Season 2015 here we go

Well its almost time for my first trip out in 2015 but first a wee important post.

I am a Fisherman and Photographer.

Last year Jim Simpson died aged 8o

Jim Simpson

Jim Simpson

Although I hadn’t seen him for almost 37 years, Jim Simpson has been in my thoughts almost every fishing day of my life. After my Dad, and my Grandpa James King and later on Tricia’s Dad John Malley, Jim Simpson was the most influential male adult to me as I was growing up. I say Jim but it was always Mr Simpson I never called him anything else.

He taught me how to fish….hallelujah. Its hard to imagine what would my life be like now if as a 13 year old boy I had never picked up a fishing rod, it is quite a scary thought. Mr Simpson, (I hope I can now call you Jim) Jim also taught me how to make photographs …..hallelujah again, I had been given two of the most wonderful gifts.

I was brought up in the concrete jungle that was the new town of Cumbernauld in the 1960’s. Jim took me out into the countryside. He taught me all about the brown trout that resided in the small Lochs and rivers in the Campsie Hills and more importantly, how to get them out of their natural environment without too much fuss. Carron Reservoir, Johnnies Dam, Banton Loch, Birkenburn Reservoir, Loch Coulter, all fantastic fishing waters from my teenage years plus so many wee unnamed burns and streams.

Occasionally we would venture further afield to places like Killin, to fish the hill Lochs there. Lochan na Lairige, the Rivers Lochay, Lyon and Dochart the massive Loch Tay as well. We camped in the wild, Jim, myself and his son Alan. Jim taught me about geology, plants, birds, insects, all with such patience and like a sponge I greedily soaked it all up. I remember a casting competition on Hogganfield Loch, he said he wanted to show off his protégée, not that I was that great but I was getting there. Up to Portree in the north of Scotland to fish the wonderful and seemingly never ending amount of hill Lochs there. A summers fortnight there with the whole family, Jim, his wife Helen, his daughter Elaine and son Alan and me the hanger on, the long haired novice fisherman / photographer, wonderful, wonderful memories.

He taught me how to tie flies, I still have some bits and bobs he gave me so long ago, a bit of Moleskin, 2 Hares ears, the odd starling wings, so sentimental now and so  hard to use in case they run out. He introduced me to classical music and radio 4 on the long drives to and from the waters.

Another milestone in my life, he taught me all about photography. Many Saturdays out of season were spent taking and processing photographs in his work place in the basement of Templetons Carpets, a beautiful brick built factory in Glasgow. Eventually I went on to College in Glasgow to study photography something he told me was very proud of and I couldn’t have managed my final exams without his papient help.

The book Jim and Helen gave me when I started my first photography job in Edinburgh, which I still use today.

The book Jim and Helen gave me when I started my first photography job in Edinburgh, a book I still use today

Inscription 1977

Inscription 1977

In 1977 I moved away from Glasgow to live in Edinburgh and I never saw Jim again. Every year my partner Tricia would say are you going to see Mr Simpson and I would say definitely this year, this is the year we will meet up again. Time however marches on, life gets in the way of so many things. It is something I will always regret, the chance has gone,….. I never did go back to thank him for everything he did for me, to let him know how grateful I was. Basically he was instrumental in making me the person I am now. My life would be so, so different if he hadn’t given me those two precious gifts, fly fishing and photography. I would never have met Tricia if I hadn’t gone to the same College where she was also studying photography

Recently Jim’s daughter Elaine had been in touch with me to see if I would like to have a few pieces of Jim’s fishing gear, would I?…what a wonderful surprise, I was very touched by the offer. She told me of his recent life, the ups and downs, also that he died just 7 weeks after Helen died, it was very sad. All the stories that I had lacked and of course she gave me the precious fishing tackle, rods, reels, a handmade fly wallet, some fly tying gear, a wonderful collection of memories, which I will always treasure and of course I will use this coming season.

So a new fishing season starts.

