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.
A quick walk this morning at Bonhill Bridge found the Leven showing its bones despite the heavy weekend rain. The section at the “Piles” looked as if it may hold fish and very fishable although the fly would have been a challenge today with strong southerly wind blowing upstream. No fish showing but definitely worth a try perhaps before the end of the week.
Friday 27th July saw me back out on Lomond chasing that illusive first Lomond Salmon. Forecast was low cloud and thunderstorms later in the afternoon and planned route was up the East shore to Boturich and then across to Inchmurrin. From there along south shores of Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch and Inchcailloch before heading North as far The Ross Isles. Homeward route was along North shores of Inchclonaig, Inchconnachan and Inchtavannach and down West shore. I saw only two or three other boats but not too many other anglers on the water perhaps put off by the low water and high temperatures.
I am always amazed at the size of lure that these brave wee perch will ambush, in this case the hot lure of the day was a 13cm black and gold original floating Rapala which they and other species seemed to favour over other lures on offer. Some legendary large Lomond pike were also keen to make an appearance once more. Water temperatures seemed to be still very high and the other main issue was weed especially on the West shore homeward leg where you could almost anticipate the ensuing hangup in weed from the fish finder which showed weed climbing all the way to the surface. On the topic of high water temperatures I have been wondering whether it would be worth fishing deeper water with deeper swimming lures would yield better results given recent conditions?
Under dramatic skies and breathtaking scenery I broke for lunch at a favourite wee bay up at Ross Isles I took the time to fit the new boat “Dogged Angler” name plates which look great. My thanks and gratitude to Eric and Thomas at The Vale of Leven District Angling Club (VOLDAC) for their kind assistance in “planing” down these name plates to allow fitting to the bow.
Encounters with some big Lomond pike were once again on the cards with the black and gold rapala again proving the predators choice. On the homeward leg I hooked and landed perhaps my biggest Lomond pike to date which gave a good account of itself on a 15ft fly rod. I have great admiration for these big predators with their beautiful markings and strong runs but if I am being honest I do not like handling them in the boat, which is evident in the video. Whilst trying to deal with them respectfully and safely return them my preference is to try to get them to “slip” the hook wherever possible or to deal with them at the side of the boat. I have made a note to devise or buy a “fish mat” try to improve matters here.
Overall another great day out on the water despite the lack of any silver fish, with this weekend’s rain falls hopefully this will freshen things up and bring in some runs into the Loch. Already thinking of next outing, thinking of giving the Endrick or Leven a try early this coming week given the weekend rain.
DOCHFOUR . A long awaited chance to fish Dochfour (River Ness) finally arrived on Friday 11th May following an earlier reschedule due to illness. Having followed the reports of good catches during past few weeks, including 9 this week, I was up for it. Speaking earlier with the Ghillie Grant Sutherland to confirm arrangements I met up with Grant on Friday morning. With only one other rod booked (4 rod max) and yet to arrive then choice of pools to start was free. Two syndicate rods were also scheduled to fish but never showed. Having tackled up both fly and spinning rod we headed along the river having opted to start at the Weir Pool ( image below).
Seemed logical as this was the top pool. Grant kindly outlined all the key information and advice including wading “survival” tips! I had noted with some caution how far out beneath the weir we had trecked and the gravel drop off into the pool below me 😝. Full of anticipation I fished slowly and carefully along the pool with the usual early heightened adrenaline rush and expectations. What truly stunning spectacular scenery and surroundings I found myself in. Fished through this first pool without success and onto the next pool which was a more traditional pool and easy wading.
Working down this pool the gusting wind started to impact my already fragile Spey casting skills by constantly changing strength and direction 😂. By 12.30 decided break and lunch at the fishing hut with Grant and his lovely wee springer whose big brown eyes managed to charm half my sandwiches. Refreshed and recharged back onto the water. Wind had increased in ferocity with vicious gusts making it hard to stand yet along time a cast! All part of the experience I thought as I tried to adjust or recall and apply different casts based upon wind director from lessons earlier in year. The only fish seen moving were lots of trout rising between gusts. Following a change of fly and a coffee mid afternoon we contemplated getting spinning rod with the vision lure out to see if this would provoke something. Maybe dogma or poor decision making but I decided to stick with fly despite worsening blustery conditions .
Coffee break and a wee rest
Never pick the easier option if you can 😊. Just as I was beginning to flag and wind gust threatening to blow me off balance a beautiful salmon rose in the pool just below me! All fatigue instantly disappeared as well as curses about the wind as I tried to cover the fish . Alas no ensuing tug followed but its appearance at the end of the day was a really welcome sight nevertheless. Fished on for a short while longer until deciding to call it a day …. a good day despite the lack of fish. All fishing days are good days after all. 😊. Another new water for me and one that I cannot wait to try once more. Sooner rather than later. This is a truly beautiful piece of water with dramatic scenery all around. A huge thank you to Grant Sutherland for sharing his experience, knowledge of this beautiful beat. ” I’ll be back”
When current conditions make if hard to for me post tales of heroic catches and pictures of fish then for me a look back at trips earlier in the year is perhaps the only solution. This of course presumes that stories and photos of my catches will be in abundance when conditions do improve, a risky assumption indeed on my part given my normal catch return rate.
