Pastures new for Emanuele

Emanuele picked me up; I was ready to go as soon as he arrived. The day looked promising, rain was forecast for later but the sky was mostly white with the odd dark cloud and patchy blue.

I have known and fished with Emanuele since around July 2004 – old time readers of the blog will remember him as the master of the dry fly- he still is, although has not been doing much angling the past year due to having a baby. I would probably say that out of all my fishing friends he is the one that has taught me the most. As soon as we started fishing together my knowledge rocketed – not just about fishing and entomology but about the ethos behind fly fishing. When I have been having a bad day (surprisingly often) and then caught a fish a loud “Well done” will ring out in his thick Italian accent. He is a mighty angler whose answer to just about every fly fishing problem is to “go microscopic”

He was also my first true fishing partner in my adult years and we have had many a good trout session together.

Alas, today was the start of a lot less trips together as due to his job he has had to move from Glasgow to Hull. Considering he moved to Scotland from Italy purely for the good trout fishing this is a bit of a blow. However, needs must come first with a young family to support and there will always be long weekends in the future – this I have been assured is reciprocal – just down the road from where he will be staying I hear there are some rather nice chalk streams.

Emanuele also introduced me to my other favorite spot of river (the unmentionable), the most beautiful place I think on Earth. I have asked my good wife to scatter my ashes there when I am gone (not on the Kelvin for the riff raff to pee on me), that is unless I actually drown there as the thorn in the side of this lovely nirvana is that the wading is outrageously difficult. The bottom is strewn with boulders and holes, moving sandbanks and sudden ledges which means you can go do knee deep to waist deep in a step. This is good trout water. On its day it can be very good – it can also act like a bloody stubborn donkey at times as well.

Anyway, for all these reasons I wanted Emanuele to have a good day, I wanted the river to give him a good send off.

I was not disappointed.

The day remained overcast, the rain did not materialize, hatch after hatch of small olives, blue winged olives and sedges. Trout rising from the moment we arrived until we left exhausted but happy. I hooked and lost a monster on the dry fly – later I would estimate it to be around 3lb – this with no exaggeration as I am getting a bit better at accurate measurements now. This turned out to be hard practice for me as my next big fish was taken at the exact same place a few moments later, considerably smaller but still one of my best trout at this stretch of river. Camera got all steamed up so a bit of a duff photo.

Trout after trout after trout.

Emanuele did very well too; every time I looked up he was releasing another fish.

It was only later when going through the photographs did I realize there was none of him today holding an actual fish – Makes it all the more necessary to meet up again soon.

On and Off

Air pressure can do funny things to trout – all week it has been unsettled with gusty winds. Saying that it can do funny things to people as well, on Sunday I went on a trip to the Tay with a faithful Kelvinator and came home with a migraine. It was strange, the day was overcast and warm, and there were flies on the water in the morning and then nothing for the rest of the day. I even used a dry and dropper in some long runs that just should have produced some trout but the river seemed devoid of trout. We caught some trout when we arrived at the river at around 9am – a nice one too at around the pound mark – no photo unfortunately as I thought I would be catching more throughout the day anyway. A migraine hit as soon as we left the water and I was left gritting my teeth and trying to stop myself being sick pretty much the while way home – fantastic impression to give !

During the week I was down on the Kelvin for a little evening session with a pal. The trout were on and off again within minutes. I hooked two nice trout and managed to land one of them. The weather was very unsettled, big gusts of wind which is usually a good indication the pressure was changing. It was also quite cold for June. Does anyone else find trout tricky when the weather is changing? I don’t mean just windy, as it can be very good fishing on other rivers that I fish when it is blowing a gale but an actual weather front moving in?


As I settled down to watch the river due to a severe shortage for rising trout for extended periods of time I found a big tangle of what looked like around 20lb+ mono. It was just lying on some rocks – I am still trying to decide what should be done about “anglers” that leave this type of mess around. I think it would be one job for a good bailiff force when checking permits to check appropriate fishing tactics. But hey, what I think and what actually happens are two entirely different things.

What do you think?

