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4 Seasons

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Newholme House, Stirling

Clearing the Head on the Clyde

The last few days have been traumatic. I was in a bit of a daze to be frank Friday and was pleased John texted me to see if I fancied going out on the Clyde. Fishing had not even been on my mind and my feet were so sore I really wasn’t sure of the wisdom of wading round a river, but sometimes the needs of the mind exceed the limitations of the body. It was good to get out.

With a day ticket eventually purchased, I was out on the Clyde. We were bugging primarily for Trout but if a Grayling appeared there would be few complaints!

John with his first lady of the session

John showed me a run where he had had a lot of success before, the water was relatively low so you needed to wad to get near the deeper channels where fish would lie.

My first fish through was not that successful, I did think initially I had a couple of knocks but as time went on I think to be honest it was probably just snags or leaves.

John reckoned my three fly bugging cast was too long, and had one too many flies on ( he has been getting some tips from some top anglers recently- so I was willing to go with the flow and retired to modify my cast while he stepped in. I don’t find the wading especially easy round the bigger round rocks you get round here and already the feet were aching, so I decided to sit… Continue reading

Autumn can wait

It had been a long week away down south last week and after getting a few wee chores done on Saturday morning to catch up, with the weather warm and settled it seemed churlish not to be thinking about some fishing. While bright warm sunshine is never going to be great for fishing there are few locations nicer that Swanswater on such days, and though I knew it wouldn’t be easy I decided to pop round the corner for the afternoon. Usually you would be thinking about it cooling down with Autumn right around the corner but summer seemed to have returned this last wee while. I had a lengthy blether with Alastair just after arrival, and he mentioned it hadn’t been fishing especially well, the water had warmed up again and the fish were slow. As if to confirm, an angler came off just then and said he had three fish before 9 then it had gone quiet, and he only had one pull in the rest of his time.

However I was encouraged to see a few fish moving between the island and the road side pegs and headed there, as I crossed the dam a boat angler hooked into a fish so maybe it wasn’t to be so grim after all?

I had a couple of buzzers on and within a few casts I had managed a somewhat tentative couple of nips at the flies and it was clear there were a few fish about. However after about an hour with several changes of pattern and approach… Continue reading

Taking a Tummel

I received a call from fishing mate and regular visitor to the unfamousfly, John  this week to see if I fancied a wee outing to the Tummel in Perthshire. Its a river I have always intended to fish, indeed I have got as far as being ready to buy a permit a few times but river conditions dissuaded me as it has a bit of a reputation as a very fast flowing river and has some treacherous wading in places. A few anglers have come serious croppers on this river over the years, so I would have to admit to being a little intimidated by it not always being the most sprightly on my feet.

As the week wore on and work was pretty tedious I decided to take a day off on Friday and join John who now also had his step-son Alan going too. John fishes in the Scottish National Fly Fishing League Premier league and is a pretty handy angler, he will get an international cap sometime I am pretty sure. So this trip was for him a bit of a recce and a chance to see what flies are working a few weeks ahead of the Tummel round. I was really just along for the fishing and to get to somewhere new for me.

Meeting up before 8 we were at Ballinluig before 9 and we dropped Alan off at the bottom of the Pitlochry Angling Club’s section where he was keen to start. He intended to fish up the river and hopefully meet us, later… Continue reading

Fishing the Nidd

I have heard and seen on a few road trips, of the free stone rivers in the Yorkshire dales and when we booked the holiday in the Dale’s I hoped I might be able to get out on some such river. As fishing wasn’t really the plan I only really looked into what was available after the trip was booked. We were staying in Nidderdale and I guess the clue is in the name that this is the valley of the Nidd. I gave the website of the Nidderdale angling club a quick look over and indeed a section of their water was open to public purchase of a day ticket. It also transpired that a friend  told me his brother was a member there but the river had been very low over the summer so hadn’t been fishing well at all.

I had a mental vision that the river would be something like this:

A freestone river/stream in the Yorkshire Dales national Park

But in actuality it was mostly like this: ( I maybe should have taken more notice of the picture on the club website!)

The River Nidd at Pateley Bridge

I think you can see it’s pretty slow moving and totally closed in by tree’s, Alder’s I believe they are.  At Pateley Bridge the beat visitors are allowed to fish, comprises of a section I would reckon to be about 3/4 of very slow dark water a mile above the village and maybe a mile below. If you were bait fishing I guess you could use a  method… Continue reading

The small pond with the big fish

We are currently on holiday in Nidderdale in North Yorkshire and while it isn’t, nor was it planned as a fishing holiday I am always on the look out for opportunities to wet a line. The cottage we hired for the week surprisingly came with permission to fish a small lake/pond for wild Brown trout. It wasn’t something I booked the house for, rather it was a bit of a bonus I discovered after we settled on the cottage for our week away. ( well that’s what I tell the wife ) . The morning after we arrived the owner took me to see the water. It was up in some woods and was so overgrown you almost had to stumble over it to find it.


