With a fairly heavy winter schedule of work behind us, the boats looked splendid around the newly astro turfed jetties of the boat house, and the weather forecast was good for opening weekend …….. what could possibly go wrong? Well with regards to the fishing I’m glad to say that nothing went wrong and in fact some people reported having their best days fishing ever. Opening day once again saw every rod catch fish, and whilst it’s fair to say that catching was generally better on Saturday than Sunday, both days yielded very high numbers of prime condition fish with a good number of superb quality over-wintered fish being caught in all areas of the loch.
So what did go wrong? Firstly our piper Hugh phoned in sick early on the morning of opening day which meant that for the first time in our five years here we were without piper to lead the cars down to the loch. However, Carmel took on the role of piper and whilst there was an absence of sound there was the sight of someone doing their best to look like they were playing something (at least that’s what I think she was doing!). Above and beyond the call of duty I say and well done Carmel! We were very sorry to hear that Hugh was so poorly and hope that he is undergoing a speedy recovery but to rub salt into the wounds a little, his boat partner for the day David, fished solo and had his best ever days fishing. Ah, what could have been Hugh? The next thing to go wrong was yours truly. I managed just a brief appearance on the Saturday and none at all on the Sunday thanks to what turned out to be flu coupled to a very bad chest infection, from which I am still trying to recover. Thank goodness that we were being visited by Maggie and Pip, Carmel’s sister and brother-in-law, who took to the tasks of seeing to everyone’s needs and organising the BBQ on both days like ducks to water and certainly helped save the weekend with their invaluable support. Pip was also on hand to fire the opening day shot which signalled the start of our 2016 season.
So with the usual formalities out of the way and everyone warmed with a nip of Scotland’s finest, it was off to the loch to see what could be done. Although it is always difficult to say who actually landed the first fish of the season, the three rods that we could see all had fish on the hook with their first cast. Bob Cockburn lost his, Robbie Bell and Fergus Aitchison landed theirs so we are going to say that Robbie’s was the first to the boat and Fergus the first to the bank and hope that we have got this right. After this, it really didn’t matter where you looked as it seemed everyone was hooking up on a regular basis and certainly David Neilson’s party were enjoying a lot of first day action. Ricky Taylor also continued to impress with his skill from the bank. Using a black badger and a long slow retrieve he seemed to be attracting fish with virtually every cast and it wasn’t long before most people were turning to black, green or black and green flies of various denominations to increase their chances. Best fish of the day must go to Matty Darroch who landed and weighed in the net, a rainbow of 8lbs 8ozs. Without going into too much detail about opening day because just about everyone is worthy of a mention, a total of 385 were caught between both bank and boat anglers of which there were 35 in total, giving us a very impressive rod average of 11 per rod. Fish were very evenly distributed with no particular hot spots to report. However Sunday saw most of the fish being caught at the top end of the loch, close to the reed beds and a concentration of fish stayed there until mid -way through the week when even distribution, particularly round the margins seemed to return.
Most successful tactics seem to be intermediate or fast glass lines fished with a long a slow retrieve. Fly patterns have been very variable with lures such as Dawson’s Olive, Black Badger, Apps, Bloodworm (various colours), Damsel and Cat’s Whisker being the early choices but as of today the fish are definitely turning their attention to buzzers and the odd dry fly following very large hatches of small black chironomids over the last two days. Graeme Connolly today landed 25 to the boat and almost all of them came to a range of slowly fished buzzers. It might be time to wet the floating lines and see what happens!
Settled conditions have meant that the loch has fished very consistently throughout the opening week and there has been equal success from bank and boat. Conditions for next week are much the same with perhaps some wetter and windier weather forecasted for the Easter weekend. I checked the water temperature today and it was standing at 5degrees C meaning that conditions are extremely good for the time of the year and definitely worth taking advantage of.
- We bought two new boats over the closed season. Loch Lomond style boats. We have replaced two of the smaller blue boats with these and we see them as a very welcome addition to our fleet.
- More work has been done on the eastern bank, making access even better for the bank anglers. Bank work remains an on-going project.
- We have once again put up our BUY / SELL notice board so if you have anything to sell or exchange please post the details on the board. Those that have used it have found it to be very useful.
- Believe it or not ….. Opening day for next year is already getting booked up. All the boats are now taken but there is still room on the bank. Opening Sunday has lots of space but book early would be my recommendation. Opening weekend is always a great occasion and if you haven’t tried it, make it a date for next year’s diary if possible.
- We still have availability in the summer months for some of our holiday cottages and chalets – please contact Carmel by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone and she can organise bookings for you.
- We have finally made a start on the construction of our new house and we are hoping to have this completed within 12 months.
We welcome the first of our visiting clubs at the end of the next two week period. Heriots FFC will be making their visit of the season to us and we are looking forward to seeing them back to the loch. We hope that the weather is kind and that the fish are duly obliging.