Loch Lomond May 4th, 2018
It was a very welcome surprise when I received an invite from my good friend Michael to join him for a days fishing on Lomond. The invite was particularly appreciated given that I had managed to “drop” two fish on earlier trips and it had crossed my mind that perhaps I had blotted my copybook. In hindsight it was obvious that part of the reason for losing these fish was the overly courteous discussions and resultant delays as to who should lift the rod with the fish. An early start saw us leave the Angling Club with conditions looking good and expectations high. In an attempt to avert another “dropped fish” incident we had agreed a game plan for who does what should we hook a fish which in hindsight seemed obvious.
Fishing up the west bank of the loch covering the usual hotspots without success we decided to pull onto the beautiful island of Inchmoan for lunch and a stretch of the legs. A discussion of tactics and next steps was somewhat one sided given my inexperience of Lomond and trolling. I did however decide to throw a wildcard into the conversation and suggested a change of lure. Producing a white and pink rapala from my bag I said don’t laugh but it might be worth giving this a go. With a smile Michael agreed it was worth a try so on went the white and pink rapala (Japan Export only). Rapala. COUNT DOWN CD-9 JAPAN SPECIAL. HBM japan import Japan Import
We had barely pulled out of Inchmoan when the outside outrigger buckled and the reel began to screech, yes the one with the white and pink rapala. Like a well oiled pit crew (of two) we were soon playing a decent fish which put up a good fight and displayed none of the behaviours of a Pike. After a short contest a lovely brownie of around 4.5lbs was netted. Admittedly it appeared to initially resemble a sea trout but after some quick discussion we agreed it was a brownie.
Heartened and with renewed vigour we fished on between the islands and were quickly rewarded with the sound of a reel screaming once more as we passed close to Inchfad. Applying our now drilled routine then the fish holding rod dutifully bent into what looked to be a good fish. After a few strong runs it revealed itself to be a decent sized pike of around 8-9lbs which put in a strong account of itself before being netted. A lesson for me in what not to do was in bringing the pike into the boat in the net. The treble hook quickly entangled itself in the mesh of the net preventing a quick release. The solution in the end was that Michael recognising my difficulty cut the treble in order to allow the release of the pike.
Fishing on without any further excitement we decided to head for home around late afternoon after what had been a “good day” on the water.
Aside from avoiding bringing a netted pike into the boat then we should perhaps be mindful of not forgetting the “When all else fails option” when things are simply not happening. Sometimes the “gariest” lure (or fly) that resembles something from a burlesque show is just what’s needed when all favourites fail.
As we all know our waters are suffering from very low levels of rainfall and whilst the country basks in the heat and sunshine. Anglers almost everywhere are constantly checking the forecast and muttering about the extreme conditions and how their waters need a substantial amount of prolonged rain to flush out the stale water and bring the long awaited runs of silver bullets. The River Kelvin is no different where it currently is languishing well below anything like normal levels. What we need is something like the levels of the Kelvin back in March this year! Perhaps a few hours after this when water begins to fall and clear a little. BRING ON THE RAIN!!!
As they say in McDonald’s “Would you like to go Large?”. May give one of these these 13cm Original Floating Raps a try on Loch Lomond tomorrow for first time. Have tried 9 and 11cm version but nothing this large…… be interesting to see if the wee Perch still have a go at this size 🤣 Running depth same between 11 & 13cm versions (1.2-1.8m). Been told that 13cm version does well on Loch Tay?? Comments welcome as always.
Some beautiful scenes from earlier trip north in February 2018 to the River Garry and Oich. No fish evident but a great couple of days. Stunningly scenic but cold, snowing and windy! Great beats will definitely be back to give them another try!
A few scenes from a “Hot” day on Loch Lomond on Monday 9th July….scenery to die for…..fish nowhere to be seen! A good day nevertheless. Still trying to familiarise myself with the Loch from a trolling viewpoint. Some very shallow areas where least expected partly due to low rainfall conditions and partly due to learning process on my own part. Also slowly getting up to speed in using new GoPro Hero 6 Black camera so your patience is appreciated.
A brief walk this afternoon along the Kelvin at the Glasgow Vet School stretch (Garscube) showed just what the online water level gauges were saying only in a much more graphic way. Albeit a relatively new angler to the River Kelvin I don’t remember ever seeing the river just so low. On almost every stretch you could easily paddle across, except of course for the two deep holes on this stretch. On this subject I came across two teenage boys swimming and having fun at the top pool and in talking with them I explained that I didn’t wish to spoil their fun in any way but that they should be aware that the pool that they were swimming in became suddenly very deep within just a few steps therefore they should take care. I showed them the area in question and they seemed genuinely grateful. They asked about fish in the river and didn’t know that this was the River Kelvin. I bored them further by explaining the type of fish “normally” found and where the river ran before joining the Clyde at the Riverside Museum before wishing them well and heading back downstream towards the bridge and playing field section.
Passing the “Pool with the Sandy Beach” (aka Dead Man’s Pool: no disrespect for the souls lost) I nodded to a Mum with two you children playing on the sand. Continuing downstream to the end of the playing field stretch I couldn’t help notice the amount of weed that had accumulated since my last visit and fly session for trout session, hardly surprising I suppose given the low water and strong sunlight. Plenty of small rises in the normal runs and glides but no river monsters.