Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Mixed Bag to end 2011

I needed to go to Stanley today to collect our permits for Monday, so it would be a waste to go all that way without having a cast.  The water level has been up and down like a yo-yo the last week and today according to SEPA it was running at 7' 2" which is 2' higher than last week when Millar and I fished it.  With the water so high, it was almost into the trees so a bit of easy wading was the order of the day to get some space for a cast.

It's a massive water and I often marvel at what we are trying to achieve, catching such a small fish in such a huge expanse of water.

Just occasionally though, it comes good and the bait is trotted down the perfect line and a fish sees it and intercepts!

The first fish - and it was a wee grayling - wasn't long in coming this morning and after a short fight I had my hands on it.  This was a good start, getting a grayling almost as soon as I started and I was hopeful for more.  Typically though, things quietened down and it was some time before the next fish - an out-of-season brown trout of about 1.5lbs.

Last week Millar and I saw a whole lot of salmon showing here, but things were much quieter today and I only saw a couple of kelts splashing.  I tried various pieces of water over a few hundred yards and was surprised not to be getting fish in some of the swims.  Although the water was high, it was perfectly fishable, so I knew it was only a matter of time.  The next take came as soon as my float hit the water and I saw a flash of silver under the water so was happy to know that my second grayling of the day was hooked.  It fought well in the big water and took a couple of minutes to bring to the net, when I saw that in fact it was a fresh sea-trout of about 1lb or so, complete with sea-lice.

So I had a grayling, a brown trout and now a sea-trout - all I needed was a salmon!  

I fished on and having tried the nearside swims I was casting further afield and after several casts hooked and landed a second small grayling.  Still no sign of the big battleship grey grayling that I know inhabit these swims, but it was fun to be out and being the Tay you never, ever know what the next cast will produce.

Trotting my float down the swim, with Stanley Mills in the background.

So with only a few hours spare today, I packed in at noon, having taken a couple of grayling, a brownie and a sea-trout as well as losing others, so I was happy with my lot and it was a fantastic way to end my 2011 season.

Looking  forward to returning on Monday.  All the best for 2012 folks.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tay Tripping

I love the River Tay.  I love the size.  I love the generosity of the river.  I love the fact that you never know what the next cast will produce.  Yes, it's my favourite river and probably always will be.

Millar working his way down one of the pools.  He was unlucky to hook three fish in this run and lose them all.

I was lucky enough to catch a lovely wee grayling, which took a trotted maggot.  The water was difficult to fish and it took many adjustments to find the right depth.  Eventually though it came good and the fish followed.

In season, this cock brown trout would easily exceed five pounds.

Here I am with the above fish.   Just look at the size of those pectoral fins.  Aye this would be an even  finer fish to catch in June.

A final cast as our Tay day comes to an end.  £5 well spent with one wee grayling and six brown trout - two of which equalled eight pounds.  Not bad for any river in the country.

So a great day and I look forward to returning again and refining the techniques a little more.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Partial Success

Much milder today and how nice to get to the water in the right amount of time rather than taking almost two hours because of the snow on the roads.   The milder weather has seen all the snow melt and the water rose by almost 20 cms on yesterday.  This really brought the fish on the go and in about four hours I took 20 brown trout on all variety of baits and bugs.  It just didn't matter what I used as each time i trotted through the pool my bait was taken.  The 'sport' was fast and furious.but unfortunately it was again the wrong type of fish.  Alison however, who czech nymphed towards the tail of the pool had success when her pink bug was taken by a lovely wee grayling of about 12ozs.  This was just reward for her hard work in ensuring her flies were fishing properly.  All in all a good day, in a fine part of the world with great company.  Now that's what fishing must be all about.

Friday, 16 December 2011

On the water again today with some real wintry weather as we headed down the road.  4" plus going through West Linton made for a real slow drive.  The fish were there in good numbers, but just the wrong type unfortunately - all out-of-season brownies.

Maggot, bugs and the Suan Juan all took fish, but no sign of the grayling that I know inhabit this pool.  At times the weather was brutally cold and the neoprene chesties didn't give me the level of comfort I was hoping for - back to the drawing board.......

