Tag Archives: sea trout

Drummond Castle – River Earn

11th May 2022

A great day on the River Earn at ‘Drummond Castle’ beat. A first for me on this part of the river but I was in safe hands with my good friend Kevin who has many years experience of fishing this beat, including the halcyon days when Salmon and Sea Trout catches were beyond prolific.

This is truly a lovely beat with some really interesting deep pools and some great looking runs Whilst many pools were fishable many were sadly overgrown with trees and bushes. Alas the water was just too high for the fly so the ‘cheating stick’ was the order of the day.

Albeit high the water was a lovely ‘tea’ colour and pretty clear as we worked our way upstream. Kevin managed to hook several nice wee brown trout and I could hear cries of frustration above me as Kevin had several takes or follows from some sizable fish! This pattern continued for most of the day with some lovely small finnock and brown trout accounting for most of the catches. Between the squalls of rain sand martins appeared and provided a stunning display of aerial acrobatics as they fed on the wing amidst the backdrop of Spring colours and new greenery bursting into life. Video below is a snapshot of a very enjoyable day on this lovely part of The Earn

For myself I was delighted to hook and land a beautiful Sea Trout of around 4lb! Towards the end of the day as we worked our way back downstream Kevin turned a large fish in one of the deeper pools on a Vision 110 which unfortunately failed to connect! I opted to have a smoke and wait before I followed him down the same pool ten minutes later covering the high banked pool.

Half way down I got a real shock on looking below me as a very large salmon appeared from at my feet following the vision lure right to the bank!! It came alongside the lure at the very end of the retrieve and turned below my feet before disappearing back into the depths of the pool! Being only feet above I was close enough to see the eyes of what was a lovely fish of at least 15lb – on my scale at least 🙃🙃😂

A great end to a good day out and a beat well worth a return to and hopefully cast a fly.

A couple of days on Loch Lomond

28th – 29th May 2021

Friday 28th May saw us leaving the Leven in convoy heading for two days on the loch. Struggling to able to contain their excitement were two eager young anglers Adam and Cameron and their Dad Michael in the other boat with Michael. Before leaving I was encouraged to ensure that I accepted a walkie talkie from the boys in order to share news of catch reports instantly between boats.

Young Cameron ‘showing the way” with a lovely Lomond Sea Trout

Flat calm conditions did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm with the calm only disturbed by the occasional clunk of the striker weight signalling a take. In my own case these takes proved to be no more than a small pike alas.

Young Cameron did however show the way on day one and put the ‘older’ anglers to shame by catching his first Lomond Sea Trout, a lovely wee fish of around 2lbs.

Following a night on Buccinch morning saw us back out on the water with renewed enthusiasm and heading north towards the Ross Isles. Fish remained elusive with conditions proving similarly difficult. With the need for sustenance a priority we met ashore at the Ross Isles for an outdoor ‘roll on sausage’ .

Fishing down the Loch without further reports then excitement of the day before and a late night had taken its toll and we decided to pull in the rods and head for home after lunchtime.

No salmon to report but none the less a very enjoyable couple of days on the ‘Big Loch’. The boys already asking when they can go again!

Loch Lomond Fly Fishing Competition

19th September 2020

This my second participation in the Loch Lomond Fly Fishing Competition and it has proven to be a challenge for me in the past with the previous year being extremely tough with bright sunshine, flat calm and cloudless skies. The forecast for this year’s event looked worryingly similar.

With entry fee and lottery tickets purchased I was off heading out of the river with all of the usual excitement and trepidation. My good friend and fishing pal Michael and I headed up the river at the same time. Having done some research and kindly been given some deeply secret tips on drifts and locations I headed up the western shore towards the Luss area first. My biggest concern was and had been the weather with forecasts of bright hot sun and little wind.

Fished hard all morning up at Luss area in really bright sunshine and virtually calm conditions before heading to Inchlonaig for a bit of lunch and regroup. The loch was bussing with please boats, kayaks and craft of all kinds.

Revitalised and having set the world to right we decided to give the north shore of Inchlonaig a try as there seemed to be a bit of a wind on this side at least.

With little in the way of interest and only a couple of fish sighted we decided to head down and try our luck along the shoreline of Inchfad. The drift looked much more promising down at here at Inchfad however once more we failed to raise any interest.

Having given it all we had we decided to head in to the ‘weigh-in’ on Inchmurrin. The winner Paul with a fine bag of three sea trout of around 3-4lb was duly awarded a well deserved cup and some fine prizes. After congratulating the well deserved prize winner and some chin wagging we headed for the river and home.

A really good day despite the challenging conditions and the distinct lack of fish in my own boat! Plenty of time to rethink and plan for next years event.

