14 June 2011

In the Land of the Big Skies

Saturday 11th

Brian picked me and Garry up at 4:45am , we were bound for Caithness, are plan was to concentrate on dry fly fishing ! We stopped at Golspie for some sausage and bacon rolls , and arrived in Wick to collect our permits from Hugo Ross, for two days fishing on a choice 6 lochs was only  £10 !

wee pair of waders

The first loch we went to had been drained many years ago and refilled only twenty or so years ago, quite a wee peaty loch with reeds in the edge.
Whilst setting up our gear we viewed a interconnecting burn which flowed down to the second loch we fished and you would swear it was running uphill, but it's just the lie of the land, an electric burn!

It didn't take long for Gary to hook a trout on his olive Turks tarantula . A nice one too!
 Brian was doing well with a black dirty Polly corrie killer  hybrid . Including missing a fish around a pound. It took me a while to get into my stride , but i eventually managed a few, my  best fly being a claret hopper fished on the edge of the reeds. We had some lunch at the back of  1pm , scotch eggs, pork pies , chicken drumsticks and wings washed down with some iron brew, then we headed for loch number 2.

Loch number 2 was no distance away at all, just over the brae. Setting eyes on this loch showed lots of character , big sheltered  bays with cliff faces , infact me and Brian seemed drawn by these bays and headed over to explore whilst Gary fished the near shore. We were ushered by a herd of coo's . on the way , running over the hill top.

We decided to put on a wee competitive match which was quickly forgotten as wee extracted fish after fish from the bays, black flies were being blown off the surrounding vegetation , and the troots were going daft for them . Great fun for a few hours each trout a heavily spotted beauty.

We then headed for some dinner before heading onto the main event, Brian definitely looked like he'd chosen well with his steak pie,my Cajun chicken looked a bit like a mackerel, but the chips were good, Gary settled for the scampi!

We were on the "main event" for a bit after 6pm. When we walked around swathes off buzzers that had hatched off through the day took off. Hardly a fin broke the surface though , infact it was quite dour, this loch is known as an evening water. Gary lost a fish he reckons was between 2-3 pound  whilst starting a retrieve his dries. Brian was doing OK too with a couple of fish too the corrie killer fished static.
I was toiling. Gary cursed , a few times through the night at missed fish , but was rewarded with what must have been the fish of the trip a fat fish , in and around 2lb mark.
As the night drew on these thing s started to emerge , the nymphs crawling up my waders at first they were one or two but with ten minutes i was covered in them from head to toe, the dreaded caenis, or anglers curse!
At his point the trout didn't seem to be interested but as the night went on the spinners fell on to the water and that's when the trout started sipping them in , it was amazing to watch fish cruising under water surfacing yards from the last rise , and it was also fascinating too see how fast they moved it gave the illusion that there were loads of fish feeding but  it would be the same fish moving fast, some of them were big fish too! There window of vision must be tiny so you've got to try and intercept them almost to the inch , on top of that they have to like the look of your fly. I read years ago that a hatch on Corrib you were best if you could see your fly a clipped Adams was one reccomended fly, the closest thing i had in my box was a simarly coloured dirty polly, the important bit i think about seeing the fly is because you must actually see the fish take it   otherwise you could be constantly striking into thin air as i did  a few times that night  ,  spooking them on the surface in doing so.  I did manage to intercept a couple though, the first took a corrie killer , just yards from me , shot off into the loch like a steam train ripping line off the reel then stuck the fly into the weed!
The one that got away
 The corrie killer was missing when i took it in. the next fish i hooked up i landed , he took a size 12 dirty polly and went 1.5lb.
I had a few really small trout as i made my way back to the car as low  mist started to form , the trout calling it a night.

Back to the hotel for a few pints and a blether before , getting our heads down for some kip.

Sunday 12th
Was up for breakfast at 8am , breakfast was OK , the sausages were crap the bacon greasy the eggs under done , we sort of forced ourselves to eat it.  Payed the hotel and were back on the "main event" . Not known as a daytime loch we didn't know how it would fish. When we arrived the weather looked great cloudy with a light breeze , but with obvious rain approaching . And that was the way it was 2 short showers were the worst the weather gods threw at us. I didn't even bother with the jacket. I put on a size 10 CDC and elk on the point and a corrie killer on the dropper , as did Brian and we had  some sport from the bank pulling up fish to the CDC and elk. Brian got a nice fish of 1 3/4lb , we lost a few good ones too. 
Brian's best 1 3/4lb

Brian in his tube
As the day went on the sun came out , me and Brian decided to pump up the tubes and go afloat for the last hour, where we took a few fish , then at 2pm we called it a day the loch seemed dead , so we headed home all content , it had been a great trip , looking back it might have been worthwhile doing a bit more tubing as there were a lot of fish out of range , but thats for next time,  i can't wait to return,  in the future !
The Heron (Gary)