If you read my last post you will know I hurt myself. As a result, my fishing has been severely curtailed, much more than usual, with the standard aches and pains. I consciously decided to not fish this last few weeks and as last weekend edged closer I was feeling progress was being made. Then my wife got a flat tyre on her car and I was allocated the task of getting the wheel off and spare on so the puncture could be fixed. This was where it all went wrong. Having got the bolts out the wheel with little trouble I soon discovered I couldn’t get the wheel off the hub. No amount of pushing, pulling or encouragement with a hammer ( not directly on the wheel I hasten to add!) from the rear would release it. Not an issue I have ever had before having changed dozens of car, van, Land Rover and motorbike wheels in my life. But the pushing and pulling aggravated the injury and on Monday I felt I was back at square one. I held off going to the doctors but was encouraged by my other half that I should go get checked out and went down yesterday to let the GP have a prod and a poke and make sure I had not done anything more serious. It had settled down a fair bit by then, again, though and after getting the all clear from the Doctor that it was likely I had torn the muscle away from my ribs and it would take maybe 6-12 weeks to fully heal.

I didn’t want to tempt providence by heading out to try full on casting into the wind but fancied a wee hour out so headed off down the river for some nice light rod/light line nymphing as a good test for me. Also, I wanted to give my newly fixed reel a go, and I had got hold of some of this new Indicator Wax and wanted to give that a go. Finally, it would be good to see if I was physically improving as I have a full day outing to Frandy on Sunday with the club. With an errand to run on the way out, I opted to head right down stream to Larbert. I don’t fish there often but was surprised to find it was very quiet. ( apart for the boy racers drifting round the corners in their hot hatches). How does a youth get insurance for an Abarth Fiat? Clearly by the amount of rubber the young arsehole was shredding from his tyres he wasn’t having to pay for them to be replaced!

Indicator Wax

Indicator Wax

I set up my #3 weight rod and gave the indicator wax a smear in bands down the nylon. You can read my thoughts on this elsewhere. I started in the pool under the viaduct just to get a start and never touched anything on a short or long line, but my bugs were getting down OK judging by the snags. ( probably a tad heavy to be honest). I didn’t bother changing though as there were some faster wee riffles on the way downstream and I felt I was better set up for here. Downstream a bit I could see fish moving in the slow “canal” water. My previous experience of this stretch found me in water up past my waist last time until I could not proceed further. I had not realised then( probably because it was overgrown at the time) that there is a trail down the bank of the river here and not wanting to disturb the water I wanted to fish, I opted to try to extract myself from the river. This was my first real physical test and with a few slips I managed out. I got talking to a gent from a garden nursery and he was commenting that the Himalayan Balsam was getting too big and he was struggling to strim it back. But I have to say if he had strimmed the path area already he had made a not bad job, certainly since last time I didn’t realise there was even a pathway there! I finally got to a place I thought I might be able to reach one of the rising fish and get into the river through the Balsam which was higher than me. Casting from the bank was a non-starter as it is about 7 feet high here.

I decided to get down the bank, change leader to a dry fly tapered leader, and then once ready slowly ease into the water to cast downstream dry fly. I put on a wee brown dry spider having seen a few similar looking flies on my walk down. It was here I nearly had my first major mishap as I slid down into the water the line and leader snagged on my net pulling on the line and rod and I was really, really lucky not to break the tip off my rod. I managed to free this but then had a frustrating 5 minutes trying to unsnag the fly from behind myself.

Eventually, I was in a position to cast, the fish were still rising. I reckon many were just small. I cast over the first nearer ones and managed to rise a couple but they didn’t take. The pattern wasn’t really getting much interest so I tried another fly change to a darker olive pattern. The near at hand fish seemed even less interested in this, but I had seen a decent fish rise a good  30-40 feet or so down stream of me. I cast above it and gingerly let out line to avoid drag. I really didn’t think I would get away with it at such range for so long but believe it or not the fish came for the fly and I lifted into it. Not a giant, maybe a Brown Trout of 3/4lb and stunning colours in the evening sunshine. It did a few characteristic jumps and unfortunately managed to get off the hook which was a shame, though it was a quite a range it has to be said. I decided now to work upstream. There were fish rising here and there though few regularly and it was initially hard to see what they might be taking. Certainly there was nothing obvious on the water of note. The setting sun though soon revealed clouds of tiny midges out midstream and a pocket of fish were rising right in amongst them. These things were really small. I think the smallest dries I have are 24’s and they were way too big in comparison. I tried a small midge of about a size #20 over the fish casting upstream but they showed no interest.

Then on one cast I noticed everything landed in a strange heap. I recovered my line only to find my leader and leader loop had come off my line! That’s a first. This is the line I have swapped from reel to reel a few times with my reel being in repair. So not sure if that’s been partly to blame, I don’t understand why it should but that put the kybosh on the rest of the evening. I had spare loops and I could have even done a needle knot but it was getting dark, by the time I was ready it would be too dark to see. I hadn’t fished for that long really but I was not feeling sore ( well not any more than usual!) and still seem OK today so looking forward to my outing on Sunday to Frandy.