I was out a couple of times on private trips in the previous couple of weeks and had good sport on dries, thanks to superb buzzer hatches. Plenty risers to cast to. But one thing to be wary of – groups of fish that were very hard to interest. Often behaving a bit different. Not putting their mouths above the surface, but showing you the tips of their tails and dorsals. We found what may have been fairy shrimp or cyclops in one of them, caught before the buzzer really got going – and it did have a few buzzers in it, so it may have already switched over, allowing us to catch it. Can’t be sure, but it seemed that if you were in among rising fish that were ignoring your dries, best to move and find a different group behaving differently.
The day was good conditions at times and bloody awful at other times. It rained about 50% of the day, more in the morning than the afternoon – and some of it very heavy. Then, when it did clear away, we had spells of bright sun. And the wind got up quite stiff from the west later as well. The rain put the risers down and the sun put the risers down and the wind put the risers down. And, there being a lot less of a buzzer hatch than of late, it’s amazing just how many rising fish we managed to get a throw at over the day. Probably helped that I knew where to look, thanks to the last couple of days out with Jimmy. Thankfully, they were quite cooperative. I never needed to change a fly the whole day. Went out with a sooty Shipmans on the dropper and an Adams hopper on the point, both 14s, and came in with both of them still there and functional. Others reported finding the rising fish impossible to catch on dries. But they were all fishing in other areas. Maybe taking something small and inimitable?
I don’t have details of how the other rods went about things, but the catches were generally decent. Fourteen rods caught 66 fish.
Dougie Skedd adds…
Another day of cool easterly airflow and tupperware overhead. This, despite assurances to the contrary by several forecast services. Ach well, we just have to get on with it. For the second outing in a row Dougie Goddard has drawn the short straw…me. We headed out to see what we could find. There was a fleet hanging around Shear Point, but I didn’t fancy the crowd. We looked in Sandy Bay, but it was devoid of life. There were a few fish between the islands, but we didn’t seem to be able to get the boat to drift nicely there. It kept going sideways, away from the fish. We moved across to the burnmouth in Gateside Bay. There were fish feeding in there. I couldn’t seem to tempt them at first, but while straightening up the boat a fish took a wee shuttlecock as the fly skated across the surface. A less than inspiring capture. Shortly after, a fish came cruising past the boat and slurped down a red and claret Klinkhamer. A fish that was behaving more normally. Pity he was the only one.
The combination of a swirling breeze and a stroppy boat made things difficult there. It began to rain. Heavily. The fish went down. We cruised around a bit, trying here and there, but it was pretty dead… in the rain. We tried in at the Butts and here we found fish rising constantly. Don’t know what they were feeding on but it wasn’t anything I could imitate. I saw some early mayfly hatching. I tried a mayfly dun. A fish snatched it off the surface. Another false dawn. No more fish showed any interest. The wind had turned right round into the west and stiffened quite a bit. We went back to Gateside, where at least the fish appeared to be sort of prepared to play. Dougie nailed one as we drifted into the corner near the burn mouth. I repeated the drift. I got a fish on a hawthorn pattern. Yes, I was trying everything in the box and I had seen hawthorn flies on the water. We repeated again and Dougie got another. Then I had one on a foam beetle. That was about it. Time to pack it in. Odd sort of day. Some found it easy. Some found it otherwise. I wish I could have solved the conundrum of what those risers were taking. They were just under the surface. You see their dorsal and caudal fins, but not their noses. Some variety of plankton I guess but how do you imitate microscopic food items? Report card says: “must try harder”.