Email from Rob

Rob – a fine Kelvinator rose to the job of sending me a report with pictures of his trip to the Kelvin today:

Hi Alistair,

Just back from an afternoon on the Kelvin. The river is a surprisingly good height after all the rain, but still carrying a bit of colour. No real hatch to speak of today,a wee chilly breeze saw to that. Saw the odd segde, yellow may and olives here and there though. I ended up catching a dozen fish mostly 8″-10″, and a couple a bit nicer, which i took snaps of. Hope your training isn’t too grim!

Cheers,   Rob

My day just got better after hearing about your session Rob !

Alistair

 

Wet Wet Wet

Yes, wet wet wet – not the dodgy 80s group but more the fact it has rained pretty much all day. When I say pretty much I mean all day. Looking at the weather forecasts last night I knew things were going to be grim, all of them were forecasting heavy rain – they all (for once) got it right.

I arranged with a couple of pals to go to the Clyde but we all decided it was not going to be worth it. Instead I went to the upper reaches of a Kelvin tributary. I thought it might be fishable in the breaks in the rain.

Turned out I thought wrong.

Whilst casting aimlessly who should turn up on the way to a BBQ (indoor) but Emanuele the dry fly genius who at the moment is spending a lot of time with his new baby. He was one of the ones who was supposed to be joining me but decided against it to store up fishing points. He looked at my outfit- almost apologetically I showed him my dry and dropper (I can hear Alex cackling from somewhere) If he thought a dry and dropper was scraping the barrel he should have stuck around  for the main event which was when I fished a bloody great streamer through some deep pools. I never caught anything.On my way back I stopped in at the fish pass – it was a raging torrent – I did not see any Salmon.

No fishing until next week probably, I am at training all week.

Leave comments and let me know how you are all getting on. In fact here is a thought, seeing as how I am going to be out of action for the week you can all send me pictures of your trout (or Salmon, I am not overly fussy) and I will post them. Does not have to be a local river, I know you chaps in the states come here to read a bit of Kelvinator action.
Simply use the contact form to send me a quick email and I will get right back to you – I usually check my emails at around 5pm GMT

Looking forward to it !

June Fish Wild

The June edition of Fish Wild – the free online publication for anglers by anglers is now online.

Go get it.

Another Day, Another Night

I walk to the river. I felt uncomfortable walking home last night in my waders. Not just because I felt self conscious but because I did not like the damage I might have been doing to my studs on my boots. I changed into my waders at the river, slipping my sandshoes into my haversack , if I am going to make a habit of this I have got to get myself a simpler bag. I had not planned on going fishing today but seeing as how I had such a good night last night and I wouldn’t have been doing anything anyway I thought why not?

It was raining today and I sensed something different, the river was not alive with rising trout like last night, I fished up my starting pool only hooking small trout. I worked my way upstream past two guys bait fishing with a boy- they were casting worms to rising trout – we exchanged pleasantries and I moved on. There were some yellow mays on the water but the trout did not seem interested.

I got to a nice, deepish glide, no trout rising.

I thought to myself what should I do? – I decided on a dry and dropper, I cast twice and caught a nice trout.

I cast another couple of times and caught another nice trout this time in the belly – because it was foul hooked I thought it was bigger. I chuckled to myself as I give one of my fishing buddies such a ribbing for using this technique but it really does work when there are no trout moving. I cast and this time I hook a tree, I manage to pull the fly out but lose the nymph. “Ah – a penance” I think, for using a dropper, I smile again. I tie on another dropper and this time after a few minutes it too is in a tree – this time I lose the dry fly. “Ok” I think” “I get the message” I continue up the pool but do not connect with anymore fish. It starts to rain, everything has stopped. I decide not to carry on but to walk back down the river. A women is watching her Labrador splash around the pool I started in so I walkdown to the Petrol Pool, so called as when you are wading there is a smell of petrol that waves over you every now and then, I am not sure where it comes from. Classic Kelvin!

A man comes straight for me, stocky with hard eyes. I am worried initially, you can meet some strange people down this neck of the woods, however it turns out he is a regular Kelvinator.

- you see mate, I have fished this fuckin river for years, I was down here the other day and caught a trout, a pound and a half, caught it on a mepp, killed it , lovely and pink inside, tasted real nice.

I said I had only ever killed one trout from the Kelvin and it tasted oily so that was good news they must be improving. He recognised me from last year and we got to talking about people killing Salmon without a permit.

