They say Montana has big skies, well someone should check out the wilds of the Trossachs on a typical July morning. The big difference in Scotland is that our skies are peppered with lots of dark clouds that hold plenty of water. It was a dreich morning, make no mistake, but warm and overcast, with a slight south-westerly. The dry fly artists were getting quite excited in the car park. I was delighted to have taken the time to re-treat my waterproofs, since they were going to be required. The Lake had also benefited from restocking, after heavy competition pressure. The omens were good, and we had seven boats booked for the session. The Lake was in pristine condition, with excellent clarity, but surprisingly not much fish activity on the surface, looking out into Hotel Bay.
Most of the boats motored up towards the Malling shore, Plantation and Gateside, with a few veering-off to the Rookery and Sam’s Point. I was paired with Derek Kilgour for the day. He naturally set-up with a cast of dries and was in fairly confident mood. The conditions were looking really good. I had set-up with midge-tip, booby and cormorant and nymphs. We started drifting along past Dog Isle, drifting slowly towards stable point. The boat pressure was high in the area, with most rods searching the top foot of water. A few fish were showing but were finicky, and despite a nice long drift we failed to entice any interest. Fishing was more than a wee bit frustrating. We changed flies, looking for the magic pattern, and persisted in this area for a while. Eventually, a few slicks appeared quite far out from Stable Point, and there were a few fish feeding leisurely, scooping-up a few terrestrials and insects trapped on the edges of the ripple. Finally, Derek got those dries working, hooking, losing, but landing a couple of good fish. I binned the midge-tip and armed-up with the floater (still twiddling) and managed to land two on the Diawl Bachs. It was slow-going, but we wanted to try and find more willing fish, ahead of the Scottish Clubs that night.
We then set-up the boat to drift along the Rookery, and came across our dynamic duo of McBride and Tyrie. ‘How are you doing Jimmy?’ ‘Absolutely superb!’, says the big man as he proceeds to land a further 2 fish in quick succession. Jimmy and Dave were on full floaters, just keeping up with their flies. There is little doubt that Jimmy has been blessed with some sort of gift for this fishing game that has by-passed us mere mortals!
We continued past Sam’s Point into Hotel Bay, Shear Point and International Bay, without any success. We now know why there were no boats in the whole area. We eventually found one or two fish in Chapple Site and in Kate’s Brae but also managed to hook and lose them as well! At least we were consistent – just like the rain!
I collected some paper mache return cards. There were very few fish recorded. The day was summed up very aptly by Matt Wolstenholme, who cheerily announced, ‘That was rock hard in the morning, and even tougher in the afternoon.’ … at which point Jimmy handed in his card with 16 fish recorded! I did see the Aubigny Centre in Haddington is offering Handstand classes, which apparently has lots of benefits, including strengthening your core… wherever that is. Maybe that will help?
Jimmy landed his fish on Diawl Bachs and assorted nymphs and boobies, Dave Tyrie watched and learned from his guru, landing 8 fish. Derek and I managed 7 between us, Trevor (get well soon mate) and Gary had one each, Matt had one while John Miller had a very creditable 2. I am missing a few returns but will update shortly. It was a tough day at the office.