On Sunday 29th March 2015, my first trip out, I will get out onto Coldingham Loch and armed with one of Jim’s fishing rods, a couple of his hand tied flies and before I make my first cast,  a wee nip and I will toast Jim’s life and thank him for everything from the bottom of my heart.

Posted in Fishing 2012, Fishing 2013, Fishing 2014, Fishing 2015 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Coldingham 13th April 2014

On the road to Coldingham

On the road to Coldingham

First view, looking windy

First view, looking windy

Well it was everything I had expected and wanted, a cracking opening day of the season for me. Thats not to say that the wind did its best to spoil it, nearly blowing me into the Loch a few times.

Good to see Gareth again and a lovely welcome.  A quite beautiful sunny afternoon but cold in the stiff westerly wind which got stronger as the day wore on. The boats looked as if they were slipping their anchors and I was glad I was on the bank. I said to Gareth I would be happy just to get the one and I ended up with four.

doesnt quite capture the ever present swirling wind

doesnt quite capture the ever present swirling wind

First cast into the white horsed waves and I had an offer to a size 14 damsel with a red head and a blueish rib. Ten mins in and I had my first fish. Surprisingly a very soft take in the conditions, I just tightened into it. A fish of around 1.5lbs full tailed, not a huge fight till I got it near the net but safely landed. There were 3 anglers downwind of me in a tight group a bit too close to me so I moved down to the reed end of the Loch where the wind was stronger, great just what I wanted. It ended up a good move though, I Picked up 3 fish in quick succession these were all difficult to land with the wind behind me blowing the fish away as I tried to get them into the net. Largest of these was about 3lbs smallest 1.5lbs all full finned rainbows, again no great fight except at the net. All fish were caught on damsels 2 on the red head and 2 others. The damsel fishes well at this time of the year.

at the reed end looking for shelter

at the reed end looking for shelter

reed end

reed end

The wind got outrageous after that and it was really difficult to cast. I made my way back to the boathouse realising I was the only one left on the bank and 1 brave couple out in a boat, they didnt last too long and were gone by the time I got back. I really do not mind fishing in the rain in fact I enjoy it but the wind drives me crazy it so limits what you can do, very frustrating. A wee drizzle to end the evening off didnt come to much. Although it was sunny the water was freezing. My new Greys chest waders worked a treat www.greysfishing.com

bit of rain and a rainbow to finish the evening off

bit of rain and a rainbow to finish the evening off

Should be out again this Saturday Easter weekend and the forecast is good overcast and a southerly wind. Great news as it means I can get into swing gate bay a favourite area of mine. Very difficult to fish from the bank if the wind is from any other direction.

last rays on the gorse

last rays on the gorse

It was great to be out again

Tight lines

the reed beds

the reed beds

 

Posted in Fishing 2014 | Tagged | 1 Comment

Here we go Season 2014

Hi All,

Due to one reason or another I have been a wee bit remiss in my blogs but this will all change with the onset of my new season.

The reason I am a bit late in starting my fishing year is that I have been over in the United States at the opening of Tricia’s (and Ross”s) fantastic exhibition ‘As Others See Us’  www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk in New York at the Pop International Gallery. www.popinternational.com 

Pop International

Pop International

As Others See Us

As Others See Us

A great 8 days there, everyone was lovely and I think I have found a new and eager fishing pupil in the form of the Gallery owners son, Gilad, who is coming to Edinburgh to study and wants to learn to fish, yes!! And New York is well..New York amazing. I really wanted to go to a fishing shop in NY and buy a few flies so that I could say hey, yep I bought these in New York when asked what I was catching all the fish on. Thanks to the stalwart work of my friend Gary Muncy http://swittersb.wordpress.com and his Friend Mike Nutto they recommended that I go to that Urban Angler  urbanangler.com  

5th Ave

5th Ave

 

 

A great wee shop and I spent a bit of time there as well as a lot of Dollars, ah well

So this is where I am at the moment. Once I have shaken off this jet lag I hope to fish tomorrow or definitely Sunday at Coldingham Loch www.coldinghamloch.co.uk 

Coldingham

Coldingham

 

Can’t wait to get out there I will post a new blog on Monday get a fly on the water for the first time this year, what have I been doing?

