Wednesday, 1 July 2009


As the title suggests this blog is now dead, chris never posts now and the name and original ethos is not really indicative of the way i fish now. SO, heres a fresh page which I promise will be packed with posts about my adventures after all sorts of beasts. Check out my first post about a place deep into the highlands where monster pike lurk and nobody dares to venture.

read it HERE on the new page

Get on it! Thanks to everybody that followed this blog, hopefully you enjoy the new one even more.


Monday, 23 March 2009

March 21st

On Friday night i hatched a plan to visit my all time favourite water for the first time this season.

The place in question is where i caught my first fish on the fly, mix that with the spectacular scenery, sense of isolation and you can see why it is my favourite.

It is not a big fish water, typically upland burns like this do not hold many fish over 1/2lb, in fact a fish of that size is equal in importance to say a 15lb pike. I often think the trout that inhabit these lofty locations are the bravest of all fish, daring to combat the odds where no other species can survive.

To add to the occasion a mate of mine expressed an interest in giving it a go as he is keen to get into fishing, i knew that even without fish this place would sell it to him without too much hassle.

Our day started slightly later than planned, as most of mine do but i consoled myself with the thought that this would serve to heat the water up at least a little and increase our chances.

Much to my surprise I bumped a fish on my second cast from a tiny plunge pool at the bottom of the glen, it felt a decent little fish from this place too. We continued upstream, casting in all the tiny pockets of water big enough to offer some refuge for the native brown trout.

Fishing these tiny waters can be equal parts infuriating and exciting. Whilst half of the pockets you try appear devoid of life, you are given glimpses of the trouts existence often enough to sustain your interest and drive you further in your quest to meet some of its residents.

One other consideration on the day was my mate. We all know folk like him, big clumsy types, the one that falls in the water, gets snagged on every rock, spooks your pool by standing at the head of it and shouting questions at you. Maybe i could have been more helpful with the advice i gave him...either way, the fish were not the only goal on this day.

The thing i love most about these places is that no matter how dire the fishing may be on the day, you always have plenty more to occupy your mind. its hard to concentrate on the fishing actually when your surroundings are as gorgeous as this.

That picture actually does no justice to the scale of the place, the low water doesnt help either, the waterfall on the skyline is about 40ft high!
I would love to fish here with a 1wt but given the constant winds associated with our hills a 3wt is as low as you can get away with, save for the calmer days mid summer. Regardless, the dark little trout you find here are spirited creatures and punch above their weight, as brownies often do.

As you push upwards the burn changes character quite dramatically, another feature i love about it. It is constantly broken into sections. There are 3 wooded gorges which take real determination to get in and fish, not for the faint hearted. These are interspersed amongst stretches of classic v-shaped valley, high sided and worst affected by the wind. About 3/4's of the way up it runs through a narrow gorge, much like the wooded sections except without the trees! This is where the best fishing to be found.

Less pocket water and more deep plunge pools, often the stream is bordered by huge walls orf rock with nothing but brave clumps of heather clinging on for dear life. The light here is often spectacular with the shadows deceiving your eye, adding corners where there are none and adding complexity to the area. It is hard to photograph this place and give any kind idea just how it looks. Some places are better left imagined than represented poorly.

In here though lies the very pool that kickstarted my love for flyfishing, It wasn't actually that long ago, maybe 4 years. About that time i used to spend more days than i should of up here, often sacrificing a day at school for an adventure "up the glen". One day i took my 7ft 5/6# (bizarre combination i think). I mucked about with various unsuitable flies, all of which looked fantastic to me at the time. I tied on a non descript scottish wet fly and cast...probably not very well, into this pool. Much to my amazement the fly line stabbed forward! This happened a good 10 times before i struck accordingly and hooked up with a fish. I hadnt really thought about how id play a fish on fly gear when the opportunity arose but i had to think quick with this little creature tugging the other way! Within seconds he was in my hand, all i remember was thinking just how much more colourful he was compared to the lowland trout i was used to catching on bait from lowland streams. He was slipped back from shaking hands into this pool........

The cave pool.

Just upstream of here are a succession of waterfalls and chutes, culminating in the biggie, once reputed to have saved a laird whilst being chased from a battle locally. I'll say no more. You can actually sit behind this waterfall, i often do this in high water. I cant think of a finer place to have my sandwiches on any given day.

The pool below it has many glorious trout whose testicular fortitude must be praised given the power this cascade posesses in wetter times.

Then a strange thing happens. The burn changes name, and character. Gone is the steep, rocky gorge im so used to, the land opens out whilst the burn seems to condense itself into a narrower, weaker channel. Good sport can still be found up here though, it has a very eerie feel to it, especially when fishing alone as i usually am.

From here there are few pockets big enough to hold trout though in those that remain there lie larger than average fish. On this day we tried every pool we came across with no reward for our efforts. Just to be back in this place was enough for me though, a trout would just have been a bonus, one im sure i'll get soon enough.

