Opened the front door on Saturday morning to see flurries of snow. There was no shortage of yellow warnings, with ice and snow forecast, and caution of high winds on the journey through. It was also 6-Nations super Saturday, so fingers-crossed Linlithgow fishery would cancel the session and send us home in time for kick-off. No such luck. The car park was full of less than enthusiastic fishers getting layered-up for the battle ahead. The easterly wind chill-factor was not going to add to our day’s enjoyment. The water clarity was also not great. Nevertheless, a few hardy (mad?) club members decided to head out. John Gibson and Fraser Gault set anchor (although most boats struggled to get a good anchor hold) in front of the lodge in Gasworks Bay. Jimmy McBride and Stephen Kilpatrick motored east, up towards Ponsonby’s (they were handicapped by loss of power in their battery, but at least the rowing kept them warm for a while). Matt Wolstenholme and I headed across to the North Shore, both questioning our sanity.
The fishery said the fishing has been tough, with fish sulking and staying close to the bottom. Plenty of dark lines were on show, and a combination of lures typical for early spring were being fished. Matt set-up with intermediate and blob/cormorant combo. For me, it was Di-5, black cat, cormorant and black/gold dabbler. After a fruitless hour, we decided to head back into the main basin for respite. My trusty DI-5 sweep line gave-up the ghost, so out of necessity I switched to a DI-3. Not great when you have to clear your rod rings from ice every 10 minutes! Our mood was not improving. We then moved back towards cormorant island and, on our way, we saw Jimmy hook into a fish that turned out to be a belter.
Once again, we moved about, but to no avail; no interest whatsoever… and the weather by this stage was getting worse, if anything. We retreated back in front of the palace, where there was a bit of shelter. Most boats by then had had enough. We passed by John and Fraser. They had managed to land two fish to the boat, using fast-glass with mini-lures and blobs. Matt had had enough by this stage, so we also headed ashore. I popped-in to the lodge for a tea and to thaw. This proved very worthwhile, since the bailiff said that all the boats were too far out, and the fish were much closer to the shore – only about 10-20 yards out. Armed with this info, I edged the boat out from the pier and anchored just by the orange buoy. I hooked and landed 2 fish in quite quick succession, both to the dabbler. Suddenly, it did not feel quite as cold. Funny that! I pushed along a little further and picked-up another, to the black cat on the point. By this time Jimmy and Stephen had reappeared. They had been sharing the rowing up from the east end; at least the wind was in their favour! I had one last fish just outside the pier – again to the dabbler. Interestingly, each fish had a sprinkling of dark green leeches on it, so right enough they were all pretty deep!
The club ended with a modest 7 fish across our 6 rods. I managed to see the final 15 minutes of the Scotland game in the fishing lodge, with a mug of very welcome hot tea. John reminded himself never to commit again to fishing in March – a lesson for us all! Mind you, good news: we were not fishing on Sunday!