On the opening outing on Linlithgow, Matt Wolstenholme and myself spent the day clearing ice from the rings of our rods. Today was very different. The main priority was to ensure you had packed plenty sun factor 50, it was going to be a belter. However, the loch looked in great shape. There were a few fish showing, even in the bright conditions. Fishing the previous day had been very good, with good baskets recorded – always a bad omen for me.
There was a fair bit of insect life around (not sure whether they were lake olives or march browns), plenty of adult buzzers, and even the odd crane fly.
Matt set up with two rods, one for pulling tactics and the other for the dries. I set-up with the midge-tip, buzzers and nymphs. The fish seemed to me to be feeding just sub-surface. We set-off towards the steep bank shore and drifted across towards the jetty, no drogue required. En route we saw a couple of boats anchored in North Reedy Bay, and they were quickly into fish. I had a tentative take. The cowardly fish was just teasing, but gave a wee bit of encouragement.
Occasional fish were moving. Buzzers were emerging and now and again there were a few splashy rises. Surely, it was just a matter of time before the fish came to their senses. We had a couple of daresay perfect drifts along the forest bend and into school bay, the hot spot. However, it was worse than slow. Despite being in amongst fish, we were getting no response to our tactics.
We could see Jimmy and Fraser drifting similar lines. It was a tad disturbing to see Jimmy’s rod bend with alarming regularity. He was on a midge-tip and twiddling to fine effect – and some form of sorcery. Matt then managed to hook and land a decent fish to a booby, fishing close in. We persevered. We chopped and changed flies and lines, but the fish were far too obvious for their absence at my end. They had clearly formed an orderly queue to jump on Jimmy’s line. He mentioned a banana-coloured FAB. Last year it was pineapple!
We then headed over to Dam Bay and Heather Hills. Once again, fish were showing, and sure enough one or two boats were finding success. Peter and Allan were drifting in the open water and were finding it equally tough. Matt then decided to have a go with his dries: Shipman’s and shuttlecocks. A couple of fish had a look, but with little conviction. Pangs of desperation were setting-in. We set anchor and had a go swinging buzzers on the washing line.
We headed back toward South Reedy Bay, Trevor and Gary had set anchor just off the point. They mentioned that the local farmer was working the fields, and that seemed to be kicking-off a flurry of wee beetles that the fish were happily picking-off. By now the wind had picked up quite a bit and there was some cloud cover.
We ended up back towards School Bay. Jimmy was still there and still catching. I switched to an intermediate and finally picked up one to a wee damsel. Matt changed to intermediate and damsels and then picked up a couple more and finished with another to a blob. To make my day complete, I hooked a decent fish that led me a merry dance, then thought I had a double hook-up, only to find the top dropper had wrapped round a floating branch. The fish was just out of reach of the net, and then it turned and slipped into the depths!
The club ended with 33 fish for the day. Jimmy was top rod with 10, and good fishing from Derek with 5, Matt with 4, Trevor and Gary a creditable 3 each.