The End is Near

This post is a bit of an end of year review and an opportunity before I start, to wish all my Blog followers, Facebook followers (695- can we make it 700 by 2018? probably not) , Twitter followers and YouTube Subscribers all the best for Christmas, the Holidays, Winter Solstice Festival, Yuletide or whatever you choose to refer to it as and the forthcoming New Year and new season. Thanks for sticking with the blog this year I hope it continues to keep you amused, enthused and confused! I hope you enjoy this humble scribe’s piscine witterings and also enjoy the photo’s which I like to think adds something to the storytelling.

Anglers in the freezing fog

Fishers in the mist, Burnhouse early in the year.

Hopefully, I still have a few outings left in me this side of 2018. I was out on Saturday, by the time I got myself organised time was knocking on and I decided on a wee run down to Burnhouse on the VERY off chance it might have thawed out in the fairly rapid thaw that seemed to have set in round these parts anyway plus it was quite windy here. However, when I got down there it was breathless weatherwise and the loch was still hard frozen. I passed 15 minutes blethering to Gary and SCAC friend Tucker before heading back to the one place I was sure would be open, Swanswater ( again) with enough time still to get 2 hours in. It was the opposite there, the ice had significantly reduced on the smaller ponds with plenty fishable space on the main loch but also a stiff wind helping things along. Strange how the weather can vary so much in a few miles.

Otters

James with his trout.

Most fun outing to Swanswater was a couple of hours with my son in the summer – lots of laughs.

Catching though, seemed to be patchy. A couple of anglers I was aware of had hooked lots of fish, one well into double figures, another said he had had lots of knocks but only one hooked, and another chap up on the main loch said things had been quite slow but he had managed two ( maybe three fish) over his session, though he did relate a fishy tale that was itself amusing. He told me it was the second time this had happened to him in a long career fly fishing, the previous time was when he was a lad. I would put him about ages with me or thereabouts- so a rare occurrence. He was fishing off the island and had caught two fish which he had chapped and had lying on the bank behind him when he was disturbed by something that made him turn round. Here was an otter making off with one of his trout and it was into the water and away to the other island before he could cry “stop! thief!” and call 999!

C’est la vie. I gave the main loch 90 minutes but never had so much as a touch though I was coincidentally fishing much the same patterns and methods tried by those who had some success. For my last 30 minutes I ventured down to the Meadow Pond and had a stiff yank  ( yes- that was yank, not a spelling mistake 🙂 ) on my second cast which I was contact with but it simply never hooked up, then never had so much as a sniff after that. So another fat blank, but still a bit fresh air on an otherwise idle Saturday afternoon.

A bit “meh”

 

Into a trout at frandy

Fighting fish at Frandy

Hopefully my fishing year ends on a bit more of a bang! It has been a funny old year it has to be said. Certainly not the best but then not the worst either. My river trout fishing outings were a bit….well “meh”. I did catch fish, sometimes quite a few, but nothing to write home ( or blog about…though I try!). My stillwater outings on Rainbow waters were on the whole fairly successful with some good bags at Glencorse and Frandy, though Menteith continues to be a bogey for me, having visited three times this year, and blanking once, and netting a singleton on each of the other occasions once in the Scottish Clubs heats, and losing a good few more.

 

Pendreich was strange. I caught most outings with maybe one or two blanks but I could not honestly say it fished well. Word is it was hammered by poachers though for the first time in many seasons I never encountered any! Certainly, it was dour but I still seemed to get a fish or three most times I was there.

We had a good get together with the Upstream Nymph guys on the River Carron in the summer, and it turned out a fairly successful day on the catching front. Also late in the season, another fun day was had on the Tweed with friends John and Radek, where the BBQ was as memorable as the fishing.

North Coulter probably had less attention from me than it should have but I did get fish on most outings there one was a really stunning looking fish.

Glen Pointon and a Sea Trout.

Glen with a gorgeous 2 and a half pound Sea Trout from the sea. Photo: copyright Glen Pointon used with permission

Islay

 

Me and a Drolsay Brown Trout

A pound and a half beauty that came to a drifted sedge

Most memorable trip of the year was going to Islay with Fly Fish Islay in September. A little bit unplanned at the outset, I was looking for some way to use some of my holidays from work on the summer side of the year. A place came up on their September outing and I decided to go. It turned out to be an excellent week’s fishing and socialising in some wild locations for Brown Trout and Sea Trout and in some good company. Guide for the trip was the legend in his own electrical contracting lunchbreak, Glen Pointon of “On the Bank” and Wychwood fame, and the host and organiser was David Wood, who is something of a whisky expert as well as a good cook.  The fishing was good fun with places that really stirred the Scottish soul like Finlaggan and Gorm, but most memorable being Drolsay, a bit of a hike into the hills I wasn’t sure I would manage the walk but probably the most exciting days fishing I can recall for some time and it will probably stay with me a long time. You just know there are some monsters lurking in the dark waters. We caught fish on all the waters though some were harder going than others- but then that’s why it’s called fishing…… as they say.

 

Lots of memories laughs and new friends made. You can see the video of the trip, I made here.

Trad Wets

Another interesting twist to my year has been rediscovering traditional winged wet flies. I came across a box of old flies in my fly tying drawer and decided to give them a swim when out and especially if things were slow. They have rarely disappointed! Some of these flies are as old as the length of time since I first picked up a fly rod aged 14 and they still caught fish…. though admittedly I went to take one out the box a few weeks back and it snapped at the bend! Maybe a wee bit past it.

The Ladies

A gorgeous evening on the Clyde

Below Mauldslie Bridge

Grayling on the Nith

A big Nith Grayling going back

In recent weeks my Grayling season has got started well and I have made it out on the Clyde, Annan and Nith. Hopefully a good few more outings this winter….if my waders last the winter season. They have about had it now and are being kept going on re-proofer and Aquasure. I plan on getting a new pair in 2018 hopefully. So speaking of 2018 whats in store? Well, being I have this chronic arthritis problem nothing is wholly predictable, however, two standout plans I know. I won through my club SCAC a days grayling fishing in February courtesy of Lets Tackle Cancer, on the River Dove in Derbyshire. I am planning on heading there though obviously there is an element of weather dependency on that trip, so let’s see what happens. Also, I should hit the 25 years milestone of purgatory….sorry happily married life ( the wife tells me 🙂 ) this year and to celebrate we are hoping to head stateside. Not on a fishing trip you understand but on our travels from Washington DC to Florida and then to Mexico for a few days, I do hope to chuck some fluff somewhere en route. The Shenandoah Mountains area of Virginia are looking favourite for now but who knows?