I first saw the Kelvin through a gap in some trees. I was 16 at the time and it was a Saturday night. I know it was Saturday as on a Friday I went to the Boys Brigade (Now you understand how I know the words when I sing hymns to induce takes) so Saturday was always my night for some recreation. Not that I was absolutely mad keen on fishing at that time, well I was keen on fishing, I just did not do it all the time. I had just been through a rather messy couple of seasons fishing the River Leven with some pals who caught massive amounts of Salmon – I unfortunately had blanked spectacularly. I had therefore decided a summer of chasing girls, smoking cannabis and drinking cider (unfortunetly not in that order) was on the cards and all I did with gusto – considering how unlucky I was with girls I turned into a mean joint roller.
Anyway, this Saturday night I and a group of friends were roaming the streets and eventually went through some woods some distance away from where I lived. It was all very scary and new – I was a bit shy and awkard at that age.
We were looking for an outdoor party that was rumoured to be happening – we were sure there would be girls there we could impress with our amazing patter and joint rolling techniques. I did not know the area well and was intrigued to spot a flash of water through some trees.
It was slow moving and deep – it was also very brown. “What rivers that?” I asked a pal who lived close by “The Kelvin – it’s a shitehole” was the reply.
I looked at the river – it was dark but something about it made me wonder – I could see an opportunity beckoning but so was a party pushed on by peer group pressure.
It rained all day on Saturday – call this August – feels more like March as the temperature is low as well. Feels like the start of the season when you go fishing just because you can, a bit of respite after a long cold winter – you know there will be no action or possibly a quick ten mins of action but at least you expect it to be like that after winter, not late summer.
Emmanuel and I cancelled our Saturday trip, instead going into the Glasgow Angling centre to wave around fly rods and pick up some tying materials. We looked at the rain knowing that Sunday was going to be bad- we still wanted to go fishing – so we did.
It was cold, biter cold – think it was a north wind. We fished the very upper reaches of the Clyde, thinking that by this point some of the rain water would have washed off. We were incorrect, it was still high – where in the past where there was a gentle shallow glide there was now fast flowing deep water. “I want to catch a trout on the dry fly” said my Italian friend – I decided to put on an olive sparkly woolly bugger – the first time I have ever fished with such a fly – from what I know about fishing with streamers the conditions seemed right.
Within the first few casts I felt a violent tug and then nothing – interesting I thought. Basically I was heaving the thing into the middle of the river giving a big upstream mend and then letting it dead drift until it came into the shallows when I would twitch it back rather enticingly – it was around this point I would get some thumps towards it. Nothing stayed on however – this happened around eight times. It is not uncommon to get pulls on the dangle and for trout not to connect – I think that is what the “traditional” across and down wet fly approach is a poor hooker of trout. There is too much resistance or something to allow the trout to turn with the fly in its mouth.
Walking back up the river we met Mike from Tamanawis – he had telephoned me to say he had caught his first trout using a streamer – I thought it was a budgie he was casting when I got up close but it turned out to be a yellow monstrosity that the trout were really going wild for – obviously trying to match the hatch I tied on an orange crystal woolly bugger with new enthusiasm – if the trout were going to take a yellow freaky parrot then I was in with a chance with a hot orange fry imitation – sometimes I think we give trout a lot more credit than they deserve.
After catching three trout on almost consecutive casts I decided more of these flies were going in my box for occasions of high water – I suppose it means I can fish in times I would ordinarily not go – It was enjoyable in the way I find loch fishing enjoyable – not needing to think too much about drag or finding out what insects are hatching.
Emmanuel tied one on to give it a bash and his hands almost burned with the shame, still he had already caught a trout on the dry fly – in those conditions it was pretty impressive – if someone could catch a trout on the dry fly though in a raging torrent it is him.
Work, study and fly fishing collide – the result, an increase in migraines and twitchy weather watching. The weather has turned into almost spring like conditions, there is hardly any hope of an evening session, and temperatures are too low.
Around a month ago, it feels like ages now, deciding on a small stream seemed like the correct thing to do – turned out it was too low and I caught no trout. However it was still the right thing to do just for the sound of crickets and two deer I startled from the undergrowth.
No sessions on the Kelvin – not had time – either I am going for a full day trip at the weekend or nothing at all. Visited my other river and had a few nice sessions,
…the last few days have been bad, weather turned even colder.
Thinking of getting a 4 weight rod, must be slow action with a thin blank……might try an Orvis – definetly for next season though.
Hiya, I have actually been doing some fishing but unfortunetly there has been a major clash of the titans between work and my intense fly fishing addiction. In the meantime, why dont you check out my photo gallery…
Next week i am meeting up with Gareth from Fishing in Wales and Mike from Tamanawis – it should be interesting getting together with some of my blogging neighbours – well I see Mike quite a lot but quite possibly there will be some kind of blogging bolt of lightening when we all get together.