Tight lines my friends

 

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The ‘Art’ of the Angle

THE ‘ART’ OF THE ANGLE (boxes full of memories)

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A friend of mine, an artist and a fisherman, someone I have never fished with, yet all our conversations start with how successful (or not) was my last fishing trip out. He hasn’t fished for a few years now, he’s in his eighties now but still a fisherman at heart, always interested in my last cast. I have known him for 36 years, a work colleague for many of those but we never managed to fish together, what a shame.

Last month I got a call from him, he had something for me. He is an artist, a well respected painter, of some renown, his mother was one of Scotland’s finest artists and he followed in her footsteps. I am a photographer, I often photograph his work for records, publications or exhibitions, we get together maybe just once a year, I take photographs and we talk fishing. ‘Meet me in the Art College car park’ he said. Ten minutes later out of the boot of his car came a wonderful Hardy traveller fishing rod, 8′ 6, weight 6, 4 piece, perfect condition, an early model with a fantastic through and through action. He says ‘It needs a good home, I’ll never use it again and I thought you might like it, I know you will make the most of it’. What a wonderful gift. As I write this it is only the end of November, I have got almost 5 agonising months before I can get it on the water, I can’t wait to cast a fly with it and see how it performs.

david blog_13

My friend, the artist, the fisherman called me again last week, ‘how about a fishing reel to go with that rod, come round have a look’. He is working on a book, a narrative of his drawings and sketches from throughout his life. Some of these may have made it to the painting stage, others just as aid memoirs. I will eventually photograph around 200 sketches for him. Out on the table in the hall just out of sight is a selection of reels and something else.

We discuss timetables and books. We talk, discussing photography and photographers and their influence on our work, we have a glass or two of a white wine, we look at books, paper samples, formats and try to decide the best way forward. It is such monumental task, to put your life in pictures into a book. He has more ideas than he knows what to do with ‘its keeping me awake at night’  he says, but I know he will get there eventually. When I finally get up to leave, he gets a plastic bag and carefully puts  the reels complete with lines into it, ‘take them I’m sure you will put them to good use’. Wonderful, I can’t wait to have a proper look at them. There was a cracking Hardy Marquis reel which I will definitely be using this coming year, it will compliment the rod perfectly.

david blog_11

Now here is the thing, along with the reels he also gave me something so precious, so personal that I still can’t believe it, the rod was wonderful, the reels are fantastic but this is what blew me away, he gave me around a  half dozen fly boxes……..I couldn’t believe it. A virtual Aladdins cave filled to overflowing with flies of all kinds of Wet and Dry Trout flies, wonderfully tied Salmon flies, Sea Trout flies, Salmon tubes, trebles, singles, Devon Minnows and Tobys, not a trace of a rusty hook anywhere, proof they had been well loved and looked after. A fantastic selection, all the flies you could ever need. With a well hidden lump in my throat I accepted this fantastic gift.

david blog

Now this is why it got to me so much, I felt with that kind gesture, he had passed on to me all of his memories, hopes, aspirations of almost every days fishing that he had ever been on. At home now, my mind drifts into the slight realms of fantasy and I start to write this down.

