. Like I say I have ran through the Vet School a few times since the boy drowned and I have not seen anyone fish the pool. I suspect folk will stay away until the flowers are gone as a mark of respect. The association is in negotiation for some kind of danger sign to be erected at the pool however at the moment the flowers do just as well.

The Sandy Pool

The Sandy Pool

A chap sat on the opposite bank with a pram next to him, it was an older man so I suspected it was not his child. I looked at the opposite side of the pool where olives tend to gather resulting in rising trout in front of the island however there were none. You can walk up the pool from the island maybe a quarter of the way before you feel the dip of the pool drop off starting. In the above picture you can see the ledges on the right which you can walk out on. They can be slippy and one juts out slightly further than the others. Pretty much the only time I would wade them is the depth you can see now. On the day that Daniel drowned it was maybe a few inches over that with the color of snowmelt which would have meant seeing the ledges would be impossible. I always wondered why this is such a sandy pool, is it because a lot of people come to this pool and just over time the vegetation has worn away?

I walked up the river and had another stab at the trout under the bridge however my heart was not really in it. I had a tight timescale to keep and I knew the trout were not going to respond in the hour or so I was there.

A budding tree leaf...

A budding tree leaf…

Thankfully it looks like we are heading towards proper Spring weather at last. I always find it amazing at this time of year as one moment the trees are bare and the next everything is green. I had tied up a few flies the other night and was disappointed that I never had the chance to properly cover a rising trout.

I suppose that is “spring” for you!

This made me smile…

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