The Poacher Diaries. | Page 7
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The Poacher Diaries.

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing' started by crabby_old_man, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. fisherider

    fisherider Member

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    just found these posts wow u should write a book, well u already have love it .the exitment of getting caught accelerates the buzz hats off chap legend
     
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  2. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it.
     
  3. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Top notch again crabby I love your gusto...
    I can't wait to see next season's adventures already......maybe a day at the silver tourists before it's out....?
     
  4. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    I've been thinking about it, and might have a go a little further afield than usual. I have a river in mind, but the risks are considerable. I know that there have been a few successful prosecutions in recent years, something that can be quite discouraging to the privateer angler. Still, it's never stopped me before.
     
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  5. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Well, this is definitely the last entry of the diary for this year. The weather has gotten worse and the fishing, while still possible, has become a miserable and damp experience, so I'm knocking it on the head while I still have at least one dry foot. The fish pictured below was caught with the last cast on the last day, and is one of the best I've caught all year.



    Can I add video to this? Give me a moment...Turns out that no, I can't. Never mind. I had a taken a short video of an absolutely splendid fight I had with a brownie just the other day that I wanted to share with you. All the splashing around had drawn the attention of a magnificent sea eagle, swooping and screeching indignantly at me, (sadly not picked up by the microphone) and, during all the excitement, I quite forgot myself and I accidentally moved the camera around and brought a landmark into view, one that would have given my position, and the game, away. I was in two minds as to whether or not I should share it, a moot point as it turns out, but I wanted to ask a question and doing so would necessarily identify my location. But needs be as the devil puts his slippers on: what in the name of the Wee Man is going on at the Jaw and Cochno reservoirs?



    I've visited both of these waters several times over the past 2-3 months and have found them all but abandoned, only seeing rods out on maybe 2 occasions. The hut seems permanently locked, the water in the Jaw is at an all time low and the mess around the waters edge on the eastern bank is unbelievable. I was shocked at the amount of rubbish and dead fire pits there, some hidden in the woods, but most out in the open, with no attempt being made to conceal or disguise them. I have no doubt that these were left by visitors and not club members, so why has this been allowed to happen, and continue unabated over the summer?



    As far as I know, the waters are under the stewardship of the Hardgate and District Angling Association (HADAA) and the land itself is owned by Glasgow University, so I was surprised to say the very least. Has something occurred that has escaped my investigations? Has HADAA perhaps given up the rights to fish here, and is no longer interested in policing and maintaining the area, or is it something else entirely? I know the area closest to the loch is of the rough and ready persuasion, and the locals have a rather cavalier attitude where rules and regulations are concerned, but unless they have consolidated themselves and staged a hostile takeover, besting the members, the university and the constabulary, then I am at a loss to find an adequate explanation for what I found.



    Are there any HADAA members here who could offer up some insight? I lived locally throughout my childhood and teenage years, and it breaks my heart to see the place fallen to such disregard and neglect. I understand that, as a poacher upon your waters, I am owed no explanation or courtesy, but I genuinely care for the land and would see it returned to it's only very recent former beauty. I would gladly do my bit should there be some sort of clean up initiative be implemented in the spring, or sooner albeit in some sort of disguise. I had hoped to buy a permit for next season, as the risk of climbing all the way there only to be turned away isn't worth taking anymore, but with the area being in its current state, I shouldn't think I would part with the membership fee.



    So, there you have it. I am hanging up my rod for the season, and will wait as patiently as I can and watch as Autumn fire turn to Winters ash, before the gentle breath of Spring beckons us to the waters edge, to chase the fish of our dreams once again.



    Until then, tight lines and Tally Ho!
     

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  6. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Brilliant crabby....:thumbsup:
    I admire your outlook and love for what you do...
    I'll be here waiting for next season's adventures, hopefully have a few of my own....have a guid yin..:thumbsup:
     
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  7. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    This will be the intro the as soon as Ive written it, it will be published diary. Happy new year to you all.





    These diaries are not an instruction manual, and neither are they meant to be. While I will often describe the tackle I have used, I do so merely for my own records and as an observation, as well as the occasional appeal to better and more knowledgable anglers, in the hope that they will put me right where I have gone wrong. There are many, many books out there that will describe in great detail the very minutiae of fly fishing, often going into such detail that they take all the fun out of it. We are not carp anglers, made angry to the point of obsession because we were outsmarted by a fish, and spending many hundreds of pounds on the latest gadgetry and secret weapons in their never ending vendetta against the blighters.



    Those people are, frankly, insane. I think it must be a thing peculiar to the male ego that we cannot accept that we made some sort of mistake, or that our equipment wasn't up to scratch, so a whole industry has developed to compensate for the fact that there simply wasn't a fish where you dangled your new fangled tangle of carbon fibre science.



