It has been a fairly dismal summer so far, besotted with big swings in temperatures and strong winds, with a fair spattering of rain. In general, most fisheries have reported that conditions have been tough and fish moody and difficult at best so, to be honest, it has been a bit of a slog of late.
Maybe that was the reason for a raft of call-offs, ahead of our outing to Frandy. Saturday was also less than encouraging, weather-wise, but the forecast was for improved conditions on Sunday. The wind was expected to ease-off, with a pick-up in temperatures and no rain expected. As I drove north towards the turn-off for Kinross, my eyes as always were drawn towards Loch Leven. It looked immaculate from a distance, a nice ripple, with overcast skies and a rising temperature. However, Frandy is just that wee bit higher into the hills above Glen Devon, so it was premature to get over-excited. Our mood did pick up on arrival at the fishery though, with no sign of white horses – just a pleasant westerly breeze, easing towards the dam.
It seems the norm for us anglers to try and glean those secrets from fishery managers everywhere, to give us the benefit of their wisdom. Invariably, they are helpful and full of well meaning advice. Kenny let us know the fish were high in the water, and recommended floating lines with sedges, bibios and daddies. Interestingly, this advice is generally ignored and we just take to the water with a wee bit of what we fancy and memories of what may have worked in the past. So, no surprise to see the traditional rainbow patterns getting tied on to casts and an assortment of lines in the car park!
The top end had not been fished the day before, due to the big winds, so the main basin had seen most of the action. We had three boats booked for the session: Jimmy was paired with Peter, who was, to be honest too damn cheery for my liking, after the Hamilton Accies managed to humble the mighty Hibees (!), while Derek was fishing with Matt, who was making his first visit to Frandy. I was accompanied by a very good packed lunch – most of it was still untouched by the end of the day – a good sign!
I set up with two rods, knowing my boat partner could not complain: a 5-wt with a cast of dries – shuttlecock, sedge, and tan foam daddy; and 7-wt midge-tip for washing line. Boats headed left and right. I veered left, but just at the beginning of the dog-leg decided to take my first drift along the south shore, close in to the bank – an area that I usually ignore. I opted to start with the 5-wt, despite no sign of moving fish. However, first cast, I hooked and lost a rainbow. Packed lunch was amused. I then managed to land two rainbows and two brown trout in the first short drift. The browns were loving the daddy; the rainbows were keen on the shuttlecock. A great start, and the conditions were improving all the time. I drifted right across the open water to the north shore to no avail, and only when close-in to the far bank did I trigger a bit more interest, with trout slashing at the flies.
I motored back across, and got chatting to a friendly bank angler, who happened to mention that the bank was covered in heather flies. A quick change, and on went the Bibio F-fly with fluro red legs. Well, would you believe it? As soon as the cast hit the water, another feisty rainbow nailed it! Another followed shortly after, and in between I missed umpteen. It is incredible as a boat angler we want to get as close to the bank as possible, while the bank anglers want to launch their flies to the distant shore! For me it was incredible how close-in the fish were patrolling – just waiting for food to be blown from the bankside vegetation.
My cast now consisted of 2 Bibio F-flies and Bibio loop-wing emerger, and the action was gloriously fast and furious. By this time I was drifting the north shore and, lo-and behold, daddies were being blown over the water with a good sprinkling of sedges and a few soldier beetles, and even some floating snails. There were only occasional fish moving, but most were coming blind, It was terrific sport. I happened to motor across to see Jimmy and Peter drifting down past the pier. They had spent most of the time down by the dam and it had not been easy down there. Jimmy had already changed to dries by this time, and they immediately turned the boat round and headed to the north shore to catch some of the action. The fish duly obliged, and they ended with 13 fish between them. Derek and Matt stayed up the narrow end and they both had a good day on dries, ending-up with 18 to their boat. Overall, a stonking day’s fishing in good conditions, with the club recording 57 fish for our 5 rods – not a bad average. It was also nice to see a good few brown trout recorded on the cards, which were all returned safely to fight another day.