With approximately 6 weeks left of our season we are once again seeing some of the best fishing of the year taking place. Yes, it’s a case of watching the weather, but if you manage to get that right then the fishing is top notch. No better example of this was just a couple of days ago when Robbie took young Corben out for his prize of a day’s tuition with Robbie. Corben won the prize as best under 18’s rod at our recent Lad(y)s and Dads competition and it couldn’t have gone to a more worthy winner…….. i.e. If you could bottle his enthusiasm and sell it, you would be a millionaire!
Needless to say they had a great day, landing 11 fish to the boat including a blue and a brownie. (Read more about it in Robbies Blog) With his new found skills I’m sure that he is already looking forward to applying them to next year’s competition but I’m also sure that Robbie probably held one or two things back ……. just in case!!
Weather can be a problem late in the season, indeed we have had to close the loch for 3 days during this last two weeks due to strong winds, but as we have said many times before, the bank is a very good option and at the moment I would say that the bank is fishing just as well as the boats. We have put a lot of work in to making the bank easily accessible and it is well worth you taking time to have a look. We always recommend using waders to improve access and we are quite proud of the fact that we are one of only a relatively small number of Stillwater fisheries that allows wading. Most places now are festooned with platforms, which for some people certainly have their place but here we are keen to keep the loch looking and fishing as naturally as possible and many of our regulars comment on how refreshing this is.
The unseasonably warm weather is still providing lots of natural food for the fish and we are still seeing large hatches of insects during the day. As a consequence there are lots of fish showing on the surface and just yesterday I took as troll round the bank and watched the West Lothian anglers scratch their heads trying to work out just what the fish were on. There were rising fish all around the boats and in just about all areas of the loch but catching was a little tricky at times. Still 56 fish for 12 anglers was not a bad result by anyone’s standards and they certainly seemed happy enough with their day with no rods blanking.
More of that later in the club news but for now lets have have a look at individuals that have done particularly well during the last two weeks:
- Tom and Ewan Ferguson 8 to the boat. Diawl Bach. Kate McLaren, Black Minkie.
- David Auld 19 to the boat reported having a fantastic day and could have had many more. Di 3 pulling a black minkie.
- Colin McIssac – 8 in four hours from the bank, 15 and 14 in a day sessions from the boat. Colin is one who is taking full advantage of the end of season sport and really enjoying the sport to be had from both boat and bank.
- Archie Richmond and fishing buddy Robert Learmonth 19 from the bank. Peach blob and cormorant. Robert had a further 7 on his next outing from the bank. Beetle and cormorant.
- Taff Green had 6 to the boat and lost a further 2 and a short 4 hour session. Hares ear hopper.
- Bobby Thomson and Ian Callow 26 to the bank on one outing followed by 12 on the next. Sunburst blob, Mini Daddy, F Fly, Hopper.
- Mick Kelley had 20 to the boat using black lures.
- R Zenati 7 to the boat using booby and dries.
- Ronnie Glass had 12 to the boat using black CDCs.
- Paul Hird and boat partner J Watt had an impressive 35+ fish to the boat. Buzzers.
- Graham Dea 13 to the boat one day and 7 the next. Size 18 black CDCs and very small buzzers.
- C Young 6 to the boat. FABs and Buzzers.
- T Masterson 6 to the boat including one brownie. FABs.
- Ellem Club – A total of 81 fish for 19 rods. Top rod was Jim Youngman with 3 fish for 10lbs 13ozs the biggest being 4lbs 14ozs.
- Bank of Scotland – 13 rods had 61 fish.
- Heriots – 95 fish for 16 anglers giving a rod average of 5.4. Best bags were Trevor Gibson and Derek Kilgour with 14 a piece. Included in the catch were 3 blues and 12 brownies.
- West Lothian Fly Dressers AC – 56 fish for 12 rods.
- Pencaitland – Fished an extremely windy day today and their 19 rods managed a total of 39 fish including a number of very nice brownies (one in particular …. See photos). These were very difficult conditions indeed and hats off to the club for sticking at it.
- We would ask anyone who has made a booking for a boat to ring us if they are not able to make it, for whatever reason, as soon as possible. Once again this week we have been let down by a small number of people who have not had the decency to let us know that they are not coming and this has happened on days when we have had other people wanting boats. Clearly this is not good for us but it also means that genuine people are missing out on their fishing. A phone call is all it takes but in future we will not be taking bookings from people who repeatedly do not show up.