Images courtesy of Michael King (BIPP)

A couple of days venturing up “The Tap End”

Having spent most of my first seasons on Lomond fishing the “Bottom End” of the Loch, my fishing pal and myself decided we were ‘ready’ to explore the famous “Tap End”. From all accounts by seasoned Lomond anglers then by mid July the ‘Tap End” was likely to hold fish and this was evidenced by recent catch reports on the Loch.

So with the usual excitement, trepidation and boatloads of gear, tents, fuel and firewood we set of off.

I didn’t need to wait long for some excitement as I suddenly struck one of the rocks at Boturich hard. A teeth clenching moment as the boat mounted the submerged rock and ran the length of the keel before the engine ‘bounced’ beside me! I was glad that I had packed a set of dry clothes, including fresh underwear. That will teach me for getting over confident and fishing tighter each trip and for smirking critically at the cruiser I had witnessed aground on these same rocks only a week before!

As if this was not enough fun, almost immediately afterwards the inside rod let go signalling a fish. Breaking with protocol I lifted the inside rod to see what was on it only to see the gaping mouth of a largish Pike break the surface. Thankfully it managed to free itself without much further fuss and I was able to try to relax after the early scare.

The ‘magical’ Tap End

The “Tap End” is a ‘magical’ place and is entirely unlike the more gentle contours of the bottom end with its many islands and shallow bays. ‘Tap End’ bears more resemblance to a Scandinavian Fjord with it’s sheer mountain faces and deep drop offs into black depths. Fifteen yards from shore and you are fishing in fifty to eighty feet of water. With no roads, or noise on the eastern side and little in the way of other boats the ‘Tap End’ is an awesome unspoiled enchanting place.

An introduction to the beautiful North Esk

I was recently kindly invited to fish a private beat on the North Esk by my good friend and very experienced angler Alan at the end of July. Needing absolutely no persuasion I jumped at the chance to fish two days at the end of the week. The river had risen substantially earlier in the week and Alan and Stuart who is also a very experienced salmon fisher had landed some beautiful salmon, grilse and sea trout examples of which can be seen below.

Upon arrival and after a great walk through of each beat and the various pools I couldn’t wait to get a line out the next day and also give a new LOOP outfit purchased during lock down a first outing. However when Alan indicated that it would be a 4.00am start this rocked me somewhat – was he serious?

After a 4.00am start, as can be seen I did connect albeit briefly with one of the locals during first early shift but alas it didn’t stick after charging towards me. Hearing my curses and seeing my disappointment Alan did try to console me by saying that this running towards you trait was what they had been doing all week! One bonus was that the fish had taken one of my ‘fledgling’ gold bodied cascades that I had tied during the close season.

Unfortunately fish proved more difficult to tempt in the falling water despite each pool being absolutely full of fish. I have never that I can recall seen so many fish in a river but despite repeated efforts during early and evening sessions they did not appear to be tempted by various patterns or spinners. Alan did say that this was common when the river height had dropped to low levels. Upon reflection, as always, perhaps it may have been worth pulling a large sunray or hitch across their nose may have produced a reaction or even a big ugly muddler!

What a truly wonderful few days on this beautiful iconic river.

Thank you Alan and Stuart for your kind invitation, advice and tips so freely shared and I look forward to hopefully being able to fish this stunning water once more.

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.

 

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.

A cold day in May on Lomond

Saturday 25th May

A cold windy day in May heading out once more in pursuit of that, so far elusive, first Lomond Salmon. Despite the low water conditions news of several fish being landed on the River Leven in recent days this only added to the tingle of anticipation that just maybe today I would get off the mark. Buffeted by the wind as I entered the I headed upon the eastern shore past Boturich carefully trying to fish as ‘tight’ to the shoreline as possible. Identifying the usual landmarks and troll lanes proved challenging given the extremely low water levels with huge rock formations now exposed along the shoreline and ‘normal’ depths and distances from shore now changed and unfamiliar.

Crossing Endrick Bank the reel on the inside poker announced a take as the rod bent over and I struggled to stow the other rods quickly. No small feat given the ‘roll’ of the waves that had gradually increased. Turned out to be a beautiful small sea trout of approximately just over a pound. Impressed by just how much of a tusssle these wee fish put up for their size and after several acrobatic leaps it was safely in the net.

Onwards and past Balmaha and Milarrochy Bay before turning westwards to Buccinch for lunch, a stretch of the legs and a change of lures. Leaving Buccinch the wind was now blowing as I headed to over and along the north side of Inchfad before heading around and running between Inchcailloch and Creinch a couple of times.

From there I headed back across Endrick Bank with wind and swell now blowing hard and glad to get a little shelter on the far shoreline. With rain now starting in earnest I headed back down past Ross Priory and Boturich with no further offers. Despite the conditions and the lack of fish a very enjoyable day made all the better for the appearance of a single beautiful wee silver sea trout.