david blog_3

I stare into the boxes on the table in front of me, I can see one or two with a little bit of nylon still attached, were these the last flies he had used on his last trip out, hurriedly put away as the light fell, with the intention of snipping the nylon off before the next trip. In my minds eye I can picture him pouring over the boxes, through wind, hail, rain, sun, snow, (in Scotland it could have been all of those on the one day!) trying to make that definitive decision, “yes this is the one that’s going to catch today”, trembling fingers tying it on in anticipation. A space in one box, I can almost feel the anguish of him losing that oh so special fly, “I am sure it was there in that corner of the small white Loch Leven fly box, I am sure it was, it caught me loads of fish, ah I remember now, a cracking fresh run fish broke me on its first run, that’s when I lost it or maybe it was on that mistimed back cast, that overhanging willow on the Tweed, or that deep diving Brown trout on Loch Leven itself, whatever, it was a great fly”.  Each and every remaining fly seemed to be telling me its own story of great days of sport. Of talks with companions over lunch about how this particular fly or another has never let them down. Maybe there was even a fly or two in there that had been given by a Tay ghillie or fellow angler, who also swore they were killer patterns.  Flies that had been made the night before a trip perhaps or had been bought but not used, waiting on their chance to succeed when all else has failed. A broken and tattered fly there as well, maybe too successful to be ever thrown away, no matter its condition. Memories for my friend, the artist, the fisherman, must have come flooding back at the start of each new season as these boxes of delights were unpacked after their winter storage. If the flies in these boxes could talk, wow!,what tales they would tell.

david blog_7

I feel privileged to be the new keeper of this bountiful treasure trove. Fly boxes and their wonderful contents are a truly personal portrait of us, the angler, they sum up the essence of who we are as fisherman. We can lose rods or reels, they can be replaced reasonably easy. But our flies, now they are virtually irreplaceable, we have collected and cherished them for years, I would be bereft if I lost my boxes of flies, my boxes of memories.

david blog_15

I too will now add my memories and stories to these feathered wonders and I will try to live up to the expectations that they require of me. I am positive by using them they will make me a better fisherman, its the least my friend and I can hope for.

david blog_10

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Well thats my 2013 season almost over

With the end of the season looming I had thought that it might be good to go out on a high this year so I organised a small extravaganza with Fenton and Jez. Unfortunately Tom couldn’t make it. We normally only get together once a year, see previous blog but what the hell.

Fen trained it up from Stevenage on the Friday night 27th September I picked him up from the station, a couple of pints in the first and Last pub, discussed in length Fentons great knowledge of micro breweries etc.  Coq au Vin in front of a roaring fire and talk of tomorrows fishing, great stuff.

Jez arrived for breakfast at 7.00am on the Saturday morning and we set of on a beautiful sunny morning to the Whinney Loch http://www.assf.net/whinneyloch-fishery.

I had fished the Whinney the previous Saturday for the first time this year just to get a feel for it before the boys arrived, more on that next post. For the last week in September it was a glorious morning 22 degrees and a slight southerly wind. The fishing however proved to be a bit difficult lots of offers, fish on and lost. Ended up the session 9.00 till 1.00pm I had 3 all on dries, Shipmans and Daddies, Fen and Jez didn’t manage to land but a cracking morning all the same. Then to the New Inn in Coldingham for a pub lunch Belhaven Ale  Steak pie with country chips really nice www.belhaven.co.uk

We had Coldingham Loch www.coldinghamloch.co.uk booked for 3pm till 7.00pm as thats when it gets dark, what happened to the balmy summer evenings fishing till 11.30 pm.

Fen and Jez managed to get a boat from 4.00pm and I stuck to the bank. Thats when a right cold wind got up and like a trip I had with Alan Ramsay last year, Jez and Fen couldnt get the anchor to stick. In Coldingham they have plunge anchors ( basiclly the weight from a sash and case window) which should bury deep in to the soft mud that is the bottom but on this occassion it wouldnt. So they spent most of the time trying to anchor up not a good situation when there is fishing to be done. So lots of shouts and curses from both. I had managed to find the fish in swing gate bay and had landed 3 when I offered Fen the chance to get out of the boat and fish where I was fishing. Great result, Fen had 2 fish in quick succession. All fish taken on dry daddies, left for 10 secs then a quick jerk of the line induced a take, great sport. Jez didnt have his waders on and couldnt manage in the wind to cast to the same area from the boat.

All too soon it was 7.00pm and getting quite dark, end of trip. A good night if somewhat frustrating. We went to Giacopazzis in Eyemouth giacopazzis.co.uk for 3 of their award winning fish suppers. Back to the cottage to eat, then up the Hill to the pub for some pool and a few pints finishing off the evening in front of the fire

IMG_2434

Me dozing after a great day out with my friends

with wine and whisky, nothing can beat being with like minded friends. These short days don’t allow a lot of fishing time so fish talk and an odd nip or two has to do.

