Last night I experienced the Hillend Midges full on for the first time this season. So after this vid being brought to my attention today I thought it would be fun to share.
Monday, 17 June 2013
Saturday, 15 June 2013
My approach to fishing highland lochans is normally a set up of a team of traditional wet flies. However today I tied up a few of these unorthodox flies after learning from someone I know who uses patterns like these as his first fly of choice on wild highland lochans. He fishes it mostly static but gives it a tweak now and again to disturb the surface. They are very easy to tie and a bit rough and ready in an artistic fly tying sense. However it is a fact that pretty well tied flies don't fool the trout, they are tied with a view to fooling the angler. Next time I'm out I intend to give these patterns a good try and report back with my success or otherwise.
Monday, 10 June 2013
On my last two visits to this loch last year I had no idea how highly prized and noble this loch was but today was a revelation. As we made our way out the village and up the very rough road through a series of gates towards the parking place I became aware that we were being followed by a big 4 x 4. I pulled over to let him pass but he just stopped too. I waved for him to pass but he just drove up next to me and asked me what I was doing and where I was going. I explained that we were going fishing and that Adrian John Charles Hope, 4th Marquis of Linlithgow had very kindly allowed me to do so. The chap in the jeep appeared bemused and let’s just say disorientated! I think he had been having some after dinner drinks. I think he was the gamekeeper and was making sure we weren’t poachers.
Once we parked up we walked towards the loch noting numerous shooting butts all around the hills which was possibly the reason for the gamekeeper checking up on us. We had actually gave this trip some thought before we set out today, Instead of heading off early as we usually do on such trips we thought it would be a better idea to miss out on the hottest and brightest part of the day and fish the loch late afternoon and into the evening.
When we arrived at the loch we were in no hurry to
As we strung our rods and tied on our flies to my horror I saw a dead rat in the inlet burn, it was just as well I had plenty juice in my drinks bottle as I didn’t fancy drinking from that particular burn.
I set up with a two fly cast of a small black spider and a small Kate on my dropper. On my first cast I was into a fish which took my black spider then after fooling another couple with one to the kate I decided to put on a larger fly. I moved down the shore and picked up another fish this time a bit bigger than the last few. This time the trout was fooled by my wet daddy. I then had a break and watched Scott work down the opposite bank from me. He was catching fish too. After having a rest and taking some photos I started fishing again. I could hear fish splashing but only saw a few leap from the water. After some time I managed another two or three to the wet daddy. As the wind was starting to drop I took another break and waited for Scott to fish right down the loch. He then came over to join me for a drink and a bite to eat.
We were feeling good and thoroughly enjoying ourselves at this very noble loch as we sat with eating our cheese and oatcakes.
The wind had dropped quite considerably so we thought we better start fishing again before it dropped completely. We fished on, I had a couple of splashes at my flies but no further fish were captured. As expected the wind ceased and the loch went flat calm and appeared like a mirror.
There were fish rising all over the loch but that was when the midges appeared so we decided that was enough and were happy to head back to
When we eventually got back to the car we met an angler just about to head to the loch. He was a local and was going to fish into the wee small hours. He shared some very useful information about the loch which I hope to put to good use sometime soon.
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
As the title says the fishing has been rather tough for me recently at Hillend.
Saturday night I went along to the weekly fly fishing competition that we host for members in the month of June. I'm not making excuses but the conditions weren't ideal and I was limited to where I could fish because of the strong winds. Needless to say I caught nothing and never even seen a fish apart from big John Spears winning 7 1/2 lb brown trout. Well done to him. Only seven fish were weighed in at the end of what was a disappointing night for me.
Undeterred I went up once again on Sunday evening and met Old Boy Billy round at the boathouse bay. After a brief chat we decided to head over to the Lowe's Bay and after spending a fair bit of time there fished all the way down to the mound. Still no sign of fish we moved back to Lowe's bay. Again there was nothing doing apart from a small pike of about six inches which Old Boy Billy fooled. We next moved up to the back bays near the Three Trees but sadly the trout were elusive..
We decided to give up at about eleven o'clock and trudged our way back to the clubhouse. A very frustrating time for me especially when the fishing is usually at its peak at this time of year at our loch.
As I type this it looks like a perfect night for fishing but I've decided to give the fishing a rest this midweek and recharge the batteries, At the moment I'm planning a wee trip to a hill loch in deepest south Lanarkshire where I hope to reacquaint myself with the trout.
Saturday, 25 May 2013
To cut a long story short I caught less than one but Scott caught a couple of small trout on the kate McLsren. Fishing was poor but I had a great day out trying to fool the trout in adverse conditions. Make no mistake Dungavel is a great venue, we just had the misfortune to visit when the weather wasn't ideal. That might sound like a poor excuse for my lack of success but for me that's part and parcel of fishing.
Monday, 20 May 2013
Yesterday I arrived at the loch about half past one just in time for the mist which had lingered all morning was starting to disappear. I strung my rod and made up my cast of a gold headed hare lug nymph on the point and a Kate on the dropper. I walked along the south shore until I came to the two jetties at the wee moss where I met Jim the Greengairs man. He was leaving and told me a fish was moving about in this area but he had failed to tempt it and advised me to have a few cast there. As I approached the shore I saw a rise and after four cast hooked into a nice brown trout which grabbed my kate and then proceeded to thrash around on the surface. Unfortunately the trout threw the hook and I was left with that empty feeling that many anglers know so well.
I rested the water for a while and tried again but there was no further sign of a trout in this area..
