Welcome to the first loch report of our 2017 season and what an opening two weeks we have had.
Opening day was once again welcomed in by our piper Hugh Gordon and this year we adopted a new format with all fishermen leaving their cars on the car park, then gathering at the top of the hill where they then followed the piper back down the hill to receive their customary nip and shot gun opening before heading out (see photos and link below to video). As always, we would like to say a big thank you to Hugh for making this a special occasion with his piping, which after six years of being here, still gives us both a lump in our throats when we hear the pipe music and see the anticipation on everyone’s faces. Special indeed.
We were also once again joined this year by Maggie and Pip, (Carmel’s sister and brother in law) and as usual their help over the opening weekend proved to be invaluable. Thank you both for your help in making the opening weekend the success that it was.
We also had a surprise return visit from our good friend, Dave Brabbin. Absent last year but back with a bang this year and once again very welcome and helpful.
Enough of that you might say, what about the fishing? Well it is safe to say that it was an outstanding opening weekend with record numbers of fish netted on the Saturday and plenty to talk about on Sunday as well. Saturday set a new record for us with a rod average of 16.75 which equated to 536 fish landed for a total of 32 anglers and stories of at least as many missed and lost. We think that John Kay fishing from the bank was the first person to land a fish on his first cast near Gull Rock and he went on to land a further 11 for a total of twelve for the day. Well done John.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the day for us was that once again every rod manged to catch fish meaning that for the third year running, no one blanked and everyone seemed to have a very good day. As so many people landed so many fish it would take far too long to mention everyone and the variety of flies was extremely varied too but just a quick mention for the biggest fish of the day which again was landed from the bank by Rob Frame who conservatively guessed the weight to be around the 9lb mark and in perfect condition.
Sunday also produced good numbers of fish but understandably perhaps, not quite so many as opening day as the weather was less favourable with a quite strong wind making conditions tricky. The rod average for Sunday was still a very respectable 8.95 with once again a very good mix of rainbows and browns and a good quantity of perfectly finned over-wintered fish. As always, we had good numbers of anglers fishing from the bank on opening Sunday, and it’s great to see so many people now enjoying fishing from the bank and enjoying the ease of access around the loch.
It’s safe to say that the excellent fishing has continued since our opening weekend and the past two weeks have produced some outstanding returns.
Most of the fish have been caught on or near the surface and with the unusually warm and settled conditions there have been some spectacular rises with vast quantities of fish being seen in just about all areas of the loch. There are no particular hot spots but it is fair to say that the south end of the loch is generally fishing better than the north end, although some individuals have had very good days tucked into the reeds at the top end of the loch.
Top flies patterns have been buzzers of various sizes fished on floating lines and presented across the wind and allowed to drift, sometimes held up washing line style and other times allowed to sink. Dries have also been extremely effective at certain times of the day with top patterns including yellow owl / cdc buzzers, hares ear suspenders and small sedge patterns.
And just yesterday there was success for some people using damsel patterns fished again on a floating line but retrieved a little quicker.
As the first two weeks have been so good it is very difficult to pick out individuals worthy of a mention as the list would be far too long. So what we will say, is that in these first two weeks, anglers have reported that the quality of the fish being caught is outstanding. It is also very pleasing to see that the brown trout introduced last year are growing very well and have, in the main, survived the usual winter onslaught from the predation. The biggest fish reported so far was caught yesterday by Karl Ferguson, a rainbow of approximately 12 lbs in perfect condition and safely returned to fight another day (see photos). Karl caught this using a damsel on a floating line at the top end of the loch.
So with the season well and truly under way we are off to a flying start and very hopeful of a good season ahead. Remember that we are open seven days a week and at the moment our days run from 8.30 am until 5pm but with the days getting longer it won’t be too long before we can also offer evening sessions. We will keep you posted as to when these become available.
Holiday cottages are proving popular again this year with plenty of bookings already in – if you are thinking of a short break or longer holiday in one of the cottages please get in touch with Carmel by phone or email with your preferred dates: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note the online system can be a bit clunky and may display a full week as being booked and this can sometimes be misleading as there may be some space in that week for a short break. It is worth contacting Carmel for any holiday queries.
