How many times over the last two weeks have we heard people say … “ the loch’s absolutely full of fish”. But of course we already know this and we are proud of our rod averages over the past seasons. I think what people mean is that there are on unusually high number of fish being seen on the surface, particularly for the time of the year and the fact that in general the temperatures are still very cold. The greatest concentration of fish over the last two to three weeks has centred around the deeper area of the loch i.e. between the fish cage and the buoys, and we can only assume that there has been an extra ordinary hatch of deep water buzzers that has attracted the fish to this area. That said, this weekend has seen a good number of fish caught in the Swing Gate Bay area of the loch which means that once again they are on the move. Because of this, fishing during the day has been outstanding with flies such as tan or claret bloodworm, candy booby and damsel fished on floating or midge tip lines, being the top performers. Towards the end of the day and into early evening some of the best dry fly fishing is still on offer. Fishing static dries and lifting into the fish only when the fish are attacking the fly, requires patience and skill and whilst this might not be ‘everyone’s cup of tea’, in my opinion, it certainly does produce some of the most exciting fishing that the season has to offer.
We had the arrival of the first swallow of the season today (Sunday 17thApril) which is roughly consistent with other seasons, and with their arrival we can usually be sure that there is going to be an abundance of fly life around the loch over the coming weeks. The swallows rarely get their timings wrong. It’s always a joy for us to see them return as it brings a real sense of spring to the place and with the gorse in full bloom and the sweet smell of coconut from their flowers wafting through the air, we know that it won’t be long before the arrival of the hawthorn flies and the frenzy of top of the water activity that accompanies them. The swans are also starting to mate and the usual hunt for a suitable nesting place has begun ……. No doubt the reed bed will once again rank highly as a des res area.
The primroses along the bank sides are also in full bloom and as the daffs start to die back we can be sure that the usual carpet of blue will soon underpin the woods.
Back to the fishing though and a quick run through who has done what over the last 14 days or so and as always apologies to any out there who we may have missed:
- John Donaldson commented ‘not a bad start to the season!!’ when he landed 16 fish including 2 over wintered blues from the bank on damsel, cats whisker & diawl bach
- Jim Campbell and Brian Turner had 20 to the boat commenting ‘good day, fish up all day’
- Bob Grant had 8 fish on damsel, muddler with ‘loads of offers, great day’
- On the same day Bob Cockburn landed 25 fish to the tan and olive
bloodworm followed up on his next visit by a further 20 to the boat
- Kenny & Ross Mackay fishing with Robbie managed to land 12 to the boat and lost at least as many again – not bad for a first outing (see Robbies corner below)
- Mike Connet and Chris MacKenna had total of 24 to the boat with Mike doing the most damage using candy booby dragged across the surface. Chris stuck to the buzzers and was duly rewarded
- Graham Scott fishing with his friend M Gould had a great day off the bak with 14 to a dawsons olive their comment was ‘fantastic sport and fin perfect fish’
- Neil Keillor & Darrel Young fished today from the boat and finished with an honourable draw with 11 fish each
- Leith FFC had 7 anglers landing 15 fish & reporting a ‘brilliant days fishing’ catching mainly on CDC, damsel, cats whisker and AllyMcCoist
- Border Bears FFC fishing the next day had an enjoyable day with reasonable conditions though bright in the afternoon and had 19 fish to their 10 rods fishing from the boat. James Inkpen won the heaviest bag and brother Graeme won heaviest fish at 3lb 8 oz
- Pencaitland AC – fished on Saturday and went out in cold and very windy conditions. The day did improve but fishing for some people was hard. Despite the bad weather conditions their 18 anglers managed a total of 45 fish and Terrance Thomson (quite new to the sport) came out as top rod. He had the heaviest 4 fish bag for a weight of 10lbs 14oz and also managed to win the heaviest fish prize 3lb 6 oz
- Earlston AC finished off the fortnight fishing today in much better weather. There were some good catches and overall the club had 65 fish to 12 anglers giving them a rod average of just over 5 per angler. The heaviest fish went to Craig Lyell with a rainbow of 3lbs 10oz and heaviest four fish bag was shared between S. Fairgreave & N.Miller – 10lbs 12 oz.
Wet and Windy.
The tuition booking was for Tuesday.
However, sensibly as it turned out, we had allowed for a reserve day on the Wednesday.
As it happened neither day looked that good but a phone call on the Sunday night decided the “better” day was the Tuesday.
Monday morning and only around twelve hours later the Met Office web site had all changed and Tuesdays forecast was dreadful and now Wednesday was a bit better.
A hurried e-mail and a last minute phone call and Wednesday was on come hell or high water.
Well it certainly wasn’t hell but the loch is full to the brim. 🙂
The weather was just about as predicted with fleeting showers, a steady wind and Baltic!
Kenny and his 15 year old son Ross were my Clients for the day. I was very pleased to see they had taken my advice and were well kitted out with appropriate clothing and footwear.
A day on the water at this time of year can be very cold and from experience I now carry spare clothing just in case my recommendations for extra layers are not followed. 😉
We stayed in the warmth of the Hut for a short while as I went through the tackle we would be using and how the rod rating system ensures a balanced set up for the different kinds of fly fishing for trout we can do at the Loch and at other types of venue.
This was followed up by some basic entomology, trout behaviour and the links to our artificial flies.
A short safety briefing and the donning of Lifejackets and Safety Specs and off we go.
Second cast and Ross is into a fish. A good three pounder as it happens.
Now if he will forgive me I would politely point out that the playing of this fish left shall we say, a bit to be desired.
Understandably as it was his first ever trout but somehow the barbless hook stayed in and it was safely landed. Well Done Ross.
As it happens Ross was to get plenty of practice at playing fish as he hooked more fish than any other client I have ever had!
Switching to Dad Kenny he quickly hooked and successfully landed 3 fish and his second one was a nice Blue Trout. He slowed down after that but did end his day with a creditable 5 fish netted.
Meanwhile Ross was practising his catch and release. The long range version that is.
At the end of the day Ross had hooked and played around 20 fish and had managed to get 7 of them into the net.
These were not just takes. They were fish on and all of them played at least halfway back to the boat. Hooks were regularly checked but it was just one of those things
Near the end of the day and after Ross had netted what was to be his last fish and being me being slightly unsure because of the amount of trout he had actually lost I asked him how many fish HE had successfully caught and his answer was 7-5!
Dad Kenny ended up with a better percentage of fish hooked to fish netted but with as Ross pointed out with only 5 fish landed it may have been a long journey home for him.
He had also only lost around 6 or 7 so was also behind on the fish hooked score and the 3 lb fish Ross kept was also bigger than his Dads as well! So Ross had the full suite of bragging rights.
Somebody once asked me when the first ever competition took place.
My reply was that it would be the first time ever a Father and Teenage Son got in a boat. 🙂
The next fortnight sees a flurry of activity from the clubs. We will be hosting:
- Edinburgh Breadalbane
- Kelso AA
- The Ellem Club
- Heriots FFC
- Hoy and Hope FFC
Please click on the photo to enlarge and use arrows to scroll through. Thanks to holiday guest Jordan Butler for her fabulous photos from around the loch both during the day and at night – more will be going on the website galleries