Sleep Deprivation for Salmon and Sea Trout

My pal has been asking me when I am going to write up the trip report for our mammoth Salmon and Sea Trout session.

Mid July we went to a river up North – a nice private beat which usually fishes very well. It was craziness – we stayed awake for a ridiculous amount of time. Essentially getting up at 0600 on Friday morning and then trying to stay awake until Saturday night at 2400 (no fishing on the Sabbath) does funny things to ones mind. It bends it – in funny ways.

Oh sure, some people can handle that kind of punishment no problem – I unfortunetly cannot. I need a good sleep at night – if I am getting up early I go to bed early- If I am woken up early and have not gone to bed I have a sleep debt that must be made up – If I dont I just dont function well.

To add insult to serious sleep debt I blanked – although ironically I did catch some nice trout in a loch on the Saturday afternoon. Other wise it was freaky, everything was surreal.

I fished a pool hard early Saturday morning and then found out that my two fishing buddies had both caught salmon in a pool a mile downstream – seemingly there was lots of fish showing and they were in a taking mood – I bolted down a rough track beside a field. My thoughts were crazy, I wanted to get there as quick as possible lest the magical taking time was past – I walked at a slow jog – my mind weary from sleep- strange thoughts going through my head “is this actually happening?” and “is this actually a dream?” and” where the hell am I?”  – I felt I was having a day dream, you know the kind when you are sitting at your desk at work and are suddenly trasported by your imagination to a river somewhere – it was like that – it was around this point I fell down a ditch which was about 2 metres wide and a metre deep – it was filled with giant hog weed. “Aaaaaaaagrh” – I said – or something like that – all I could think of was what I had read about the stuff causing blisters for the rest of your life and more scarily making you go blind if the sap gets in your eyes – I was fairly rolling around in the stuff – bits of it stuck in my hair and down my waders. Unfortunately, getting out the ditch was not as easy as getting in – suffice to say – well, it was hell.

I ended up not catching anything. My two fishing buddies caught salmon….

Look at em’ with their big dead fish – this river is one of the most prolific salmon rivers in Scotland – a reasonable harvest of fish is allowed.

Meanwhile Tamanawis was fast asleep back at the lodge…dreaming of dry flies and trout no doubt…

We went for breakfast at a local café – “were you playing a gig last night?” we must have looked like a rock group we were so ruff. Memories became confused – something that happened a couple of hours ago felt like it happened a day ago….like I say – instead of sleeping in the afteroon we fished a loch…

As the day wore on we all took turns at blacking out due to sleep deprivation – in the evening we all fell asleep waiting for the sun to fall behind some trees – the only reason we woke up was because my arms fell asleep (they were behind my head and were totally numb) – if that had not happened we would probably have woken up at around 1000 the next day wondering what the hell had happened.

I took photos of my buddies sleeping – I was not sure if there are laws against that…

When I tried to wake the guys up – Alan sat bolt upright picked up his rod and walked away – he later said he came to standing in the middle of the river wondering how the hell he had got there. I had been wondering that for several hours. I walked past Alan on the river – I took his picture as he looked like a zombie……

We fished for Sea Trout when it got dark – Alex caught a Salmon at 1145 and at 2400 I was in my sleeping bag  in a deep sleep – I vaguely remember cursing the sheep at dawn with all their noise (at least it was not cows)


  1. kbarton10 · August 26, 2008

    You’re quite sure the fellow with the sunglasses hadn’t been struck by a car? All that’s needed is a chalk outline …

  2. alan atkins · August 26, 2008

    Alsitair, hilarious stuff !! It all seems like ages away now. As you know , i fished the river the following week and had a bonanza. Unfortunately, the lack of rain and sea trout meant that fishing was tough, but i’m sure next year we’ll get it just right. We all had a laugh and i really enjoyed the session up on the loch on the Saturday afternoon in glorious sunshine amidst a backdrop of heather clad mountains. When i was up the week later i walked all the way to the head of the loch where a lovely wee river entered the loch with some very inviting deep pools and runs. In the meantime Alex has leant me his Piking gear while he is away on honeymoon, so i’d love to join you sooner rather than later. See you at the nuptuals on Friday, it should be a blast

  3. Alistair · August 26, 2008

    I swear I still have flash backs to that pit of weed…..

  4. urbanflyman · August 26, 2008

    great had me giggling mate ,it had me going back to the day and nights spent up barrhead dams when i was 16 fishing for 3 days on 4 hrs sleep dangerous stuff

  5. urbanflyman · August 26, 2008

    oh by the way got myself a pike outfit can you give me some pointers for places on the canal hopefully not near buckfast abby , no im more into a quite time out if you can advise me on anywere..

  6. Alistair · August 26, 2008

    Hi urbanflyman – all over the canal is pretty good for Pike – usually it is less busy than Lomond – get there early enough in the morning and you will not meet a soul – over the next few weeks as the Pike come into their prime you will see less people fishing as the weather gets colder – firhill basin is supposed to be great so I have heard and all down that stretch to Maryhill 🙂

    We should meet up for a few casts at some point !

  7. Gareth · August 26, 2008

    Fair play Al’, you look (how should I say this…) knackered(!) in that first picture! lol

    Still, looks like an amazing trip! I envy you…but then I suppose that’s naivity, and ‘no loss of sleep’ talking!

  8. Alistair · August 26, 2008

    Hi Gareth – And that was only half way through the session !

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