A Dying Art?
Now I am not sure if Fly Fishing is an Art or a Craft or a Pastime, a Hobby or a Sport.
However I am fairly sure that the participants are a group of people that are progressively getting older.
There are less and less youngsters getting into fishing in general and possibly fly fishing in particular.
At the recent Lads and Dads Charity Competition at Coldingham Loch we only had two youngsters fishing and although it is open to Lads and their Dads of any age a few of the boats were filled by two people of similar ages to make up the numbers
The competition is also very welcoming to Girls and their Dads or Mums and whilst we have had some young Ladies fish it in the past, there was only one this year.
So what can we do?
Well maybe it is up to all of us to try and get a youngster into the fishing.
Have a look around and see if there is someone you can take.
A son or daughter or a grandchild is the obvious choice but what about a niece or nephew or a neighbour.
Perhaps a work colleague’s son or an old friend’s grandson?
You could get a cheap spinning rod and take them down the local estuary and try and create the interest.
Most of the people I give instruction to are in there 40s, 50s and 60s but many of them dabbled in some sort of fishing as a youngster. Then as they get older and their children leave home or they retire they start looking for an interest.
If you want to take youngster out Fly Fishing it is not that difficult.
Almost all of us will have a spare rod and reel.
The easiest way I have found to start youngsters is in a boat at the Loch.
Use your own electric motor or hire one and get them to drive the boat which always puts a smile on their faces.
Anchor up and then cast their line out for them. Pass the rod over and teach them to do a very slow figure of eight retrieve and then cast out again for them.
Once you get this on the go you can then have a cast yourself whilst they are retrieving. If you hook a fish pass the rod over and get them to play it.
There are some safety considerations.
They must be wearing a lifejacket at all times.
They must wear safety glasses, prescription glasses or sunglasses at all times.
Cheap glasses are available at the Pound Shop but I am not sure how much they cost…………?!!!
Now a few recommendations;
Make sure you are casting both rods outside the boat. So if you are right handed they should be sitting on your left.
Use Barbless flies which are much easier to remove from anything they catch on.
Keep the first fish they catch and help them prepare and cook it.
Have a four hour session so as they do not get bored with perhaps a break for a brew.
Move around every hour so they get a few chances to drive the boat.
Use 10 pound leader so they do not snap off.
A hat is also recommended as well as warm clothing.
This is how I started off my own son when he was 8 years old.
I did this for a couple of years and then taught him how to cast.
I would recommend that you do this in the Easter holidays or the autumn half term as then you should be able to get a midweek boat easily and the fishing is usually good then.
In the summer months when the fishing is a bit harder why not do an evening session. A Friday night with no school the next day is best and the young ones usually love the chance to stay up late!
If you need any more advice please get in touch.
Now for this year’s Lads and Dads Charity Competition I offered a prize of a day out in the boat with myself as an Instructor. This was for the best catch for any Angler under 18 years of age.
The winner on the day was young Corben Skene.
Fairly appropriate as his Grandfather is Gus Skene who is a stalwart of the St Abbs Lifeboat which is the benefactor of the Charity Day.
In order to give him the best chance of catching a trout I set up one of my own rods with a 21 foot leader and four flies with a washing line configuration
I cast this out and passed the rod over and suggested he try a figure of eight retrieve which he already knew how to do. Twenty seconds into the retrieve and fish on. A full tailed 2lb+ fish in the net and the pressure is off!
Next cast and a fish lost!
By the end of the day Corben had 11 trout in the net. One for every year of his young life and it included one on his last cast of the day.
These fish included a nice Brownie of almost 2 pounds and a cracking three pound Blue Trout. He caught around half of his total with his own casting with only a slightly shortened leader and still four flies.
Well done Corben. It was a real pleasure to have a very polite, exceptionally enthusiastic and very talented young man in the boat with me.
- Mid Lothian FFC
- Black Bull FFC
These are our last two club bookings of the year and we wish them lots of success in their forthcoming visits.
At this point we would really like to thank all the clubs that have visited us this year and hope to see you back in the new season. Already the weekends are getting booked up with club outings so please get your dates to us as early as you can to avoid disappointment.