I was speaking to a guy the other day and of course the topic of conversation was mainly about the weather and the prolonged period of hot, dry weather that we’ve been experiencing. His reply to me was that in this country we seem to have forgotten what this is like and that in other European countries they would simply consider this as normal summer weather and on reflection I have to say that I think he is right. This year has, you might say, been a proper year in terms of seasons and because the weather has been a lot more even in previous years we have almost forgotten what a year with seasons looks and feels like. Needless to say, this affects the fishing as it always has done and we should not be surprised that things always get a little tougher in the hotter periods and this usually means July and into mid- August when fly and fry life are possibly at their fullest.
I was out with the weed cutter most days last week and once again I was quite amazed at the number of sticklebacks and perch fry that come on to the deck of the boat along with the weed, not to mention the plethora of other aquatic creepy crawlies that call the weed their home. We have been quite thorough in our cutting this year but you will notice that we have left certain weed fringes around the bank, particularly on the southern shore and northern shore leading into Swing Gate Bay and at the top end of the loch near to the outlet. Taking all of the weed would not be in the best interest of the fish and leaving some areas should, we think, help maintain a healthy habitat. Those fishing the bank can easily cast over the weed fringe, and those fishing the still have the majority of the loch to peruse.
Les Lockey took full advantage of the situation last week and for his 6 days fishing managed to land a very impressive 94 fish giving him a daily average of almost 16 fish. This is good at any time of the year but given the conditions it was even more impressive. His tactics included dry fly fishing with a single fly, usually black foam beetle or summer bibio; floating line with a sink tip fishing a diawl bach and pheasant tailed nymph fished across the wind; sinking lines with lures such as cats whiskers and black rabbit pulled quickly at depth. This only goes to demonstrate that in order to maintain your catch rate you need to be prepared to change what you do when it is appropriate to do so. Les also used most of the loch and changed his position regularly in order to find the fish although I’m sure that he would agree that most of his fish were located in the deeper areas around the buoys and in Swing Gate Bay which is not unusual for this time of the year.
Another feature of the last week has also been the caenis hatches which have always started at around 9pm. I was convinced that we had seen the last of the caenis a couple of weeks back but it just goes to show how wrong I was and how unpredictable this season has been so far. As a consequence of this anglers have been getting their best action just before the hatch starts in earnest but once the fish start to slurp up the caenis it’s has been a case of scratch your head and enjoy the spectacle.
So apart from Les Lockey who else has done well enough to get a mention this past fortnight?
- Bob Cockburn and his dad James landed 23 to the boat using white minkie, black minkie and mini cats whiskers. Bob had a further 10 on his next visit and reported dropping at least a further 9 fish …. Very unusual for him.
- Allan Cook had an impressive 8 to the boat including one blue. Ally McCoist.
- Ron Holroyd and Ron Grisedale had 10 to the boat. Diawl Bachs.
- Pete Dann had 6 to the bank and lost a few besides in his 4 hour session. Foam beetle and hoppers.
- Neil Keillor had 6 to the boat using a variety of flies.
- Peter Collings had 5 to the bank and reported catching on dries even during the caenis hatch. He had a further 9 including one brownie on his next outing.
- Neil McIntyre and Craig Pennycook, 10 to the boat. Contrast Killer.
- Mick Doherty 6 to the boat. Damsel.
- Austin Churm 9 to the bank. Damsel.
- Ellem Club – A total of 35 fish on a day that was sunny in spells but more often than not covered by a haar.
- Ferranti AC had to cancel their outing due to unforeseen circumstance but hope to come back later in the year
- As mentioned earlier in the report, the weed cutting is more or less completed but the weed cutter is still on the loch just in case a further round up is required. This will not affect the fishing in any way.
Lad/Lady’s and Dads Charity day 30th Sept
Our popular annual Charity day is filling up and there are only 2 boats left – please ring to book. The day is always a good sociable day with plenty of rivalry between the dads and lads/ladys. Tickets are fantastic value at £25 each which all goes straight to St Abbs Independent Lifeboat and includes bacon rolls on arrival and a slap up BBQ at lunchtime.