I then noticed Iain a work colleague over near the cliffs who is learning to fly fish. I had few cast at the wee moss but had no luck then I noticed Iain playing a fish I use the term play loosely as Iain admitted later that he hadn't a clue what to do when he hooked the trout.Lucky for him a nearby angler helped him to net the trout which was Iain's first ever fish on the fly.
A flat calm descended on the loch and the surface was like a mirror so it was time to have a break and have a rest. Later the wind picked up and it changed from a north east to a west wind. I had a few casts then decided to just sit back and watch the yachts weave in and out and waltz around the loch while I waited on Old Boy Billy arriving.
While I waited I made a change of flies and tied on a couple of cormorant variants. Billy and I started fishing from the wee moss and round to the Big Stane. Billy lost two fish and I at last managed to hook and land a nice rainbow trout of 3 to 4lb which was fooled by the cormorant on the dropper. Big John, Craig and Fraser joined us along the moss area. John caught two Craig lost one and Fraser caught a jack pike. I decided to call it a night about half past nine.
Last night was the first good night I have had on the loch with a few fish showing on the surface. It makes all the difference to cast at rising trout. Hopefully this was just a taster of things to come in the next few weeks as the fishing at the loch hits it peak.
Sunday, 12 May 2013
My first wild fishing trip of the year started in usual fashion, I slept in! well I was supposed to be up at 4.30am and I didn't get to my bed until three hours before that.
A little later than planned my two mates and I begun the journey to Lochaber and the Loch of the Witches Lair.
Instead of taking our frying pan and cooking our own high cholesterol inducing goodies for breakfast by the lochside as we normally do we decided instead to have our breakfast cooked for us and sampled the delights of a full Scottish breakfast from a well known supermarket in Fort William.
Our ravenous appetite satisfied we drove the relatively short journey to the Witches Lair.
As we geared up and got ready to go afloat we noticed something that supported the theory that this area was indeed the site of witchcraft, we found a lamb's head lying on the shores of the loch. Perhaps it fell from a cauldron as a spell was being prepared.
Unperturbed we went afloat. Scott and I on one boat and Tam in the other.
The wind made the rowing hard work but we managed several good long drifts in the brisk wind and light rain.
We all started catching trout almost immediately and turning and losing as many fish as we caught.
The trout action was sporadic as we would cast away getting offers and catching fish frequently then as if a switch was flicked nothing would happen at all for a time then all of a sudden the action would start again. The most productive areas were the areas around the two islands.
In between drifts we came ashore for a break where we enjoyed a drink and the perfect fishing snack of cheese and oatcakes.
The trout were numerous, but of modest size, the best being about half a pound. We caught over thirty trout between us and got just as many offers too form these aggressive wee fighters. The fly patterns which were successful were a collection of traditional wets. Bibio, Kate McLaren, Loch Ordie, Doobry, Wet daddie, Zulu, Clan Chief, Claret bumble, Connemara Black, Silver Invicta and muddlers.
As we neared the end of our day the weather improved but as the skies brightened and the wind ceased the trout stopped playing so we called it a day and rowed ashore.
This was my second visit to this loch but it was Tam and Scott's first visit and its fair to say that this loch has cast a spell on them lol! as they have vowed to return to this loch again in the summer.
I have to apologise for the lack of trout pics. Let me explain.I use my old camera for the close up shots as its much better than my new one. I had taken a few trout shots but for some unknown reason I got a flashing message on my screen saying format error! Therefore I only have the pics I got with my new camera. Apart form the camera malfunction I had a terrific day out in the Highlands.
Sunday, 5 May 2013
I got my waders repaired so I opted once again for the north shore but this time I fished from the Shields Burn to the coal/sandy bay. I had to wade out a fair bit as the wind was coming into the shore from the South west. I worked my way all along until i reached the sandy bay. Nothing doing I sat about a bit and wandered up the Shields burn to get some pics. I started again and fished right down the shore but all to no avail. I stopped for a break and had my coffee and sandwiches and tried once more at the mouth of the burn but still nothing was doing. So I decided I might as well try for a pike as I know where they live . So off I went to the usual place. The fishing was more comfortable as the wind was at my back. Soon as expected I hooked and caught a pike of about 3lbs. I had the fish on the edge of the bank and went into my backpack to get my camera when it started thrashing about about and cut my line and plopped into the water and swam away with my fly still in its mouth.
I tried for another but failed.
I then decided to go to the point opposite Spiers Island and waded out to the left and was able to get out a good distance. I should have come to this area earlier as the wind was at my back and I could cover quite an expanse of water.
Eventually I hooked a trout. It put up a great fight and I was actually a bit surprised when I landed the trout as I was thinking it was a lot bigger than it was.I fished on for a few hours more knowing that as time went by the kitchen would be finished getting decorated.
I fished on but no further trout were fooled, hooked or caught.
One pike, One trout it was now time for some hot soup from the club house.
Just in case I had got my time estimates wrong I had another soup and sat in the carpark reading my book for a while just to give Val time to put the finishing touches to the kitchen.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
For years I hunted down the famous " Lets Fish the Clyde" book by Robert C Sharp to no avail. Then unexpectantly a copy was offered on a flyfishing forum a couple of years ago. I wont say how much I payed for it but copies of this Clyde fishers bible can reach as much as £200. Its fair to say I didnt pay that much but the cost was quite considerable so I suppose I got a bargain.Anway I digress. I though it would be a good idea to upload a passage from this book. In the following passage Mr Sharp offers his experience of fishing in a thunderstorm. http://soundcloud.com/hillend-dabbler/fishing-in-a-thunderstorm