    That's not to say that the same thing doesn't exist in fly fishing. The myth that you must 'match the hatch' is a persistent one, and many fluff chuckers will spend far too much time studying the insect life on and around the water instead of actually going about the business of catching a fish. Of course, you must cast a fly that at least looks like something a trout will eat, but beyond that, its all just so much hot air. Trout are a predatory species, and will generally eat anything that looks like food and passes close enough to their mouths, so provided you aren't chucking some prehistoric looking approximation of the Kraken, you'll be good. It's not as though the fish has looked at your fly and gone 'Oh ho! I'm not falling for that one matey', as the carp anglers would have you believe.



    We have all, at some point, presented a fly perfectly well to a fish that has either simply ignored it, or has taken a look and then decided not to take you up on the offer. We have no idea why they do it, but there are a million self proclaimed experts out there who will proffer their opinion at great length and in tones of such self importance that it's near impossible to take these insufferable windbags seriously. Never before, in the field of sporting activity, has so much drivel been spoken, by so many, about so little. If it at first you don't succeed, move along. All you will do is drive yourself insane, tying and re-tying different patterns, but if it's not hungry, it's not hungry, so take the rejection like a man and set your jaw to the next challenge. It's a supposed to be fun after all.
     
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  8. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Magic crabby......put me down for a first edition.....:thumbsup:
     
  9. NIrishDane

    NIrishDane Member

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    Hi Crabby, with regard to what you said, in the eyes of the law you may be labelled as a poacher, I have a personal view that you are no such thing. A poacher to me is someone with no regard for his quarry, the environment and every other aspect that may be affected by his or her activities and are only interested in personal gain whilst shunning any other form of common decency.

    You are none of that, I believe that it is because of these poachers and their lack of regard for everything and anything that genuine anglers have to pay a license fee. If all users of our waters were considerate of our actions then we would (for the most part) not need people employed to enforce the law upon us.

    Just another example of the few spoiling it for the many.

    Dane
     
  10. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Well hello!



    It's the new season and spring is on the way. It's time for dusty tackle boxes to be dug out from the dark depths of the shed, rods to be waxed and, of course, time to make the first trip of the season to the shop to stock up on new bits and bobs, puzzle over strange and alien technologies, with all their promises of a guaranteed catch (as if), and to renew acquaintances with the ever helpful staff. Opening days have come and gone, with only one or two left to go. The lucky few have been piped and drammed on to the water like royalty, while the rest of us have frozen our backsides off in the hail and, maybe, caught a fish. I note, sadly, that there is a dearth of catch reports, so I won't spend much more time on that.



    I love this time of year,. The prospect of a long summers fishing in the lochs, burns and rivers of Scotland fills me with an excitement that's hard to contain. It pours out of me and brings me a joy that I can barely describe, although the sound of the rain on the shed roof tells me that I won't be out and about anytime soon. I've been spending the winter reading Trout and Salmon and all of the rest, soaking up the pre-cast rituals, picturing myself at the head of a slow moving river, lazily casting to the lurking beasts below. I have even done a bit of pike fishing, just to keep my hand in, and with a small degree of success. No monsters, but certainly big enough to keep me interested.



    My plan for the coming year will be, as usual, to fish as many waters as possible without getting caught. Being recently retired, i now have much more time on my hands, and a free bus pass, which I shall put to full use, travelling up and down the country at my leisure. I have bought a few new rods, one for fishing the tiny creeks and streams that criss cross the west coast, and a great brute of a thing, the likes of which I have never used before, but am assured will be necessary in my hunt for double figure sea trout. Yes, this year I'm going to broaden my horizons a little, and do a little saltwater estuary fishing. I have heard tales of goodly sized fish, as well as a few hard fighting sea bass, being caught on the fly and it has piqued my interest. It's not my usual style, but I think I could be tempted to a mornings sport now and again.



    So, everything is in place for a cracking years fishing. My tackle is clean, in good order and up to date. I have a plan of action, a bus timetable, a slight limp and a packed lunch. I am not a man to be trifled with. I may see some of you along the way, although, sadly, anonymity will ever be my watchword. It is the one downside of my chosen identity, that I can never reveal myself to the many, many good people I have met and will meet in the future, but I'm sure that you understand.



    To the various gamekeepers, ghillies and bailiffs, whose job it is to keep the fisheries riff raff free, I would just like to offer up a big raspberry, a slightly rude gesture and a 'catch me if you can'




    To the rest, tight lines and Tally Ho!
     
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  11. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    April 4th 2019





    Woke bright and early to be faced with torrential rain, howling winds and the threat of snow. So, no change there then. I love this country, but I often wish we could move the whole place a few thousand miles south. Still, a quick breakfast and a call to my guide and partner for the day, and off we go.



