Me and the Osprey

Spent flies

A few of these “spents” were on the water initially though had vanished once the rain had swept through.

I have been up Pendriech a couple of times this week, but not for fishing, mostly to do my bit helping out with wee jobs for the club. I did have my rod in the car if the opportunity arose but frankly on Monday having done all I set out to do and seeing and feeling the cold easterly that was fairly churning up the water, I decided to give it a miss. Yesterday I was back to close off a few loose ends and after completing my chores as best I could I decided to get the rod out for the last hour or so, of light.

It was surprisingly calm there as at home the movement in the trees indicated fairly high winds. I had already been blasted by a squally shower as I set about my work and when I got back to the car despite the sun reappearing I thought getting the waterproof jacket and over trousers might be wise…. it was. With the initial ceasing of rain, the wind dropped too, such as there was and with the moist and warm conditions our little pals the Scottish midgies made an appearance and were soon tucking into some well-aged meat….. me. So on with the repellent ( probably a bit late) and I very quickly tied on an overly heavy long leader ( really meant for rainbows) and got myself up on the dam wall away from the damned midgies- at least for a minute or two. I grabbed the first three flies I could find on my fly patch suitable for the job and got casting in the hope my increased movement would waft the biters away.

Osprey in the rays of sunset

The Osprey hung around after the rain, but then vanished

The loch was almost entirely flat calm now and for the first ten minutes, I never saw a sign of a fish. I was joined overhead by that other great fisherman, the Osprey. This guy makes regular appearances at the water every year and in fact but for Monday there, I have seen it up the loch taking fish every time I have been up this season.  By now the odd fish was showing, though either well out in the middle or really tight into the edge of the margins. None really near me and the Osprey seemed to have the same luck, as it soared over the south east quarter a fish would rise in the north side, it would gradually drift towards that area and a fish would splash over by the south bank. I went back to the car and grabbed my camera with a long lens in the hope I might see him do his characteristic dive for a trout. He didn’t though I got a few shots as he soared over in the sunlight.

Osprey soaring over the loch

Osprey in the glow of sunset

Then the skies darkened and the rain started and both me and the Osprey were caught in the most torrential deluge for a good quarter of an hour. I was so glad I had recently reproofed my over trousers and jacket. I stayed dry, drier than the Osprey though I imagine they must have good water repellency built-in for when diving for fish. I fished for a bit but the rain was heavy and blown by the wind and having had nothing on the Snatchers I had on my cast I sat and watched the patterns the rain made blown on the wind across the loch. It was almost like a fireworks display made wet, as big bursts of raindrops migrated over areas of flat water blown on the wind you could feel that didn’t seem to be rippling the surface at all. It was quite calming I guess.

Midge on the loch

Wee midges like these seemed to be interesting the fish later on

The Osprey continued to keep watch for fish but had little chance I suspect with the patterns being beaten out on the water’s surface by the rain, obscuring signs of movement beneath. The rain stopped though and the sun reappeared very low beneath the clouds now as it was pretty much sunset. I had tied on a few more flies to try, a bushy Sedgehog with a couple of buzzers washing line style to try to catch the attention of any fish venturing close to the surface. The rain helped with one thing, the midges died away- probably drowned with any luck!

The loch was still now and both me and the osprey exchanged knowing glances…. it wasn’t happening tonight. After a futile 10 minutes and with light starting to fade I decided a final 20 mins over by the boat mooring might be worth a go, at least nearer the margins where most earlier activity had been. I packed up the camera- the Osprey had by now vanished over the trees and made my way round. I then sat down to change to a single fly set up on a tapered leader, realising that the lightest tippet I had with me was 6lb, a bit like three core flex when fishing in a flat calm and no good for the tiny midge patterns I thought of using. I heard a splash and looked up to see the Osprey was int he water and seemed to have a fish. I made a grab for my zipped up camera case, grabbed my Nikon and with the ISO set very high and a high shutter speed snapped as the bird with a pretty big looking trout tried to make good its escape. They are a bit grainy but they did mostly come out in focus. They won’t win any prizes or feature on the BBC Countryfile calendar 2018 I think we can safely say.

Osprey with Trout

The Osprey makes good it’s escape with a pretty big trout

Osprey heading for it's nest

Away to its nest

So one nil to the Osprey. I gamely persevered. The odd fish was rising though never regularly and either really tight into the bank- by tight I mean literally 2-3 inches, or well out. I covered one with my #18 Black F Fly, the smallest fly I could get to fit on 6lb tippet. I left it a good minute or so near where a fish had shown earlier. Eventually, the water puckered and dimpled beneath, I was caught in two minds and chose to lift, then there was a colossal swirl as the fish presumably lost sight of its quarry ( my F Fly) and tried to relocate it- yes I think I pulled it out the fish’s mouth. After that, I had no more interest and it was getting too dark to change flies, so called it a night, half hearted though it was to be honest.