Please let me know how your season is coming along in the comments section, if I cannot go fishing all the time it would be nice to hear from people who can.
So while England is being flooded Scotland remains relatively rain free (so far). However the weather has been strange of late – there is a distinct lack of what you might think of as “proper” summer weather. There have been no warm days to think about an evening session, or rather I suppose we all could be going for evening sessions but from what I am hearing the rivers have been poor. Not that I am getting much of a chance to actually go fishing as I am furiously writing some essays which are due in around a months time. I did manage a quick 5 or so hours up at a reservoir on Sunday which was a total reality check after the outing on loch Shin – I caught one trout at around the 9 inch mark from the bank while my buddy managed a much more respectable 8 with plenty of follows and plucks.I am becoming a bit tetchy and itchy to get some river fishing done, I am thinking of one of the smaller tributaries of the Kelvin which I have pretty much neglected this year, or rather I have attempted to fish it a couple of times but it has not been in good condition. I reckon, any day now (possibly this evening) I am going to head up for a quick couple of hours – catch some of those wily browns on my hands and knees….
Ohhh Lovely, now that is one way for the “bait boys” to keep em fresh
An American holidaymaker got a nasty surprise when he discovered that the lumps on his scalp were not bites or shingles, but live botfly maggots. Aaron Dallas, from Colorado, US, sought medical advice when the bumps appeared on his scalp after a trip to Belize this summer.
But it was not until the bumps started moving that doctors realised Dallas had five live maggots inside his head.
“I’d put my hand back there and feel them moving. I thought it was blood coursing through my head,” said Dallas.
“I could hear them. I actually thought I was going crazy.”
Adult bot flies are larger and more aggressive than European flies. One type attacks livestock, deer and humans.
They rely on mosquitoes, stable flies, and other insects to carry their eggs to a host, which in this case was Dallas.
“It was weird and traumatic,” said Dallas.
“I would get this pain that would drop me to my knees.” As traumatic as this may seem, botfly infections are fairly routine in parts of Central and South America.
Anyone that knows me understands I am not keen on loch fishing or competitions. So why then have I just taken part in a competition on a loch and had a thoroughly great time. So good in fact that I am really looking forward to my next session on a loch.
From beginning to end we had a great time at the Highland Wild Trout Challenge on the 14th and 15th of July 2007. Fishing buddy Alex had suggested we take part ages ago and after a quick that sounds like a good idea I then almost put it to the back of my mind, the even then caught up with me and was upon us like a flash.
I was paired with Douglas Fairbairn, winner of many competitions and expert at working the bob fly however he must have been thinking he had drawn a dozer considering I have only fished lochs from a boat much less than a dozen times. We all had a few drams before getting in the boats, Alex had warned me that the competitors liked a whiskey to settle the old nerves before the comp and I managed to gulp down a few before waddling off to the boat.
However the guys in this competition are professionals (professional whiskey drinks that is) and I watched as many more drams were drunk as we all belted (it took us almost 2 hours) up to the top of the loch
The size limit was 10 inches and I certainly caught many just below that mark and a few just above it the first day. I am still in awe how hard these loch trout fight; even on a 7 weight rod these trout were giving a good account of themselves usually after vicious takes.
We camped out on the Saturday night after an evening session on “Little Loch Shin” which is stuffed with small trout.
Sunday was more of the same, the day flashed by and I caught some bigger trout but nowhere near enough to win a prize. I think I was around midway on the table – not bad for a bloke that fishes rivers I thought.
I did not like to think about the ethics involved in fishing this competition. All the trout caught over 10 inches had to be killed (unlike the river competitions) however I am assured the loch is stuffed full of trout and can handle the occasional harvesting. All the trout were put in a box and were given to the local hotel. I have heard of some horror stories on the big lake competitions where anglers were simply putting there catch away in bins as there freezers were so stuffed with stocked rainbows they could not think of what else to do with them. I am glad to say I can never see me go down that route.
I think if Alex and I had just travelled up together we would have probably done better, for a start we would have headed to places that only he knows about and we would have no time constraints put on us. As it was on the Sunday we headed out again after the competition and caught even more trout, we got rained on and I was freezing but not wanting the evening to end. Alex was particularly impressed at my lack of moaning – something which I am renowned for apparently.
I was certainly not moaning about the welcome I received at Alex’s parent’s house, I was most grateful for a warm bed and a meal.
Yegads, who would have thought after the hell I went through at University I would want to go back and do a post graduate course. Unfortunately I have and this has curtailed fishing time. No evening sessions until I batter through two essays (which is a rather fine incentive I must say) however I have been fishing on the Clyde the last couple of weeks. A few buddies and I went for an evening session and got rained off ending up in a pub, the Italian dry fly guru still managed to tempt some trout though.