A view of most of the fishable area of the pond, you can see its mostly over grown with matting plants and surrounded by trees,

The pond was one of two which took water from the hills and were fed through springs in the bed rock, the water is a constant 63 degrees Fahrenheit and gin clear. But it was almost entirely over grown with matting weed and surrounding trees. The ponds were constructed by a former estate owner and stocked with Brown Trout many generations ago which had simply been left.  To be frank the only way you could fish this easily was probably with a float and a couple of maggots. There were though a couple of casting platforms one on either side under the tree canopy whether you could use… Continue reading

The good, the bad…. will think about the ugly

Stirling International Angling Festival

What can I say about this. good idea, great video, poor use of social media, bad idea to charge £5 ( OK £3 plus a program for parking) and a bit of a flop, I felt.

I hear the competition angling that went on round it, went well and it was a good idea. The “hub event” at the cattle market behind Angling Active though, I have to say was a bit atmosphere-less. It looked like it was getting busier as I left on Saturday but it all felt a bit “awkward”. In my opinion the charge was the main problem, no clear social media published itinerary ( that I could see). In fact, the “Event” had a fB page but I don’t think I seen more than a couple of posts from it in the lead up. When you have these things you need to really fire on all guns, loads of posts really build on what attractions are to be there, maybe a few competitions that the prizes would be announced at the show- I dunno, just a thought. The 5 nations  competition too was a bit distant. Why not stream pictures of the anglers in competition back to the “hub”. You might think that would be hard but honestly I don’t think it would, it could probably have been done for buttons via YouTube with a couple of wifi enabled HD camcorders and some decent data connections on phones. We do have EE4G in patches here so not impossible, 3G would be fine… Continue reading

The duck has left the building

I went up to Pendreich last Sunday in the afternoon, and there were quite a few anglers about. I heard one had caught a few fish on a Hares Ear but bumped into another angler I used to see up there regularly, George I think his name is. He looked a bit hacked off. He told me he had been there for hours and hadn’t had a touch, and admitted it was his worst season ever up there, he had not had a single fish on the dries and unlike me, though he had had the odd fish, he was blanking an awful lot. I felt almost like I was listening to myself.

It didn’t bode well for a cracking session, and so it was to be. I started on the north bank, fished the weedy East end, and ended up on the South bank beside the club boat which seemed to have come adrift and was lying wedged to the bank.

A few fish jumped and leaped further out, but though the conditions seemed pretty good, it was pleasant but not overly bright, it really was pretty dismal. As I was getting ready to head back to the car, Will appeared and started to tell me what a fabulous season he was having there! His killer set up was a Pennel on the top dropper, a small beaded hares ear on the middle and a fly he tied himself he calls a Curmudgeon on the point. This fly is a size 16 black spider type dry with what appears… Continue reading

I caught a fish

I did I caught one. Really. It was a 2lb Rainbow from the Meadow Pond at Swanswater on an LTD sedge dry fly about 6 casts in to a 2 hour sojourn last night.

Was otherwise hard going, had a couple of pulls on a wee pink rabbit lure ( never a favourite way to fish but decided to give it a go after trying wets, dries, nymphs and buzzers),  and a couple of wee swirls at a buzzer. Plenty fish moving at least earlier on but hard to identify what they were taking, something microscopic. They were following flies right in to your feet trailing about 4 feet behind but you eventually run out of somewhere to go with your fly when its literally at your feet!

But I caught a fish!

Yeah not the best tale of late but normal service will resume when the fish decide to play again!


I did….. #icaughtafish

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Trout Repellant

Yin and Yang, Black and White, Forwards and Backwards, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There has been a fair bit discussion in the fishing mags ( what little of them I bother to read these days) and in the online fishing media about Trout or fish attractants. An interesting video was posted by Fishing Britain a few months back showing a pair of static blobs one  treated with a fish attractant, the other not and left in the gin clear water of a fishery. I won’t go into the detail of that, its not really the point I guess, but to say where there is a fish attractant there too must be a trout repellant, and clearly I have found it! Eureka…. now I just need to work out exactly what it is!

I went to Harviestoun fishery on Sunday evening. It had been a beautiful day and not having been out all weekend, or indeed the rest of the week, I felt I needed to get out. I wasn’t hopeful of the prospects entirely, warm bright days aren’t generally that successful, but there was a bit of a breeze and I hoped as the sun set it might get a few fish moving, something to target at least eh?

Boy was I disappointed! I arrived around half 6 and was fortunate just to catch Dougie the owner leaving for his tea as I arrived. He quickly got me a ticket , told me to fish to half ten  if I wanted, and said the fly catching most was… Continue reading


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