Sunday morning, a full Scottish breakfast, more chat, a surprise for Jez when he opened the shower room door which I hadnt locked, he may never recover completely and back to their respective homes. It was a wonderful way to finish off the season.

THIS IS AN EXTRACT FROM JEZ’S RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WEEKEND

Champion weekend chaps despite my lack of fish! (DON’T SAY IT WALTON-ITE!) (in response to me always quoting Izaak Walton) But I did manage to reach the most stressed I’ve felt whilst relaxing and still feel relaxed and thus a sense of a self-fulfilled angling prophecy – whatever that is! If nothing else I enjoyed the sunshine, the outdoors, the anticipation, my waders not leaking, the pub lunch, the award winning fish and chips, the evening at the pub, the roaring fire, the dram, John’s article, the cosy bed, all of John’s artworks adorning the cottage walls, the cottage, the view, the breakfast(s), the banter, but best all potting that yellow! ( relating to the most jammy pool shot I have ever seen) …. Most of all the company! The moments of hilarity; the 2 wet hats, the thought that we might have just thrown the anchor overboard without tying it to anything, the electric motor,(not strong enough in the wind)  discussing the merits of ice-cream in a bun (WTF?) (yes Giacopazzis offer ice cream in a bun!!), but best all potting that yellow! I didn’t enjoy the blanking, losing coolant (literally and metaphorically). On balance would I do it all again with hindsight? Yes, absolutely of course… With the exception of John flashing me! Maybe replace that one with potting another ‘blinding’ yellow!.

I’ll close as I opened…Champion weekend chaps!

Thanks Jez sums it up perfectly.
Well thats it, one more trip this season to go sad days, I will also try to fill in any blanks from the year  in my next blog. Sorry about the quality of my pics on my new camera (Im supposed to be the photographer) Jezs were much better on his phone, dont know whats going on there with mine.
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Down south for a bit of fishing June 27th -30th 2013

Well it finally came, my long awaited trip to meet up with my friends for a fishing weekend. An Englishman an Irishman a Scotsman and well another Englishman, sounds like a joke, actually its 3 Englishmen and me a Scotsman except 1 lives in Ireland and the other up here in Scotland. Anyway, once a year we meet up to fish, eat well and consume a vast amount of whiskey. Last year we fished in Kerry (see my blog 20th June……. Lough Acoose ) the year before it was in the Scottish borders, this year it was Englands turn. Fenton lives in a lovely village called Littlington ( his garden featured on timeteam once), a fair drive from a lot of famous waters. Last time down we fished Rutland and Pitisford this time it was to be Grafham and Ravensthorpe. Neither of these great waters have a website, so these links will have to do.

http://www.troutfisheries.co.uk/fisheries/ravensthorpe-reservoir.html

http://www.gwffa-grafham.co.uk/

After a great train journey down, first class, courtesy of East Coast trains, (might as well give them a plug too as the were miles better than the train from London to Axminster, also first class where I got no food or anything to drink so thank you East Coast trains http://www.eastcoast.co.uk great service).  Jez and I arrived in Stevenage having consumed a fair amount of wine with our meal on board. We were taken to the Pig and Abbot pub by Fens friend Shane for  great steak and chips, where we met up with Tom who had flown into Stanstead from Dublin and had been picked up by Fenton. OK thats the background now we could all  start to talk fishing and laughing at great tales, whisky and wine, bed about 3.00am