We decided to quit whilst we were ahead so to speak, turn around and savour the last of the views as we headed home. I know it won't be long before i'm back.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Today a river kicked my arse.

I had taken the first week of the season off with the intent to fish my socks off, and fish i have.
With this in mind i set off for a bigger river today, no more small stream business. We had been speaking about fishing this water for ages but never got round to it, but today was to be the day. Off we went to the local tackle shop to buy our permits and begin our day.

On arrival at the waterside i was gobsmacked at how gorgeous the place was! I had an idea how the place would look, and i was wrong. It was a typical upland freestone river, classic brown trout territory. I rigged up my 3# and began to feel almost cocky what with my lucky streak over the last two trips. The first hour was spent working upstream with depth charge nymphs plumbing the depths of the deep, black no avail.

The one thing that was impossible to ignore was how dodgy the wading was. I thought i was well practised in fishing these upland waters but this river was scary! It was so powerful for its size, the rocks were coated in slime that no wading boot could contend with. After suffering a few too many close calls i decided it was time to rethink my tactics.

I sat and gathered my thoughts constantly thinking "this place rules" which it does. I decided that given the dark peaty tinge on the water that the fish were perhaps sitting higher in the water than i had originally thought, on with the light nymphs and spiders, off with the half bricks. I pushed further upstream, the going was pretty tough, steep,steep banks and bottomless pools aint a good mix but all was well.

What im basically trying to get at here is that i fished for just over 8 hours and couldnt get so much as a take. One thing i did learn is that these bigger waters have to be taken seriously and given a healthy amount of respect, slipping on a smallstream means a wet arse. Slipping here would have been disastrous. My next purchase will be a wading staff.

Anyhoo. The river looked amazing, im sure during lower water it would have been a whole lot more comfortable to fish, and i'll be sure to head back soon. Even blanking in a place like that is infinately more enjoyable than bagging up at some horrible rainbow water, in my opinion at least.

No fish maybe but today was still perfect :)

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


When i woke up today i was shocked to see bright sunshine and no wind, which could mean only one! I spent a while messing about the house deciding where to go and settled on a local loch that i had decided to concentrate on this season.

The walk out to the loch was glorious, a proper spring day. Imagine my horror then when i arrive at the bankside to find a strong easterly wind, a COLD one at that. I walked down the northern shore, i passed two guys who had been fishing for a few hours and were struggling.

I read that john on the fishing in scotland blog had been here on the opening day and had some success with spinners so i decided to bring along a box of streamers to try out. I rigged up with a silver sparkler on the point and a big ass bushy kate mclaren on a dropper 3ft above. After five minutes of struggling with the wind and a new rod i was into my first ever loch trout, ive always been a freak for running water so i have neglected lochs at least for trout. The wee man was maybe 5oz but i was certainly happy to meet his acquintance, he had hit the sparkler HARD and taken right down, it was easily removed though and he shot off as if nothing had ever happened.

It was maybe a half hour before i bumped off another fish on a slightly bigger sparkler pattern, it certainly felt heavier but i'll never know!

Two of my mates came down to join me for a while and i was quickly into another slightly larger trout of about 1/2lb, i was just happy to prove to my buddies that there were actually fish in the loch :)

That was to be the last of the success for the day but perhaps the most enjoyable part of the session was the last hour as the sun was setting, the sky was a lovely soft pink colour and the wind died right down which inspired many a trout to become airborn. Much to my amazement not one of them looked to be under 2lb!!! Not bad at all for wild browns.

All in all a really nice day out, i've been pretty lucky so far this season. Two trips with five fish between them is a decent tally for this time of the season, hopefully my luck continues tomorrow.................


Monday, 16 March 2009

Sunday march 15th

So yesterday was the opening day of the trout season. As usual i had been counting the day's from about the start of november, patience is not my forte!

The plan had been set between me and my regular fishing buddy to tackle a smallstream on the edge of our town. I had been down a few time's recently on recce trips so i was more eager than ever having had a look at what i was missing. On arrival at the streamside i noticed that we were blessed with the same ideal condition's i experienced there on the closing day of the 08 season!
Whilst the water had a little amount of colour to it there was certainly no cause for disappointment.

I rigged up with a large foam beetle (okay a bite indicator) and a hares ear nymph tied NZ style to the bend of the dry. I fished my way downstream for a mile or so, probably taking me an hour and a half without any interest. I did note however that my 8'6 rod was way too long and the 6ft 3# i left in the car would have been far better suited to such jungle combat.

I eventually made my way back upstream to the pool where i started and i was quickly into my first brownie of the season on the nymph, the take was pretty savage considering the trout was only about 3oz! One thing i did learn from this is that the camera on my phone aint half as good as my actual camera, so no decent photo's! I fished the pool for another ten minutes or so and bumped a couple more fish in quick succession. Content with my efforts here i headed further upstream.

