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4 Seasons

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Newholme House, Stirling

A milestone beckons

My wee blog has been online a few years now and has grown consistently in traffic. So much so I had to move it onto a dedicated server to cope with the load, in the middle of last year. Despite the fact this costs me a few quid a month to run, I don’t mind, and am flattered so many people are interested enough in this very average angler’s exploits on river and loch. Last month saw the highest number of individual page views ever on this site, an increase of 25% month on month. As a result I am VERY near 100,000 page views. So I have decided I have to do something to celebrate this milestone.

So make sure you Subscribe to the site here ( see the subscribe box on the top left sidebar) , don’t worry it only means you get notified when I make a post, and while I like to think I am a fairly regular blogger its unlikely to overflow your mailbox, and I do not give your email details to anyone.

Also Like and share my facebook page- the link is at the top of my homepage. As soon as I see 100,000 page views I will randomly draw the name of one  subscriber who shared the facebook page and will be inviting you for a day ( or evening if it suits you better) of fishing at one of these top central Scotland Stillwaters.

The choice of venue  is yours, and it will be sometime… Continue reading

Taking the Rise

I had originally planned to head out Monday with one of the friends I have made through this site, Tommy, for a few hours in the afternoon. I sort of gave up on the idea Sunday as the weather forecast looked crap, which pushed me to head out then instead. However come Monday I had a wee bit personal business to attend to and once done, it looked reasonable if not fantastic. I have to admit to being a bit sore after Sunday’s outing so I texted Tommy to see if he was free, though it was admittedly getting on a bit into the afternoon. Unfortunately he was busy, but while I wasn’t too bothered about heading to the river it seemed a waste not to get a cast in somewhere on a day off, even if only for a couple of hours, I think 2 hours was going to be my physical limit anyway. Coulter and Pendreich were out, there was still a cold biting wind, though when it dropped you could get the vaguest sensation that were it not for the wind it might at least be mild. I decided to stay local and just pop along to Swanswater for a couple of hours on the wee ponds. I wasn’t really out  for tramping round the main pond and it was a bit breezier up there anyway. My mind was made up as I spoke to a departing angler who had just come off the main loch after a morning and said it was hard and he hadn’t… Continue reading


I have a bit of a long weekend on but the weather has been rubbish. Looking at my Met office weather app the weather was looking pretty rubbish for Monday too and while it wasn’t ideal ( quite cold overcast and misty) I decided to try a few hours on the Carron again on Sunday, to try keep out of the wind. I went to another section this time, above where I fished on my last outing. Truely I wasn’t that optimistic. Rigged with a big floaty “Lifejacket Sedge” as an indicator fly I suspended a couple of nymph patterns below it. I usually use a Klinkhammer for this but the somewhat grey light can make seeing them a wee bit hard sometimes, and I had seen this lifejacket sedge used on a video recently so I tied my own variant and used it with the nymphs tied off the bend of the hook.

This latter element of the tactic is a risky one. It runs the risk that if a fish comes for the dry it might not hook up properly. However with Klinkhammers tied on proper Klink hooks I find this is not such a big problem. But today I really wasn’t expecting much in the way of top of the water action so was content to set up the Sedge this way. In any case, what fish is gonna take a Sedge at this time of year? This one doesn’t even look that real as it has a Aero dry under wing and tail.

As I was… Continue reading

Early riser

Saturday my son was going away on a trip with the University Diving Club. Like his old man, he has a bit of an interest in sub aqua activities, and has been learning to Scuba Dive. I myself am a Scuba instructor, and used to dive a lot but  initially my knees started limiting my activities to warm water outings, and then latterly, my health issues have binned it all entirely. It was always my hope to be able to train my own son in Scuba, but shit happens. I did manage though to have one dive with him when he was about 12 or 13 in Mauritius on holiday and I am so glad we did that now. Live for the moment eh?

So up bright and early, motor loaded with his gear I decided since I was up I might as well take the rod and go up to Pendreich for my first cast of the season up there. Literally as I was just getting into the car, I heard a bleeping, I thought it was a distant car alarm then realised it was my dreaded pager going off. This is my on call week. Oh bollocks!

So now I had to get the wife up to run number one son to Uni, while I dealt with whatever crisis  work had in store.

Fortunately it wasn’t too big a crisis, and I was done in about an hour. By now my car had returned and it was a lovely looking still and becoming sunny, morning. Now I had… Continue reading

Too early for dry fly

This weekend started as a disappointment on the fishing front. I had Friday off and with the reasonably mild and settled weather of late I was really hoping to get out for a few hours on Friday afternoon with the new rod and give it a cast. Then of course there was the opening of the season on Saturday. A bit spoiled for choice this year as to where to fish, my idea had been to take the new rod up to Pendreich, or if I had gotten out on the Friday I might hit the river on Sunday.

Well Fridays weather meant all the plans went to ratsh*t. It blew really hard all day, if anything getting worse as the day went on. One thing that can totally stymie fly fishing is high winds.  Saturday while pretty bright and mild was more of the same, I decided to do something productive on the fishing front and took my lines off my spools and gave them a clean and recondition. Good thing I did as I discovered my 40+ floater has a split at the back end of the shooting head where it runs into the running line. This line is one of the “new” design ones, I believe the older 40+ line suffered from some sort of similar issue where they cracked behind the heavy front section. Clearly whatever was done to resolve this issue hasn’t been totally successful, looks like I need to get a new one.

