Well who would have thought it? The end of another season and our sixth full season at Coldingham. They say that time flies and if that is the case we feel that we are attached to the wings of a fighter jet.
The work this year has been no less frenetic but we are really pleased with how the loch and its surroundings are starting to look now and our task is to maintain it as best as we can.
Not yet resting on our laurels we are currently in the process of planting our 2.5 thousand trees on the western side of the loch. There are some Scots Pines amongst them but in the main this will be a mixed deciduous woodland and we are hoping that in time this will create a fabulous back drop to the loch and provide a haven for a variety of insect life that can only be beneficial to the trout of the future. We have had some great help from some of our regulars and so in no particular order we would like to thank, Karl Ferguson, Taff Green, Bob Cockburn, Allan Cook, Nigel Leighton and hopefully, if he’s well enough before we finish, Robbie Bell and possibly Margaret too. It’s been quite a task but in many ways it rounds off for us, what has been a very busy year and we are looking forward to a couple of weeks rest before once again preparing for the new season.
But, what of the season itself? I think that it’s fair to say that it has been an up, down, up season. By that I mean that probably due to a very mild and settled spring, we had perhaps our best ever first few months. March, April and May fished extremely well with some of the best dry fly fishing that one could possibly wish for. This was enjoyed by many people and one in particular, Les Lockey, wrote a superb piece in Total Fly Fisher after which he concluded, that if there was a better top of the water loch in the country, he wanted to know about it. High praise indeed. Early June also fished well but with an explosion of fly life already starting, it was clear to us all that the catch rate could not continue the way it had. Just take a look at the photograph supplied by Bob Harrison to see what I mean and this proliferation of fly life continued throughout the remainder of the summer and well in to the start of autumn. As always though, even on the tough days there always seemed to be someone who was capable of producing the big returns and the likes of, James and Joy Gardiner, Colin McIssac, Graham Dea, Bob Cockburn, Les Lockey, Robbie Bell to name but a few, continued to demonstrate their skill of catching. (Apologies for not mentioning everyone that had good days …. It’s impossible)
So summer slowed down, but the one redeeming factor was that the temperatures never really got going and so the loch remained relatively fresh, with no algal bloom to speak of and a smaller than usual amount of weed in the loch. Perhaps because of this we then experienced a quite unusual occurrence. The number of brown trout being caught almost outstripped the number of rainbows and blues and, for us this was tremendous to see. A couple of years ago we introduced a number of brown trout fingerlings in to the loch and we are delighted to see that the vast majority have not only survived, but also thrived and the size and quality of these fish is now a joy to see. Who knows what they’ll be like next season!
September saw us once again hold the Lad(y)s and Dads competition for the “L” of a Length Trophy and the chance to raise a good amount of money for our chosen charity, The St Abbs Independent Lifeboat. The dads ran out as winners this year which means that it’s now tied at 3 wins each and all to play for next year but with young Corben as the rising star of the lads team, the dads better be on their best form (Read more about Corben in Robbies Blog and once again thanks to Robbie for taking the time and effort to contribute to our loch reports through his blog writing). More importantly however, we were proud to be able to announce that once again that due to the generosity of all those involved and to all the fishermen that bought raffle tickets and boat flies throughout the year, we raised over £1000 pounds for this very worthwhile organisation and we know that they were, as always, extremely grateful for our efforts.
From mid-September onwards the loch once again picked up and we are pleased that it has fished so well right up to the end of the season with once again, a good number of fish being caught on dry flies during the months of October and November ……. Amazing!
So all that remains for us to do is to thank you all again for your support and thank everyone who has helped us throughout the year to make the 2017 season the success that it has been. We are already looking forward to next year but for now may we wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and hope that you enjoy the festive pictures of the loch in the gallery at the end…taken in 2013 though some of the forecasters are saying we will get a hard winter this year, we will just have to wait and see.
We look forward to seeing you all again in 2018 when we will no doubt once again see the odd over-wintered pie emerging from the fishing bags that have been lovingly neglected in the cupboard …….. most of us have done it at some point or other.
Another Season Finishes.
One more, one less!
I used to keep a fishing diary but not anymore unfortunately.
So if I was to say which has been the best month this year it will be just a guess.
However November has to be there or thereabouts.
Myself and a few other anglers have had some great days on the Dries.
For me it has been a simple fly that has worked which is as follows;
Size 18 Tiemco SPBLB.
This is a Black Barbless Curved Buzzer type Hook.
I then just use some Black 8/0 thread and make a slightly tapered body. I then tie in some Black 3mm diameter closed cell foam shuttlecock style and cut this off to about 4 to 5 mm long.
That is it. A fly that anyone could tie.
There have been some very good hatches of some very small Black Buzzers particularly at the top end of the Loch.
Now my fly is nowhere near a close copy of the natural but it seems to work for enough of the fish to make your day worthwhile. I have tried adding red ribs or an orange thread or hares ear thorax but the plain black seems the best.
With regard to the season as a whole the Biscuit has still been my top fly although perhaps not quite as prolific as the previous two seasons.
It lost form as did many other flies this year but came back into its own as the summer faded and the Loch cooled. One day in early October I tried to wean myself off it and fished for a couple of hours with a small selection of other point flies with not even a take. So I decided to put it back on and first cast a nice Rainbow.
Coincidence or not it has stayed on ever since!
Of course if you always have it on then the chances are you are always going to catch on it.
A bit of a Self Licking Lolly.
So for the very final day of this season I am once again out with young Corben.
The forecast of about 4 degrees and a stiff breeze does not put him off.
He is raring to go unlike one friend who has called off but will remain nameless!
So we are off out at 09.00 and it is Baltic and blowing at least half a Hooley.
We motor right up the top end where it had been lifting with rising fish on Wednesday.
With a bright Sun and not a cloud in the sky it is dead. Not a fin to be seen and even the Biscuit cannot get any interest.
After about an hour we decide to go back to around the cage where there is at least a bit of shelter and it feels a tiny tad warmer. I manage to pick up a fish and Corben gets a few takes but nothing sticks. Later on I manage another one out on a Di 7.
With only about an hour to go we decide to try the top end again. By now the wind is easing and with the Sun low in the sky there are a couple of fish moving.
A lovely Brownie of around a pound in weight comes my way but nothing for the Lad.
At ten to four with the Gloom strengthening he is in!
It is not the biggest fish but it is pulling hard and is a real struggle to get it anywhere near the net.
Finally it slips over the rim and it’s High Fives and Phone Photos all round.
Well Done Young Man. You persevered in far from ideal conditions and prevailed after many had packed in early.
The Last Trout of the Season!
All the Best,
Carmel and Gareth.
Click on the photo to get the full image