As the fog continues to roll in and out during the month of April so does the need to change the way you fish. Probably at least twenty times a day we are asked ‘how’s it fishing?’ and depending on which angler you speak to you would almost certainly get a different answer each time. In still, bright conditions large numbers of fish Cn be seen rising in all parts of the loch, in the main feeding on a mixture of emerging and hatching buzzers and occasionally turning their attention to small black beetles which can be seen in great numbers in the reed beds around the loch. As a result fishing buzzers, diawl bachs and dry flies in various combinations of presentation, seems to have been the most effective method. For example yesterday in tricky conditions (cold Easterly wind) Andy Richmond, fishing form the bank, used a team of buzzers fished washing line style with a fab on the point and landed a very respectable 17 rainbows. Ricky Taylor and Brad Mackie also had good numbers of fish using fab & black badger again fishing from the bank.
The majority of fish being caught are inevitably rainbows, however blues and browns are being caught more frequently as the season progresses. Jim Campbell fishing with the Breadalbane Club started his day with a magnificent blue of approximately 3lbs in weight, and went on to catch yet another blue in a total haul of 11 fish for his outing.
Other notable catches during this period are attributed to David Brown with 8 fish who recorded having a superb day and on the same day Andy Girrity landed 7, Robbie Bell 16 and Robert Learmonth landed 7….all anglers fishing from a boat.
A couple of days later James & Joy Gardiner had what one might consider as a normal day with 17 fish to the boat using a range of flies including black diawl bach, cormorants and blobs.
John Lawton had a cracking day with 10 fish and on the same day Steve Kelley had a very impressive 16 fish to the boat using a biscuit fab for the first time. One of Steve’s fish was a superb rainbow estimated at approximately 9lbs in weight – safely returned.
Of course for every success story there are those that fish who have less productive outings and bad days can even happen to the best of us…..ask Bob Cockburn! All in all this just highlights the difficulty in answering the question that we started with, ‘how’s it fishing?’ but if we were to summarise the fishing from the start of the season as a generalisation we would have to say it’s been fishing very well from both bank and boat even in the most difficult of conditions at times and as we approach the month of May which is generally acknowledged as perhaps the best fishing month, we have high expectations of anglers once again enjoying some superb dry fly fishing.
Access round the bank is generally acknowledged now as being very good and whilst it is still possible to fish directly from the bank in wellingtons, as always we would recommend that bank anglers were waders to get the most out of their day. The wild flowers & weeds around the perimeter of the loch are now starting to appear and these provide a habitat for spawning coarse fish such as perch and sticklebacks which in turn provides valuable food for the trout later in the season. It remains to be seen what the effects of a very mild winter will have on the ecology of the loch but at the moment everyone seems to be commenting on just how crystal clear the water is and how fighting fit the fish are that they are catching. The PH of the loch remains relatively neutral and the water temperature today is 9C…..perfect conditions for the fish.
Here we will hand over to Robbie Bell in situ instructor and regular angler here at Coldingham:
No two days are the same……………..
I think it must have been a trout that invented that rule.
I had been up at the Loch six days previously and caught a hat full of trout.
Great fishing as well. Just cast a team of buzzers across the wind and let the breeze fish them for you. The slowest of figure of eight retrieves was all that was required.
As my old mate Bob Dalgleish says if you are fishing your Buzzers as slow as you can you are going too fast.
Anyway just doing that and every few casts a fish would try to pull your rod arm out of its socket!
The only thing remotely special was I was using slightly small Buzzers in a size sixteen.
I would also occasionally put a buoyant fly on the point to keep the buzzers up.
Washing Line Style.
I would also take this off now and again to fish a bit deeper.
It did not make much difference.
So when I went back up on Easter Monday I just had to do the same again. Right?
Not a touch on the Buzzers. Not even a pull. Washing Line or Deep…….Nowt.