So Sunday dawned grey and more high winds I was really… Continue reading

All and nothing

I haven’t posted much of late mainly for the somewhat obvious reason that I haven’t actually been out fishing. We have had a fair bit work getting done at Unfamous Towers of late and weekends have for the most part ( apart from being wet a lot of the time) been used to do small bits of DIY to get the house something like liveable again. We are pretty much there now though and so hopefully I have the time and the health to allow me to get out. To be honest things have been a bit shaky on that ground of late, my hands in particular causing me a lot of problems. With luck it will pass or calm down a bit, I have the consultant to go see again this week.

However stuff has been happening. The SCAC AGM was at the end of February. I have appended an over view of this at the foot of the page on the Stirling Castle Angling Club.

The Glasgow Angling Centre open weekend was last week. I was given a pile of vouchers for GAC by my work colleagues for my 50th birthday which I was very grateful to them for. I was going to GAC in any case to meet with John Edwards of Fish Recreations who I comissioned to make for me a replica of the stunning 3lb 4oz Grayling I caught on the River Annan back in February 2012. I was gutted at the time not having a decent photo of the fish though the… Continue reading

Sometimes your heart just isn’t in it

I haven’t been out fishing for a few weeks, the weather has been rubbish, and then the last few weekends we have had stuff going on that have kept me in doing small amounts of DIY.

I had more DIY to do on Sunday ( just small jobs that don’t take too long I can about manage) and with the weather actually offering some respite, I almost felt obliged to try get out the house and have a cast. I have to be honest though and say I was a little bit on the sore side- the stiffness has been returning unfortunately over the last week so I wasn’t sure how I would manage. I didn’t want to go too far and as it was about 14:00 by the time I was ready to move, so I popped my son’s rod ( remember I broke my rod at Xmas and haven’t replaced it with something more suited to me, ) in the car along with my tackle box and just nipped round to Swanswater. It was a really nice day though fairly cold- not freezing though, but you know? almost as soon as arrived I knew my heart wasn’t really in it. As I tackled up I felt quite half hearted, I was pleased to be out in the fresh air but I just wasn’t motivated to fish. Very odd and unlike me.

Anyway I headed for the top south west corner of the main loch at Swanswater, as Alan who was working in the lodge said most fish were… Continue reading

Follow the Leader

As it is my birthday I always have a few days off work around it and try to get out fishing for a day somewhere. Maybe with my recent health problems a full day is a bit ambitious, though if I take it easy and have plenty breaks I can get by  the better part of daylight hours given the short days at this time of year.

It’s rare I am able to get on a river round my birthday and even generally its been a stuggle this last 12 months but I came up with a plan for the event this year. Plan A was to try get onto a beat I have been told about on the River Eden on Cumbria. Ambitious given I have not driven that sort of distance in a while, but if the weather was good it might be a are opportunity to try. However I called the owners of the beat in quetion on Monday and they told me that while it had not been raining much in recent days everytime the water fell somewhere close to fishable it immediately rose again, rendering it unfishable. The reckoned there were regular releases from Ullswater affecting it so that knocked Plan A on the head.

Plan B ( always have a Plan B) was to go to another river I had always wanted to try for the Grayling on, the Leader. The River Leader is a small tributary of the  Tweed and as I understand it is in two main sections, one I think belongs… Continue reading

A snatched couple of hours

I had no particular intent to go fishing this weekend. Saturday was predicted to be totally minging, and Sunday, well  let’s just say by the time I got out of bed, the best part of the daylight hours was already past! Oops!

I have some plans though for a spot of more adventurous fishing this coming week weather and health permitting, as its my birthday week and I like a day or two away fishing around that particular event. I am hoping to get out Thursday anyway and we will see how I feel after that over the weekend.

Millions of Scots were rushing to Accident and Emergency Departments nationwide, suffering from Radiation flash burns caused by this brief and unforecast appearance of the sun. Fortunately it only lasted a few minutes so the impact was not as severe as it might have been.

But come about half one today I decided, a couple of hours out in the fresh air wouldn’t hurt, so I nipped down the road to Swanswater, nothing majorly exciting, but believe it or not the sun made a very rare appearance just as I arrived! I don’t think I have seen a hint of blue sky in the better part of 2 months. The main loch was pretty busy looking and I just opted for a couple of hours C&R on the wee ponds. I tackled up with an intermediate line and a small beaded possum bug on point with a wet on top dropper. However I soon realised I was probably fishing too deep,… Continue reading

Burnhouse and the Gary McClurg wet fly

It was a fine day when I finally surfaced from my scratcher on Saturday morning. In an ideal world, I would have been off down a river somewhere in search of the Grayling, but I had a bad day Friday with the drug side effects and really needed a good nights sleep and no early starts! So once up, fed and watered I fancied a couple of hours “somewhere”. I settled on Burnhouse, as I had not been there since last spring though it felt more like winter the day I was there last time. I have yet to make it there in Summer which is bugging me, hopefully if I have a better summer this year physically, than last I might make it out and try the dry flies there.

Anyway, I digress, well actually while digressing, I have updated the Burnhouse review page in view of some recentish upgrades made to the fishery, which really make a difference to the place.

Once down there I was surprised to find the car park very icy, and the slightest evidence of a little light snowfall. Right enough Gary the fishery keeper was saying there had been a burst of icy sleet around 06:30 in  the morning and had frozen where it lay. As a consequence of this it seemed the fishery was very quiet – maybe 6 other anglers out and the water was looking pretty still, though there was a bit of an awkward breeze blowing in from the lodge end. Pink Nomads and Cats Whiskers had been doing… Continue reading


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