A decided dip in the temperature since our outing to the Watch! A drop of 12-13C in under 2 weeks! However, that was tempered by a cracking ceiling all day long, and a westerly breeze that was never stronger than a decent fishing ripple. The reservoir must have been near top water, given the awkwardness of getting the boat set-up. Stewart Barnes and I had a slight false start when I realised that my Minn Kota, which was recently refurbished, had the control box/handle on the top the wrong way round! It had never been out the car since picking it up and I hadn’t noticed. It was only when I was screwing it to the transom that the penny dropped and I thought, WTF?!! I didn’t fancy trying to operate it hanging out the back of the boat all day, but thankfully the club had a surfeit of motors, and Steve K sorted us out with his Sigma 54 lb.
Stewart opted to start with a tip and washing-line set-up, while I went with a fast glass and a mix of wets and small lures. As it was a west wind, we decided to start from the top end and work our way down. It was nice up there, though we failed to interest the fish. We worked our way down and round to the inlet. I had the first couple of half-chances without connecting, and from that point on, I may as well have been fishing without flies on. Stewart decided to come up in the water and changed to a full floater, staying with the washing line, with a sparkle booby on the tail and a cat’s whisker cormorant on the dropper. I came up a bit as well, changing to a slow glass. I tried various sorts of flies, various presentations and retrieves… but I would have had more success if I had attempted to flap my arms and fly to the moon.
Stewart’s change worked a treat and he started to pick up fish and miss quite a few others. So, I followed suit and switched to a floater, put a sparkly booby on the tail and a cat’s whisker cormorant on the dropper and attempted to get tuned-in. Nothing. Not an offer. By this time, Stewart had landed 4 and missed a dozen others. I was starting to take it personally. I had to try something else, so started to set up a pulling rod with a fast sinker. That got as far as the point where I realised I hadn’t brought any fast-sinking lines with me. OK, well, let’s go the other extreme… and I put up dries. There was nothing rising – we had maybe seen 2 fish by early afternoon. So, charged with pulling them up ‘out-the-blue’, I went with substantial stuff. I stuck on 3 flies: a size 12 black grunter on the bob – a good sighter for me as well – a size 10 daddy-hog on the middle and a 12 black foam-bodied terrestrial on the tail.
By now we were trying at the south shore shoulder, often a good spot. I had barely started when a fish showed at the grunter, and then took the daddy-hog. Huzzah – the granny was finally off! A repeat of the drift and I picked up a second, also to the daddy-hog. By this time, Stewart’s hot spell had finished, so he switched to dries. After that, we focused on the area Stewart had been catching in – the open water coming down from the shoulder on the north shore. We both continued to bring fish up to the dries, but the majority of the offers were arsy, fresh-air shots. Stewart tried going smaller, but as I was doing better with the biggest fly on my cast, I stayed with what I was using. I picked up 2 more fish – one each to the daddy-hog and the foam terrestrial. I lost one on the grunter right at the death, so we finished with 4 each. The quality of all our fish was excellent.
Keith Logan adds…
Trevor and I headed up the loch but resisted going to the top of the L. We started our drift in the quiet water on the road shore hoping to get a drift towards the inlet, in fact not far away from Dougie/Matt. It was a curious day; the temperature felt like we should be digging a bit deeper but we did have a nagging suspicion the fish were holding higher in the water and I promised to have a go on the dries myself at some stage. That never materialised.
Dougie was on the Hi-D with something substantial and white, could it have been Santa’s Beard?, but he mentioned that he had seen a few fish topping and tailing in the open water. We had also noted the odd fish moving but to what I had no idea. There was certainly nothing obvious. We saw the occasional daddy and sedge.
Trevor started on his 3ft tip and I resorted to the 6ft-tip. My set-up was candy coral booby, Diawl Bach and cormorant. Trevor opted for a tequila booby, a really nice pin fry imitation and nymphs. I had a bow wave follow but had not got into the rhythm of hanging at that crucial time. Soon after, Trevor landed our first fish to the pin fry, fishing close in and around the weed beds. We could see Stephen Kilpatrick and John McGonagle drifting in towards the burn mouth but they were having a quiet drift by all accounts. I re-organised my cast and replaced the candy with a black booby, removed the Diawl and added a size 12 bi-colour FAB to the top dropper, thinking the fish might be in a chasing mood. I picked up two fish that included a very good brown trout, all to the booby. Trevor by now was chopping and changing lines and flies. We followed Dougie and Matt right down the shoreline and could see Dougie in particular on the inside getting a bit interest.
