Saturday evening up at Frandy was definitely a soup and bacon roll night, rather than strawberries and cream. A bit cool even for Scotland in early July and there was quite a lot more wind around than we had hoped for. We could see the day-boats drifting open water and close to the dam wall and they were clearly using drogues. Fishery reports suggested that the north shore from the start of the dog leg, to the dam, had been fishing well. Fish were apparently close to the surface, with hoppers, muddlers, daddies and sedges all catching. However, I bumped into Davie Patterson, who was coming off the water as we arrived. He and his partner had 9 fish each to candy booby and size 14 Diawl Bachs – but how many had taken the nymphs? I had considered dries, but there was no sign of rising fish; even the resident browns were not visibly active. This helped make up my mind and I set-up with a 15 ft ghost-tip, cormorant booby on the point, hopper on the middle dropper and my trusted Kate Mclaren crippled muddler on the top dropper.
I was partnering Ian Macdonald, Derek Kilgour was fishing with John Miller, while Alan Brown was sharing a boat with Peter Fionda. Ian set up with midge tip and black nymphs and we headed up to the top of the dog leg. We set up the drougue, which should have offered a good chance to fish down the north Shore with short drifts working our way along to the dam. There was still no sign of any feeding fish as we motored across the loch, but we had every expectation that the fish would start showing as the wind dropped later – glass half-full outlook. Alan and Peter continued to the top end, while Derek and John also fancied a drift along the north shore.
We felt we set-up the boat well, covering good water, however the fish thought otherwise. We struggled to trigger any sort of interest at the start, but I then managed to land a rainbow to the Kate Muddler. Thereafter, it was a case of plenty of half-hearted follows and swirls to the muddler. I tried speeding up retrieve, hanging the flies, slow f-of-8, static… but could not convert these follows to positive takes. Ian chopped and changed lines and flies. He also put on an orange/gold muddler to good effect. He hooked a good fish, which he finally lost at the net after a titanic struggle. That was the best of our first few hours.
I changed to a full floater, took off the cormorant booby, replaced it with a popper hopper, and put a skinny cormorant in the middle. This did not change my conversion rate. If anything, there was more interest, but no solid takes. I could see Derek and John ahead, but they were having similar results. They headed to the south shore and then towards the dam wall. Derek looked as if he had changed to plan B, and was pulling with something a bit more commercial. By this time, Alan and Peter had drifted from the top end and were fishing the open water, drifting from the south shore. They were also pulling. The wind showed no sign of abating, and a couple of extra layers were required. Ian and I then decided to make up a cast of dries, despite the lack of moving fish – maybe they would come blind? A few sedges appeared – even the odd daddy – but not enough to excite the fish. Ian chucked out a couple of sedgehogs, and immediately a rainbow swirled as the flies hit the water, but failed to take hold. I put a shuttlecock on the point, plus a Diawl Bach and a half-hog, almost now in desperation. To my surprise, fish began to show some interest, particularly to my olive half hog. However, the little DB did its thing and landed 2 more good rainbows in quick succession. Ian had several more takes close to the shore, but nothing would stick. We then had a double hook up and landed both!
I hooked a few more fish on the shuttlecock, but lost them all, before finally a nice brown trout engulfed the half-hog. Ian changed to pulling once again, with a couple of hot-head damsels, and on his very last cast hooked another, which he lost in play. That was very much the story of our outing. Interesting night’s fishing, challenging but ultimately rewarding. Ian and I had 6 to the boat, Derek and John had 4, while Alan and Peter had 1. Thanks to the fishery for their advice and help on the night.
Onwards to the Lake on Saturday.