Lossit and Gorm-less – Islay Blog 4

Loch Lossit

With high winds we were looking for shelter. A few of the group were interested in having another go for the Sea Trout but it didn’t appeal to me, I was happy to go visit another loch and seek out some Brown trout. So myself, host David and fellow angler Darren headed for Loch Lossit. If I was beamed here from outer space and asked to say where I was I would have said Butterstone Loch. At first glance it is almost identical, being a sort of round loch with weedy margins and rocky drop offs. It is also pretty sheltered so ideal for a day of blustery conditions.

Boat at Loch Lossit

The Hopeful Puffin, one of the boats on Loch Lossit

The boats here are very nice and we were soon set up and out on the water. The steep drop from the fringing hill at the back of the loch ( the loch has a flooded quarry feel to it in some ways) had overhanging trees and there was a slick about 8 feet from the side that looked very fishy. However the far side of the loch was also breezier and it was soon apparent that trying to hold any sort of drift without a drogue here was going to be hard. Unfortunately I had left mine back at base but felt the time spent going to fetch it would pay off in fishing time so we went back to the pier and I went off and got the drogue.

Brown Trout from Loch Lossit

A bonny Lossit fish of around half a pound and as wild as they come

Suitably set up we were fishing again. Darren had got a fish on the first drift and then a few more “chip fish” while they waited on me running off for the drogue. After a few minutes I too was in to a wee half pounder which was quite pleasing, once again the green tagged spider was doing the job. There weren’t any fish showing though but we still managed a few fish each along this edge. Nothing of great size but sporting all the same.

The bay to our right also looked well fishy with fringing grasses and weeds and the wind was conducive to fishing here. A few casts right in to the edge and we were getting pulls and fish.

There were loads of wee olives popping off the water but the fish didn’t seem inclined to chase them but a fly placed near the reeds and grasses were getting a reaction.

I think Darren was “top rod” though I claimed bragging rights on the biggest fish.

Glen Pointon and a Sea Trout.

Glen with a gorgeous 2 and a half pound Sea Trout from the sea. Photo: copyright Glen Pointon used with permission

The weather blew in quite wild later on and we decided to run for shelter as the rain hammered in. As I was loading my car the sky cleared and I noticed a few fish rising behind the boat and though I had put my rod away I could not resist the temptation to try a small quill CDC olive.  I quickly tied on a tapered leader for better presentation of a small dry- probably still too thick for the fly but it was to hand  and none of the fish rising showed any inclination to take the fly. I changed to a small F Fly with a dubbed olive body and this too never got a reaction. Then a bigger spash behind me. I turned to see receding rings by some marginal grass. I cast once- but wasn’t sure I was in the right spot. Nothing, then I tried a wee bit further right, right away- up it came. Another nice wee fish, not a chip fish, not quite as big as my earlier fish but welcome nonetheless..

Good fun.

While we were doing this, Glen had headed out with the other two anglers for some Sea Trout bashing and did manage to get a cracking 2 and a half pounder.

Loch Gorm

Loch Gorm is huge. I don’t think a OS map or a look at Google Maps really prepares you for the size of the loch. Most wild lochs in Islay are relatively modest in size and possible to cover in a day ( especially if you were in a boat). Not Gorm. You would need a three or four very full days I reckon to have a cast over most areas and I am sure to get more intimate with it would take a long, long time. Gorm was somewhere I had to fish before leaving Islay and we were lucky to get a dry, if blowy at times, day to tackle it. I would probably have preferred a boat but there was a fair wave out in the open areas.

As a Machir loch it is low lying and has a sand bottom from it’s ancient times as the sea bed  ( at least in the area we visited) and was surprisingly, to me, even and level wading, rarely getting over your wading belt, though when the wind lifted it was quite splashy out in a wave. We went to the South East ( ish) side first and the waves were rolling in so reversed back and went round the other side of this “quarter” more on the East side. The ground here was hard going but we got down to a bay and Glen started fishing with the other two anglers with us, Simon and Alison. I was being a laggard, and got in a horrible mess with my leader having to re-tie it twice as the sodding thing kept tangling in the wind while I was sorting it out.

Once I was set up I got myself to the loch side and noticed tons of beasties blowing off the bank near me into the water. The rest of the “team” were fishing towards the open end of the bay so I had a few casts over this sheltered water hoping some fish might be cruising close in picking up these morsels but nope it wasn’t to be. I then made my way round to the next bay and started fishing here. All the way across I went then on the next promintary I took a break before starting again. Glen too came over here and between us we covered literally thousands of square meters of water, wading all the way out to an island well out in the loch. Occasionally a wave got up and I had to take care not to let it get too high splashing up onto my rucksack as my camera was in it. We must have waded out 6-700 metres quite easily and casting 20 meters either side with a gap of that at least between us…. you do the maths how much water that is.

Casting over Loch Gorm

Glen giving it large at Gorm on a tough days fishing

Did we touch a fish? Not one. Not a pull or splash or rise did we see. I think we both had several fly changes but it didn’t seem to change things fast retrieves, slow retrieves, going a bit deeper, letting them swing in the wave or dibbling the surface- nothing.

Simon and Alison had also braved crossing the smaller bay in front of them and appeared to have found some fish, Simon had three to about 12″ on a small black spider and Alison was apparently broken twice!

Eventually we neared the reedy fringe of the smaller bay and based on my experience of the day before at Lossit, I thought in near the weeds might be worth a final go as frankly I was knackered. We had fished really hard.

Finally in near the edge I rose a fish twice on the Muddler I had on top dropper ,and did in the end land a small Brown nothing of size but enough to save me from a blank on Gorm….so not quite Gorm-less.

I think we were all quite tired. Simon and Alison had had a tumble over some unexpected rocks out in the bay and were a bit wet, Glen and I had cast our little hearts out and struggled to find fish. A tough intro to the loch for me when I have heard of upwards of 100 fish being caught in a 6 hour session when the fish are “on”.

Saving the blank

Tenkara on islay

Bugging the burn using a Tenkara wand

With only a few hours of our week left, Glen was keen to show me some nice scenery as he knows I like to take a few photos and he knew a place where there was a nice wee burn. Maybe we could combine a wee bit sight seeing with a spot of Tenkara ( or is that Ten- Kaa-raa*?)  style nymphing and find some nice brownies or dare I suggest a Sea Trout? The burn was ripping through and well in spate but there were a few wee back eddies worth a dibble with a wee nymph and Glen instantly had a fish in the wild water. 1-nil to him. Then I got a couple of fish, one was actually quite a nice size as burn fish go, and held the lead at 2-1 while we went to explore the shoreline. The scenery was spectacular and the waves were wild.

Glen Pointon bugging the burn

*A joke Glen will understand…..

I went to Islay on a hosted and guided trip with Fly Fish Islay at my own expense.