I changed the FAB and replaced it with a Nemesis on the basis that the fish seemed to have a preference for the darker flies in the overcast, breezy conditions. Sport was only occasional for us but we felt confident that we were covering good areas. Trevor then picked up a good fish to his FAB, close to the ‘cuckoo tree’, heading towards the dam. The fish were in cracking condition as always, and were giving a great account of themselves. We decided to continue our drift and we were getting enough interest to repeat it several times. The open water was the most productive for us and it was a case of holding on tight. Trevor by now had switched to the 10ft tip and loaded up a humongous booby on the point, with another black booby on the top dropper, with a cormorant in between. That started pulling up fish and he put a number of really good ones in the net. Instead of moving onto the dries, which I had been longing to give a swim, the wind picked up, so I opted instead to look a little deeper with the mid-glass, which was presenting the flies just below the waves. That accounted for a few more. I’d changed the cormorant to a red holographic cormorant and that also triggered a bit of interest. We had a really enjoyable day and ended with 17 fish to the boat.
Dougie Skedd adds…
What am I going to do when it finally gives up? I mean, it’s like a bead necklace in places now. Can I keep it going for another season? My old Hi-D, that is. Don’t know why their manufacture was ended, but nothing else provides the same retrieve track. I only really use it at Glencorse, so when I turned up there for our outing it was an automatic choice to begin with. That and a couple of boobies completed the rig.
Matt Wolstenholme and I set out to do battle with the rather sulky trout. Me on my dredging rig and Matt on a sink-tip washing line. We began about half way up the northern side at a shallow bay. I would have been happier closer in, but Trevor beat us to the best line. You can’t beat Trevor, even after he’s dropped-off his water skiers. I told Matt that someone would get a fish beside the bench on the point. Trevor obliged quickly, followed by Keith Logan in the boat with him. Just after that, drifting a bit further out, I got the first indication of interest. I was too quick on it and failed to hook up. Next cast, the same thing. The fish were obviously insufficiently impressed.
We carried on across the corner bay without any further interest from the fish, past a few of the markers I use to locate fish. I was seeing an odd rise and there were a few pond olives and sedges scuttering about. I was beginning to think about coming up in the water when a firm take announced our first fish. A good rainbow on the white minkie booby, Christened by Colin as Santa’s Beard. A little further down the road shore a very firm thump brought a nice brownie on a black and yellow booby. It looked like a sea trout with its black cruciform spots on a silver background. Well pleased with that one.
We kept going. Matt was working through lines and flies but couldn’t get an offer. Just short of the wall that joins the island to the road shore the line tightened. I thought I had hooked the foundations of the wall. The foundations swam away. I was pretty sure I was into a bigger brownie than the last one. It was moving slowly, but despite my rod being bent like a croquet hoop I was making no impression on it. After a fair old tug of war we got a glimpse of a very large tail that, with a contemptuous swipe, threw quite a lot of water at us. A bit more heave and haul and the beast began to tire. We netted it. It was a good bit bigger than I had expected. Matt weighed it in the net. A quick picture, then I released it and we weighed the empty net. A simple subtraction gave a weight of nine pounds, eight ounces. What a beast of a fish! If I was pleased with the first brownie, what can I say about the second? We went round again. More taps and tweaks until I hit another big fish. A rainbow this time, but just before netting it, it spat the hook back at us. Bollocks! Then Matt had hold of a good fish. It fell off. Double bollocks. We flogged on. I switched up in the water to see if I could interest some of the fish showing at the surface. Interest them? Absolutely. Catch them? Absolutely not. We finished up with seven to the boat. All superb fish. A right credit to the hard work of the fishery staff.
The Club’s 14 rods landed 45 fish.