High Saturation Fishing

Half Marathon finisher.

My lad who finished the half marathon in 2hrs 20 running for ARUK.

With the Stirling Marathon on this weekend and my lad running in the half distance event, Sunday was out the question for a chance to wet a line. As I write this he has just finished doing his old dad proud, having finished in 2hrs 20mins, and collecting for a cause dear to my heart, Arthritis Research. If you have a few spare shillings feel free to drop by his Just Giving page and throw them his way. It’s much appreciated. No amount is too small. Shameless begging ends here.

So leaving the house around lunchtime yesterday  I decided to head down the Carron to the lower half of the LASAC section of river. It was a bit grey and a bit cold if I am honest and wasn’t looking particularly promising as the rain came down on the way towards Larbert. I had checked the forecast and showers were predicted, but what’s the point of having the fancy waterproof gear if you aren’t going to go out in the weather? I decided to explore a section I have only really fished once or twice previously, and to be honest though there are some fishy looking stretches, have not so far had any joy out of. It’s a wee bit of a walk and I was maybe a little surprised to see how dirty and coloured up the river was, it had looked OK looking over the bridge near the railway viaduct. But something was telling me to fish confidently, and I would catch.

As I was looking for something in my car, I delved deep into the bottom of the centre console and pulled out a pair of yellow lens polaroids. They were just cheapo glasses I bought in some online deal a couple of seasons ago and had tried on one occasion where I found them hard to adapt to and soon discarded. I wasn’t sure if it was the colour or the bi-focal lens idea but I didn’t find them easy to wear and they were put in the centre bin and forgotten about. Until today. It was grey and they say yellow is a better daytime colour so I brought them with me to try again.

Life with a Yellow Tint

Yellow Polaroids were the order of the day

Yellow shades on the bank

In a nutshell, they were great, and while the in water visibility was not great anyway they performed better than I had any expectation for them. In the grey light and drizzle they really helped and when the sun came out later in the afternoon, while they did, I admit take a little more to get used to in bright light, gave a very colour saturated feel to my surroundings for the day like someone had hit the high Vibrance and Saturation filters in Adobe Lightroom!  It was a little disappointment at the end of the day to remove them and see how flat the colours were despite the springlike conditions that ended my day. I did find them useful on I must admit.

A broken tree

Broken Tree on the Carron

The first few glides I explored were slow and murky and I had opted initially for an approach using my French leader and a couple of small but heavy bugs just fishing along the food lanes by ledges and structure. While I was getting down OK- as evidenced by losing one bug on the bottom early on and having to clear algae from my hooks now and then, I never touched or seen any sign of a fish. I also started to think it was maybe not the best method as the water was fairly deep in places and the shorter line approach was obliging me to wade deep to get close. I decided to move up to some faster water and change tactics. I managed to lose more flies trying to fish a narrow channel around a tree that’s broken over the winter, certainly I don’t recall seeing it like this last time I was here. Aquatic bugs above the water had been few and far between and I had seen one (just one) pretty large fly, probably a March Brown judging by the size,  float by ignored by any hungry trout

Bobber Fishing

I stopped on the bank in the next run and removed the French leader to fit a short butt section of tapered leader, a small length of indicator nylon ( just in case) and a couple of bugs and above them fitted an airloc indicator. Floating Indicator fishing isn’t something I have done much of but I felt that in the absence of seeing a single fish on top it was more efficient to fish two bugs under the airloc, than a single bug under a bushy klink which I felt would go ignored and unseen anyway in the coloured water. In the event, it fished quite well and I covered a lot of likely spots, but better able to keep my distance. I still managed to lose another bug along the way though unfortunately.

The Hatch

Large Dark Olive Cripple

A Large Dark Olive cripple that I coaxed onto my wading stick- no flying for this wee fella.

This wasn’t working so I removed the indicator again and fitted a couple of wet flies as I approached some faster, and I have to say clearer water. As I adjusted my set up on the bank and the sun started to make a bit of an appearance, I noticed a few flies coming off. The few turned in to a few dozen and soon there were hundreds though quite hard to see in the light I managed to trap a crippled fly as it floated by and on close inspection, I think it was a Large Dark Olive. The hatch continued for a good hour and I would have to say it is the first time I have witnessed a proper hatch of this type in years of fishing. Yes, I have seen loads, clouds even,  of flies on the water but nothing quite so evidently “a hatch” as this. They were coming off in the faster water in front of me but I never saw so much as a solitary fish have a go at them and I spent a good while just watching as by now the conditions were very pleasant.

I had a couple of spiders on, one Endrick on the point and an olive quill spider that was identical in size and colour to the unfortunate fly I had seen, and I tried fishing up into the fast water and gave swinging them a go too in the tail of the riffles where I had not fished previously. I then carried on through the tail of the next pool and fished all the feed lanes and structure there without success.

watching the river

Watching for a sign

No method was out of the question today I was determined to try anything that might work. In the next glide, I stopped to watch and listen. Time spent watching is rarely wasted and while I was looking I heard the plop of a fish rise though didn’t see it. I kept my attention where it seemed to emanate from and sure enough, though it took a few minutes, it rose again and this time I saw it. I decided to leave the spiders on, get myself in position watch for it to move again and then start fishing towards it.

It moved so I started to fish. One cast and everything stopped…. my bloody point fly was stuck on the bottom! I tried to free it and the tippet parted, two more flies gone! Damn!

Onto the Dries

I retired to the bank AGAIN! trying not to disturb anything and the rise albeit somewhat intermittent continued. I soon realised there were two fish there, as both rose at the same time. The temptation was too much I decided to simply tie on a single dry, a wee CDC olive in about a 16 and give it a swim. Once again making my way into position, I can’t say the downstream breeze helped presentation but it wasn’t dreadful. Not so much as a look did my fly get but the fish rose again so I knew I had not spooked anything. I changed flies again, this time something a bit more substantial, a Jingler, but again no interest was shown, even after coping with the hassle of catching the fly on the far side, snapping off but successfully recovering the fly from the twig growing from the bank. Finally, I tried a CDC Greenwells Spider. I thought, just maybe, I seen a bit of a bulge near the fly on one cast but honestly it might just have been a trick of the light or an overactive imagination. Whatever, I wasn’t getting any interest and I was sure I had cast all around and ahead of where the fish was rising from.

A couple of other anglers came by during this period one told me they had one fish on a spinner further up river and had seen some rising a good distance ahead ( too far for this outing and the time I had left)  but otherwise had seen little to get excited about. It made me slightly better feeling about not catching, though I have to say I really enjoyed my time on the water in high saturation colour.