The day had dawned bright again over the Central Belt, but yellow warnings were in place for potential heavy rain. Eagle-eyed Derek Kilgour had already spotted a number of fish moving about 100 yards in front of the pier and insects were already active around the car park, while there were shoals of fry close to the pier and around the margins. Davie the ever-helpful fishery manager suggested nothing deeper than a midge-tip was required, but if cloud cover arrives get the dries on as quickly as possible. Recent catch reports suggested some success to red ribbed Diawl Bachs and Cormorants as well as dries.
There was a nice ripple and a gentle easterly as Jimmy McBride and myself jumped aboard. Boats were already setting anchor round the periphery of the loch, so we headed up towards School Bay to get to the head of the wind and try a drift out from the road shore. Jimmy set-up with a floater, FAB, nymph, nymph and booby, I played the percentage game with a floating line and team of booby, cormorant and diawl bach – lacking a bit of imagination!!
Almost immediately, and is the norm, Jimmy was moving fish, then hooked and landed a quality rainbow to the Nemesis, ‘a great fly on the bob’ apparently. I pondered a switch to a midge-tip but the big fella thought that would be very silly… or a few choice words to that effect. He suggested I’d be better focussing on those fish rising to my left. That proved sage advice and soon I landed my first fish, to the cormorant and a slow f-of-8 retrieve. By now, the sun was shining very brightly, the temperature soared, and a few local anglers had stripped to the waist, Magaluf style. Those Falkirk boys must be pretty hardy beasts.
We turned our attention to further along the road shore, by the Heather Hills. We manoeuvred past a couple of anchored boats and drifted out over the slightly deeper water – probably between 8 and 12 feet. There were patches of weed obvious just under the surface. This area seemed to be holding a few fish and Jimmy picked up his 2nd to the FAB. I quickly followed with one to the booby. I then had a purple patch and landed fish regularly from the shore right across the open water. Jimmy by now was busy chopping and changing – he even tried a ‘predator worm’ – let’s just say it was an abomination of a fly – then on with the bung and buzzers as well as dries. That accounted for a feisty jack pike, and a number of trout hooked but none landed.
We bumped into both Derek and Peter as well as Bob and Jimmy Anderson. They had been trying to find the method for fish that were showing in reasonable numbers in front of South Reedy Bay, but were finding it seemingly impossible to hook them. We gave it a bash as well, but were just as unsuccessful, so we retreated back to where we started. We had drifted across a lot of the Loch by now.
Sedges were now being blown across the water by the strengthening wind. There were also bright green beetles and a few emerging buzzers. Jimmy went back on his dries, and on to the top dropper, he tied a balloon caddis. It looked the right size and colour: a fiery brown version. The fish thought so as well, and there followed some explosive takes and he started picking up fish regularly, once again.
However, the weather warnings did finally prove correct; a few thunderclaps and accompanying lightning saw boats flee back to the safety of the pier, just as the deluge started.
The club had a good outing, landing a total of 35 fish, giving a rod average of 3.5.
Jimmy and I ended with 21 fish to the boat, Derek and Peter had 5, Trevor and Allan had 5, Ed and Ian landed 3, Bob and Jimmy had 5.