This outing was rearranged, after the original date was postponed due to storm Babet. And we were blummin’ lucky with the weather, given Storm Ciaran and all that was happening elsewhere this time! Not just that, but the forecast was for a fresh northerly with some rain, and we got ‘light and variable’ and dry all day. On the down side, what breeze there was came off the north/north east, and it was not warm! Water was 8 C and the air maybe one degree more.
Fraser Gault and I stuck with fishing dries all day. We had started on them, as it was flat calm at the start and fish were rising. By the end, we felt we should have done better. The problem was lack of consistency with the rises. You’d get a wee 5 minute burst of them, and then it was all quiet for half an hour, then another wee burst… and then quiet… So, as the day went on, we were in a quiet spell waiting patiently for another wee window of opporchancity… and we waited and waited… and it was never coming. Then you reach a point when you realise you should have changed to something else 2 hours ago, but there’s only 2 hours left on the clock (off at 4:00 p.m.) and you can’t be arsed putting up another rod and starting over from scratch…
So, all our action, such as it was, was in the morning. We made a slow start as well. We should have been out sharp at the back of 8:00, coz you could see there was fish rising. “That’ll be the early morning rise lads – let’s get at them… Lads… lads?” There was only us going out, and everyone is standing around gassing, like there’s no rush… Then some decided to go round to the Hotel to get a sausage or bacon roll. Keith asked me if I want a sausage roll. “Aye”, says I… By the time we were ready to go out, I had forgotten about it We were casting-off when Keith came running up carrying a sausage roll for me and a bacon and egg roll for Steve Kilpatrick. Well, he was already away out. So, Fraser got Steve’s roll. He did his best to catch Stevie’s attention. “Stevie… Stevie…” he whispered… all to no avail. It was a damned fine sausage roll, I have to say.
Anyway, we found a sprinkling of risers in the usual spot coming down from Sam’s Point, along the lily bed. We didn’t do anything with those guys and my first fish was my one and only out-the-blue, a good bit further down towards the hotel. Size 14 black crippled midge. It was the shape of a bream! We were well out of any risers by this time, so went back up. Got another sprinkle of rises in the same area, and this time I got one from a cover to a 14 black Klink. Fraser missed 2 chances to a sugar-cube black Shipman.
Again, they went off on us, so we went up and round the corner towards the Rookery. Again, we found a few in the calm water that was catching shelter from the light northerly coming out from the trees. I got a hold of one from a cover – the black Klink again – but it dropped off. Fraser missed another chance. Stewart and Jimmy Anderson were fishing there and Stewart reported they had loads of targets to throw at, particularly further out, half way to the islands, but couldn’t make anything of them.
Again, those ones went off on us. We took a look round into Gateside. Saw a couple, but few and far between. I was going to have a look up the top above Dog Isle, but the breeze was getting up by now, from the north – and it wasn’t warm! And we could see it wasn’t getting any shelter up there, and we didn’t fancy the look of it, so we went back to reedy bay. Less shelter there with the by now north east breeze. We could see nice looking water over at Shear Point, going round towards International Bay, so went over. Dougie and Keith were over there. We saw Dougie get two and Keith get one. They were both twiddling, Dougie having had a go with dries and given up on them.
We tried around that area, and we saw a few risers tight in to the reeds in that wee mini bay between Shear Pt and International Bay. they must have been in a foot of water, if you’re lucky. But the wind was swirly birly and I just could not get manoeuvred to give us a shot at them. We went round into International Bay – only a couple of rises in the corner, and impossible to get at them either.
John McGonagle and I didn’t get out until 9:45 due to the waitress at the Lake Hotel taking an hour to get our rolls and coffee. I’m sure she was hungover from the night before! Anyway, we started in Hotel Bay, both on the midge tip, twiddling Diawl Bachs and Buzzers with a small two-toned Biscuit Booby on the point. We were getting a bit of interest, but never had any positive takes, so we moved round to International Bay and, after a while there, John hooked into a cracker – but unfortunately dropped it! We decided to head up to the Hairy Hole, but as we approached Sam’s Point I spotted a shoal of feeding trout. So, we pulled in there and had a bash at them, but to no avail – just a few good pulls and tugs but no positive hookups.
Next, we headed on up to the Double-H and, on arriving, we saw Keith the crumble thief land a fish. Now I know that a lot of the Lads don’t like the Hairy hole area, but I have always found it very productive… and there were a few fish moving. John promptly put two in the boat. His tactics were to cast a long line, a couple of pulls to straighten his cast out and leave it all static. I covered a fish and had a double hook-up. Lost the whole cast – ripped-off at the welded loop!
So, back to the drawing board for me… new cast on same Buzzers, but I put a straggle cat on the point and that did the trick for me. It was 12:45 before I caught my first fish and John was now into his third, but I started to catch steadily then. We had a two’s-up but we both managed to land them, so at this point we had 9 to the boat. Time was getting on, so we went back to the start of the drift, down past where the rope is usually tied on, and I hooked-up again. When I eventually landed this lump my cast was in a right mess, so I called it a day. John declared he was having a last cast and hooked a cracking fish that towed us about for five minutes or so before he landed it. Weighed at 7 lb 7oz. A great day’s sport at the Lake, with 11 fish to the boat.
The Club’s 11 rods landed 25 fish.
We debouched to Callander for our traditional last supper, plus a wee swally in Poppies… and a sleep-over. Excellent as always.