We have a charity day raffle to help boost funds for the day so even if you can’t come to fish please support us and this very worthy local charity by buying tickets for the raffle. Fantastic array of prizes including a fly box of 140 flies tied by the Scottish International Team of 2017, a bottle of St Abbs Independent Lifeboat Gin, Oyster catchers print by wildlife artist Jan Ferguson, a set of cards by Jan Ferguson, a bottle of whisky, St Abbs Independent Lifeboat clothing – T shirt, cap, fleece/hoody
Stick or Twist?
So what can you do when the fishing is difficult?
Well this may depend on what you are trying to achieve and how the day has went so far.
Last week I was out on the Loch with the Ellem Club.
We had nine boats filled and a further five anglers on the bank.
A great turnout for a Club these days.
Start time was 09.30 and when we went in for lunch at 12.30 myself and my boat partner Duncan had 2 fish each. Now the Club when at Coldingham goes for a 3 fish limit with catch and release afterwards.
The catch and release element is recorded for the Club and the Fishery but does not count towards your bass weight.
So after lunch I need one more fish for the weigh in.
Around 14.30 I had only just muttered to Duncan that I did not know whether to stick or twist when my line went solid!
Twenty second later the fish dropped off………………..
Not long after I had a fairly violent take. On inspecting my cast for a lost fly I found a broken hook.
A fairly rare occurrence these days.
Half an hour or so later I had my third fish in the bag and had released two more.
Now the three in the bag and the lost fish had been by sticking more or less to what I was doing with an odd change of fly. However the last two released was by a significant change.
I went from a floater to a medium sinking fly line.
So where does that leave us?
Well I suppose if you are in a friendly club competition like ours and need one more fish then sticking to your guns is a reasonable idea if you already have some fish.
For pleasure fishing or in a more serious competition changing is probably the best option.
Anyway in this hot/sunny weather the fishing can be difficult so what can you do?
Well moving around is probably still the best option. Drifting in the boat can be a great way of finding taking fish and if you hit a hotspot drop the anchor for a while.
On the bank keep moving every few casts.
I would also favour the deeper water so if you are unfamiliar with the Loch ask for a map which will show you the depths.
So what about methods? Well a medium sinking line will get down a bit especially from the bank or an anchored boat but you will need to give it time. A fast sinking line will be much quicker and may be essential from a drifting boat.
From the Bank or from an anchored boat a floating line with the appropriate flies can be another tactic to fish deep.
With a floater I would be looking at using a Tungsten Beaded Buzzer on the point and on the droppers some other Buzzers, Diawl Bachs or Crunchers. These flies need to be fairly streamlined to sink. A fluffy Minkie or similar even with a bead will have a lot of resistance and may not be getting as deep as you think.
Another point to note is that the flies have to pull the leader through the water column so a thinner line will have less resistance. Fluorocarbon also has a slightly higher Specific Gravity than Nylon so may help a little.
Fishing a floating line with a Tungsten Buzzer and other nymphs will require patience. Cast out and do not retrieve until at least 3 feet of the fly line has been pulled under and then only slowly.
For the flies Black is said to silhouette well at depth but I would like one or two bright ones in there as well to hedge my bets.
Finally enjoy the day. You are probably not going to catch as many fish as in the Spring and Autumn so accept that and embrace the weather and scenery. May be enjoy a nice lunch ashore.
Perhaps a Marks and Sparks Prawn Salad or how about getting a disposable barbecue. Then you could have some Wild Boar Sausages, a Venison Burger or an Ostrich Steak!
Something out of the ordinary accompanied by a cool glass of your favourite.
Make a bit of an occasion of it and just enjoy being out.
Winter will be here soon enough!
(44) 01289 302 510
Over the summer we get fewer visiting clubs and so this next period it is just the following club who will be visiting us.
- Mill and Groom Trout Fishers
- Gilmerton AC
As always we look forward to seeing them and wish them a successful and enjoyable days fishing.
Apologies for the lack of photos this time but the picture below shows some of our excellent raffle prizes for the September Charity Day Raffle. If you are unable to come on the day please can you support us by buying raffle tickets to help us raise funds for St Abbs Independent Lifeboat.