This was my second day on Menteith within a week, having had a day with Jimmy Millar on Monday. That day was mirror calm and cloudless sky. It was also decidedly cool, despite the bright sunshine. The only change for our club day was the temperature. It was roasting for late March! I was still wearing my winter gear and I was melting!.
Dougie Skedd and I headed out. Neither of us could get our outboard to start. Rather than go back in, we decided we had probably flooded it in our attempts, so we decided to go out on the Minn Kota and leave it to clear and it would be fine later. Well, it wasn’t fine later and we spent the whole day on just the Minn Kota. However, if ever there was a day you could spend on just a Minn Kota, this was it. We didn’t really miss having a petrol engine.
We started out in open water down the south end, Dougie on washing line on a 6 ft tip, and me on what worked best for me on the Monday – 3 buzzers on fluoro on a floater. Buzzers were trickling off. Out of nowhere, we got a bit of cloud cover and fish started to rise. I put up the dries, and got a cover and got it – a 4 pounder that took me forever to get in. Dougie was by now putting up the other rod with dries, and we both had a couple of chances without success. After that, it got gradually tougher and tougher, with fewer risers and brightening up again. We went back to the other rods, but we only managed one fish each. I couldn’t get the buzzers working the way I did on Monday afternoon. I eventually caught one on a 10 ft fast tip and a team of 3 Diawls, while Dougie got one to the washing line. What we were seeing was 2 boats sconing them fishing the bung. It kind of puts your nose out of joint a wee bit when you are struggling to get them fishing properly, while folk around you are sconing them float fishing! 😜 It did show us we were in amongst fish. It also told us we were not interesting them doing what we were doing.
We decided to try a different area just to put us among different fish. We went up to the area out from International Bay, and here in the bright sun is a good number of rising fish! Good buzzers on the go here, too. We went back on the dries. Dougie was straight into them on a size 16 hare’s ear shuttlecock. I was jagging them, getting the weight of them, getting them taking the dropper going across the cast and aborting. I finally hooked one, only for it to fall off mid-fight. i also had a load of others where I was overshooting the place I wanted to put the fly. I think all these strengthening exercises I have been doing on my casting arm is making me cast further than I think I am going to. It’s weird. I kept putting the flies too close to the fish. Finally got it right with a good long range cover and got that one in the net. Eventually they went off. Dougie had done well, landing 5 during this spell – I think all to the 16 hare’s ear shuttlecock.
A west breeze got up for the last spell, so we took it out into open water and did a drift back in towards the shoulder with the nymphing rods. I picked up a last fish on the Diawl on the bob, that followed the flies up at the end and boned it right at the surface.
The other catches were a right weird mix. Some good anglers were clean, while their partners had a bag of fish. This was totally understandable, given the way Dougie and I felt like we were fishing without flies on when we were nymphing, while the bung fishers were sconing them right in front of us. Out of 6 boats, our 10 fish was the second best. Eleven of our 12 rods had 38 fish for an average of 3.5. However, our 12th man, Keith Logan had 21 fish – as many as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best rods put together. Interestingly, Keith said he couldn’t find an answer during the morning spell when the bung fishers were sconing them. But he changed to a DI-3 and said he was getting a fish just about every cast. He was changing flies just to see what difference it made and everything he was trying was catching!