Friday, 29 April 2011

The Tweed, Below Peebles.

Today I went down the tweed. To be honest, it was not my first choice. The night before the plan was to head down the Tyne as its been a long time since my last visit down that way. This morning, just before 6am, i was awoken to the sun beaming through the window like it was 1 o clock in the afternoon. What is going on with the weather just now? I cant remember another April past being so dry and bright up these parts. Anyway, got up and without even looking out the window thought... Tyne, no chance in this. What was I to do? It was fair to say, where ever I went it would be rather bright. The smaller waters were not going to be the best in these conditions at all so, its a toss up between the Clyde and the Tweed. An hour later I was at the bus station just in time to see the 62 drive in, decided then!

My teacher used to say it was always the bad yin's that sat up the back of the bus.

An hour later I was on Peebles high street, just round the corner there used to be a small tackle shop. Sadly, I was to find, this is no more, now what to do, where the hell will I find a permit now? After asking about a few shops, being sent one place to be sent another, I finally made my way to tourist information office (should have tried there in the first place!) Only to find it was closed till 12, half an hour to wait then, bah! As luck would have it, the butchers was just over the road and their pies are banging.

Peebles Pies!

Hunger sorted, permit in hand i was on the short walk down to the river still with the sun beaming down on me.

You can not fault the way the Tweed is managed these days. Its more or less catch and realese now, nothing under 22 inches shall be killed. Also, everything caught has to be documented in the log book you are given with the permit and not only that but, they would also like you to e-mail pictures of the fish you catch so they can be sexed. Now, this is how all rivers should be managed!

The sun was going to be the biggest problem of the day, nothing was moving on the water at all for a bit, I walked down about a mile from peebles before even thinking about a cast. I'm glad I did though, as i was setting up I was aware of this tapping noise over the river, never really took much notice at this point. 10 minutes later, I was really starting to wonder what this noise was, i looked up and stuck to the side of the tree over the water was a woodpecker. Eh? a bloody woodpecker, now this is a first for me. It turns out their common, i know what to look for now.

Its not the best picture I know but, with the sun sitting right behind the tree and the fact I was standing up to my waist in water trying to use the zoom at max, this was the best i could do.
This is what it should look like...

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Still nothing moving I found myself just walking down the river looking and listening for the odd rise, fishing where I thought looked good. A few hours had past before the first one come to the net, caught on a size 14 gold head pheasant tail.

About 5 years ago I had my best ever river trout from this stretch, 4 and a half lb. For sure there is some monsters here.

It was a slow day, your normally plagued with tidlers down here but, today that wouldn't be the case. I managed to lose a few smaller fish on a wee Klinkhammer along with catching this one.

The sun finally lifted about 7pm whitch did bring on a wee rise, no real prolific hatches all day so none of the madness which follows that. Thing is, I had to go for the bus at 8pm so, only managed another one which fell to a olive klinkhammer.

Dam you buses!! I recon I would have at least another one if I just had another half an hour.

They really have got everything right down here, and all this for just £8 a day. I'm of to mail my pictures to TTGI now.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Roslin Glen, Some Nice Trout And My Worst Nightmare.

I've had a couple of very short outings down the Water of Leith since my last post but, didn't think I had much to report. A couple of small trout but not much. If I have to be brutally honest, its just not the same as what once was down the WOL. This will bring me to what I will talk about later but, for now, this is about the Glen.....

When your standing about Edinburgh, waiting on buses, in all your fishing clobber, you attract your fair share of lost its. First one of the day came in the form of this geazer which bounded up to me pointing at my fishing rod, asking me, you going fishing mate, aye? You have a fishing rod...... No, I am going to a Fancy dress party at my local Thursday morning nightclub, I thought I'd go as a golfer, there's my bus...
Loanhead bound I was, from there I was headed down the valley.

Looking Down The Esk Valley.

The Radio told me that morning it would be a high of no more than 13c, overcast and fog most of the day. By the time I was standing on this bridge, it was clear this would not be the case, already by 10.30am the sun was beaming down.
I planned to walk the whole glen, from the bottom up, which is no easy task, in fact it can be rather hairy at some points. It starts of easy but near the top is a different story.

Enter The Glen!

It didn't look like a dry fly day that was sure, it was still early and already way too bright. So, on with a Size 14 hares ear variant ( A wee bit twinkle added and a lot of lead) and a wee partridge and orange spider. The river in the glen is quite wild, very fast deep runs. Over millions of years the river has cut through this bed of sandstone, creating these parts where its no more than 5 foot wide but bloody deep. If there not on the top you need to get down there.

Most of the action was down this stretch, mostly dew to the weather, as soon as I turned this corner the sun blasted straight down the glen, blinding me and anything else looking up at it, no doubt.
First couple were both on the hares ear, nothing of any size really but, they were there.

One thing I have noticed this year so far is the fly life, I don't think I have ever seen it so good. I cant remember a year where I was scared to stand on the caddis fly larvae. Its a marked difference from years gone by, not only with the caddis but so many other things. Its good to see that after years of industrial abuse things can recover to this level.

