In a perfect world we would have had a couple of dry days before the weekend and Sunday would have seen me fit and well and out on a river in pursuit of my favourite fish, the Grayling.

As we all know the world is far from perfect, the weather has been stinking, leading into the weekend, not to put too fine a point on it, and I have a bit of a stinking cold. Come Sunday, when the sun threatened then finally managed to make an appearance, I really wasn’t sure if I could be bothered heading out for a cast. But after clearing have a wheelie bins worth of fallen leaves, from the driveway I felt it would be a shame not to get out, it might clear the head a bit.

Orchil was the chosen venue, not having been up there for quite a wee while. And with such a nice day I wasn’t surprised on arriving to see the car park pretty full. I think in fact there was a club in, and as I arrived at about half past one, it seemed they had been hammering the fish. I heard counts of 19 fish for at least two anglers and mid teens for several more and predictions of getting to forty in the afternoon. It sounded like it was fishing its head off.

Rising Fish

However, though there were fish rising all over the loch but for one couple fishing up the south bank who appeared to have a couple of fish each over maybe an hour and a half I saw precious little caught. I did at first think it might be a bit of a walk in the park, as I had a knock to my Diawl Bachs on my very first cast but then I cannot tell a lie, I struggled. 

Sedge at Orchil. But twere the fish taking them?
There were loads of these about, though I never actually spotted a fish take one of the many on the surface

Over maybe another half hour I had a few sharp pulls but nothing became attached to my hooks, and it appeared like the fish were hitting the large red looking Sedges coming off all over the pond though to be honest, despite watching a few flounder on top as they do, never saw one taken. I tied on two or three dry sedge patterns and mostly they were ignored. The fish seemed to be very twitchy, and I caught sight of a few as they shot away from where they had risen into the depths several yards from the place I initially caught sight of them. If you cast to the ring of a rise, I felt there was a good chance that fish had long gone.

Applying the Science

I did though eventually hook into, then lost a fish on my dry sedge, just as it got drowned as I retreived to re cast. I felt it wasn’t properly hooked and it wasn’t bending my rod for very long before it was remote released.
I decided I needed to apply some thought, or science even, to this and was sure I had some sedge pupa patterns in my river box, back in the car, time to go get it. 

Autumn rainbow, alsot right away after the fly change.
Autumn Rainbow

I wandered over and on the way got talking to an old gent at the lodge, who was asking me how I cast so straight ( I wouldn’t say I do especially) and some other questions about lines and fly fishing generally. It turned out that he had only recently taken up the sport. I told him I was away to get some dynamite to try erase this blank! He told me he had lost 5 fish  over the morning and landed one.
After I got my sedge pupa patterns and tied one on I cast out and hey presto, first cast, a fish was on! Maybe these were dynamite right enough? The old guy came over to talk as I got the fish in. The “Appliance of science” I said, quite pleased at having worked this particular puzzle out and having got a fish to the net so quickly afterwards.

He was complaining about his casting and lines and stuff and I offered him a shot of my much lighter outfit which he tried a few casts of. He was telling me he lived in sheltered housing and a group of residents had formed a wee club for outings to places like Orchil etc.

He handed me back my rod and I cast out again as he continued chatting. You know what happened next? As I blethered away a fish took me and my inattention was my downfall, I couldn’t get tight into it fast enough and it was off. The old guy was all embarrassed at distracting me but I wasn’t bothered, that sort of thing always happens. The fish know you know!

Who does this?

The old guy I was talking to was  asking me about getting the coil out his lines and how I cast so far etc. He told me he had only been fishing a few months and had got a rod from “the angling centre” ( he never said precisely where but I could take a stab). I asked him what kind it was and it was an 8 weight!

I have to ask, who sells an elderly gent, a beginner, an 8 weight fly rod? Honestly in my opinion there aren’t many trout fishing ocassions when an 8 weight is necessary for any but the hard core competition boat angler. For small stillwaters a 5 would probably be more appropriate and a 6 for all round use. I really don’t understand why you would lumber an old guy with an 8 weight rod.

The fishing seemed to dry up where I was and I decided to head around the side which had by now emptied a bit as I think the club guys had called it a day. In fact it went very quiet all round. Yeah, there were fish still rising but I never got a touch all afternoon after that despite several fly and line changes.

Rising fish at Orchil but what were they taking Sedges off the top, or pupa in the water column. Using some science to find out
It was some day to be out though and the fish kept rising

I heard one of the guys who had 19 in the morning confess that he hadn’t touched a fish all afternoon too…. so it wasn’t just me. A stunning day to be out though, just need the rain to stay away so we can go get these Grayling.