All posts by The Dogged Angler

A truly passionate Angler this is a light hearted account of my angling trips, adventures, successes, failures and learnings.......discovered amidst our beautiful Scottish rivers, lochs and breathtaking scenery.

River Endrick and the end of the Season approaches

Saturday 19th October 2019

As the end of the Season fast approaches Saturday found me exploring some new pools and runs on the River Endrick thanks once more to knowledge and advice freely shared once more by fellow angler Lee Taylor.

Upon arrival on this upper part of the Endrick and after a chat with the farmer whose land I would cross I headed for the river across fields and burns. My plan was to explore and fish two new sections of the river for the first time. It was immediately apparent that the river had risen by around a foot or so since the previous day when I had fished further downstream. I immediately regretted not bringing my wading stick as the heavily peaty coloured water made judging the depth impossible. With shady wooded banks and some great looking runs and pools beneath the overhanging trees this was a truly tranquil section of the river.

After adapting my setup to conditions – a floating line with a 10ft fast sink tip, short leader and a small red frances copper tube I was ready. The advice had been to cross the river here and fish from opposite bank towards bank I was currently standing. However without the wading stick and being a ‘chicken’ I made the executive decision that crossing the river at this height was not a good idea. I therefore started heading down to the next mark fishing wherever water and access permitted. After checking several times (with some phone calls and mr google’s assistance) I arrived at the next intended section – a long tree lined bend in the river with some lovely looking runs and pools beneath the branches on opposite bank. Thankfully this area was wadable allowing some casting clearance from trees behind me. I saw and heard several decent fish above and below me only added to the anticipation.

Gradually working down this run I soon came across a fellow angler and owner of the other vehicle parked when I arrived. He was grinning from ear to ear and just stowing the net after landing a wee grilse and his first salmon on the fly. Having congratulating him I continued to fish down behind him until he eventually disappeared after opting to move downstream.

Despite my best efforts I said goodbye to at least four flies, and leader in some cases, donating them to the overhanging trees on the far bank. Joy and a silent thank you came occasionally when the fly sometimes hit a branch or leaf opposite before sliding off and into the target water and landed exactly in the area intended! I noted some of branches were already adorned with flies from some similarly unfortunate casts like a Tibetan prayer offering of flags or cloth. Pink flies seemed to be particularly in evidence. There were certainly fish in residence here as they made their presence evident showing above and below me several times just to keep me engaged.

Stopping for a break after one strong ‘pull’ but no connections I reflected again on the beauty and solitude of this part of the river with the Campsies rising behind me tree lined banks and abundant wildlife of this wee river as it meanders across the fields of the flood plain.

Continuing I carefully resumed fishing slowly down this section to where it ends in some fast running shallow water before deciding to head back to the car and some lunch.

Given the extremely muddy swampy conditions at the car park I opted to drive down to another ‘drier’ section downstream and have lunch there. Upon arrival several other fellow anglers and friends were already setting up or breaking for lunch. During lunch experiences, successes and failures and flies were exchanged including the hooking of a small grilse and a wee sea trout landed.

Following lunch, coffee and a re-charge I opted to give this section an hour or so and after replacing the ‘missing fly’ from the ‘diminishing’ contents of my fly box with a size 10 red and yellow flamethrower gold double I headed off.

I slowly and carefully made my way down this now deeper run and pool than it had been the day before. With the target once more being the opposite overhanging bank I had now developed a technique to dislodge the fly when hangups occurred which they of course did. It worked to some degree and involved pulling and quickly releasing the slack line to try to dislodge or ‘ping’ the fly loose from the branch opposite before resorting to the normal pull and 50/50 hope. I had thought about tackling up to heavier leader just because of this issue but opted against this as I prefer to fish as light as possible for several reasons.

After about a further hour or so fish were showing but no takers I exited the end of the pool and with my back now complaining about the cold water I decided to call it a day. It had been a good day as despite any fish.  I had found (eventually) and explored some new areas of this beautiful wee river and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the day. Heading back to the car I was already scheming as to how I could squeeze in one last outing before the end of the Season.

