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…

Sizzle Sizzle – although no trout for the BBQ

Another hot hazy day down at the other river that I fish. I arrived at the water around 0930 and then almost had to come straight back home again. Once I set up my rod etc I found that my tippet material was once again giving me a bit of jip – it kept snapping every time I tightened a knot. I was pretty annoyed to say the least. I telephoned Mike who it just so happened was on his way down anyway so I spent around an hour contemplating the river bank, the cows and various funny insects I was having trouble in identifying. Once Mike arrived a new tippet section was added and I was off to a lovely day – caught around half a dozen trout and lost one at around a pound and a half. I think I lost it due to severe bad karma – as I was playing it I was imagining it sizzling away on my barbeque at home…ping it was off.

All my trout today were caught on the dry fly; it was pretty much half and half risers to just opportunistic trout when I was covering water.

The same plan is to be applied tomorrow although this time without the tippet problem.

The Brack

Seeing as how it was such a nice day weather wise, my wife and I decided to choose a walk out of the Pathfinder book we had bought last year.

The walks are split up into three sections – easy, medium and hard. I chose one of the hard ones a 10 mile walk around The Brack

Wikipedia says:

The Brack is a mountain, located in the Arrochar Alps, around the Loch Goil to Glen Croe area. The second peak can been seen around about Loch Long, and the main peak can been seen around about Glen Croe and Loch Goil. It is on the Ardgoil range, which is located on the east and north east side of Loch Goil and the west side of Loch Long until the lochs join at the bottom of Loch Goil. The Brack is connected by ridges to Ben Donich and Cnoc Coinnich. The Brack is over 2500ft and is known to have been a corbbet. The Brack is surrounded with huge mountains that rise towards 3000ft. It is much harder to climb The Brack from lochgoilhead, but it is also harder from Glen Croe. The mountain is steep, rocky and susceptible to landslides. Glen Croe, Arrochar Alps, Ardgartan and Loch Goil are home to Pine Martens and eagles because of the rugged terrain.

Sounds lovely doesnt it ?
The walk I chose did not take us up The Brack but around it, here I am at the beginning of our little journey.

I look quite happy don’t I? The Pathfinder guide describes the walk as “an interesting walk with no strenuous climbs”
Approximately 5 miles after that picture was taken I was thinking of writing to pathfinder with an alternative description.

Still once we got over the initial hell it did turn out quite pleasant – ironically the short cut was the ascent of The Brock itself.

The forecast is for sunshine the whole weekend – I am not sure how that will effect the Olive hatches – maybe we will see more trout rising than last week – a week at this time of year can make a huge difference.




Blog Awards: The Shortlists – Updated

Got my official email with a nice logo to show off the fact I have been shortlisted for the Metro Blog Awards

You’ve been short listed in the Sport category, for the Best of Brit
Blog Awards 2007 (BOBB’s) brought to you by and Metro
Newspaper. The BOBB’s were launched earlier in the year and are
designed to discover the most talented wrtiers in the blogosphere.
We have had a staggering response to this year’s awards with over
1,000 entries – all at an outstanding level.

The winners will be announced during the week starting 23rd April,
chosen by our expert panel of celebrity judges including music
legend, Alan McGee and TV personality, Jason Bradbury.

On the fishy side of things I am going fishing Saturday and Sunday as my beloved wife is working 12 hour shifts. Ahhh, the pain of it all…

[tags]metro,metro blog awards [/tags]

Ron. P. Swegman

Over on the right hand column there you can see books that I am currently reading. I will be posting a review very shortly of the current book but in the meantime head over to the authors lovely little corner of the net and check it out.

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