Friday 28th 7.30am June

Woke to a wet morning with a bit of a wind and also a serious hangover for Tom, oh dear.  A long drive to the first water. Grafham is huge, a wee bit smaller I would say than Loch Leven but nonetheless daunting, where does one start to fish. They have a serious problem in Grafham with killer shrimpsand we all had to sign forms to say we understood the danger of transmiting them to other waters. You are not allowed to use your own nets or drogues and there is a disinfectant sysyem in place. A great shop where you can buy anything and a bit sound advice and we were off , into the wind and rain across the reservoir, its huge, did I say that. Tom and I in one boat and Fenton and Jez in the other. Tom was bearing up surprisingly well, I wasn’t feeling too chipper myself as the boat was tossed about. I still have terrible trouble with my elbow 9 months now and really can’t fish right armed without a lot of pain. So casting left handedley in a bucking bronco boat we started our fishing adventure in the pouring rain and rain it did for a good few hours. I had opted to have only a 2 fly cast but because of the wind and my terrible casting action I got in one tangle after another, this was not what I had hoped for.

The first hour I probably only managed a half dozen casts, so it was going to be a one fly cast from now on in. And it worked fine, a single orange CDC Shipmans buzzer, no tangles, brought the first fish to the boat a lovely rainbow about 2-3 lbs caught right on the surface, lovely. Jez we could see was into fish too followed by me and then Tom, So it went on, Tom had us anchored up in a wind lane where we would stay near the rest of the day as  there were fish moving, in fact one angler in a boat down wind from us was hauling them in, local knowledge I presume. After 4 or 5 hours I had 4 or 5 fish Jez about 4 I think, Tom just the one but hitting lots of fish and Fenton hadnt got any. Tom and I talked  about asking the local boat what they were catching on so we could impart that knowledge to Fenton. We needn’t have bothered there was no stopping him once he got the right fly, fish after fish came to the boat for him and in the end we had 17 fish for the day between us. What Fenton caught on will remain a mystery as there was not much left of it by the end, a bit of orangey, browny, bit of pearly stuff, who knows what it was. Jezs fish were caught on olive daddy longlegs muddler. Cracking day all in all, although a tad sore with all the tossing about in the boat but really happy. Fenton had made his brilliant special lunch, a bread stuffed with sun ripe tomatoes whole eggs parma ham etc smashing, which lasted the 4 of us 2 days it was huge, more like a life belt.

A long drive back to the Pig and Abbot for a few pints ( we had a bet that the first to catch bought the first round I was more than happy to get them in) then back to Fens about 11.30 for his cracking Thai green curry, copius amounts of red wine and whiskey and bed about 2.00 to get up at 7.45 for the next day at Ravensthorpe.

A sunny Saturday 29th June

And a 90 mile drive to Ravensthorpe ( thanks Fen for all the driving) queues of traffic going to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix held us up a bit. Ravensthorpe is a beautiful wee water in comparison, it reminded Tom and I of Gladhouse Reservoir near Edinburgh, surrounded by trees, unlike the more barren shores of Grafham. So hopefully there would be more terrestrial insect life blown on to the water. Fenton and I in one boat Tom and Jez in the other. Beautiful day, hot sun a very light wind, so different from the day before and the water looked very fishy. 20 mins in and Fenton was first to hook a cracking fish which he played for ages before it got off. That was a counter as far as I was concerned, he was on the first round at the pub later. He was using a washing line technique and the fish were hitting a suspended green buzzer time after time. As the day wore on the fish offers became less and less, surely they must be in there somewhere. Fenton and I motored across to the far trees hoping for some action but the weed in the water made it almost impossible to fish without the flies getting stuck up even just under the surface. We moved down beyond the very wee island on which a few coromorants were sitting in the only tree. After a wee sleep in the bottom of the boat ( great stuff, the gentle rocking of the boat, the sun in my face, sheltered from the wind, it can’t be beaten, I finally hit a belter of a fish on a Daddy ( I was hoping to bring the fish to the surface ). Once in the boat we reckonded 5lb plus, glad to say it was the biggest fish of the weekend. Not a hugely long fish but thick and deep.

