Two short outings to different places with very different results

Sunday Pendreich

On Sunday around noon I took a wee run up to Pendreich to try my luck again. I have had a truly woeful season here so far this year. I have had days when nothing happened at all, one evening when I rose 12 fish and never connected with any, one session where I hooked and lost two fish in my first 4 casts then went on to get nothing else for the rest of the time. I have had the very odd knock or pull, but in a nutshell, one big fat blank.

Surely today would be different? Don’t bet on it! To be fair it was a bit bright and warm for the fishing to be great but it was nice to be out in a bit heat. And double bonus the boat was available its the first time  have been able to use it in 2 seasons!

I started down the North edge where I seen a few fish rise in the weedy corner and just out from there. There were fish moving all over the loch so I thought I was bound to get something. I started on dries and almost as soon as I did the rises dried up anywhere near me. A fish rose at extreme range I did my best to cover it, I got the range- probably in the high-end of 30 yards though the fly fell about 6 feet to the side from where it rose. After a few seconds there was a rise to the fly, I lifted and it didn’t connect. Whether I was slow, the range was to great for efficient hook up or the fish never took I will never know. That was the sum total of my sport. The rain came on heavy for a spell and that seemed to dampen the spirits of the fish and the rises dried up. I tried drifting the loch fishing a team of wets, I tried dries, buzzers and small nymphs – nada. By the time I called it a day around mid afternoon there were 6 or 7 anglers out and I never seen any of them catch either. It’s hard, hard going.

Monday Millhall

Being on leave this week I planned on getting out as many evenings as I can. I was looking for somewhere different to go on Monday evening and it was suggested to me to try Millhall fishery near Polmont. Its a place I have heard very little of to be honest, and was only slightly aware of where it was. I looked up its website and it wasn’t very good to be honest, it wasn’t clear to me when evening sessions started but going by the mention of 4hr tickets I reckoned being there for around six would see me through to ten. I found it easy enough and was quite surprised as to its proximity to the motorway as I must have driven past it a thousand times and wasn’t aware there was a fishery here. The evening session it appeared stared at 16:30 through until 22:00 so I had lost an hour and a half though 4 hours was really enough for me to be honest. If I over do it I only pay for it later!

I took a 2 fish ticket as we are needing some trout for Boston the boxer. A few fish were moving and the fishery manager told me they were starting to appear on top but lures had been working up to now, though he did confess it wasn’t fishing that well. Predictably I started on dries fishing from the dam end. But I hedged my bets and set up with three dries on a 15 foot leader. A Bobs bits on point, a Shipmans in the middle and a CDC hopper on top dropper. The water was gin clear and the sun still shining. Within a few casts I had my first hook up but alas the fish came off and I wasn’t sure which of the dries it took, it wasn’t obvious, I suspected the hopper.

A rainbow trout

A pristine and perfect condition 3lb rainbow that came to a CDC Hopper

Then I missed one, the fish rising to the fly just as I was about to lift off to recast.  I persevered and within the first hour I managed to hook a great 3lb fish on the hopper and after a fairly lengthy fight the fish was safely netted. A few fish were rising further along the dam wall and I decided I would move, but then spotted there was a nice platform jut off the wall over a bridge. I decided to try there as it appeared to open up access to both the margins around it and the deeper water off the wall. I kept the flies as before and my very first cast a fish rose and very subtly took the Bits. The fish wasn’t having it and took off for the middle of the loch, taking pretty well all my line to very nearly the backing, I thought I must have a monster on but as I started to reclaim line on the fish I thought maybe it wasn’t so big, and right enough it was “only” a 2 lb’er but it put up a massive fight before netting. Fishing on, on C&R never had any further offers so decided to change to a fly designed for twitching on the surface in clear water venues, a “Bullet” dry fly. A bit of a cross between a muddler and a CDC and elk. First cast a fish came for it and though I  lifted it never stayed on.  A wee while later I had a second tug but this time I never really connected with the fish at all. They were very reticent at biting it has to be said. Out in the one boat that was out there were two anglers fishing and I gather they were having similar issues. They had 4-5 fish each over a longer session than me but had probably lost as many again- they were fishing buzzers under a bung in the deep water.

Angler casting a fly

Fishing after dusk at Millhall

I kept changing things about. Nearly every initial fly change brought a reaction before the fish cooled off. A load of fish started to rise almost bubbling the water like fish soup and I cast my black shuttlecock buzzer in to the midst of them. Bam! Right away a fish on!, this one another 2 lb’er that wasn’t for being unhooked, but once off the hook and rested in the net swam off just fine.

The top of the water sport slowed for a spell and I opted to hang a couple of buzzers under the dry fly and this got me another take but the fish came in at me like a train and I couldn’t get line in fast enough on it and being barbless it came off. I seen one of the boat anglers repeat this exact scenario soon after! Over the course of my session I probably lost twice as many fish as I ended up catching they were proving to be shy biters but I had some great sport at what turned out to be a very nice location and I am well pleased I went now.