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Time for neoprenes.....

Another fun session on the Upper Clyde with some fellow members of the Cramond Angling Club.  It was though, a brutally cold day and by 3pm we had, had enough and were back in the warmth of the car.  The SEPA gauge showed 1m which was the highest I've had it in my few trips down here, but it was running clear and most fishable.  The first fish - an out of season brownie - came on my second run through the pool and like the other four for the day took a float-fished maggot.  As usual, several fish were lost.
The guys head through the fields to a wintry River Clyde.

I always find it very stirring to see large flights of geese flying overhead.

The Chairman!

Mark spinning his new centrepin for the first time.

Colin braves it out with the fly rod, but took the next day to recover any feeling in his body.  He's not built for this winter business.

The end of another day approaching.

One of five out-of-season brownies, but there were no grayling today unfortunately.

Looking downstream with the final brown trout of the day.

Getting home, one of the first things I did was order some neoprene waders.  Today was no day for the breathables.....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Rush, rush, rush.....

Not much time, so an early start saw me walking across the fields to the river with the sun barely lighting the sky.

I've been plagued by some horrible conditions lately, so I at least had a little bit of a promise of some decent weather.  Alas it wasn't to be and after a few hours the strong winds returned along with the rain and then sleet.

The river peaked about 1.5 m higher than today's level and this just 48 hours ago.  Today though it was running clear and with a nice look and feel to it.  I wasn't disappointed and my first run through the pool brought an out-of-season brownie of about 12"

This sport continued for the next three or four hours as one brownie after another took my float fished maggot.  All the fish came from one small area in a large pool of about 70 yards long.  It really was non-stop.  

The water was running big, so I was using a large 'chubber' float that enabled me to use a good size piece of lead to keep the bait down close to the bottom.  Eventually I found a grayling of about 12" which took my bait.

With my grayling it was now time to pack up and head to Glasgow for my scheduled 2pm meeting.  If the truth be told my mind was elsewhere on the banks of a bonny river running through the hills.

Monday, 28 November 2011

A bit of a gamble going out today after all the rain at the weekend but the levels had dropped back a good deal and the clarity was spot-on.  Two out-of-season brownies and two grayling.  Also lost a lunker of a brownie that was 5 to 6lbs when the hook came out after playing it for 5 minutes.  Gutted.....

Rotten weather at the end of the day and I'm guessing the levels will be up again tonight.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


I'm off tomorrow but what to do and where to go?  River levels rose substantially yesterday as heavy rain swept over the west of Scotland, but two dry days later?

A wonderful image from my favourite angling book of all times - Fisher in the Hills by Robin Ade.  A great read if you like wild trout fishing in Scotland, with wonderful illustrations to match.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

A tad breezy.......

The grayling hunt continued today and this time I had a friend with me who was having his first go at trotting.  An expert fly angler he had no difficulty in reading the river and had soon picked up the basics of the float.

A nice run down my most productive pool.  Wading out a little gave me a nicer line to trot and first run down I had a hold of a good fish, which came loose after a couple of minutes.  This was the same scenario for the next five casts as on each occasion the float dipped and I had a hold of a fish for a few seconds before they came off.  Eventually the action came to an end and we moved to another area downstream.

Tools of the trade - maggots, home made floats and centrepin.  All very simple and a pleasure to fish with.    The weather had taken a turn for the worse and there was a strong downstream wind blowing, accompanied by frequent showers.   My only waders are breathable Orvis ones and in this cold weather they were far from ideal!  Something to add to the Christmas list.  The new area had a very deep run, where a tributary joined the main river and after getting the depths right my float dipped under and I was into a fish.  It didn't really fight as such and it was soon being steered to the waiting net and yes, it was a grayling of about 12"

A quick - out of focus! - photo and it was back in the river.  I tried a few more cats but nothing was doing and we headed back upstream.  We were struggling a bit in the cold and if the truth be told, we were happy to call it a day, leaving the river at 3pm.  7 hours on the river at this time of year, in these conditions is a long shift sometimes.

A final run through the pool.