We always use Toms walkie talkies when we are fishing 2 boats so that we can keep in touch with each other as regard to fish and rises etc. A few minutes after my fish it crackled to life Jez was into a fish and then another and then another landing a couple and losing a couple. After Fens mandatory snorey sleep in the bottom of the boat, we headed right up to the far end where Tom had told us there were fishing moving. We must have fished there for about an hour over seemingly a fishless area when all hell broke loose. In all my fishing years (43) I have never seen a rise quite like it, the water was boiling, the fish had been there all the time, waiting for the hatch, sneaky. The hatch of what? Caenis the ‘Anglers Curse’ so called because when fish get feeding on them they do tend to ignore everything else. But with so many fish moving we were bound to hook up soon and we did. Fenton got his first ever fish on a dry fly a small Grey Duster and I started hooking on a Wickhams Fancy one of my favourite dries. Jez on an Silver Invicta and Tom were also into fish. We all hooked and lost many more than our fair share of fish for some reason, I can’t quite put my finger on why, Tom more than the rest but in the end we all got fish. Not as much as we had hoped 8 between us and loads hooked and lost and turned but not hooked. What cracking sport it was though. I nearly buggered up my right arm in the excitement using it instinctively to cast to regularly rising fish instead of transferring the rod to my left, I couldn’t help it.

A 90 mile drive back stopping off for a pint then Fens for meatballs and pasta more wine and a really good laugh. Exhausted to bed about 2.30.

What a brilliant few days Fenton set up for us. There is nothing quite like it, good company, good food, good wine and great fishing. We had it all in abundance thank you Fenton.

I had been really looking forward to it and now its over but wait ,….Jez has already come up with the Scottish venue for next years fishing extravaganza as we call it, the lovely Isle of Skye, where we will  rent a cottage and fish for wee brownies. Tell you what I can’t wait.

More pics of Jez fishing to come from Tom

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Watch this space June 2013

Sorry I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a few weeks, family illness, my arm and life in general has meant I haven’t been out too much, ‘If you are too busy to fish you are way too busy’ is a well known mantra of mine.

The good news is I am heading south this afternoon  for a long weekends fishing with my good friends,Tom Jenner, Jez Curnow and Fenton Catterall, collectively known as the King Fishers, King being my middle name. There are four of us a Scotsman an Irishman and 2 Englishmen. Each year we either fish Scotland Ireland or England and it is Englands turn this year after a wonderful weekend in Kerry South Ireland last year, see my earlier posts for details of that. So we are fishing Grafham http://www.gwffa-grafham.co.uk/  tomorrow and Ravensthorpe http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/leisure/what-to-see/water-parks/ravensthorpe/   Saturday and maybe somewhere Sunday morning. Hope those 2 links work as there is no one single website for either.

I will post lots of images and reports of what else I have been up to next week.

Tight lines

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Whiteadder Reservoir 11th May 2013

Okay here is the story. I did try to go fishing to the Whiteadder Reservoir http://www.fisharound.net/location/public/3039/Whiteadder-Reservoir-Trout-Fishing one of my favourite waters in the Lothians. It was a cold dull drizzly day with a fair bit of Northerley wind. When I reached Gifford the nearest village it didn’t seem too bad but when I got out of the trees and up onto the Lammermuir hills, it was blowing a freezing gale. There was still a bit of snow in the gullies, its just not been warm enough to melt it.

Its a great drive up there, looking behind, you can see all the way over the Forth to Fife, the Bass Rock, a massive volcanic plug in the Forth, white with 150,000 nesting Gannets and way along to your left, Edinburgh, really spectacular on a good day, Saturday wasn’t.

Looking back across the forth to Fife, Arthurs Seat Edinburgh on the left.

On a wet cold day looking back across the forth to Fife, Arthurs Seat Edinburgh on the left. (one click on any image will open a larger version)

Berwick Law on the left, Bass Rock in the distance on the right.

Berwick Law on the left, Bass Rock in the distance in the middle.

Bass rock white with 150,000 nesting Gannets.Bass rock white with 150,000 nesting Gannets.

Its one of my favourite approaches to a Loch, once up on the top of the moor there is a sharp left turn along the crest then a gentle downward slope. Tall Beech trees to your right moorland to the left and there it is in the distance looking so inviting, so full of wild Brownies, albeit small wild Brownies, its a great view one of the best.

