The Report Card- Easily Distracted

Kenneth is easily distracted and needs to stop talking.

I am pretty sure I had more than a couple of report cards when I was at school, that read as above. I don’t think things have changed that much. I don’t think I do talk “too much” but things do come into my head at times that I know if I don’t say them there and then, in context, it will vanish from my mind forever. We wouldn’t want to deprive the masses of my thoughts now would we? The loss to humanity. Ha ha. I do though still have an attention span that can be measured in sizes on the scale of atomic quanta. That’s very, very small by the way.

My son graduated from Stirling University on Thursday as a Bachelor of Laws (hons). This has no real relevance to the story but

a) I am incredibly proud of his achievement, him being the first of our wee family to go to and pass though university, and

b) it was the reason I wasn’t at work on Friday. Heck, I wasn’t going back for one day after Thursday off.

Early in the week I began formulating plans to maybe go fish somewhere different, that I had not been before. But we have had a week of truly miserable weather, a continuation of the poor summer that started on the 1st of June, the first “official” day of summer in meteorological terms as I understand it, if not in  cultural terms when summer starts at the Solstice. Friday looked touch and go, and around where I live it was looking like it might be dry if not exactly bright. However when I looked at where I was planning to go the forecasts all said it was to rain all day, at least up to the time I planned to fish and while I have zero problem either going out and getting caught in the rain while I am out, or even going out in the rain when its been pre organised ( say a club outing), I am not knowingly going to go fishing in the rain from the off just for the sake of it. Despite it being so dull and grey it was remarkably mild here and there was the merest hint of a breeze, ideal boat fishing conditions though in the back of my mind was that it had rain in biblical quantities the day before and any boats would be “brim foo”, of water. So I wisely ( even if I say so myself) put a bucket in the car. I was though prepared to fish from the bank if I found things unmanageable, so had waders in the back too.

Sedge on the handle of Outboard.

Meet Sedgewick. Sedgewick Sedge. He landed on my outboard early on and refused to leave, just moving round the handle when I had to use it but never flying off. Not very good company was Sedgwick, never said much.

To North Coulter I headed for my first boat outing there of the year. Conditions were pretty ideal as I suspected with a breeze blowing across the loch from the boathouse shore. The boat on the pier was as I thought quite full of water, and I realised pumping it by had would take ages and likely knacker me, so with bucket to hand I emptied the majority in a few minutes. The pump cleared the last puddle at the stern end and with gear on board I was finally out and fishing. Another angler motored by me as I headed out, heading upwind to fish the shallow weedy area opposite the dam wall, so I opted to put the drogue out and let the wind carry me right across the loch while I got a feel for what was happening. I had a Kate McLaren on top dropper, a Black flashback spider with a green tag on middle and a gold beaded hares ear on point.

Tommy playing a fish

Tommy bringing his last fish of a successful outing to the net

As I drifted slowly across the loch, there were fish showing all the way across now and then but no offers. As I neared the far shore the other boat was drifting down towards me and I seen the angler catch a fish in the weeds. We were on a bit of a collision course and as we neared I asked him how he was doing, he removed his hood and then we both realised who the other was! my old pal Tommy was clearing the loch of fish. I think he said he had had 5 or 6 and was getting them on a green tailed Kate McLaren. While not exactly the same as my middle fly it wasn’t a million miles away and I opted to leave it on. I swapped the point for a cormorant and changed the top fly for a bushy wet Wickhams. My first cast rose a fish, almost as soon as it landed, but I was talking to Tommy at the time across a gap between us and inattentiveness was to be my downfall. I never felt or seen the fish until it was way too late. We laughed. Then a few casts later having seen a fish move out in the wind lane to my left, I cast well out. My double haul cast resulted in the line looping round the butt of my rod and I looked down to unhook it. There was a colossal splash. I looked up to see a golden shovel of a tail at my flies, I lifted, felt the fish but again too late. Distracted again! That was a huge fish I was gutted. I told Tommy, again we laughed! He then caught another in the wide mouth of Burn Bay.

He called it a day and intimated to me the fish seemed to want a bit of speed in the retrieve. My two offers so far had been to largely static flies but I had been varying things between figure of 8’s to strips. As I neared Poachers Point but with Tommy about 30 yards behind me now, I  then had another huge pull, I lifted, the fish was on and the rod had a good bend in it, I turned and yelled to Tommy “there we go, now!”, he looked over and laughed, I looked back, and the fish had other ideas, suddenly the line was slack. Oh dear. I hadn’t dropped the tip or anything so why it came off I will never know. It wasn’t to be the first time in my afternoon though. Two or three casts later though I did finally hook into and net my first fish of the afternoon, on the olive Cormorant.

Sedge stuck upside down in surface of water

Trapped sedge, struggling to escape the surface film this one has got stuck on it’s back. Never seen a fish actually take one though.

Maybe there was a clue why fish were coming off, it was nicked right in the very tip of the top lip. I was kind of lucky it hadn’t pulled out really.  In the bay plenty fish were moving, there were sedges coming off all over and as I do like my dry fly fishing I decided to try some sedge patterns. I opted for a LTD Sedge with a green butt but never had so much as a look at this. Then a CDC loopwing sedge.  Nope not that either. I never actually rose a fish until I went with a Olive Bobs Bits though it still never took. While fish were rising and taking something, having watched sedges struggle to get off the water and create disturbances I never once saw a fish take one. Were they on the pupa just sub surface, were they on something else entirely?

I went back to a team of three wets, the Wickhams, the green butt wet and why not try a Grouse and Claret winged wet? I have decided this season I will try a few old classics, it’s a bit fun. This became a bit of a Perch magnet, and I think I had three on the trot on the old winged pattern. One was the tiniest Perch I have ever seen and one was quite big. The fast stripping though was definitely the way. I became convinced that the fish rising were not the ones taking, not once did I get a response from casting over a rising fish.

Once I cast into a margin and I rose a row of fish at each fly like a line of machine gun bullets hitting the water as the flies stripped in, yet not one was actually taken. Made for exciting fishing though. After a period of utter flat calm, a breeze returned and then I fairly quickly had three fish take and numerous pulls. One came off again for reasons I cannot even begin to guess almost right beside the boat, fully in control under tension with the rod taking the strain, about to get the net ready and it went slack, but the other two came in fine but again nipped right in the tip of the top lip, I can’t help thinking they were a tad shy of the actual take and this was the reason for so many misses or offs. Not to worry still a fun few hours.