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4 Seasons

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Newholme House, Stirling

I went fishing yesterday…..

…..and the fish catching was a wee bit rubbish but it was enjoyable to be out in pleasant surroundings, all the same. I went for a couple of hours up to Swanswater with the intent of a wee guddle on the wee ponds, I didn’t think I was up for much more, it was a beautiful day, seasonably cold and clear after a few days of pretty wild weather. River fishing was out on two counts, one I thought the rivers would be high and dirty after the heavy rain we had, ( though maybe this was wrong from what I heard later, at least in the upper reaches of the Clyde), and frankly my feet are killing me or more specifically my left foot, which seems to have swollen up a little and gone a bit lumpy underneath since the New year. So something not to far or strenuous.

The water was very high at Swanswater ( the water was over the banks in places) , I had to go up the main loch as the ponds were full of other anglers with the same idea as me. I usually feel 2 hours is a bit tight on the main loch as you can take that long to find the fish but Alastair was fairly generous with his application of “2 hours” to my ticket and I was on until closing at 4:30pm.

I started with buzzers on an intermediate line but the colour of the water suggested this might be a hard tactic. I swapped ( grudgingly) to lures… Continue reading

Perseverance pays off

With a week off, and some seasonably still,  cold and crisp weather to hand it would seem a shame not to have a go for the Lady of the Stream on the Clyde. Fishing for these beautiful fish on days like these though requires some perseverance as they seem to pod up and you need to cover water to locate them. Blanks are not uncommon. Indeed, following the threads of a number of Clyde anglers on Facebook I got the feeling that suddenly fish were becoming hard to locate with the cold snap.

I was on my own and had a moderately late-ish start to head down to the River. I dropped in at Crossford Post Office for my permit ( another laborious process that never seems to improve over time!)  and was eventually able to depart for the water side. As I crossed the road bridge looking downstream it looked like no one was about, and parking the car there only seemed to be one other vehicle, so maybe not too busy. My optimism faded though as I took a wander down to the river side and could see a maggot chucker already had one position bagged. Once geared up and ready to go I headed upstream first but there were another two “bluebottle flinger’s” here too, so space was a bit of a problem.

A stunning day to be on the water

Trotters take up a bit more room than us nymph fishermen, as they can cover so much more water with their float, but this also restricts… Continue reading

Swanswater 2014 “day after” charity fishing competition

Today was I believe the 17th running of the Swanswater “day after” Christmas charity fishing competition, in aid of funds for Strathcarron Hospice.

While its run like a competition, you can take it as seriously or light-heartedly as you like, there is no major prize, just the satisfaction that your participation helped in some small way to raise funds for a worthwhile cause. This year’s event, helped raise part of an overall contribution towards the hospice, or £1000. Some of the funds are raised from “donations” made for tea or coffee at the fishery, some comes from the post competition raffle, where participants donate items to be raffled, and the amount is topped up by some individual donations and the fishery itself.

Today the weather was the best I remember it in the 4 or 5 years I have been involved, it was pretty cold but as the saying goes, there is no such thing as too cold, just under dressed!

My day got off to a bad start, I successfully managed to awaken my entire household by setting off the smoke alarm when I opened the kitchen door after making a quick bacon roll, for which one and all were hugely grateful for else they might have had a long lie, and then having arrived at the fishery, found that my reel was nowhere to be seen, despite me carefully packing all my gear in the car the night before( including sorting out my lines and giving the reel a wee bit maintenance.

I had to make a rushed… Continue reading

It wasn’t number 4

Saturday was the first River Annan Trust Grayling open day. I like these events, you turn up and can ask for  or are allocated a beat often one you wouldn’t normally try or maybe have access to. There wasn’t a big crowd but that makes for room for all across the allocated fishing space. Anglers are asked to provide catch returns of grayling caught, their approximate sizes and any over 40cm to take a scale sample for analysis and recording.

I think on any river its easy to take the safe option and fish where you know but I enjoy exploring new locations and asked therefor not to be allocated Applegarth ( I know it pretty well )  and wasn’t fussed for doing Hoddom either ( both are good beats but have been before ) Hoddom already had about 5 angler allocated so myself and fishing partner for the day, John, were offered Cleuchhead, near Brydekirk. I didn’t know it at all but John though not familiar with the name ( that transpired to be senility setting in) recognised the directions from when he was a boy and was made to run errands there and back from Glasgow, in his bare feet, for thruppence ha’penny, and only gruel for breakfast….. or maybe he fished there once last season.

The river was big today

With a couple of hot chocolates an a hot roll in me, and John having had a plateful of Statin repellent we were off in sub zero temperatures but a fine sunrise to find our fishing. Nick… Continue reading

Making good

Yesterday I finally made good on my intention to get out again on the River Leader, tributary of the Tweed, on my season ticket, purchased at the beginning of the year. My attempt at a day out here the other week ended up in a rather expensive aborted trip at the Galadean turning.

I wanted to fish the top section of the Earlston water, as I hadn’t been here before. Its always with a little trepidation you approach a new water, you haven’t fished before. You don’t know where the lies and decent runs are and I always feel like there is someone passing in a car thinking or saying….”whats that eejit fishing there for, everyone knows there aren’t any fish there….!” . So a trip like this you need to put down as exploratory and expect to come away fishless, anything else is a bonus.