A long view of the Whiteadder approach road

A long view of the Whiteadder approach road

The Whiteadder at last.

The Whiteadder at last.

I stopped off at the boat house to get my permit and looking out onto the boats getting swamped in the water I decided I would see if there was anywhere on the Reservoir I could actually fish, there was no chance there.

Bit of a chop!

Bit of a chop!

Whiteadder 13 001_6

Not a car or any other mad angler in sight.  At the opposite end to the dam it was a little more sheltered although the calmish water didn’t show the extent of the wind, I could barely stand up. I got my kit on and then made the wise decision to take it all off again and get back in the car. There was no way I could cast left handedly out there. The warm  memories of wonderful evening rises of the past few summers and bagfuls of wee trout were blown away on the wind.

Calmish end of the Whiteadder with terrible swirling wind.

Calmish end of the Whiteadder with terrible swirling wind.

So all I have is some pictures on a dreich day with a promise of fishing that didn’t happen, ah well, there is always tomorrow.

A sad wee addendum to this blog. One of the most scenic areas to go to and this is what has happened over the last year or so.

Wind farm in the Lammermuirs

Wind farm in the Lammermuirs just to the north of The Whiteadder, luckily it can’t be seen from the water

It breaks my heart to see this beautiful area ruined with the erection of these wind turbines. This has also happened near my all time favourite water..Penwhapple Reservoir near Girvan http://carrick.vision.whitespectre.net/listings/149  on the west coast. Some of the turbines actually go down to about 40 feet from the water, so you could easily hit them on the back cast. I fear that soon there will be no view in Scotland that is not marred by wind farms. Progress I don’t think so, but thats my opinion.

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Coldingham Loch 4th May 2013

Okay so I didn’t get to the Whiteadder but I did get to http://www.coldinghamloch.co.uk again, seems safest at the moment.

Coldingham on a blowy day looking from reed bed end

Coldingham on a blowy day looking from reed bed end

My arm is worse than ever but I did manage to catch a couple of nice rainbows. At last the water is warming up and there were a good few fish moving, time for some dries or at least just sub surface. There were a lot of fish being caught when I arrived at 4.30 and lots of rises over the entire Loch. A really swirly wind was going to prove a problem, first blowing onto the bank and then off. I had to wade out as I couldn’t cast, competing with the wind and the fish had moved well away from the bank. I tried first off with a Bibio and a Black Pennel then onto a Gold Wickhams Fancy and Bibio. Finally I tempted both fish on a black CDC Shipmans on the dropper and a Diawl Bach on the point. Second fish was strange, when I put it back into the water it just kept swimming in really fast tight 10″ circles, so much so that it was frothing up the water. I got it in the net again and held it straight and calm for about 5 mins before it finally swam off slowly, never seen that before. 2 hours spent by the reed bed end of the Loch, easiest place to cast. Lots of fish moving just off the reeds, in between the new Water Lily shoots just showing beneath the surface, should see them out of the water next month.

Picked up the fish on far bank by reeds

Picked up the fish on far bank by reeds

Fished for probably 1 hour in total before calling it a night. Its getting harder and harder to fish, what to do, I wish I knew. Tight lines

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Coldingham Loch April 27th 2013

Another 2 hours at http://www.coldinghamloch.co.uk today. Coldingham is a lovely Loch looked great in the sun.

Coldingham from the fishing hut

Coldingham from the fishing hut

I know I haven’t been too adventurous this season so far in my choice of one venue so far but I feel lucky to be out at all. Painfully casting  I caught 1 lovely Brownie on a Damsel nymph and lost another. Cold northerley wind in fact there was snow in the Pentlands yesterday, where is the summer but it was sunny.

Coldingham boats

Coldingham boats

Lots of boats out today but not a huge amount of fish caught by the look of the returns book, must be the cold wind. Thats it for today. hopefully I will get out to the Whiteadder next Friday night.

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