I could anticipate what was coming. We were stuck in that cold easterly aiflow that we seem to be plagued with just about every year at this time – and it goes on for weeks and weeks. Not a cloud in the sky, but needed 6 layers on, all day! The wind strength picked up at times, and keeping near the head of it, in sheltered water was the comfortable thig to do. The fishing was not good enough to tempt us to fish at the foot of it the wind. It also wasn’t good enough to tempt us to spend all day hauling on fast sinkers and lures. A few decent-sized stone flies and a few scrotty buzzers made up about all we saw, hatch-wise. I think we saw 3 fish move all day. So, Davy Syme and I just spent most of the day on sink tips and an assortment of rigs and flies. I did try a DI-3, with lures, trads and nymphs, but that was worth one knock. Davy had about the same success on a DI-5.
We picked up one fish in the Heronry and another at Kate’s Brae, both to Diawl Bachs, straight lining nymphs on a 10 ft tip. One other lost in play, plus a few half chances. It probably didn’t help that there was a big competition on, the day before. Think they all had their tin helmets on.
Second image shows a pair of goldeneye. Best I could do without having the long lens with me. This is what they look like with better magnification (taken at the mouth of the Esk at Musselburgh)…
Keith Logan adds…
In terms of a report, Stewart and do not have a lot to add. Everyone agreed it was looking like it was going to be a pretty tough day at the office. The Lake was in great nick though – water quality was excellent and the mid-week session was good in that it was a bit quieter than usual with a few boats left on the shore. (There were a few more before the end of the session – Ed.) It was interesting to hear a few of the well-known Orkney anglers down for a bit practice suggest there was a wee bit of a breeze. Must get myself up there for a look at some stage. The conditions were not ideal for us southerners, with the sun splitting the sky and a brisk easterly. Also, the first of the National Heats was held the day before, so the fish were likely to be a bit shell shocked. So, as you can tell, we can offer a wide range of excuses… and that was before we even set-up the boat.
There was some talk that Lochend, Hotel Bay and Road Shore were the hot spots and the fish were still in the upper layers. Other reports suggested that the Malling Shore was holding fish and with the prevailing wind make sure to give Tod Hole a good look and right along to the Butts. So, it was a case of take your pick and we were really none the wiser for the well-intentioned advice. Stewart thought, given the conditions, he would start with the intermediate and washing line set-up. I was similar, but opted to go with 12-ft tip, FAB and a couple of size 12 buzzers (golden olive quill and wedding ring). Our first drift was heading out of Hotel Bay towards Reedy Bay, keeping the shore within range. We preferred to leave the drogue dry and see how we fared to start. We were behind a couple of the Orkney boats who seemed to be revelling in the conditions, roly-poly pulling who knows what, but one rod picked up three fish in their first long drift, showing us it was possible.
However, we had a long barren spell before Stewart got the first bit of action. It looked like a good fish, which was digging deep and putting up a good account of itself. It ended up being an excellent-conditioned scary-looking big pike that thankfully spat out his yellow-bodied cormorant as it approached the net. By now the wind was proving really problematic, so we thought better of it and headed down to the relative tranquillity of Lochend. It was a delight in comparison. The only problem was it seemed there were no fish to be had, after we gave it a right good go. Onto Tod Hole. By now Stewart had changed to the DI-3 and almost straight away landed the first trout of the day. I persevered with the 12-ft tip but had switched to booby, cormorant and Diawl Bach, having not triggered any interest whatsoever. We had another long unrewarding drift. There were no fish showing and very little insect activity to stir things up.
We then proceeded into Sandy Bay. Again, conditions were quieter, weather-wise, but busier with a few boats who we suspected were there for shelter, rather than the fishing. We gave that a good go to no avail. Next, we motored into Cages Bay, where we could see a couple of boats repeating drifts from the burn mouth along the ropes. We followed and covered some really promising areas. We saw Brian and Dougie Skedd land a fish apiece, which gave us a bit encouragement, but we remained unconvinced. So, back along to Portend Bay. I had relented and loaded up with the Wet-Cel II, but by now we were just hoping to find a few daft fish. There was a bit of a false dawn netting a couple of fish in quick succession to an olive nemesis on the point. It then all went quiet, so we arrived back in Hotel Bay to repeat our first drift. If anything, the wind was swirling and going from bad to worse. More excuses but no more fish.
Road Shore next and a similar story. Stewart was by now straight lining buzzers, which seemed very sensible. The fish disagreed. We picked up another fish, but just a random tourist. It was all very challenging. In a moment of desperation I thought, chuck on a bung and see if that might work. Real desperate stuff. Well, knock me down with a feather, first cast and fish on! Finally got it sussed, me thought. Absolutely not, it proved. Another false dawn and, despite our best efforts, we surrendered and raised the white flag. We were well beaten, ending with 5 fish to the boat. Not a great return. We were fearful of running out of petrol, having circumnavigated the Lake and gone through all of our cunning ideas.
The Club’s 13 rods caught 23 fish.