I fought my way through the overhanging bushes, dropping the flies in every pocket of water i could before i came to a long, shallow glide with branches hovering maybe 2ft above the water. Casting here is awkward at best but i cast my rod sideways, parallel with the water and was able to place the flies reasonably accurately at the neck of the run. i was rewarded with a stunning little trout marginally bigger than the last, at first i thought it was a hefty fish as it felt strong but it was hooked in the fin, i must have pulled the fly from its mouth on the strike!

I finally met my mate again soon after, i was especially pleased to find out he had also managed a fish as it was his first time here and only his second time on a stream! These small technical water's are demanding for anybody and i was proud of him that he had succeeded here after only taking up flyfishing at the tail-end of last season.

I decided some adventure was in order so i pushed further upstream, beyond any pools i had fished before. As the banks are so steep wading was the only option, i discovered some truly massive pools for a small stream but could not buy a bite. It was only in the last pool i was able to walk to that i got some interest, the largest fish of the day (all of 70z) was soon in my hand and let go to grow on for me later in the year. I often forget just how beautiful and precious these wild brown trout are, i think we in scotland take this fantastic little creature for granted and are far too quick to exploit them. Pike may look more impressive, perch may appear more bold, handsome even. But in term's of sheer beauty i don't think anything can compare to a true wild brown trout.

As this pool was as far as i was able to navigate, at least without ropes and a helmet i set off downstream to try some last stretches and see how my mate was faring. Needless to say i had already caught my last fish but my spirits were raised further when i found out my pal had nailed a further two trout! Not half bad for his first proper jungle-mini-stream experience i think. So in conclusion at the end of the day we had three trout each from pristine,unmolested waters, not one of these fish are likely to have been caught before, unless perhaps by me!
I honestly can't think of a better start to the season :)

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Seem's like only a few month's ago i was sat here typing about my preparation's for the beginning of the scottish brown trout season, and the 09' season starts tomorrow!

I've already been down to the dreamstream today to check water level's /colour etc. For what it's worth it was carrying a fair bit of colour but clear enough to look enticing!

I'll be up first thing tomorrow, kit packed the night before to allow a sharp exit and i'll be spending the full day on running water. If thing's are slow we might even try a burn i found last week, do a bit of recce work.

I'm reasonably confident that i'll hit some trout tomorrow, not that it really matter's. Being on my stream's again will be enough to keep a smile on my face.

Picture's and blow by blow account up tomorrow night!


Friday, 20 February 2009

Friday february 20th

Earlier today i headed out for my first fishing trip for a few week's. I had been thinking about it all week at work, the temperature's have stayed fairly mild for the past week and i knew we were in with a good chance of a fish. In fact scotland has been caught in the grip of the coldest winter i can remember for quite some time and my local water's have been frozen for the best part of two month's, so this window of opportunity was not to be missed!

I left the house a little later than planned (as usual) and made a quick dash to the local tackle shop to buy some fresh deadbait's. Got to the waterside within the hour and got to the task in hand!

It was actually bitter cold and pretty windy but we persevered for a few hour's without a touch, then five boats ploughed through our swim in quick succession and it became clear that something had to change. Luckily there is another prolific pike water a mere 200 yards away so our choice to move was made all the easier.

The new venue is quite well sheltered and felt a good few degree's warmer, at last i felt almost confident. Within an hour of re-locating my float legered sprat was intercepted and my baitrunner began to lose line....rapidly! I struck quickly though and felt that unmistakeable sensation transmit through the braid, down the rod and into my hands. The fish felt quite hefty but the water was still really cold so it was fairly lethargic though it didn't give up without a few short runs and really held deep. After a short fight of maybe three minute's i had this beauty in my clutches

I got quite a pleasant surprise with this fish. At first sight in the water i guessed maybe seven or even eight pound's but once it was in the net i noticed it was a really chunky, thick-set fish. We popped it in the weigh sling and it read 5.1kg. Convert that to pound's and I was holding a fish of just over 11lb's!

Now this might not sound like a massive fish but despite the amount of hour's i spend chasing pike this is the biggest I've ever caught! My first fish of the year, a double and my new PB. Victory!

Whilst i was slipping her back my mate was the lucky recipient of another screaming run, his fish slipped back into the water before we got a photo but we guesstimated it to be around 5 1/2lb's. Unfortunately it had another (idiot) angler's trace stuck in it's mouth but we managed to remove it fairly easily.

It's hard to describe the buzz that surround's a few angler's when some nice fish have been caught but all of a sudden our crew seemed much more upbeat in spite of the wind and the nasty temperature's......

About half an hour later my float slid away again.... I struck and was met with slightly less resistance than last time but i was glad to be into another fish, despite being about six pound's in weight this fish actually fought pretty well, it even jumped clear of the water, quite rare for pike, especially at this time of year! We managed a photo of this spirited chap, here it is

I look exceptionally chuffed with myself here, it's not often i blow my cool when i catch fish.....honest...............................

Anyway's it was a grand way to kick off my fishing in 2009, i'm heading to the same spot tomorrow, hopefully to repeat today's success!