An all day session on Sunday, Mike of Tamanawis turned up,
I glanced at his hair line but it still seems as thick as ever. I told him to bring a massive hatch of flies but all he brought was heavy rain. I still managed to tempt some trout including this rather nice one.
Alex and I had sausages and bacon for lunch and an evening meal, he tried to tempt me with a beer but I settled for a few sips of his to keep the old head clear for the evening action which then did not materialise.
Actually, now that I think about it I will be fishing this weekend as I will be fishing in the Wild Trout Challenge on Loch Shin in Sutherland. Considering I have only fished in a boat around a dozen times and won’t have a Scooby what I am doing I am looking on it as a learning experience.
So, in summary, where I have been fishing as been poor but the Kelvin I hear is on top form with lots of nice trout being caught.
Back from holiday on Monday after a 24hour journey – up at and headed to the upper Clyde as I thought that might be my best chance for a trout. The Kelvin and its tributaries I reckoned would be out of action what with all the rain I have been hearing about and the stretch I wanted to fish on the Clyde is not affected by the rain as much.
The weather was mild but with heavy rain showers every hour or so, I did not see any trout rise the whole day – the trout I caught were all on a prospecting dry fly – a CDC and Elk.
I was sitting scanning the river when I felt my foot crunch into something; it turned out to be a dead signal crayfish. They are an invasive species imported from the states in the 1970s to be commercially bred for food. In no time they had taken over streams and rivers formerly inhabited by British crayfish, damaging plant, fish and invertebrate life.
They burrow up to 1.2m into river banks, in some cases have undermined them, and as a final thrust, they have spread ‘crayfish plague’ (Aphanomyces astaci) – fatal, not to them, but to British crayfish.
A vast section of the Upper Clyde has a ban on angling because of them – I am not sure why, I think it is because they are trying to eradicate them.
My last trout was taken on a dry fly just when I thought things were heating up…
It is strange, as Alex went fishing in the evening to find the river high and dirty. Strange how it changed in such a short period of time.
As you are aware I have no adverts on this site, I have ran ads in the past and did not like the way they are so in your face. I know I am never going to make much money from my blog but what I do get now and then is the offer of products to use or books to review. Occasionally I have contacted companies for specific products to review – rarely do I get a response.
However, I am an affiliate of Amazon which means anyone who clicks a link to an Amazon product that I have discussed and buys it means I get a few pence. There are a number of reports through the system that I found interesting. These reports not only tell me how much I earned over the timeframe selected but shed some light on what items people are purchasing. I am affiliate for both Amazon UK and Amazon US as the systems are seperate – I thought I would share the top two products for each area. You can of course buy the books or read more about them by clicking the pictures.
Number one by far is “Matching the Hatch” – it gives an easy summary of all flies you would expect to find in a UK river categorized by spring, summer and winter. You may notice up on the right hand side of this diary there is a box showing what I am currently reading. This book pops up pretty much all the time as I am constantly using it as a reference – it is easy to read and follow. This book stays in my bathroom for me to read when I am, er, sitting on the loo.
If you want to learn more about hatches you will regulary encounter when fishing and dont know where to start this book is for you.
Number two is “Trout Hunting” by Bob Wyatt. This book is a contrast to the first book as it is long on philosophy and short on instruction. This is no “how to” book but musings on what might make a trout take a fly amongst other things, when I say other things I mean if it was a “how to” book it would be a “what to think about when trout hunting” Classy pictures of flies and how to tie them – Mr. Wyatt pushes his deer hair emerger and how easy to tie it is when ironically it is damned difficult. If you can learn to tie it though then you have a fly for all occasions. This book is on my bedside table pretty much constantly.
Strangely it was a DVD that came in at number 1.
I reviewed it a while ago and did not think I did it justice at the time. Essentially if you have ever seen a hard core pornographic film you will know what the “money shot” is, essentially it is the moment when the gentleman reaches his peak of satisfaction and the….well I guess you get the picture. Well, if the “money shot” was the moment when a trout is hooked on a dry fly (and I am sure the gentleman hooking the trout is at the peek of his satisfaction) then this DVD is packed full of “money shots”
Philadelphia on the Fly: Tales of an Urban Angler – Ron. P. Swegman. This little book pipped the post to second place and I was glad at that. I reviewed it a while ago and really enjoyed it. It is a nice personal book full of quirks – everything you would expect from an Urban Angler really
The first thing that struck me was there is no real “how to” books or DVDs in that little mix. I suppose “Matching the Hatch” is kind of instructional although you can catch trout without knowing the names of the flies hatching – it does make it more fun though. The second thing that struck me was the lack of some of the greats in the list, like Robert Traver and John Gierach – I think they are two writers I write and admire the most.
Just in case you missed them head over and check them out.