As we almost say goodbye to October we have been saying hello to some very good catches which goes to show what great fishing can be had at the back end of the season. A number of personal bests have been recorded and we will talk more about them a little later in the report.
With the insect life now slowing down fish are turning their attentions to such things as sticklebacks and perch fry which as you will have seen throughout the summer, are in a plentiful supply. With that in mind, fly choice needs to alter to reflect the current feeding pattern and at this time of year the usual suspects such as minkie, blob, damsel, cats whisker and apps bloodworm will invariably do well. That said, it is also worth dangling the old favourite such as buzzer and diawl bach as part of a team of flies fished at a tempo necessary to attract the feeding trout.
The unbelievably mild weather has also helped to keep the fishing very comfortable and with the exception of a couple of days lost to strong winds courtesy of the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo, the loch has been receptive to both boat and bank angling. The fish have clearly become very well distributed and you need to be prepared to ‘fish and move’ in order to maximise your chances and those that do are being more than amply rewarded. Fishing tactics have also varied quite considerably but generally speaking, floating lines have been the most successful and with fish nipping at the tails of the bigger flies being offered, timing has been critical to success …… strike too early and the hook won’t set, strike too late and the fish has tried the fly and lost interest.
Here’s a quick run through those that seem to have mastered the conditions and have recorded either big numbers and/or the occasional personal best.
- Robert and Lorne Black had 8 to the boat on a day that was dominated by a very blustery and at times cold wind. Lorne recording a very good brown trout (see photo)
- The next day Bob Cockburn continued to push up his annual average by recording 16 to the boat whilst Jock Hunter and Robert Learmonth managed 8 between them
- Graham and Dougie had 10 to the boat using a combination of diawl bachs and hoppers and Robbie Bell landed 16 amongst which were a lovely blue and an even better brown (see photo)
- On the 17th J Hunter and S McDonald had 6 and 8 respectively whilst Stuart Collingswood and his boat partner George had a great day with 20 to the boat, buzzers being the key to their success. Bob Cockburn pitched in with a further 11 and his dad, James found form and contributed a very well earned 8 using the ever more popular, pearly wickhams.
- Andy Richmond caught 9 using mainly cats whisker and commented on having a great return day to the loch.
- Robert Livingstone and son Matthew enjoyed a few hours off boat and bank when they were staying in one of the chalets during the windy weekend and Matthew landed two rainbows – his first fish to the fly, taking his first step as a fly fisherman.
- On a day that scuppered any chance of boat fishing Neil Keillor had 7 from the bank whilst Tony Averill pitched in with a further 10 in a three hour session, fishing only from the boat house Jetty.
- With the weather calming down the next day, Dave Moody and John Foreman recorded 12+ and 10+ respectively with Dave having a particularly good day using mainly dries. Not bad for late October!
- Over the last few days Bob Cockburn again came in with 16 including two blues, Steve Kelley and his son Mick had a great day with 36 to the boat and in a shortened session Robbie Bell had a very leisurely 12 to the boat. Max Keysall landed 9 using mainly damsel.
- So on to a couple of PB’s …. Neil Keillor fishing yesterday landed 16 to the boat but his fist fish which came in after about the third cast was a superb brownie of approx. 7lbs. He later went on to land a rainbow of a similar size rounding off a cracking day at the loch. Later in the day and fishing the last few hours of daylight from the bank, John McGregor landed the biggest rainbow of his fishing life so far. Fishing a red headed damsel at the north end of the loch close to the reed bed, he hooked and landed a fish which he estimated to be approx. 12lbs (certainly well into double figures). The fish was in tip top condition, fought hard and was safely released. Another cracking fish that will no doubt over winter well unless someone else determines otherwise in this last month of the current season.
My last two visits to the Loch have resulted in very steady if not absolutely spectacular fishing.
However the overriding factor has been the wind.
Strong but not impossible on both days. This makes the fishing a bit harder and at the end of the day more tiring.
This has to be balanced by good catches with 13 fish on one day and a dozen on the other.
These have included resident fish to around six pounds and the odd Blue and Brown to spice things up a bit.
I like this time of the year as the fish are generally not fussy and most flies will work.
It is often just a matter of finding the right speed of retrieve and most anglers are probably moving the flies too fast.
On my first visit I needed to use a very slow figure of eight. In fact when anchored if I cast across the wind this was too fast and I needed to cast straight down the wind. Indeed half of my fish came on the “drop” with no retrieve at all.
However on my second visit it was different with the fish wanting a variety of retrieves.
I often see anglers using a steady 12 inch pull at nine in the morning and still the same at five in the evening.
Another common “mistake” is to stay in the same area too long.
Drifting will bring you into contact with more fish during a day. If you prefer to anchor then I would suggest moving every hour.
I often catch a fish or two after moving and then the takes dry up. Another move of around 30 yards can often bring more action.
This may be because after catching a fish or two and with two anglers regularly casting for an hour or more an “exclusion zone” emerges in front of the boat.
Regular movements and changes in retrieves can often be the way to a successful day.
After all it is the Trout that decide what they want and not the Angler. 🙂
Robbie Bell Resident Instructor and Guide
- We had only one club visit us during this last period. 8 anglers from Ladhope FFC came last Saturday and between them had a very good total of 27 fish. Mike Blackwood was top rod on the day with white minkie being his most successful fly. The club recorded having an excellent day.
In other News:
- We had a report from one angler that he had seen a bubble float appearing and disappearing in Swing Gate Bay, obviously with a fish on the other end of what remained of the line. Unfortunately we were unable to find and retrieve the fish. Once again a reminder that despite our best efforts to preserve this as one of the best fly fishing venues in the country, some people will resort to coarse fishing tactics if they think they can get away with it. Needless to say that if we see or if other anglers report this sort of behaviour happening, the culprits will be asked to leave the loch immediately and will not be returning.
- On a much brighter note we still have approximately 5 weeks of fishing left this season and if the pattern is the same as last year we are in for some for the best sport possible. Weather permitting the fish will be very keen to feed at this time of the year and on a good day we can be treated some spectacular dry fly action. So don’t be too keen to swap the rods for the guns just yet … keep the tackle handy and pick your days. It’s definitely worth it! Obviously, days are now shortened with the clocks having gone back at the weekend but it is still possible to get a full days fishing. Our last day of the season will be on Sunday 30th November and we will be re-opening on March 14th next year. As always the opening weekend will be very popular so if you want to be a part of it please book early to avoid disappointment.
We have just one club scheduled to visit us over the next two weeks, Priory AC. We hope that their outing is successful and that we get one of those November days that can be as good as any day in spring.
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