Sunday was the SCAC outing to Frandy and I can easily say it was the wettest day’s fishing I can recall, certainly for a while, maybe ever. And that’s coming after Carron Valley which was proper wet last month.
The forecast I had seen suggested it would be wet right enough but also suggested it might brighten up between 3 and 4pm. I think the rain just changed from constant to intermittent.
I was paired up with Jim Nisbet and we were pretty sharp off the mark and headed across the far side getting the strong wind blowing from the dam wall behind us and drifting up the loch. Word was that fish had been getting caught along the back edge earlier in the week. Jim was on a sink tip with a wee beaded caddis nymph on point, I had a slow intermediate with a Yellow Dancer Booby and two buzzers as my starter for ten. In the first drift Jim hooked into a fish within about 10 minutes and just as he was sorting it out in the net, I had a pull but no take. We carried on down this drift, which was a bit of a struggle as the engine had no reverse, seemed to be permanently in gear and the wind was blowing us into the side. We compensated by adjusting the drogue to try straighten the drift and while it helped it was still a bit of a nuisance.
Neither of us connected with any other fish in the following 30-40 minutes of the drift and Jim suggested we get away from the main fleet and head up the other end of the reservoir. Last year I had done quite well up the far end so was happy to go there today. The rain kept falling sometimes a heavy wet drizzle other times just full on normal rain, driven on a blustery wind. My Jacket was doing a good job keeping the wet out on top but even then I could feel I was sitting in wetness and it was not the best. I have waterproof over trousers I wear when boat fishing and while they do the job in protecting you against the odd shower they aren’t up to a full-on downpour. I think I have found a new role for my old breathable waders, in future. I tried a few fly changes on this drift and as there was no sign of a fish anywhere, and Jim had caught his first fish on the relatively deep fished beaded nymph I put on a full intermediate to get down a wee bit quicker with my flies.
I was a little more encouraged when after a couple of hours I saw a fish move in front of us, however it was only one of maybe three fish I actually seen move all day and likely was a wee wild Brown as I reckon the others were too, one definitely as it came clean out the water. Again the wind was playing havoc with the drift but as we moved up the loch mid-channel I mentioned to Jim that we had done well around the mouth of the wee burn that runs in from the side on last year’s visit. Jim hooked into his second of the day there, on I think, a wet fly. The following drift he had a third, and a few fish seemed to have swirled at his flies a few times on his side of the boat but I was getting nothing.
By now having tried various flies I had put a Bullet on the point and had a cruncher and a Pennel Variant on the droppers and as we moved down for a third time from nowhere as my flies landed, I had a good pull and finally had my first fish, a very blue fish, I wouldn’t be 100% sure it was a blue trout, but at least a blue/rainbow hybrid.
On drift after drift Jim was though getting at least pulls and tugs on his flies, the Yellow Dancer seemed to get the most attention. I had only the very odd tug now and again, though our casts were not that different. We spoke to some other club members who were by now on this same drift. One boat had had 9 to the boat in total but like us were finding the fish seemed to be taking pretty much anything. It felt like if you got your fly in front of a fish you had a even’s chance of hooking it, but as not a thing showed all day it was really pot luck if you landed your flies near a fish.
I decided maybe against the flow of the day to come up and went onto a floating line and try a couple of dries in case maybe the fish would come for them. To call them dries was a misnomer as the rain was soaking everything and flies were moist and then soaked within a very few casts. But the change worked for me and as the wind got stronger early afternoon, I first moved a fish that after a swirl hooked onto my Life jacket Caddis on point. This is really an indicator pattern but I fished it a) because I could see it in the fairly brisk wave, and b) because I figured it might help my Yellow Owl stay up, on the dropper.
It became too rough and wet for comfort eventually, Jim picked up another couple of fish again mostly on the dancer. We decided to run for the shelter of the hill opposite the moorings and try to get respite from the wind and rain though by now I was very cold, wet and miserable all things considered. Fishing in the lee of the hill was altogether more pleasant for a spell but we never really had anything to show for fishing here and decided for the last wee while to drift from the dam wall again.
The rain had lightened up a little by now, it was after 3 and I think in my mind I was already decided that once we reached the moorings I was going to call it a day, I was just too wet and too cold. However, things warmed up when again from nowhere a fish flew out the water taking my Yellow Owl and carried on at least 3 feet in the air and leaping about 6 feet in lateral distance. Easily one of the most spectacular takes I have ever seen. Another nice Rainbow giving me a respectable three fish for the day. It was though not an easy days fishing. I have caught less and felt things easier I have to say, it felt hard going, maybe partly due to the conditions but I think just the lack of anything obvious to target. Catches amongst the big club turn out were widely variable, from a top bag of 15 ( 14 on dries) to several blanks.
I was never so glad to get in and get all the wet gear off though. Definitely wader son next time the forecast is anything similar. Summer I think has officially returned to normal.