As the dry spell continues to dominate across the country so does the exceptional catch rate at the loch. Although as with every trend this is not the case for everyone.
A subtle change in temperatures has seen a massive explosion of fly life which in turn has switched the fish on to a frenzy of feeding and what we are now seeing is a loch that is bursting with activity. But as we all know seeing the fish is one thing but trying to tempt them in amongst the plethora of natural food available to them, is another thing all together. Those that have managed to unlock the secret have had a field day, posting returns that, as I said before, are exceptional.
The hot spots have also been fairly consistent but to some extent this has been determined by the wind which at times has meant that places such as Swing Gate Bay and the eastern shore have been largely unfishable. This has meant that the northern end of the loch and Boat House Bay have attracted a lot of attention hence the high returns from these two areas in particular. A spell of calmer weather should allow better coverage of all areas and as we saw yesterday from the huge rise of feeding fish ….. there are fish everywhere.
As always the loch remains well stocked and it is particularly pleasing for us that people are seeing the amount of fish available to them which at least gives them confidence that on, shall we say, the lean days, fish numbers is not a factor in low returns.
There has been a large hatch of hawthorns of late and we are now seeing the odd daddy flying around and as we all know this can lead to some tremendous dry fly action on the right day. Hawthorns are members of the bibionid fly family, as are a number of other small black flies which as fishermen we often refer to as ‘black gnats’. Yesterday saw one of the most spectacular hatches of these terrestrial flies and anglers reported the loch being carpeted by them. Fish become fixated on these flies as they do when a caenis hatch occurs and as we all know it can be extremely frustrating to fish in these conditions. However, dries and buzzers have remained the top patterns during the last two weeks but towards the end of the period we have noticed that lures are now starting to become attractive to the fish and patterns such as blob, FAB, damsel and Apps worms are beginning to work well. In fact Andy Richmond, fishing on Saturday from the bank decided to change his patterns in an attempt to slow things down as the fruit salad blob and lime green blob were far too attractive to the fish. Not often we hear this!!
Anyhow why don’t we take a quick canter through some of the more impressive returns during the last two weeks and get a flavour for what has been working well:
- Alastair Fountain 18 to the boat including two browns. Black dries.
- C Waldie 12 to the boat. Black pennell
- Jim Campbell fishing with his young grandson Matthew, 18 to the boat and honours were even. Black buzzers.
- D McAdam 22 to the boat. CDC’s.
- Bob Cockburn 17 to the boat including 2 browns and 24 on his next outing. Black dries.
- Graham Dea and his boat partner had 40 to the boat including 1 brown. Graham also had another spectacular outing on his own and managed 35 to the boat which included 5 browns. CDC’s and Buzzer.
- D Todd 15. CDCs
- David Todd 21 including a blue and a brown. CDCs and Hares ear
- David Auld 19 to the boat and 11 on his next outing. Mini cat, Fab and black buzzers.
- Paul Hird 20+ to the boat. Buzzers.
- Pete Dann 13 including 1 brown fishing from the bank. Buzzers.
- T Smith and 3 mates had 30 between them. Buzzers.
- Gordon Boulding 9 from the bank on a very windy day. Damsel nymph.
- Colin Macauley 11 from the bank. Griffiths Gnat.
- Finlay 9 to the boat. CDC’s
- Simon Menzies 12 to the boat
- Mackey 10 from the bank. Buzzers.
- Askell 12 from the bank including 1 brown. Black beetle.
- Colin McIssac 10 to the boat and 16 to the bank on his next outing. Combination of dries.
- Andy Girrity 16 to the boat including 2 browns. Black buzzers.
- Ricky Taylor 20 to the bank. Bloodworm and bushy spider.
- Andy Richmond 41 to the bank. Blob and bushy.
- Bob Sharpe 18 to the boat including a blue and a brown.
- Darren McCormack 14 to the boat. Blobs and shammy.
- David Neilson 10 to the boat.
- David Crabtree 11 to the boat.
- Karl Ferguson 10 to the bank. Black snatcher, cdc’s and damsel
- Mikel Benatinsky 16 to the bank. Buzzers.
(Apologies if I’ve missed anyone but the list this time is quite long as you can see)
Better to be Lucky than Good?
I often say to Clients and other Anglers “There is no such thing as Luck in Fly Fishing.”
Well that is not in the strictest sense true.
You can of course get a bit lucky by hooking a good fish and then having the skills to land it.
Most of us will have had the hook drop out just as soon as the fish is in the net and of course the opposite just before we slip the net under a trout!
What I really mean is there is not really a Luck Factor when taken over a Season.
Good Anglers, those who have put in the time, effort and probably money will always win out over a season. Most Clubs will have their Anglers who consistently do well over a season and probably over the years as well.
One way of looking at luck is that Sunderland might beat Chelsea in a one off Cup Match but never over the season in the League.
So last Sunday I was fishing on the River Ure in Yorkshire.
It was an Eliminator to qualify for the English National Rivers Final to be held later in the year.
The top five in the Final will qualify to fish for England against Scotland, Wales and Ireland in next year’s International.