Never mind the weather is almost perfect if a little cold and there is a gentle breeze and dozens of rising fish so just pick the dry fly rod up.
Easy Peasy right?
After a good few changes of Flies my Boat Seat Fly Patch was looking like one of those old fashioned Butchers Fly Papers……..
Looking round the Loch it seemed to be pretty hard going for everyone.
OK…… time to go smaller and finer.
5X leader and a single size 18 Black F Fly.
Bingo! Fish on First Cast!
*%$”!!XX*&! It Fell Off!
Never mind by Lunchtime I had 4 fish and at least something to tell Gareth who I had arranged to meet to hear about his recent trip to Ghyll Head Fishery and Stocks Reservoir.
It probably got tougher again in the afternoon as the sun came out so a fast sinking line and some Lures and Diawl Bachs picked up some fish with a few of more of the long range Catch and Release variety.
I ended up with 8 fish to the net which was better than most on what was a generally tough day.
As my mate Andy Croucher often says; “The Fish have a vote and sometimes they use it.”
Today most of them did.
Robbie Bell Resident Guide and Instructor.
- Walter Robson fishing for the first time with his grandson Shay (see photo) had a great day. His tuition clearly worked as Shay had 5 fish to his Grandfather’s one on their first outing – well done Shay!
- Mike Hetherington (see photo) fished for the first time with his 6 year old son and despite only having one take reported having a great morning.
- It would appear that the swans are once again nesting in the reed beds at the top of the loch, and we have our fingers crossed for a successful hatch this year
- We saw our first swallow of the season on 14th April which is about a week earlier than last year…..could be a sign of a god spring and an early summer
- A reminder that evening sessions will begin from next week when it should be possible to fit in a 4 hour session from 5 – 9pm. As the season progresses the evening sessions will run from 5.30 – 9.30 and the loch will close at 10pm.
- Another reminder that cigarette butts are also considered as litter and we would ask those of our anglers that do smoke to please use the bins provided & if fishing bank or boat to collect their cigarette butts and dispose of them in these bins. Throwing them in the loch or on the ground is not acceptable. Please help us to keep the loch and its environs in the condition in which you would like to find it.
- Northumberland Police AC seemed once again to have a particularly bad weather day for their outing. They braved ice cold string easterly winds and it is fair to say struggled against the conditions. With only 14 fish to 12 anglers it was a disappointing rod average for them – better luck with the weather next time we hope!
- Two days later Steve Kelley held his annual Good Friday outing and enjoyed much improved weather as we reported earlier had a superb outing to the loch
- Pencaitland then followed this up the next day with 18 anglers managing to catch a very respectable 64 fish giving them a rod average of 3.55.
- Earlston AC fishing the next day on Easter Sunday again and co-incidentally had a total of 64 fish but this time to 12 anglers giving them a very good rod average of 5.3
- Edinburgh Breadalbane reported ‘water clarity amazing – fish plentiful but could see us coming picking and choosing flies’. Despite this their 9 anglers caught a respectable 29 fish giving them an average of just over 3 fish/angler
- Eye Water AC fishing yesterday again report seeing plenty of fish and having a really good day and caught 30 fish for 12 anglers giving them an average of 2.5
- And on the same day Wallsbeck & Blyth held a mini bank and boat competition stating ‘all anglers bagged up for a total weight of 38lbs of fish’.
- North Berwick AC went out today again in thick fog. 10 anglers caught an impressive 55 fish giving them a rod average of 5.5. Worthy of mention were Ronnie Hunter and Joy Gardiner with 8 a piece, K Logan with 12 and James Gardiner with 16. Most effective flies were, CDC’s, buzzers, Dries and FAB.
During the next period we are pleased to be welcoming clubs from Mid Lothian AC, Heriots AC, Norhey FC, Fishers Tryst, Norham & Ladykirk and Thurston Manor. As always we look forward to welcoming these clubs and hope they enjoy some good fishing.
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