This is going to be a short outing report, since there is very little to say. This outing always coincides with Linlithgow’s annual spectacular jousting event – our day at times felt a bit medieval and a day in the stocks may have offered just as much fun.
The fishery team did little to lift our spirits, with reports that fishing on the Friday and Saturday had been difficult, with some of the local regulars even posting ‘nil returns’, and that was after another healthy stocking during the week. With my ‘glass half-full’ mentality, to be honest, I was sort of encouraged, on the basis there is always a good head of fish in the loch and adding fresh stockies to the mix must surely increase the odds of finding a few fish ready to play. Last season in the baking sun (remember that?) we enjoyed a great day’s sport, sitting on the edge of the hole in front of the Palace, slowly twiddling nymphs. Conditions today were much more conducive to a day’s fishing – warm and overcast. The water clarity was also better, and there were no signs of the excessive weed growth in the shallower water that we found last summer.
We had four boats for our session, although with one late call-off that meant that Trevor Gibson was a lone angler. However, Trevor fishes and knows Linlithgow better than most in the club. Eyebrows were raised slightly when Trevor, who normally employs a buzzer/bung combination for Linlithgow had set-up with a team of blobs. That maybe told its own story. I was paired with Dougie Goddard, Stewart Barnes with Fraser Gault and Bob Whyte with Stephen Kilpatrick.
My early optimism was sorely tested, as the wind picked-up and our anchor proved useless, even in the shallower water. We had intermittent periods of torrential rain, interspersed with gusting winds, which did not make our life any easier. Dougie and I hunkered down and worked our way from West Point, down towards The Rickle and beyond, and spent the rest of the day dragging our anchor right across this bay! Dougie starting on washing line tactics, swinging buzzers on a floating line. I opted for a 12ft ghost-tip with booby, cruncher and Diawl. We then proceeded over the course of the day to chop and change lines and flies, looking for the answer – but all to no avail. Our action was slow to non-existent for large parts. Not even the occasional note of interest – and no obvious sign of feeding fish to provide any encouragement. There was no sign of insect activity, although out in the open water there were small shoals of pin fry in evidence.
There were not many rods bending as far as we could see. A couple of boats had entered the fray with a two-anchor set-up, in hind-sight a smart move, but this did not seem to improve their catch returns either. I generally don’t like one anchor never mind two, but this would have been a good day to try!
We were all generally surprised how difficult the day proved and the club returned a modest 4 fish for 7 rods. It just happened to be one of those tough old fishing days, but we left with a sense that when the fishing does turn on there could be some great sport to be had. Once again, the few fish that were caught and returned were in top condition.