It seems just like yesterday when we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of fishermen to herald the start of the 2016 season, and here I am writing the loch report for the final time this year. Where does the time go?
For Carmel and I, 2016 marks the end of our fifth full season here at the loch, although some of you might remember that I arrived slightly ahead of Carmel and so it’s probably five and a quarter for me. As always, the year has been filled with highs and lows, and perhaps the saddest reality of being here, is that each year we almost inevitably wave farewell to people who, through their regular outing to the loch, have become more than just fishermen, they have become friends. The one good thing is that we see people enjoying their time here at the loch and so for us there are lots of happy memories and long may that continue.
Along with the lows came a particularly good high which was once again the Lad(y)s and Dads competition. As a result of our fund raising we were once again able to give over a thousand pounds to the St. Abbs Independent Lifeboat Charity, and it’s satisfying to know that the money will be put to extremely good use supporting this vital local charity. Thanks again to all those who help to make this such a successful and happy day and to those that made contributions to the raffle.
It’s always a pleasure to write the loch reports because in doing so it reminds me of just how important fishing is as a past time and a way to unwind and socialise. Nothing gives us more pleasure than to see people do well and it is equally satisfying to be able to highlight these successes in the reports which we know from your feedback, that you enjoy reading. The reports have been further enhanced by the regular features from Robbie Bell and we would like to thank him for his support in doing this. Robbie’s reports aim to give an unbiased opinion of how the loch is fishing and to add touches of his technical know-how, gained over many years of experience which we hope you have found useful. Thanks again Robbie and we look forward to future instalments over the coming season.
The end of the season sort of mirrored the rest of the season and can be summed up as …. A mixed picture. During the last two weeks we have seen some glorious days with temperatures reaching as much as 9 degrees and virtually no wind; the loch was closed for two days due to very strong winds, so strong that it managed to sink 4 boats around the boathouse; the loch was also closed for a further two and a half days due to freezing and whilst some areas remained fluid, others such as Swing Gate Bay and Boathouse Bay had ice of approximately 20 mm thick. Needless to say, this also had a bearing on the fishing, and it was the luck of the draw (or perhaps astute attention to the weather forecasts), that brought success. But overall it has been a joy to see people enjoy the end of season fishing , which from past experience we know can be very productive. Even on the last day, fish were freely rising to the dry flies being presented which rewarded those that fished to the end of our season instead of bowing out early, perhaps in favour of other field sports on offer.
We also had another treat to savour when unbeknown to us, Ron and Andy, two of our annual visitors to Lochside, decided to surprise us one evening by decorating Lochside Cottage with Christmas lights. It was quite a sight to be on this side of the water and see the display and it certainly brought a touch of early festive feeling to the loch. Thanks lads! (see photos)
Another feature of the closing weeks was the number of larger brown trout being caught and we will mention these further in our round up of who did well and deserves a mention in our final report of the season:
- Colin McIssac deserves a double mention. He fished at the start of the fortnight and on the last day. His first outing saw him land 10 to the boat using size 18 dries and on the last day he had a further 8, again all on dries, and mainly towards the top end of the loch.
- Stewart Barnes on his next to last outing of the season managed 8 to the boat including one brownie, using a combo of daddy and blob and on his last outing a couple of days later, had a further 5.
- Bob Grant had 5 to the boat using diawl bachs
- Doug Scott continued his good form with 6 to the boat
- Bob and James Cockburn had 16 to the boat with Bob landing the majority of the fish and recording a first fish of approx. 5lbs.
- David Auld rounded off his season with 5 to the boat
- And on the same day Pete Dann also landed 5 to the bank in a short session. Pete also ventured out in a boat on the penultimate day and again recorded having had a great day with lots of fish missed and some landed.
- Freddie Carter recorded 9 on his last outing and sent us a photo of a brownie of about 5lbs saying ‘one of many splendid fish caught during November’ is already looking forward to 2017.
- Robbie Bell had two very good last outings, recording 17 on his first and a further 13 on his last. Robbie also landed a cracking brownie (see photo) on his last outing which you can read about and see in his report. Well done Robbie, a very good end to a very consistent season.
- Ian Whyte fishing with Robbie also landed 7 to the boat.
- Iain Thomson and Ricky Taylor had two very good outings during the last two weeks and on one of the trips landed 12 to the boat. The other trip saw Iain land two cracking brownies each of approx. 3lbs (see Ricky’s photos).
- Keith and John Renton fished the final day together with Keith arriving slightly later but still managing to outdo his brother. They landed 13 to the boat using a combination of dries and floating fry patterns.
That takes the Biscuit.
Well I have no doubt that on the Loch this season my best fly has been the Biscuit.
It will have caught me literally hundreds of fish.
I have used it as a Blob, FAB and a Booby and they have all worked.
It has also worked on all lines.
Floater, Slow and Fast Glass, Di. 3, Di.5 and Di. 7.
It has also been pulled at all speeds from Dead Slow to Full Ahead.
Well Fritz type flies do work all over the country and perhaps this particular shade just stands out without being too much in your face.
I also think that when a fly has success for you then you tend to fish it almost all the time and so it becomes a bit of a self licking lolly.
You always tie it on so it always has a chance. Also if you have had a really good run with a fly then an odd quieter day with it will not have you relegating it too far down the box.
It has been a very good season in general on the Loch except for the very heavy algal bloom during the summer. Before and after the water has been gin clear and the last few weeks have been really good with double figure catches every time I have been out.
Of course I have the advantage of being retired and so able to pick my days. There has been some rough old days lately when tying a few flies has been my nearest to fishing.
However by keeping a close eye on the forecast and having a good layering system and a pair of fingerless gloves fishing has been pretty comfortable.
A break at lunchtime with the cabin heaters on and a hot cuppa soon has any chill at bay and has you ready for the afternoon session.
So on the 27th November it is the last day of the 2016 season. I start off with a homemade Midge Tip.
A Cortland 444 floater with a 3 foot Polyleader “welded” on the end. On the business end is a 21 foot leader of 10lb Fluorocarbon with a Biscuit top and bottom and two Diawl Bachs in the middle.
After about half an hour during which I was telling my Boat Partner John Pringle how good the Biscuit had been I had not had a touch and I was beginning to think maybe it is going to fail me on the last day.
However a move of about 30 yards along the south shore results in three quick fish.
All on the Biscuit on the point.
And so the day went on.
Every time we moved we would pick up one or two fish and then it would go quiet
I ended up with twelve fish.
Eight Rainbows and Four Brownies.
They all came to the Biscuit.
Except the last one.
Just another Brownie…………………………… eeeeeekkk!
And so finally, it just remains for Carmel and I to say thank you to all of you for making the season the success that it was and for sharing your experiences at the loch. We look forward to opening again in 2017 and already our opening day, which is on the18th March, is fully booked. Opening Sunday however still has a space or two left.
So we will hopefully see you all again in 2017 when it will be time to break out the over-wintered pies that you mistakenly left in your tackle boxes, and dust off the old faithful flies for another crack at “them- there troots.”
Merry Christmas and a very happy and successful New Year to you all.