-there’s this guy down near Glasgow, fishes the river all the time, catches fuckin salmon all the time, as soon as he gets one he legs it home so that he doesn’t have to buy a permit.

I say the majority of people I meet don’t have permits either; this is why I don’t bother asking people anymore, what’s the point if no one in the club seems interested. I told him I thought some signs might be a good idea, he laughed.

-some signs and some people to enforce the fucking rules!!!.

He looked me straight in the face as he said this. By heck, I thought, if this chap enforced the rules it would make me buy a permit. That’s what the Kelvin needs, some hard as nails bailiffs.

I excused myself as I was watching some rising trout. It was colder now and was almost dusk, possibly the time when you are unsure whether you should be wearing Polaroid’s or not.

He hung around watching as I caught some tiny trout, smiling in obvious delight watching someone fish. He was making me nervous, like anyone does when they watch me fish. I had difficulty unhooking one of the trout, please don’t let this be a fish that dies, not in front of someone watching me – I am trying to portray myself as some kind of expert here, not sure at what, but some kind anyway. I smile as the hook finally comes free.

I concentrated working my way up the pool, it took me ten minutes. He was still watching, and had moved up past some bushes to watch me.

I concentrated on some fast pocket water, what the heck I thought, lets have another bash at a dry and dropper, and the man watched me tie it on. I fished for another few minutes and then lifted into a trout- a nice trout. I thought it may be foul hooked. Even though the fish was in fast water it held its own and gave a jump clear out the water – it was not foul hooked and was a big trout to be had on a fly for the Kelvin. I wrestled it to some slow water and brought it to hand, a quick photo….

I looked up but the man was gone.

The Kelvin – all seems right…

I walked to the river, it was around 5pm, and my hands were trembling I was so exited – I had not felt this exited for a while – I was not even like this on opening day. There was trout rising in the pool in front of me, I strung up my rod keeping one eye on the rising trout – the anticipation was lovely.

I cast, I cast again – I hooked a small trout. I then caught more small trout. I walked up the river. Some boys had started to fish behind me, they were using bubble float and worms – I walked further upstream. I continued to catch small trout – is this the quality of the Kelvin near the popular access points?

I carried on upstream, covering rising trout, sometimes spooking them sometimes brining them to hand. The river bank had changed a lot since I came this way last; the whole bank in a 10 yard section had come away pulling some tress into the river.

I carry on up river. I feel rain on my face, just spitting, I think how much colder it is today as opposed to yesterday. There are yellow mays on the water. I tie on a comparadun. I start to pick up bigger trout, consistently now. It is interesting as the little spot I had waded up to just looks so fishy and the last few years has always been barren to me. Now I pick up a nice trout every few casts- the largest just shy of half a pound.

I walk up further until I come to a more popular piece of water – there are around 5 guys all fishing – all with the fly. I watch one fish for a minute – he is covering unproductive water, slow water. I know he can’t have fished here before as that is the first section people head to- instead of exploring, covering the fast water with a dry fly- looking for risers. I talk to a rookie, using a Bruce and Walker 7-9 weight. He has no waders and he tells me it is his third time fishing. He asks me if I have caught anything – around a dozen I tell him, why lie? I give him a comparadun and tell him to cover water, next to the riffles. He is with friends who appear to know what they are doing, why are they not showing him how to fish? I explain some basic entomology, the lifecycle of a fly – I think it puts the risers we can see into perspective for him, why they are actually rising. I advise casting lessons, I have a friend who will do it, I advise him to go to the Kelvin website and email the guy who runs it (a little false modesty crept in) and he will pass on the details – not sure if he thinks I am a crank.

I walk back down the river, I cover the pools I have already fished, I catch more trout – the risers are getting smaller now. It is 10pm now, I walk home along a busy dual carriageway, I wonder what the people in the cars think of this character walking along in waders, waistcoat and strung up rod. Somehow I feel self conscious – was it just last year I did not hesitate at getting on a bus full of commuters in full fishing gear?

Tonight the Kelvin seems on form- all seems right- the trout are where they should be, if anything there seem more of them- I am glad at that as the last couple of years they have been getting scarce I think. It is cyclical maybe, a couple of hot summers can do strange things to Trout River, and we have had four.

I get home, check my emails, one from a friend, it contains a link to a news story- some of the best news I have heard in a while. Glasgow City Council said it was considering selling off Dawsholm Park to a private school but it is now to be turned into a nature reserve.