I had been controlling another Angler in the morning and this is where you measure any Trout that are caught, record the Length, check the Flies are Barbless and make sure the Fish swims away strongly.
In the afternoon it was my turn to fish on the top beat and I was halfway through the four hour session and had by then caught and measured two Trout. Coming along the opposite Bank was another angler and his controller my good friend Fred Bainbridge.
Fred shouted across in his usual dulcet tones, “HOW YOU GETTING ON?”
I told him I had two fish to which he replied there are a few people on two and the rest are blank.
As most people will be aware of there has been very little rain recently and so the fishing was very tough as the river was about as low and clear as anyone had ever seen it.
“GET ANOTHER ONE AND YOU SHOULD QUALIFY” says Fred as he and his angler moved on.
Shortly after I hooked and lost two Trout!
I think the expression I used was *!*”*~##~*!?
Any way never one to give up I pushed on.
With around 25 minutes to go I came to a great pool. It was tucked in to a high bank with overhanging trees and a fast run into a deep hole.
So I was thinking there had to be a fish in there and I diligently worked my nymphs through it.
Not a flash or a follow or a take.
So by now I was running out of good water and time.
Anyway I turned round and started to work across to the other bank and just as I came to the far side I flicked the nymphs in but could not see my line.
My flies were in an overhanging bush!
With very little time left to try and carefully retrieve them I gave the rod a quick yank.
They came loose!
A quick check to make sure they were not tangled and what’s this?
Another fly and a short bit of nylon had come back with them so I put that fly on my patch.
Now looking round for where to go next and with only about 10 minutes to go I was stuck.
There was another angler above me and no time to climb the high bank and get above him.
However my eye was once again caught by the good pool under the trees by the bank.
I couldn’t could I?
So I tied on the fly from my patch that I had pulled out of the tree.
First cast a 29 cm brownie!
How did you end up says Fred when we met back at the Pub for the results?
I got one more I said.
Should be enough he said, what did you get it on.
As I described the incident and the fly his eyes got wider and wider.
“THATS MY FLY” I lost that practising last week!
The results were announced and I came third with five to go through to the Final. Fred was the winner with 5 trout in the morning from the bottom beat.
So was I lucky?
Well I was unlucky to drop the two Trout I lost but lucky to retrieve that fly from the tree and not tangle my leader so perhaps it does all balance out in the end.
So perhaps if you are not a lucky or consistent fisherman maybe, just maybe you need to take stock.
Now if you are happy plodding along and having the odd good day but generally enjoying your fishing then that’s fine.
However if you really want to become a more proficient angler there are no quick fixes or magic flies.
Read the books, buy the DVD’s, study the magazines, have the good equipment and maybe just maybe book some lessons.
If there is a shortcut then it is Tuition and it can save you years of learning.
I should know I booked myself lessons with many of the best anglers in the country when I started out.
- Western Angling Club. Great day. Top rod Alastair Fountain 18 to the boat.
- Northumbria Police AC. 29 fish for 9 rods.
- Mid Lothian FFC. 87 fish for 15 rods. Average of 5.8 per rod.
- Eyewater AC. 55 fish for 9 rods. Average 6.1. Top rod, Robert Weir and biggest fish, 4lb 6oz rainbow.
- North Berwick AC. 43 fish in total for 9 rods.
- Edinburgh High Constables AC. 15 fish for 5 rods. Average 3.
- Roslyn British Legion FFC. Great day with 78 fish for 8 rods. Average 9.75 per rod. Catch included a 4lb brownie safely returned.
- Norham and Ladykirk FFC. 65 fish for 12 rods giving an average of 5.4. Winner on the day, Dean Cockburn.
- An amendment to our last loch report for the Bank of Scotland AC outing – The five boats for Bank of Scotland caught a total of 100 fish, killing 14 and returning 86. Our best angler, Scott Miller had 21 to the boat mainly on FABs, Boobys and buzzers. There were some really feisty fish caught including a lovely brown of about 4lb. Some of us found things a little trickier but everybody caught fish and nobody blanked. Main hot spots were boat bay, especially in the morning. The top of the loch by the reeds and Swing Gate Bay did well for me in the afternoon when the fish really switched onto buzzers. Really enjoyable day as usual and we look forward to returning. The water was super clear and in lovely condition.
- Evening sessions are now under way and are well worth trying as we get some of the most spectacular rises during the evenings. This means that the loch is now open until 10pm every day until further notice.
- It’s nice to be able to report a bit of good news. David Whyte dropped his reel in to the loch last week and despite our best attempts we were unable to find it. Two days later Judy Whitelaw was out fishing with Bob Harrison and hooked a line which she then proceeded to pull in. After a lengthy haul, hey presto, there’s David’s reel on the end! Well done Judy and David, if I were you, I’d go and buy a lottery ticket.
During the next fortnight we will be welcoming the following groups of anglers:
- Kelso British Legion
- Ellem Club
- Wiremill FFC
- Railway Inn FFC
As always we hope for good weather and good returns for all