Yup folks, the 2007 copy of Fsh Wild is now online.
What can I say about The Tay ? Wikipedia says:
However I will say that if we did poorly on the Ericht, this time we did even worse on the Tay, it was bigger colder and with even more sullen trout. Emmanuelle turned up and caught a nice grayling.
Nightly pep talk was in a bed and breakfast. At this point we were losing the will to live.
Alex was not in this picture as he was obviously still basking in the glory of his New Zealand dropper technique.
Written by Alex
The Ericht is a tributary of the river Isla, and appeared to be considerably larger than the ‘main’ river. With its unusually clear pools and bone-white rocks, it would not surprise me to find a glacier hidden away in her headwaters. After we’d roughed the near-Arctic conditions the night before, it almost felt possible.
The River has been known to produce some enormous trout, but the grayling population in the system has apparently dropped away in recent years. How ironic then that our initial forays produced a wee flurry of sport from pod of feeding grayling!
Freshly enthused and ready to ‘bag up,’ we did what all great anglers would
do…We cooked some sausages!
Refueled, we split up and fished different sections of water, Alistair and Mike choosing a stretch near our starting point, with Alan and myself plumping for some known salmon-holding pools further downstream.
Unaware of Alistair and Mikes exploits, we fished on but the hatch we had all hoped for never really came to fruition. To be fair, we barely wet a line until after lunchtime!, and our predisposed visions of four pound brownies noisily slurping down rafts of large dark olives were looking unlikely.
In reflection, it was one of those ‘really nice days to be down by the river.’ This usually means that the fishing was pants, but it was a great day to be out nonetheless. It was greatly appreciated when Mike and Alistair turned up to light a wee fire!
We sat by the fire and mused about whether the heat would be enough to induce a localized hatch of olives. Hmmmm. The wandering mind of a frustrated fly fisher is an unfathomable stramash of desperation, pride, bloody-mindedness, and most of all, complete lunacy. A size four humongous was cast upstream at one point by a member of our party
After a generous scoop of whisky, and one of Alistair’s legendary pep-talks, we donned an extra forty layers of clothing and went to sleep secretly dreaming of catching in the deep, swirling maelstrom that is the Tay…
Alistair notes: What Alex failed to point out was the fact he caught more fish than anyone !Â
A few trusty Kelvintators (Alex, Allan and I) left Glasgow on Thursday morning to meet Mike to fish a few rivers that we had discussed about at great length – around 15mins. Little did we know we were driving towards a rather vicious cold front that swept in to pretty much put a stop to any meaningful fly life.
However, we decided the first two rivers would be the Water of Dean and the River Isla of which the Dean is a tributary. We met Mike at the riverbank tying some flies…
Mike and I headed upstream on the Dean while Alex and Allan headed a fair old distance away to try their luck on an entirely different section of water on the Isla. The Water of Dean is around half the size of the Kelvin – more like the size of one of its tributaries in some parts I would say.
It is nice dry fly water although on the day we fished it we did not really crack many of its secrets if the truth be told. It was quite low with just the odd rising trout – I managed to winkle out a couple of sub quarter of a pound trout and maybe one around the half pound mark. I thought my fat half pounder was going to be the “fish of the day”
Alex meanwhile was having a bonanza on the Isla catching a trout around the 3.5lb mark..
Needless to say, we did not see any action.
If there was one thing we learned on this trip it was “don’t camp in April” in fact another add-on little gem of wisdom would be “don’t arrange a trip in April”.
It all seems a bit ofÂ a haze sitting at my computer now – the cold, the aching back from sleeping on the ground (those rubber mats don’t work) and did I mention the cold – cookies for breakfast and swigging whiskey to keep warm before going to bed. Alex had a jog round the campsite in the morning because it was so cold – people must have been looking out their caravan windows thinking “that guy is keen as mustard to keep fit”Â
Little did they know it was to stop freezing to death.
On Thursday morning some fishing buddies (Emanuele, Mike, Alex and Allan) and I will be leaving for a few days fishing up North. The plan was to fish The Don on Thursday or Friday and then hit other rivers on the way back down but seeing as there is a cold front sweeping in and bizarrely snow has been forecast after this hot spell we decided to wipe it from the itinerary it as it only fishes well one day out of twenty on a leap year – and even then the hatch lasts for 10 mins.
I have been getting panicky talking to the guys saying “heck – nothing is arranged” – we all had different ideas of places to fish and places to stay – we talked about it so long that now the trip is upon us and it has the possibility of turning out most excellent or into absolute carnage. Mike, I think, is the only one taking things calmly – he thinks the trip will flow the way a river does and we will float along like sticks in the current. In other words we will all end up starving and sleeping in cars as we cannot find a campsite or somewhere that will take some wild eyed smelly anglers.
Organisational Overdrive – Pffttt
I think I was freaking everyone out with too many phone calls wanting the trip to be planned to the tiniest detail (I defy you to think that is odd – I keep an online fishing diary for goodness sake) however I now realise the fishing will largely be dictated to by the weather so it is not possible to plan completely for every eventuality. This meant my organisational skills went into overdrive and then collapsed. Alex meanwhile decided to take the bull by the horns and phone everyone and actually organising a meeting place on Thursday morning. I can now sit back and enjoy the ride!
Bushy – Like a Burst Mattress
This has given me a time to go through my fly box and look at gaps – I decided that the comparaduns I tied a few weeks ago did not have enough deer hair; this was after a discussion with Alberto (master caster) who gave them a critical evaluation at the last fly tying evening he declared them not bushy enough for his tastes – he likes them very bushy apparently .
I got out my materials, turned off the TV and got to work…
So an hour was spent tying up some comparaduns with bushier wings – they ended up looking like a burst mattress – I doubt they will ever sink.
Tomorrow, I will look my camping gear out my attic, now where is that tent?
So I hit on something that I have never actually witnessed before – wild toad sex. When I started fishing the river I noticed something swimming down the river towards me – it was a toad, happily swimming along. I added it to my memory as just one of those quirky things you see on the riverbank. As the day progressed I began to see more of them – and some of them were in doubles….giving… er….piggy backs, just drifting along. On my return home I have found out they were in fact common toads (Bufo bufo) and they can have a lifespan of up to 40 years. They are solitary, except during the breeding when the males usually wait for females at breeding sites. Males clamber onto the backs of females and hold onto them tightly which is a posture known as amplexus.
All very interesting!
It was not as hot as yesterday and this time there was a little haze of cloud cover. We did not see many olives hatching only the odd one or two drifting along. We still managed to pick up some trout to dry flies – I wonder if I would have done better with a toad imitation?
Here is a typical trout I caught on one of my deer hair comparaduns. It was one of the few trout I spotted rising – I managed to get a good drift first cast…I decided it was one for the BBQ.
Some fishing buddies and I are hastily making plans for Wednesday as we are supposed to be heading up North. Unfortunately the weather has been forecast to take a turn for the worse, we have no plans in place and the chances are we will fish The Don in terrible conditions again.
Looking forward to it already!