I was so late heading out yesterday it was touch and go whether it was worth it. I had mulled the idea of heading out for the Grayling the night before, but heard the rain overnight and it was still coming down when I got up.

I ended up doing not very much round the house, catching up with some YouTube channels and  waiting to see if the Mrs had any plans. She never but it wasn’t until half past two in the afternoon I knew this! I decided to throw the tackle in the car and nip round for the last few hours at Swanswater, and was surprised to see how quiet it was. There wasn’t a Rangers v Celtic game yesterday was there?

Three Hours

Split tree.
Tree splitter- looks to have broken with the recent weather

By the time I had had a blether with Alistair and got my gear set up it was after three and I only had fishing until six. I couldn’t be bothered heading up the top loch and I think speaking to a few others , on the day this was probably a good decision. The water up there, I think, like the two smaller ponds, is gin clear just now. You can see the fish, in particular, the Golden Trout stand out, more so as they are cruising no more than a foot below the surface. If you take time to look really carefully you can see the odd rainbow between them.

With the fish so shallow it seemed worth a try on the dries first but after maybe three patterns fished (singly) on a very long leader of only 4lb ( I was on the 5# rod so scaled down), it became apparent the fish were in no mood to lift that 12″ to take anything.


No, what they wanted was movement. I had several follows on a Bullet fly ( I really need to tie more of these) but no takers. The fish would follow all the way in until they seen you. Off came the floating line and on went a sink tip. This I felt held the fly down at the fishes level for longer. I varied colours of flies and weights, trying everything from traditional spiders like the Black and Peacock and beaded nymphs through to blobs and even a Wotsit, but did eventually get one fish to grab at a Cats Whiskers Zonker ( they hadn’t touched the normal Cats Whiskers but the more mobile zonker tail seemed to get them interested). I was casting a long way and between the fish snatching the fly and me tightening in there was just a fraction too much stretch and slack as the fly had just landed, and it got free.

With an hour left to go I stopped for a coffee and decided to try the bottom pond for 30 minutes. It was very weedy and places to fish were limited. Alastair said he was thinking of draining it and getting all the weed out and it just seems to keep blooming in bursts and has normally abated by now.

Again you could see the Golds all in a pod in the bottom corner but it is not easy to reach them there from the near bank, you really need to be able to cast right across. The fish here were not terribly interested in the Cat so I was looking through my lures when I spotted one that I actually found at Swanswater once. Someone had evidently dropped it. I can only describe it as a Christmas Tree decoration. It is literally like a Damsel tied with Bog Chain eyes and the tinsel you get on Christmas Tree decorative garlands. But it was gold and there is a school of thought that says to try something the same colour as the fish you are after. While they are called Gold Trout I guess they aren’t the metallic gold of a tree decoration but why not give it a swim.

Striking Gold!

Fighting Gold at Swanswater
Gold on, and putting up a fight

Right away it got a reaction. Within about three or 4 casts I hooked into a fish that once again shed the hook at range. As I has this time seen it take maybe I lifted a little too quick for a proper hookset. It never took long to get anothe roffer and this time the fish stayed on and I had a great fight with a typical 2lb Gold Trout, which did several Tarponesque leaps and jumps before coming to the net. It wasn’t getting off that was or sure as the hook was levered right in to the scissors and even though de-barbed was hard to remove.

Rainbow from the ponds at Swanswater
Rainbow with a good tail on it as Swanswater

I had numerous follows but no more and now I had a clue at something they would look at, for the last half hour I went back where I started. I managed one more fish ( a rainbow)  but had some real fun with fish after fish chasing the fly and quite a few nips at it and lost another couple of half hearted takes. Hardly purist fly fishing it has to be said. However when I was speaking to another couple of anglers both who had been there all day and blanked, they too said it was frustrating as they could easily see the fish but couldn’t get a take.