As this unusual and very dry weather continues, so does the challenge of catching good numbers at this time of the year. No matter who we speak to, it seems that all fisheries and even the ones located at higher levels are down on their usual returns. Should we be surprised? The answer to this is absolutely not because we know that this is the likelihood of summer fishing and moreover, it happens every year.
Despite this, the loch is in very good shape for the time of the year and even though we have conducted some extensive weed cutting there is no sign of an algal bloom as yet and the clarity of the water remains very good. We have left some weed in certain small areas and this is proving popular, particularly for the brown trout which can be seen throwing themselves around as only brown trout can do.
Bizarrely, fly selection and method are somewhat harder to predict than the weather at the moment and a quick look through the returns book shows just how unpredictable and changeable things are. Perhaps the most success has been to daddies and hoppers fished from floating lines with a mixed retrieve although buzzers, apps, and a variety of mini lures have also worked on occasion. Timings have also been an important factor and it is quite clear that the majority of fish are being caught either before lunch or in the evening with the afternoons being best avoided if possible.
So with the weather forecast for the forthcoming fortnight looking pretty similar to what we have just now, our advice would be to plan your days accordingly and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves in terms of returns. In some ways we are lucky to be where we are as many of the fisheries further south are now shut and will remain so until the colder conditions return. At least we are still able to fish and as the following list of successful anglers will show, it is still possible to have very good days.
Before we move to this though, it is well worth mentioning one person in particular and that is Austin Churm. Austin is a regular here, coming often throughout the year with his mates and during the summer with his family for their annual stay. He also fishes in other parts of the world and regularly visits Norway for a spot of fly and sea fishing. Needless to say he is quite an accomplished hand when it comes to fishing. Chatting to him a while ago however, he was convinced that he needed to improve certain aspects of his fly fishing and consequently booked the services of Robbie for a day on the Loch to look at buzzer/nymphing techniques.
Austin normally only fished one or two flies on a cast but was soon handling 4 nymphs on a long leader. After catching around 6 or 7 trout on this method Robbie went on to give him instruction on how to fish dries, the Washing Line and various techniques for pulling lures.
By the end of the day Austin had landed 15 Trout and this could have been more if just catching rather than instruction on different techniques had been the main focus of the day. Austin was extremely pleased with his experience and afterwards said he would recommend a lesson to any experienced anglers. This could be to improve a particular aspect of their fishing or to go through a range of techniques and add the tips and tweaks that result in more fish caught.
Which when you think about it is no different to most other men and women who pursue other sporting disciplines and are coached on a regular basis. I’m sure that there is a lesson for us all here! (See the gallery for a photo of Austin’s daughter aged 6, with her first ever trout which she caught when fishing the loch with her dad during their stay).
So who else deserves a mention during the last fortnight:
- John Bennett had a great day on the bank with 8. Various dries. He then went out on a boat for his next session and had a further 6 using mainly dries. His third and last session of his week here was again off the bank and he landed 12 including one brownie. Grey duster.
- Simon Menzies 5 to the boat. He reported catching fish on the surface and 35 feet down! Dries and booby.
- Bob Cockburn 7 to the boat with a further 4 being added by his dad James. Buzzers.
- John Bruin 6 to the bank in a four hour evening session. CDCs.
- Allan Cook 9 to the boat. Ally McCoist. Allan had a further 5 to the boat on his next outing.
- Austin Churm fishing without Robbie and in a short evening session had 7 to the boat. Buzzers and diawl bach.
- Alec McMeakin 8 to the boat including 3 fish over 4lbs. Daddies and black hopper.
- James Stephens 7 to the bank. PTN.
- Brian Battensby 8 to the boat. Kate McLaren.
- Keith Roe and Brian Groom were honours even with 16 to the boat during an evening session. Black Daddy and foam beetle.
- Colin McIssac 10 to the boat and reported that the fish were in superb condition. CDC shuttlecock and Elks hair dry.
- Gordon Boulding 9 to the bank in a short evening session. Daddy and black beetle.
