Better than I hoped

Pendreich has not fished well this year by most accounts. The suggestion that it has been poached so heavily this season is one reason and there is no doubt whatsoever it’s going on. Judging by the pile of rubbish from poachers I cleared on my visit yesterday, probably within a day or two. The Osprey too, has had it’s fill of fish, while it was in residence I saw it take at least one fish on every occasion it appeared, which was every time I fished there during the summer. However on the flip side, for me anyway, I have not actually encountered any poachers myself for the first time in many years, and I have only blanked a couple of times there this season. It has been dour though, I have not seen a single day where fish were actively moving and feeding and but for careful observation and keeping your ears open over a couple of hours, would you even realise there were fish in here. Very few show themselves on top and dry fly fishing has not really been much of an option except for the overly optimistic or fortunate who found themselves in front of a rising fish just at the right time.

Being a Saturday I expected a few anglers to be out yesterday, especially with fishing evenings so limited now and the end of the Brown Trout season but a matter of days away. But having forgotten my keys ( again!)  and having walked up to the loch I was surprised to find I was the only person there. Maybe it was due to the Rangers v Celtic game I learned later was on- that usually keeps the anglers away most places.

I decided to start at the North end and to work my way around, keep moving and hopefully find some fish.

The wind was coming in at a bit of a nasty angle to start with and I was fishing with my newly acquired Snowbee XS line. It seems to have a fairly aggressive front taper- what you might call a manufactured shooting head, though maybe not as extreme as an Airflo 40+ line. So with a wind in your face and a very restricted back cast it was not really ideal for putting out a moderate length line into the wind. Had my backcast been less restricted I could have probably punched it out miles but in the event, I couldn’t really get the full head clear of the rod tip to achieve that. So I made do as best I could though wasn’t happy that my flies, a three fly team of wets were tending to land perpendicular to the line as the wind pushed them around as the line lost momentum.

However, within about 6 casts I still managed to get a fish to come take a casual glance at my Kate McLaren on top dropper. It splashed at it but didn’t take, but gave me hope I was doing the right thing. Having waded around the edge of the weed beds and not had any further encouragement I moved around the east end where the wind was much more favourable.  The east end of the loch is really only fishable in a flat calm or an east to a southerly wind. Anything else it needs to be tackled from a boat. Also, you need a sturdy rod, strong leader and really need t be fishing a single fly. The margins are full of tangling weeds and if you can’t lift your flies over them you are going to be in a world of snags. Often there is weed just subsurface too so any more than a very shallow fishing fly will pick up weed too. I was fishing with 6lb fluorocarbon so opted to take a chance and fish with my three flies and for the most part remained snag free. Until I caught my first fish. A fish moved to my right, and I covered it though it was a fair distance out, easily but had no reaction. Having given it a few opportunities I went back to casting round in an arc in front of me and eventually came back to the same approximate area of the single fish rise I had seen. My cast over it again didn’t get anything but as I slowly retrieved line figure of 8 style, it just stopped and there was a swirl.

Brown Trout

First and larger of my two fish at about a pound and a half.

I was into a lovely Brown Trout that immediately headed for the weeds to snag me but I took advantage of its momentum towards me and lifted the rod high keeping the line tight and pulled the fish right over the top of the weed bed and into my waiting long-handled net. The Kate McLaren was the successful fly but having got it out easily enough being barbless, I still couldn’t release the fish which somehow had the tippet wrapped around its scissors. I had no option but to cut the leader either side of the fish as by now the middle and top droppers were hopelessly snagged in the weeds.  I did though manage to recover them once the fish was no longer putting tension on the line. The tippet also then became free on the fish and it was loose ready for release after a quick photo, easily a fish of about a pound and a half.

I didn’t stay here much longer and moved round to fish the entry into the wildlife reserve from the main loch and not getting anything here then moved round the Southside.

As I made my way round ar one of the shallow areas in amongst the weeds I caught sight of some receding rings on the water, they had to be made by a fish?

I sat myself down and sure enough the back of a feeding fish showed. I stayed well back as this was very shallow water, and put my flies out as delicately as I could. Most of my line was actually on the lnad and only maybe 6 feet on the water but it still landed a bit heavily, as I said before this mine isn’t for delicate presentation.

The fish did not look at my flies initially though as the sound of another fish moving right in the thick weds to my left caught my ear, I seen a sign that something had at least looked at my flies as there were ripples of disturbed water behind my flies as I glanced back.

This uncaring world

The pile of crap I removed from site

I thought maybe I had disturbed the fish/fishes here but it rose again even closer in, in water that wasn’t 18″ deep. But again even with only tippet on the water it never came for a look.

I decided to move round again to the next promentary and was able to really get the new line working with my rod putting out almost the full line length at times.

Poachers remains

Branches cut to make rod rests by poachers and all their rubbish.

I had changed flies too as the wind had got up a wee bit and there was more of a ripple her eon the water, so a Pink tagged muddler was on top dropper now, an LTD sedge on point and a bibio in the middle. While here I came across the spoils of what appeared to be poachers, it’s bad enough they come and steal fish but they then leave all their crap lying too. I half-filled my tackle bag with all the mess left. I seen on Facebook that the Police are looking to do more frequent visits now to the site and have chased at least one group of the wee skanks.

Brown Trout being returned

Number 2, a slamming take on the muddler from this slightly smaller fish of around a pound.

A few fish moved in the swirled up water and though covering them didn’t seem to get any reaction a wee while later as I retreived back there was a huge slamming take as a fish came for the top dropper muddler. Easily the most explosive grab at my flies I have had all season and a second slightly smaller fish was netted and released. Great sport on an otherwise drab afternoon.

Before heading off I fished the rest of the souh bank and a fish moved right in front of me a few times here and once had a casualy look but no take again at my flies and as the skies darkended and the wind turned and got up a bit I called it a day happy to have got two on such a dour afternoon.