All seems right with the world.

[tags]Dawsholm Park [/tags]

Seeking Solitude

I looked for solitude over the weekend – after years of fishing alone I sometimes feel I need that sensation of isolation to get myself in the mood for catching trout. Sometimes I get uneasy when other people are around – I get distracted, watching what they are doing and not concentrating on where my flies are and what they might be doing.

I headed to a spot on another river however the water was a little thin. I caught a couple of trout using a dry and dropper but my heart was not really in it. It was a new stretch of river to me and I found myself wandering from pool to pool simply exploring. I went home feeling very contemplative and with my brain getting in gear for Saturday.

I contacted a couple of friends who said they were heading to the same stretch of river as me so I decided to head downriver to spend a bit of time by myself and wait for any action to start. I sat amongst some reeds at the side of the river taking in my surroundings. It was around 10am, there was a little wind and it had been raining on and off for the last hour or so.

It was beautiful, so peaceful and quiet; I listened to the birds, the insects and watched some ducks playing around in the water. I must have sat there a good hour just taking in my surroundings, very nice. I watched the water for any rising trout but did not see any.

Something felt different all of a sudden; I mean I did not see any flies drifting past or rising trout from where I was sitting but I just knew there had been a little change in the air. It was almost like something had switched on. The river is wide here – in this situation I break the river up into sections – I totally forget about the other side of the river and probably only truly concentrate on around the quarter that is closet to me, that is unless I spot a rise further away and then I will cover it. When covering water like this it can take a while for you to notice the features, there are always features even in big water, always little creases to cover- indents to be searched where a trout might be waiting to snap up a dry fly. Because I had been watching the water flowing for so long it seemed easier to spot the likely places a trout might be swimming.

I used a CDC and Elk, around a size 15 I think – it was quite small anyway. Within a couple of minutes I noticed a trout rise; I covered it and caught it. I covered the same water and then landed another. I slowly worked my way upstream and then my fly disappeared and I raised my rod into something solid that did not give. I knew it was a trout as the solidness moved a couple of yards from in front of me to my right. I did not see the fish even though the water was quite shallow, the fly pinged back in my face – the trout would stay in my imagination – later I would estimate its size to friends, but hey, who knows how big it was.

I continued working upstream just off the left bank however I must be spooking trout as I waded upstream as I got no more takes to my dry fly in a hundred yards. I spotted a riffle around 20 yards away and I wade slowly up to it- walking like a burglar. I see trout taking flies off the surface – when I describe the rise to friends later I click my fingers to show them what I mean – it is that kind of rise that could be a big fish or a small fish but it seems to leave a spattering of spray on the surface like a flash. I think you understand. I hook a couple of trout and then something substantial rises in slower water to my right. I cast and cover it – I think the trout will be spooked as the water is so slow but it takes – I cannot remember where it took or how I struck but it jumps clear of the water- it charges around the pool and refuses to be netted. I curse my lazy way of attaching my tapered leader as it makes it difficult for the loop to freely go though my top ring. Eventually the trout is netted, a quick photo – the only photo for the day and then the trout I released. I expected to have to spend time reviving the trout but it shoots off to sulk.

I walk up the river picking up more trout, the wind is stronger, and I see the odd rise – cover them and land smaller trout. I am in the “zone” – enjoying it. I keep low, I cast from kneeling positions and from behind bushes – I watch the water for trout, sometimes for 5- 10 minutes – when I see a trout I cover it and it is usually on the bank within a few minutes. I think about my casting, less power – less power – the casting seems better although it may be my imagination.

 

“No misanthropist, I must nevertheless confess that I like and frequently must fish alone. Of course in a sense all dedicated fishermen must fish alone;…” – Robert Traver “Trout Madness”

Already I am thinking of my next trip !

 

 

 

Review: The Trout Bum Diaries – Volume 2 – Kiwi Camo

Its all gone Kiwi Camo

The DVD is described as

Prepare yourself for 75 minutes of pure fly fishing insanity with Trout Bum Diaries Vol 2: Kiwi Camo. In this installment, the usual suspects of the Angling Exploration Group take you on a hair-curling 4 month expedition into New Zealand’s shadowland as they attempt to seduce the world’s largest & most elusive backcountry brown trout. In addition to the non-stop trials & triumphs of these angling addicts, Kiwi Camo delivers a behind the scenes look into what drives the seemingly crazy trout-bum lifestyle. If you enjoyed TBD v1: Patagonia, this one is sure to hook you instantly.

