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 !





  1. Ian Scott · May 28, 2007

    Very nice post! I know what you mean by that sometimes subtle discomfort when others are around. That “zone” is more fleeting then.

    Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed this post.

  2. Gareth · May 28, 2007

    Cracking looking fish there Alistair! Beautiful! And that tail is huge!!!


  3. scott · May 28, 2007

    OMG LOOK AT THE TAIL!!!!!!!!
    That is a anbsolute belter! Prob the biggest tail ive ever seen. Post it on fly forums alistair, Bet a few on there would like to see that

  4. Alistair · May 28, 2007

    Thanks for the comments chaps – the tail came into effect with full force when it was jumping clear out the water…

    Lovely !

    I took a wander along the Kelvin last night and it seems to be in tip top condition as well. I think this might be the time I start hitting it for a little after work action 😉


  5. si young · May 28, 2007

    beauty mate lets hope there are a few of there silver cousins in efter the rain happy fishin everyone

  6. Scott · May 28, 2007

    Very nice post. My friends and family often make fun of me as I will sit and watch as much as I fish. It just seems to help make me (temporarily) a part of the scene rather then just someone who is fishing through it.

  7. john · May 28, 2007

    Never mind the fish,that was an excellent piece of writing.I felt as if i was there.

  8. Alistair · May 28, 2007


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