A blessed relief to leave behind all the general election nonsense and never-ending mutterings on Brexit, Indieref2 and a raft of ridiculous promises from Westminster and Holyrood. It is likely that trout are a lot more reliable and actually quite a bit brighter than our own politicians.
A special commendation to the fishery and management team who keep the boats in tip top condition and are quick with helpful advice. Also, Davie was more than happy to show the patterns that have been working and pointing us to the hot spots. Conditions were very fair and the advice was get on the dries straight away and you won’t be disappointed. Davie had some impressive little shuttlecocks and sedges that have been working a treat.
I had the pleasure of sharing a boat for the first time with club stalwart, Stewart Barnes, for the evening. It was a relatively small club outing, with only 4 boats booked. It was clear from the outset that floating lines were the favoured option. Stewart set-up with a couple of dries, orange and brown foam daddies. I set-up with a twiddling menu (maybe lacking a bit of imagination), washing line style: small booby, black cruncher (Jimmy reckons it was certainly not a cruncher but a spider – and I’m not going to argue with the big fella) and a Kate McLaren hopper on the top dropper.
We headed to the East Bank, set-up with drogue, and started drifting from North Reedy Bay, down along the steep bank shore. There was a steady breeze and we kept the boat fairly tight to the bank. One or two fish were showing, but we did not see a lot of insect activity or buzzers hatching. We started to find a bit of interest, Stewart triggered a few responses, but nothing stuck for him. However, the fish seemed to like the look of my cruncher spider thing. What is it about a drab, dark, nothing of a fly that can often just work?
Our first drift worked very well, so we motored back up and started again. Stewart had a few on the dries but was not convinced they were ‘on’ quite yet, so he switched to twiddling tactics as well. This was a success almost immediately, with fish bow waving and chasing, and he had fish to the booby and Diawl Bach variants. He landed an absolute fin-perfect specimen to the nymph, which we estimated to be in the 5 lb class (returned safely, to fight another day).
Jimmy McBride and Dave Tyrie’s rods were bending regularly throughout the session, and they were once again the most successful boat by a distance, with 39 fish. They fished dries, not entirely sure a popper hopper (is it not just a one-eyed booby?), Ginked or not, counts as a dry fly, but they both fished them to great success in a team. Derek Kilgour and John Wastle, both very good with the dries, also had an enjoyable evening and landed 17 fish between them. Ian MacDonald unfortunately had to leave early but had a couple of fish to the snatchers on a floating line.
Our 7 boats landed 85 fish, a thoroughly enjoyable evening on a well-managed fishery.