What I liked about the “Trout Bum Diaries” is that it caters for lovers of fish porn. I was talking to a pal the other day about fishing DVDs – he told me there were huge chunks in one he was going to lend me on fly tying. I just don’t like that. I also don’t like learning to fly cast from a DVD either. If I want to learn to cast properly I will take a lesson – if I want to learn to tie a new fly……well to be honest I only fish with a few flies so the chances of that happening are slim so I will let that one go. What I want to see in a fishing DVD is something a little different, not the usual stuffy “how to” footage – more the something that will really spark my imagination and make me want to get out there and try and catch some monster trout – and if I cant then at least I have something to watch on those nights that I cant get to the river for whatever reason.

I think this DVD got it just right…

The only negative I had to say about Volume one of the Trout Bum diaries was that some of the most exiting footage was in the bonus footage at the end of the disc – watching the guys tempting a trout to take a dry fly – I felt there should have been more. This I see has been rectified in this second offering – now the guys are constantly taking trout with dry flies and boy is it exciting to watch. Not that catching big trout in New Zealand is easy – it looks like they had a few difficulties when they got there as well, but to be fair the boys had plenty of time to get into the swing of things and soon started to pull them in with gusto.

Thumbs up from me!

Go and check out the Angling Exploration Group site.

Lamb Chops Anyone?

After a night of drinking and dancing (my knee is much better thank you) on Saturday night I woke up on Sunday to a severe case of what is commonly known as “hanging over”. I received a text from a pal who said he was on the Upper Clyde so decided to get in the car and join him for a few hours.

Patched My Waders – Back In Action

Incidentally, I have managed to patch my waders - it was a most gratifying experience and deserves a post all of its own as I reckon they will last for a few more months barring anymore accidents with barbed wire fences. To counteract my aversion to barbed wire I contacted a guy I know about good access points and was pointed in the direction of somewhere that does not involve barbed wire fences and falling over – I headed there at around 10am to be met with a howling wind with the water at a reasonable height and colour. There was trickle hatches of olives coming off pretty much all day, there was also some Yellow Mays showing an appearance.

I ended up walking a half kilometre to a nice pool where I came across a rather distressing site.

Chops For Free?

A lamb had managed to get its head stuck in a fence and could not free itself. When I walked close it would immediately start twisting frantically trying to get away – it was obviously in a bit of distress. I tried to help it but alas its little horns were getting in the way and to be honest I was thinking the longer I spent with it the more panicky it was getting – its neck was already a bit sore and red looking from its twisting and turning – it was also chocking itself with its writhing. I was a bit unsure as to what to do – I mean I knew I had to do something. Its plaintive little “Meaaaaaa” was enough to fire me into action.

Usually I see lots of farmers buzzing around on their quad bikes but I had not seen any. I decided that if I could get word to the bailiff he could let the farmer know as he stays local. A quick telephone to the PR man of UCAPA should do it and this I duly did. Unfortunately the bailiff was off on other business so I took calls from people trying to work out where I was – eventually I got a particularly disgruntled police officer who phoned me to try and sort it all out. I was informed he would get in contact with some of his colleagues who knew the area to let the relevant farmer know.

By the time I finished fishing the lamb was still trapped – it looked ok and I am pretty sure it would be ok if it was freed that day – I think I did just about everything I could have. I met up with Alex later on who had a look at it but like me he had no joy in trying to free it. As it is the lamb’s fate has been haunting me – I doubt it would last the night if a fox got wind of it. A strong pair of wire cutters would free it, Alex and I decided, however he then pointed out so would cutting its head off which would be a lot less hassle for the farmer.

I hope it is now free and, err, happy!

I managed to do quite well actually – raising a few to the dry fly and a few to the dropper as well – yes, I have decided on an uneasy truce with the dry and dropper technique although still do not do as well as Alex (he appears to be on fire this season)

I caught a few of the stocked trout as well, they are nice and plump although do not put up too much of a fight – I led this one around a pool like a dog on a leash before unhooking it in the net.

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