Camping Trip – Part 3

What can I say about The Tay ? Wikipedia says:

 The River Tay is a river in the southern Highlands of Scotland; it was made somewhat famous (or infamous) by William McGonagall‘s The Tay Bridge Disaster. It is the longest river in Scotland and the sixth-longest in the UK. It is also the largest river in the UK with a catchment of approximately two thousand square miles (the Tweed is 1,500 square miles and the Spey is 1,097 square miles).

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.

BBC Faux Pax

Oh dear, oh dear – I see not many people are happy at the BBC for this little ditty encouraging disabled anglers to grab a concession:

If you are of a mind to disable or kill some fish, you will be delighted to hear that your own disability may work in your favour when obtaining the necessary documents. From 2007, those of you who are in receipt of DLA are entitled to a half price angling license.

After several organizations complained it has now been changed to

If you are of a mind to hook some fish out of water, hold them for a bit, take a photo, and then throw them back, you will be delighted to hear that your own disability may work in your favour when…

The image put in my mind now is of some disabled angler pulling a fish out of the water (possibly with an evil smile) and then lobbing the fish 100 yards back into a pond.

Runner up in the Sports Category

Yegads, I came runner up in the Metro Blog Awards

Congratulations to Caught Offside who targets those who love football and indulging in everything that goes along with following it.

I just knew posting about Toad Sex was a bad idea so close to the judging.

Camping Trip – Part 2

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.

Enormous Trout

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 ! 

Camping Trip – Part 1

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..

This of course prompted Mike and I to panic due to our lack of trout and make a bee line for the Isla – Mike stooped to a whole knew low and possibly shocked all the fish in our little stretch.

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 of  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” 

Little did they know it was to stop freezing to death.

Navy sails in to clean up Kelvin

I came across this storywhen I got back from my trip(more on that later) – sounds positive

ROYAL NAVY sailors are teaming up with a local environment charity to help clean up the River Kelvin.

A 40-strong team from Clyde-built HMS Daring will be using special equipment including open-top canoes to clear hard-to-reach spots on the river bank.

And the crew will also be planting 200 oak trees supplied by Kelvin Clyde Greenspace and Glasgow City Council in Dawsholm Park.

Commander David Shutts of HMS Daring is lending the support of his crew to clear-up group Friends of the River Kelvin on April 18.

Sally Johnston of FORK said: “It’s is an incredible amount of time and effort for us to have at our disposal.

“The benefit to the river and those who use it for relaxation and leisure will be invaluable. The knock-on effect for wildlife is vast.

“The day will be a great chance for our charity and for the navy matelots.

“The chance to team-build in an unusual context helps their onboard spirit and can create a sense of pride in the local community.”

Canoes and safety equipment for the clean-up day will be provided by Wildside Africa while Food for Thought, a Glasgow-based charity, will be making lunch for the Navy crew.

The big clear-up is another boost for the Clean Glasgow campaign which the Evening Times has been backing for the past two months.

Friends of the River Kelvin meet once a month to clear up rubbish and debris dumped along the riverbank and surrounding areas.


Source:Evening Times

Gone Fishing – Back in a Few Days

Plan plan plan a trip…

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.

Organisational Mishaps

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 suppose a bushier wing will help it to float better as well as look good from the trouts point of view. I expect one that is a little bushier would help in low light situations as well.

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?

An Orgy of Toads

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!

Book Review – Philadelphia on the Fly – Tales of an Urban Angler by Ron. P. Swegman

How do you review a book that you like? I know what I don’t like in a fly fishing book these days- basic how to books, books that are stating the obvious, books on fishing that have very little actual fishing in them – do what so you look for in a book on fly fishing ?

I suppose what I look for is a connection with the author; I like to read the authors experiences and say to myself that I could see me somewhere mixed up in their musings. Which is why when I was sent “Philadelphia on the Fly: Tales of an Urban Angler” I knew there was going to be something in it that I liked – I was not mistaken.

The book takes you on a journey as his skill levels rise from when Swegman gets his new rod through the post to philosophical wonderings about the ethos of killing fish. His experiences with fly fishing in an urban environment struck a chord with me that not many books do.

This is a quirky book, in a positive good way – full of interesting photographs and drawings spread through the pages that made me really connect with the places that Swegman fishes. It can be the hardest thing sometimes to explain to someone what a spot on a river looks like – in one memorable story Swegman describes a spot with some boulders. The picture in my minds eye I was pleasantly surprised to find was exactly like the photograph on the next page – I like that.

It is one of those books that I just know I will read time and time again – I keep a stock of fishing books in my bedside drawer – I just have to read a story every night before going to sleep and this book has definitely been added to that list.

You can of course buy it from Amazon…

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