 

Autumn Splendour and my first Endrick Salmon

 

12th October, 2019

Having spent the previous morning on the River Fruin without seeing a fish I decided to explore the upper Endrick for the first time. Being a creature of habit had it not been for the generous and helpful advice of friend and fellow angler Lee Taylor I would probably have stuck to lower more familiar beats. I am therefore indebted to Lee for his kindness in so freely sharing his knowledge of the section and water with me.

Arriving around 9.30am I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with another angler Pat as we were setting up. After exchanging best wishes he set off towards the river as I opted for a coffee before heading down to the water.

I was filled with more than the usual buzz of anticipation that we so often have at the start of an outing as there had been good reports all week of decent fish being landed or lost on this upper section of the river. Arriving at the top of the run I had planned to fish (“Coolie’s Lynn) there was plenty of water as I began fishing down the run (‘”Lynn”) – intermediate with fast sink poly and a wee copper tube. A fairly narrow part of the river so plan was to get down quick and maximise short swing of the fly. I had been forewarned about the trees on both banks and soon fell foul of them losing around two or three flies in short succession until I improved my range a little. The temptation to edit out the hang ups in the trees was there but hey this is an honest account of my morning and was part of the challenge.

The water and in particular the far bank beneath the overhanging branches just looked fishy. As I worked my way down the run a fish rolled mid current around 30 yards below me. Senses heightened and having just replaced the fly once more for a small willie gun orange hothead copper tube I slowly and carefully covered the rise several times without success.

With thoughts of the rising fish now forgotten I continued down the run and carefully wading around trees behind me, just below a small burn. Now roll casting due to trees behind me casting beneath branches opposite was a real test. Suddenly the magic happened as I landed the fly in what looked like a perfect spot and mended the line! A very gentle take which I initially mistook for a small trout suddenly transformed into a take followed by a violent bend in the single hander which began to bounce as the fish started to run. Initially resisted lifting for what seemed an age as I allowed the fish to take and turn pulling some line and fighting every voice in my head and instinct to lift immediately!

Following a series of prayers that it would stay on and a series of runs including one into the bank beside me and the trees the fish eventually slipped over the net. The gye net I have carried all season was however an “unfamiliar” piece of equipment to me caused some problems as I tried to release the buckle just adding to the anxiety of dropping the fish.

Happy days – my first Endrick salmon a coloured fish of around 8-9lbs a little thin perhaps but a first from the Endrick nevertheless. The fish was carefully unhooked in the net using forceps before being revived and gently released.

Now having spent many trips and hours capturing video of views, landscapes, casting and not too many salmon (none) some of you will be wondering where the video of the fish being landed is. During the adrenalin and excitement then I have to confess that I failed to note that the camera was actually running and this numpty then ordered it to “start recording” which actually had the opposite effect of turning the camera off! I know all the technology in the world and it comes down to the stupidity of the operator. Hence the short footage of the hookup.

Once both the fish and I had recovered from all of the excitement and my pulse returned to almost normal I fished on for another hour or so without further action. By around mid day I decided to call it quits and head for the car and some lunch before heading home. Not a bar of fresh run silver but to me just as prized as a first salmon on this amazing wee river.

A great day and thoroughly enjoyable – not a monster nor fresh run but still a first and a good few hours to savour. Body, mind and soul refreshed I made my way to the car reflecting on a great couple of hours. It was great to meet Pat and Max and once more I wish to acknowledge and thank Lee for freely providing invaluable advice and tips on this new stretch.

We are truly blessed to have such a range of beautiful water to choose from in our system.

A few hours on the River Fruin

5th October 2019

Saturday morning saw heavy grey overcast skies and a distinctly chilly east wind as I arrived at the river. Looking down from the road bridge I was disappointed to see that the river was running fairly low despite all the rain of the past week. Undeterred I decided to give it a go in any case. I had been looking forward after all to getting out and clearing the head of anything that resembled work and the past week. A few hours of being “one with nature” was just what I needed.