The carcasses of spent Salmon litter the riverbank

I did find a good access to the river and got parked and kitted up close by. As I approached the water over a bridge though the smell of rotten fish was plainly evident. The cause was clear, there were a lot of spent salmon carcasses by the river. Looks like the Otter’s won’t be going hungry any time soon. This was also ( I forgot to be honest as I don’t follow the salmon seasons closely) the final day of the Tweed salmon season. There are still a few fish in the river and I seen a few big carcasses as well as a couple… Continue reading

Squirmy Wormy proves effective

Not going to go into deep detail on this post. about Sunday’s short 2 hours at the Mill Pond at Swanswater. Once again the recent weather ( a lot of rainfall) precluded any river outings, and then heavy dank foggy conditions held me back from getting out until it seemed to lift a little around 2pm. So I couldn’t be bothered taking a two hour ticket on the main water ( it can take longer to find the fish and the pattern) so i opted to try my luck on one of the wee ponds. The Meadow Pond was pretty busy too, leaving the Mill Pond which has been somewhat afflicted by thick weed growth this year. I know Alastair has had a hard time keeping it clear. Despite us being well into Autumn there is a still a bit weed there and so the shallower end is still quite difficult to fish with sinking flies. The deeper bottom end had three anglers covering the main areas so I took the nearest casting platform I could and started to fish. I started with two flies, a wee spider on the dropper and a Squirmy Wormy Bloodworm, but the two flies on the intermediate were proving to be a snag fest. So off with the intermediate, off with the dropper, on with a sink tip and soon after fish number 1, a typical 2lb Rainbow on the bloodworm. Soon I had number 2 a very thick  short but heavy fish probably of about 3lb came to the net.

A few fish… Continue reading

One handed fishing and the squirmy wormy bloodworm

With my car off the road. my fishing options are somewhat limited by my inability to get anywhere at any distance. Consequently, much as Grayling fishing would have been my first choice, ( though I suspect the rivers would probably have been up and coloured.) it was back down the road to Swanswater just a few minutes away.

Conditions were different today with the loch high and carrying some colour from the last few days rainfall but no wind at all, flat calm and a wee bit milder than it felt last Sunday.

I started at the road side pegs as the rest of the place was pretty busy and space was limited. The angler directly opposite me landed a 3lb stocked Brownie just as I was getting started but I think he was feeling a bit hard done by that he couldnt take the now out of season fish! I never seen anyone take a fish the rest of my time there. From what I can gather it fished well in the morning but seems to have gone off a bit in the afternoon. For my own part I started on a  buzzer on point with a bloodworm I tied this week using some Squirmy Wormy material I actually got for the Grayling bugs but decided to make some bloodworm  Apps style bloodworms with and give it a go on the trout.

My first use was unsuccessful but then every other fly ranging from Wets, and small dries ( the fish seemed to start rising just subsurface later as the… Continue reading

Winter is Coming

Apologies to Game of Thrones for that title. I will probably get bombarded by loads of fantasy box set enthusiasts looking for  pictures of Sean Bean for that one! The old tootsies have been the factor limiting my fishing recently ( along with the weather at weekends). The rheumatologist took pity on me at my last visit and gave me a steroid shot and it seems to be having some effect and I felt I ought to take advantage of the marbles having been removed from under my feet, to get out and fish. But where to go? The Grayling season is now underway, the weather was actually unseasonably warm at the tail end of the week. What was happening there? I went for a wee walk on Friday night around 8pm and you would have been comfortable in a thin sweater. It was like a warm summers evening but dark!

My best chance to get out for a day on a river was Saturday so I packed the car and decided the River Leader would be graced with my presence. I had bought a season ticket early in the year and had enjoyed my wee outing there albeit I never located the ladies of the stream. Maybe this venture would be better, I would try somewhere else on this wee river. There had been some reasonable rainfall recently so there ought to be enough water to make it worthwhile.

Alas the day was not to go smoothly. The journey down into the eastern borders was uneventful enough until I… Continue reading

Don’t call the Samaritans just yet

What a cracking day Saturday turned out to be, no wind and warm in the afternoon sunshine. I am having problems with standing/walking just now but it really was too good not to be out so with a few pills popped, I eased the aching body into the car and headed for somewhere I haven’t been for a surprising amount of time, Orchil Loch near Braco.

It wasn’t especially busy, there were a few guys who are probably a small club, on on the North Bank but there was plenty of space and the trout were rising pretty well everywhere, but were very noticeable near the  lodge end.

Orchil looking gorgeous in Autumn sunshine

I set up with a tapered leader, 6lb flurocarbon on point and  crossed the outflow to fish of the first peg on the far side. The fish were rising within feet of the casting platform but it wasn’t clear to what, as I think they were taking just below the surface. The only obvious flies were tiny midges so I tied on a size 16 black spider pattern, one of Will’s so called Curmudgeons.

First fish on the dry daddy, a good 3lb’s

Within a few minutes despite the less than shy fish, and one slight bulge that was obviously a fish looking but refusing, I still didn’t have anything and was thinking the fly was wrong. One of the anglers on the far bank had clearly changed tactics and his first cast with a dry netted him a fish. So I felt I was on… Continue reading

Season’s End

So as the sun set beyond, an admittedly grey and cloud obscured horizon this evening, the curtain falls on another Brown Trout season. Its been a funny season for me, though one I enjoyed, particularly as I wasn’t sure I would be a regular participant at all at the start of it. While I wasn’t out as much as I would maybe like I was out a lot more than I dared hope and overall it wasn’t bad.

I became a member of LASAC this year and that gave me fishing on North Coulter reservoir and the River Carron near Denny. I had fished the loch before with friend Tommy, though somehow we never met up on the loch this year, so it was a bit more of a learning season here for me. I had a few good outings in the early part of the season and though the boat mooring arrangement is a bit of a hassle, if you have the time for it, its a lovely location when the weather is settled. You don’t want to be there in anything more than a stiff breeze at sea level though! The river almost became my “go to” place this year though. When the wind was too stiff you had a chance of getting out on the river and it has been something of a “find”. I had thought of fishing it a few times prior to becoming a member but I never really knew anything about it. My only recollection of the Carron was a rather manky slow section… Continue reading