The Esk these days has come on leaps and bounds, it used to run this funny tea colour when i was growing up, now it is as clear as a highland stream with the insect life to match. It makes you see that man does not need to help these places along to recover (other than stop polluting), the river will do it its self.
Next couple of trout were more like it, two decent sized fish, a little out of condition from the winter but, still nice trout.

As i turned into the sun it really did die, the odd fish on the rise but the weather killed it.
This brings me on to the second lost it of the day. Fishing away to my wee self i hear this voice from about ten feet above me.... Yie caught onyhin mate? A few, i answer. Aye, ah seen that wan risin just above yie. Aye, its no risin now i wanted to say but got to be polite, unless you want to risk a big lump o sandstone chucked from ten foot above your head. Aye, he said, the biggest ave had up here's been a twelve poondar...... But, that was on a lure though. Now what do you say to that? Who was he trying to impress? Me or the five year old kid with him? I figured the five year old kid didn't have a clue what a twelve poondar was so, it must be me. I quickly shuffled my way out of rock chucking distance.

Now to the nightmare.

I was trolling the Internet and come across this forum entry. It was a old post so i never answered but by hell am gonnie have a rant here!!!

Right, There is only one part of this I agree with.

"i would like to see this river given back its life and would welcome any interest from anyone who would like to see the same so that this river can be fished by man and boy for years to come."

The last thing this river needs is to be pumped full of tame hand fed trout that only make the wild stocks compete. I have seen what this has done to rivers in the past, both with the lower reaches of the Esk and the Water Of Leith. Most of the stockies get killed by the maggot chuckers in the first few weeks (Fill the freezers of the locals, not even the folk who catch) and the wild stocks grow to no more than the size of your hand. The North Esk used to be stocked and the river was rubbish, that's why they don't do it any more, no? Why cant people just leave it alone to look after its self? I don't just mean, don't stock but, just don't kill, then there is no need to stock tame alien fish.

The fact is, maggot chuckers wouldn't be there if stupid fish were also, not there.
If your going to manage a river, do it right. That does not mean throwing a load of "Wan poondars" in the water.

This is the last year the Water Of Leith will be stocked, I am so glad about this. Give it 4 years and i hope it will be as good as the North Esk.
I am sorry if i have offended but, this is the way i see it.
I will now leave you with more pictures from the glen.....

Following the walk of the otter.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mission 22.

Yesterday, I had a few hours to spare so thought I'd pop down my local stretch of the Water Of Leith at Cannonmills. After a short bus journey I got down the river, took one look, about turned and went home. The rain over night had risen the river over a foot and I really couldn't be bothered arguing with that!
So, of home I went and got stuck into a few flies.
I've had a bit of hook fetish the past few weeks, scanning the Internet and tackle shops for all different shapes and sizes ranging from extreme klink-hamers to size 22's.
The next 3 flies were all tied on Varivas curved shank #22.

Some extra fine tippet will definately be called for!
I'd be here all day if i was to post everything i have been tying lately but these will all give you an idea.
These last two are both size 16.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Two Rivers One Weekend.

Summers here!
I've been holding off the fishing up till now even though the weathers been great all the way through the last two weeks of March. I didn't want to be disappointed by heading out somewhere only to find I had wasted my time.
So, the 1st of April came and as per usual I was of down the Water Of Leith to see if that really good weather we had hurried things up a bit.

One thing I love about the Water Of Leith is you have a good few miles of river, all accessible by bus. If you get tired with one stretch just pop round the corner, jump the next bus and take your pick.

So, I decided to start up by Slateford where I thought would be the best place to find shelter from the wind and maybe even see a rise or two. Not long after I started, the first fish of the season fell, nothing sizable and as it turned out the only one of the day.

Fishing was slow, the river felt like it still had a lot of waking up to do.

Trout No1.

I think more walking than fishing was done, working my way up stream to Currie, stopping where it looked good, I did feel kind of dead though.

Still not put off too much of I went out again on Sunday this time to the North Esk at Roslin Glen to see how that fared.

Roslin Glen Falls

It was quite late by the time I got down there, about 2pm but instantly you could see everything the Water Of Leith was missing only two days before. The Olives were out in force with the trout taking them in decent numbers all around. This didn't last though, within the time it took me to set up the hatch had finished but it was great to see after such a quiet day before.

Don't fish Roslin Glen if you fancy a nice little stroll along the river bank!
Most of the river is only accessible through some acrobatic rock climbing and treacherous wading, its worth it though, what you find is stunning.

It wasn't long till the first one of the day came to the net, not far down from the castle, nothing sizable but that don't matter.

After some more rock climbing I managed to scramble my way back up past the castle to above the falls where the second of the day fell. This time, not a bad size and had already well fattened up after the winter.

Its a shame I only managed a few hours down here. It would have been great to have spent the the whole day properly exploring the glen, not just skiming the surface.

I think I will be spending quite a lot of time down the North Esk this year.

Roslin Castle.