Starting at the run just below the bridge, where only the previous morning it had produced a 7lb salmon, I gradually began working my way downstream trying to cause as little disturbance as possible.

I fished down and around this section of the river trying to seek out any fishable deeper sections and pools. Making my way downstream I was startled several times by the sudden whirr of rising pheasants! It crossed my mind that I had had brought the wrong weapon. All around me were signs of the countryside starting to shut down as “Winter is coming”.

At the last accessible pool on this section of the river, a deep pool with good depth and flow my hopes rose as I carefully made my way down this pool slowly covering each bank. Alas however no interest and no sign of anything moving, where do the fish go when water level drops I asked myself not for the first time that morning?

Deciding against leaving the riverbank and the small hill climb to reach the next section I opted to call it a day. Yet another blank but in fact I had achieved one goal – to get out and chill out after a busy work week.

September Lomond Splendour

Saturday 21st September 2019  “The Loch Lomond Fly Fishing Competition”

Saturday morning and having firstly registered for this years Loch Lomond Fly Fishing Competition I was soon heading up river. Other commitments had looked like I would not be in a position to get out so I was really over the moon when the planets aligned at the last minute. On the other hand the weather forecast was not just as pleasing with bright sunny skies and little to no wind. At Balloch Bridge I was reminded of the sad scene of a boat fire the previous evening where unfortunately the well known boat “Aurora” was destroyed.

Having checked the forecast yet again for the umpteenth time then with a ‘gentle’ wind from the south east forecast I elected to head for north shore of Inchfad in the hope of a decent drift along this shoreline to start with.  As I crossed over to and along Inchmurrin my hopes rose as the wind and wave strengthened, so much for the weather forecast I thought as the spray came over the bow.

Arriving at the north east end of Inchfad I was heartened to see that wind direction was right and a good wee wave promised a decent drift. I had opted for an 11 foot 7wt setup, Sage X switch rod, with 8 ft polyleader and a 15 foot leader with two droppers and a wee double to anchor things.  Second (spare) rod was more of an experiment and a chance to at least try out a recent acquisition a shorter 9 foot Sage Igniter 9wt with an intermediate sink tip and similar three fly setup. Yes too short and over powered compared to a ‘traditional’ loch setup but was keen to give it a cast for the first time.

I spent a good few hours fishing this drift hard a couple of times with not a hint of a rise! The temperature was rising steadily and by noon the sun was splitting the clear blue cloudless sky as I opted for a break for lunch. Following lunch I decided to give the Igniter a throw and was not disappointed.  This rod rated as “Ultra Fast” weighing in at just over 3oz in weight should require a licence. The line left the rod like a bullet even into the wind which was now in my face at times.  However even this newly acquired weapon could not produce a rise nevertheless.

With the sun blazing and the wind now moderate I decided to give the south shoreline of Inchfad a try passing a boat of fellow anglers en route who signalled their own lack of fish as we passed.

Fishing along the south western tip of Inchfad  I found what looked like an ideal drift between the tip of the main island and the wee island of Ellanderroch. Despite the bright sunshine and lack of cloud there was a good stiff breeze and a decent wave which lifted my spirits and hopes of connecting with something at least.

By mid afternoon the relentless sunshine and heat had not abated and I decided to call it a day. The weather may have not been ideal for fishing but what it did serve to do was to showcase the stunning beauty of the big loch in all its glory.

The River Ehen, Cumbria

20th August 2019

A good wee couple of hours on the River Ehen here in Cumbria water falling after recent spate, no interest other than a beautiful wee 7′ salmon par, no other offers but enjoyable couple of hours. Finally got organised and joined the Egremont Angling Association (Permit) and oh yes plus you need something called a “Rod Licence” down here (£80) lol. Been quite a few grilse off this wee spate river during last week or so. Somewhere to fish mid week after work and some great looking stretches. Only 8.5 miles of bank still to explore…beats the couch.

