I think it is fair to say, if last year we struck lucky with the weather on Islay, it was unlikely we would strike that lucky two year son the trot.  The tail end of this “Hurricane Helene” now officially Storm Helene, has landed in Islay at the same time as us.

Yesterday evening it was deceptively settled at times and we sat watching trout rising all over Lossit below the house on Dunlossit Estate, but there is a Sunday restriction on fishing on this estate it so all we could do was watch.

This morning it was starting to grow increasingly unsettled but most of the group here with Fly Fish Islay were keen to wet a line and most of the group headed out on the two boats, I opted to fish the bank which was fishable with a wind that was OK for a right hander.

My cast was a small Diawl Bach on point, a Green Tailed Kate on the middle dropper and a Heather Fly Snatcher, as tied by Davi McPhail. I went for that particular top fly as I had heard there were a few heather flies being seen around the lochs this last few weeks.

My very first cast into the waves rose a fish and it wasn’t too many casts until I had my first small wild loch Brown. Not a “chip fish” but not any real size. It had taken the DB. Interesting.

I was basically fan casting around me and taking a step then repeating. Not long in I had my second which was a pretty decent fish on the Green-tailed Kate, then almost immediately after number three this time to the Heather Fly Snatcher. 

It went all quiet for a while then as I was starting to suspect the fish had switched off I had three fish in close to three casts. By the time I stopped for a break I had 7 and then took a wander further up the bank after a visit to the boat house to see how the boat anglers were getting on. They were getting lots of nips but I don’t think many fish netted.

Boat fishing Loch Lossit
Two of the group fishing from the boat across the loch

Further up the bank I too was getting lots of pulls initially and the wind was getting much wilder as the early afternoon entered. The wind now was becoming a problem as there was often a bow forming in the line and when a fish took there was too much slack combined with cold wet fingers, and so, lots of misses. 

However the Heather Fly did the business and I called it a day on a new personal Islay PB catch of 11, which given the conditions, that in normal circumstances would have me staying indoors “fly tying”, I can’t help but be pleased with. And only two chip fish to speak of as well.

The hope had been to maybe getting out on the Sea Trout later on but the wind then the rain built as the day matured meant really it wasn’t possible. I took a run to Portnahaven and even getting a photo was a challenge as the rain swept in horizontal most of the time. Wild it most definitely was.

Tonight while the wind howls over Islay we are settling down in Lossit Farm House to enjoy dinner and a wee dram. Tonight’s will be Bealach Ruadh from Chorlton Whisky. A peaty but sweet 10 year old. You can try this and many others with Distilled Events.