- Gordon Fraser 5 to the boat in a short afternoon session. Orange hopper.
- Robbie Bell 10 to the boat using mainly dries. He reported one fish as being around 7 – 8 lbs.
- James and Joy Gardiner had 12 to the boat during a short evening session. Damsel, Cat and Fab.
- Robbie Bell and Corben Skene had 10 to the boat in a 4 hour evening session. Dries.
- Last but by no means least we have to mention a young man Guy Brookes, who had a half day lesson with Robbie and landed his first ever rainbow trout along with 2 more and a brownie (see photos). We certainly enjoy seeing the youngsters getting out on the water especially when they are keen to learn and we hope he has many happy and successful fly fishing trips ahead of him.
- Mill and Groom Trout Fishers – reported having had a hard but good day, 12 fish in total.
- Gilmerton AC – Fished yesterday in very hot conditions. A total of 15 fish I think?
- Spittal AC – fished on the same day as Mill and Groom and again reported a hard day.
- There are a very small number of Tiger trout in the loch and we ask anglers to return them like we do the browns. Neil MacIntrye sent us a photo of one he caught and returned to the water – see gallery below.
- Lad/Lady’s and Dads Charity day 30th Sept is now full. Thank you to everyone who has booked for this, we look forward to seeing you all on the day. We have a charity day raffle to help boost funds for the day so please support us and this very worthy local charity by buying tickets for the raffle and thanks to those anglers who have already done so. Prizes include 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
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
Robert Burns of course.
The skill to observe what is going on around us is and has always been one that has been very important to fly fishers ever since the first bit of fluff was chucked.
Now Entomology might not be a subject you have majored in, but looking in the cobwebs in the boat shed before you start fishing and seeing that the majority of the buzzers there are an olive colour is not quantum mechanics.
Noting and the interpretation of a rise form is further up the learning scale but again not too difficult.
There are some books on the subject and of course these days Mr. Google and Mr. You Tube.
Spotting the rise is something a few anglers struggle with.
It is not to do with eyesight more an interpretation issue.
Of course everyone can see a big slurping rise in a flat calm but when it is in a wave it is not so easy. One way to learn is when you see an obvious rise in a wave is to keep watching and watching till it disappears.
Then try and remember what it was like a few seconds before it totally disappeared as that is sometimes all you will see!
It may just be a crinkling or flattening of the water.
If in doubt cast anyway as you have nothing to lose.
As you get experienced as an angler you can begin to pick up on body language. Then although you may not be able to see clearly you can often tell when someone in the distance is playing a fish.
Perhaps it is just a straightening of the posture or just a bit more animation but something tells you he is playing a trout.
If that repeats then maybe that is where your next drift should be.
There may well be fish in your present position but maybe they are not feeding. It’s possible there is a hatch going on over there.
So where does Rabbie Burns come in?
Well on two occasions recently I have been an observer.
The first was when I was a Sector Judge at the recent International River Competition between Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales
That was the finishing order by the way!
Anyway when you are standing on the bank you can see that even with very accomplished Fly Fishermen there are things they could probably improve.
It’s an outside looking in thing and I don’t profess to be better than them.
So if you ever get the chance to be a controller at a River Competition or a Boatman at a Loch Style event go for it. You can learn a lot.
Even at World Championship level where the Czechs and French are consistently the top teams they have a coach.
One tactic I used when coaching the British Army Team and I am sure all teams will use, was to get one angler to fish for 15 minutes while his teammates watched and made notes.
They would then take it in turns to critique his performance and then the next one would fish and so on.
The whole team learned from this and often an angler was completely unaware of mistakes he was making or where he could improve.
The second chance to observe was when I did Tuition on the Loch last week for an experienced angler (Gareth has already covered that but I include below the email that Austin has subsequently sent me).
Being on the outside observing in often gives you 20-20 vision.
(44) 01289 302 510
Thanks for a great day out yesterday.
I learned so much and would highly recommend this to any experienced angler. You gave me loads to think about and catching 15 fish was a real bonus!”
There are no clubs visiting this next period.