A few hours on The Endrick

Saturday 24th August 2019

Having been checking the SEPA water gauge several times during last few days and with a height of around 0.8m I decided to forego the Loch this week and give the Endrick a run. Headed up to Ballochruin Bridge and with some puffing and panting I fought my way through the undergrowth and started fishing at the Black Lyn working down towards Oak Tree Pool. Only connection was with several overhanging trees which ruined any stealth tactics as I cursed and swore trying to get flies and leader free.

Uz5qwtwPSTWpMnGP7kwmeAI have walked this area scouting many times in the off season but never really fished it with any decent water. Reaching Oak Tree Pool it just looked so promising as I quietly started at the top of the pool wading down hugging the left bank . Some really hot looking areas beneath trees on far bank that required some horizontal casting beneath them as I slowly worked down the pool. Water eventually deepens despite being close to near bank and to complicate matters submerged boulders the size of small tables began to make progress very challenging. Being halfway down the pool and with steep banking making exit difficult I continued down. After covering about three quarters of this pool and wading at chest depth I found the going just too tough negotiating the submerged boulders even with the aid of a wading staff. I curtailed my coverage of this pool clambering unceremoniously up the steep walled bank.

Following a “short” rest on the bench, a smoke and a change of flees I briefly fished the pool above the bridge (Drumtain) which in hindsight probably would be better fished from opposite bank along the shingle spit and down into the pool. With the temperature now well above 20 deg c it was time for water, lunch and a break.

Deliberating about the heat, after lunch I decided to give it another hour or so more. Changing fly pattern and to smaller sizes I worked my way quietly down the stretch below Ballochruin Bridge (Red Brae) with small par or trout rising all around. I finished this good looking stretch but with the bugs and the temperature now at 26 deg c I decided I had had enough.

I packed up feeling slightly guilty at not sticking with it and continuing to fish the really good stretches further downstream. However, sometimes I think you are best quitting when still enjoying the session can be right rather than spoiling what had been an enjoyable few hours, that’s my excuse anyway as I was starting to wilt in the heat and waders.

I decided upon a small detour en route home to check the water down at the section at Meetings Lynn. Water looked clear and a good height but nothing of any size showing nor indeed any anglers to be seen.

A good enjoyable few hours with only one small element missing!

 

Fishing in Scotland 1970’s – Trailer

Leaving aside local and Clyde steamer history for a moment I have been adding to my film archive library collections with a recent focus upon archive fishing films unsurprisingly perhaps.

This is a small excerpt from a film “Fishing in Scotland” from the 1970’s featuring Scottish fishing champion Peter Anderson as he tours some of Scotland’s most renowned rivers and lochs.

This particular excerpt showcases Loch Lomond with the well-known Balmaha Boatman  Jimmy Pearman. We follow Peter Anderson and a very youthful looking Paul Young take on Bill McEwan and “Wee Jamie” dapping for sea trout on The “Big Loch” finishing with a “Drum Up” on the shore to compare catches….. enjoy.

A Morning on The River Fruin

August 10th, 2019

With the forecast for the Loch not looking too great I decided to explore the River Fruin a small spate river flowing into Loch Lomond. My angling friend Michael and I considered that the Fruin may be in good shape after recent heavy rainstorms.
Arriving before 9.00am the river was still high but running very coloured. Undeterred we spent three or four hours working our way down the various pools and runs trying to cover the areas beneath the overhanging trees and shrubs. Some tricky casting required and yes some of the new “tree ornaments” are mine!

The Beautiful wee River Fruin

Around lunch time and struggling in the very hot conditions which were not helped by being clad in waders and fishing jackets we decided to call it a day. A great few hours on this lovely little river and whilst fish were not forthcoming one area certainly worth another visit. My gratitude to my friend Michael for introducing me to this lovely stretch of water. Thanks also must go to Bob and Donald for so freely sharing their local knowledge and tips on the river bank.