Dark miserable January. The days are short and the nights are long. This morning going into work felt like the longest away I will ever be from a nice warm summer day casting a dry fly to a rising trout. Even the Pike are not playing ball at the moment. After doing a lot of research on the net into possible Pike venues I came up with somewhere that looked promising – somewhere that seemed neglected, and Pike thrive on neglect. Anyway, with all the rain the venue essentially turned into what looked like a muddy ditch. We still had a few casts but considering the water looked the colour of milky tea we decided to try elsewhere. By elsewhere I mean we decided to visit the fishing equivelant of a brothel.
Yup – we went to a trout fishery. A stocked hole in the ground with as much character as a politician talking about strategy. If you must know it was Carbeth Trout Fishery – the first thing that annoyed me was that even though they had signs up saying you could fish for four hours on a £7 catch and release ticket they bloke behind the counter informed us that we could not get them as too many people were handling the fish roughly causing finger marks. On reflection I think we should have made a bit of a fuss about that but we coughed up the cash and got fishing. I say got fishing as needless to say we all caught nothing – well Alex caught an out of season brown trout which looked wild – not sure how it got in there as it the pond is just a dug hole. It was an absolute fluke actually – his lure got caught on a discarded piece of nylon which just happened to be attached to the fish. There was a lead weight attached to it as well – so much for the “fly only” pool. Just goes to show you that Alex can pretty much go anywhere and still catch a fish.
Oh yea, so today I get into my office at 8am – its all open plan and something catches my attention, something fluttering on the ceiling, cant quite make out what it is, it comes closer – a Butterfly ?? In January? The only thing I can think of is the heat in the office somehow managed to hatch its egg. I watched it flutter around the office with a smile on my face – other people noticed it but did not seem to have the same wonder about it – sure they found it odd but not something to really ponder about. Is it something about fisherfolk that think more of these things as it reminds us of the time when casting flies to eager trout is possible ?
I have just finished reading “Salmon Fishing in the Yeman” – it was one of those books that have been floating around in my consciousness for a while now so I decided to add it to my wishlist for Christmas. It is a pure work of fiction about a fishery scientist who is asked and then forced into coming up with a way to transport and ensure that Salmon run up a river in the middle of a desert.
Highly enjoyable, it is written in diary, letter and interview format –lots of “in” jokes regarding the angling press although if someone is not a fisherman then they will still get the idea about the joke. All in all – a mighty find read.
For the love of God……..WHY?????
The Fish Pen
Driving a few hundred miles up the road to Scotland to England I managed to see first hand the countryside changing to one covered with snow. The borders were probably the worst and the news went on about people being trapped in cars and only to travel if absolutely necessary. However that was a few days ago now and most of the snow has now disappeared and that is the problem – it will all have gone straight into the rivers meaning a distinct lack of grayling action. Armed with this info when I was asked by the gruesome twosome Alex and Alan if I wanted to accompany them for some grayling action I decided to stay in my bed. There is always a danger in doing this as days where you think everything might go wrong can possibly turn out to be fantastic however I decided to go with my instincts and got out of bed at a leisurely 1030.
Turns out I was spot on – I gave them a bell in the afternoon “oh sure” said Alan “I have just had two, combined weight around 2lb” Yegads, I thought, my highly tuned anglers sense has let me down (not for the first time have I cursed that flabby muscle) should I immediately start planning a drive up to a local grayling haunt. However, it turns out they were merely pulling my leg, after arriving at the river to find a flood of biblical proportions they turned around (a round trip of almost 200 miles) and ended up at Harelaw. They are obviously of sturdier stuff than me; I would have probably suggested a light pub lunch and a discussion of tactics for this coming year.
Sitting here on hogmany browsing around thinking about the new year – we have only around 70 odd days to go before the new trout season opens. I would like to think I would get some pike fishing done over the next month however it now looks like the weather will be against us all. The UK is to be hit by a big freeze making temperatures plummet to around -17 in the Midlands, it is all thanks to winds from Siberia seemingly.
Ah well – have a good 2008 you guys ! I hope to be meeting you on the river bank at some point.