So its opening day and you’re out in a boat and there are fish being caught everywhere around you including the other end of your boat.
You are a Fly Fishing Instructor, Former England International Fly fisher and Manager, Club Champion, Former Tackle Dealer and current Blanker!
It’s well over an hour since you started and your net is still dry.
Keep Calm and Carry On you silently say to yourself.
Thirty Minutes later and you have had, to your great relief six cracking Rainbows plus a few pulls.
Thank goodness for that.
Some people who are struggling to catch while others around them are can go to pieces.
My experience is that if you keep doing the basics then it will usually come good. Getting het up is the last thing to do. J
One of the most basic things is to keep moving. Too often I see people sticking in the same spot for far too long. This can be on the Bank or Anchored in a Boat.
I was on my third move when I noticed a large pod of rising fish as we motored back up the Loch.
A quick stop and a short drift saw two quick fish netted and the anchor was dropped.
Fish then came very steadily and the pressure was off. J
The rest of the day went well after that and the Bacon Rolls at Lunchtime were superb as usual.
About 10 days later I was faced with a slightly similar situation. I had one fish to the net when my partner Carl had eight or nine and it was past lunchtime. This was a bit different though as I was hooking as many fish as him if not more but they were falling off sometimes right at the net.
Hooks were inspected and sharpened and sometimes replaced with another one exactly the same even though nothing was obviously wrong. Then for no apparent reason they began to stick.
The afternoon went really well for me and I only dropped one more fish. I did get snapped off with two fish but both times I had two on at once. Incidentally I have found that when using a two turn Surgeons Knot for my droppers I only lose one fish due to this type breakage. Using a figure of 8 knot for the droppers I lose both fish.
Anyway despite the weatherman predicting continuous cloud cover and the actual sky being a perfect blue we had a great day. The Washing Line with Buzzers was the answer at my end of the boat and Carl finished off on Dries at the other end. We both ended up well into double figures with a mixture of this season’s fish and a lot of overwintered ones.
A brownie each was also good.
What a way to start the season. J
- Pentland Civil Service FFC – Fished on a very cold and windy day but despite this most anglers manged at least their bag limit
- Heriots FFC – Had a mixed day yesterday with some anglers doing extremely well whilst others struggled to match the conditions. Fish were evident in all areas of the loch and were seen in very large numbers on or near the surface. The club finished with 54 fish for 8 anglers giving a rod average of 6.75 with four fish over 9lbs. Black and Olive Buzzers were the most effective patterns.
- We are delighted to announce that we now have a wheelie boat for hire which is a very useful addition to our existing fleet of boats. This is for use by wheel chair users and other people that may have mobility problems and can be booked in advance. We are very grateful to Gordon Biers of Lockwood Beck Fishery for allowing us to purchase this from him (see photos) and we wish him well in his retirement from fisheries management. It is very sad to see yet another great boating venue closing, further reducing the number of places available for larger club outings and this once again demonstrates just how difficult it is to make the fisheries viable.
- Work around the bank continued over the winter making access that much easier for the bank anglers. We also managed to clear the outlet again thanks to agreement form our neighbouring farmer, Ian Scott and hope to be able to do this on a regular basis to ensure the clear flow through of water in the loch.
- Once again, thank you to Robbie for his contributions to the reports
Clubs are once again starting to book their seasonal outings and over the next two weeks we will be hosting the following organisations:
- Leith FFC
- Pencaitland FFC
- Earlston FFC
As always we wish them successful outings and weather to match.
Two short videos of the anglers being piped down to the loch on Opening Day are posted on our Coldingham Loch channel on YouTube – follow the link below
Photo gallery below, please click on the photo to enlarge
This photo gallery below are all photos taken by Colin Riach of the Heriot AC on their outing at the loch on Sunday 2nd April and are displayed below with Colin’s kind permission