Well, here is a bit of juicy info that seemed to pass me by. It seems the entire Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association Committee has resigned due to accusations of mismanagement of finances and mistrust by the members around the way they are running things. One resignation letter points directly at a forum set up by a member of the club – Robbie – stating that a whispering campaign has been going on for some time against the committee. I am an occasional visitor to the forum and yes, I have noticed a distinct bias towards thinking the committee is rubbish however I do think that most people think the way their own organisation is run is usually that it is a pile of old tosh.
Take The Kelvin for example – I took the hump with them as they don’t seem to act on anything – poaching, river management, the refusal to put up one sign saying you need a permit to fish the river, however they don’t let that stop them doing nothing !
Anyway, what I will say about the Leven is the reports in the popular UK magazine Trout & Salmon are usually totally inaccurate. I regularly speak to guys down on the river who tell me they have had a pretty poor season however to read the reports you would think every Tom, Dick and Harry was hauling the Salmon in.
Just goes to show you I suppose!
edit: I am liking the new design of the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association website. I also particulary like the two blogs which are part of it:
Tales from the Loch
Santa Claus, Christmas Eve – thoroughly pissed off!!
The wife refused to have sex with him before he left for work, those bloody elves are demanding more money as usual for hardly even a days hard graft (for the love of God they want four breaks a day) and to top it all the computer discs Santa uses to store all the children’s names, addresses and what they want as a present has been lost by an underling…..everything seems to be going wrong.
Just as Santa is about to start shouting at those bloody elves again the chief fairy wanders up with a Christmas tree – “Here pal” she says “ where you wanting this tree?”
And that my friend is why you put the fairy on the top of the tree!!
That’s it lads – we are almost there! The winter solstice is upon us and from now on the days will be fair old drawing in. I think this is a special time for the dedicated trout angler as it signifies a turning point in the long dreary winter – a faint glimmer of hope that the new season is just around the corner, warm summer days, olives on the water, trout splashing at your dry fly.
I was looking through my photographs – pretty much the only thing that I saved after I formatted my computer and lost everything (this happened two days ago and I am still in shock) and found this photo. Now, I don’t have many regrets but I wish I had taken a better picture of it. It was a truly lovely trout and I reckon well up there as one of my biggest on the dry fly.
I suppose I need to get my ass in gear and tie up some flies…
None essential items used in the catching of fish that I do not actually need but still require:
- Lypsyl – ever since I was around 15 years old I used to get cracked chapped lips in the cold or heat. I then started to use lypsyl to keep them moist and…well….un cracked. This has helped me plenty of times when I have been fishing and realised I have no floatant – a little drop of the lypsyl and the fly floats all day.
- Camera – ok, some people are going to say this is not a necessity (and some people are going to say my photos are rubbish anyway) but I like taking my camera fishing and taking pictures of the fish I catch and the people I fish with. It gives me a record of the places I fish – on a winter’s night I can relive those hot summer days when I fished with friends.
- Sunglasses (Polaroid’s) – there are few things that would make me turn around and go home – I reckon sunglasses are up there with a rod and line when it comes to necessity. Other than for spotting fish they just make fishing more pleasurable, they keep the sun out of your eyes and can stop a nasty headache developing because of the glare off the water. I have fished without my hat – occasionally I forget to put it on – I never forget to put my sunglasses on. There is also the safety aspect – I had to go back to the house last week and pick them up – my wife asked why I needed sunglasses on a cloudy winter’s day – she understood after I had shown her the enormous pike hook that would be swinging past my eyes at speed.
- Water – I can honestly say I have never been truly thirsty in my life – I need to force myself to take water with me and to drink regularly. If I did not I would not fish on top form.
- My Buff – I have two buffs – a polar one and a plain material one. The polar one is great when it is cold as it can turn into a wee hat when it is not keeping my neck warm. The material one keeps the sun off my neck and covers as a midge stopper during the summer.
What can you not do without ?
No, not from me – but Mike over at Tamanawis. Possible the most awesome post I have read in a long time.
Fly Tying Materials Storage – the FARTS system.