    Today's water would be one I have fished before, but not for years. In fact, the report for that day was one of the very first entries I wrote in this diary. It is not the most productive river in the country, and has many detractors, but with the threat of winter conditions ever present, the decision was made to stay within easy reach of home should things take a turn for the worse. Knowing that bailiffs regularly patrol the length of the river, we took a stroll along its upper stretch to see what was what, but ,seeing nothing in the way of the authorities, we went back to the car and set our gear up. I used an 11ft switch rod, with a 9wt shooting head floating line and a standard pattern nymph at the business end. I have only used such heavy tackle once before, taking my first salmon last summer (see entries passim), and I am by no means an expert, or even particularly comfortable with this sort of thing, but I knew that there were both sea trout and salmon in the water, and to use anything lighter could mean a lost fish.



    After an hour or so casting and fighting a wind that seemed to be going in every direction at once, with particular emphasis on 'right in my face', we repaired to a very pleasant hotel bar for a refreshment and a rethink. Hail had been forecast within an hour or two, and that would almost certainly put a damper on, and an end to, the day, so we decided to go for broke. Casting a single fly from the bank simply wasn't working, and, given that we would be caught no matter what we did, I went back to the car and put my waders on. This was serious. If the bailiffs came when we were on the bank, there was the ghost of a chance of a quick getaway, but to be trapped in the water meant no escape and no choice but to accept whatever the consequences might be. A foolish risk to take so early in the season, perhaps, but a risk worth taking. If I caught a fish here then I would let the water alone for the rest of the year. If caught then the decision would be taken from me. Satisfied that my logic was sound the bell was rung for round 2, and we set off once again.



    If you have ever stood waist deep in a fast flowing river in April, with wind and hail beating all around you, then you will understand just how the rest of the day went. If you have done it more than once, then you're a bloody mad man. I believe I spent as much time untangling my line and flies (I had tied a team of 3 on by now) as I did actually fishing. As the time dragged on I became more confident that the bailiffs wouldn't be out, nobody else was after all, and I became a little bolder in my casting, and moved up and down a shallow little pool where I was eventually rewarded with a plump little sea trout of around a pound. That was enough for me and time was called. The hail was getting heavier and the wind stronger by the minute. My partner had blanked, but he didn't mind in the slightest. A catch for one counts as a catch for both, and so the blank was saved, although my feet might take some time to properly thaw.



    All in all a good day, and to have a fresh run sea trout as my first fish of a new year, however small and pike notwithstanding, bodes well for the rest of the season. As promised, I don't intend to visit this water again, although a day out for late run salmon has been pencilled in for September, but that will be in the estuary and not the river itself. That counts, right?



    Tight lines and Tally Ho!
     

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  12. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Brilliant stuff crabby......:thumbsup: and so the adventure continues....:BigGrin:
     
  13. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Hello Murtha, good to see you again. I've got a few sorties planned, some a little more daring than before, and I'm looking forward to this season immensely. I was going to write my book over the winter, but realized that I didn't have enough material, so I will use the coming year to bag a few more waters before starting work on it around August for a Christmas release. It will, of course, be free.
     
  14. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Seriously crabby I think it's great your going to write a book on your adventures....I'd pay for it no problem...
    I'll be looking for a first edition as it will be a bestseller amongst the angling fraternity I'm sure......
    Your posts on here fill me with happiness and inspiration to get out there myself and possibly a little mischief....;)
    Long may the adventure continue.....:thumbsup:
     
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  15. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    My introduction to the dark art of poachery, part 1.

    My first experience of poaching came about when I was a boy of 12 . There were many lochs and reservoirs surrounding my town, but I had only ever visited one or two of them. Partly because I didn't know the way to the rest, or the way back of course, but mainly because it was well known that they were private waters and off limits to the likes of us. Most of the adults we met while out fishing found the membership fees out of their budget, and there was a lot of bitterness directed towards the clubs. The fact that almost all of the members came from out of town didn't help much, and they did little to endear themselves to the locals. 'A bunch of snobby ******'s' was the term most often used to describe them.


    It was rumoured that the police federation held the rights to one of the better known fisheries, and that they would always press charges against the unlicensed worm drowner. One or two of my peer group had braved the dangers inherent, and come away with tales of broken rods, and boots to the backside. There was even a story of a particularly curmudgeonly bailiff firing at poachers with either an air rifle or a shotgun, a story that was verified many times over by the unlucky recipients.


    So, I was not inclined to venture too far out of my comfort zone to catch a fish when the dangers were so great. Even when I heard tell of monster trout of 3lb or more, monstrous in comparison to the tiddlers I had been used to catching at least, it still wasn't enough to tempt me to try my hand. Until one fateful day, a day that changed everything.


    I was out walking with a friend along our usual path one summers day, when, for some reason we decided to break with routine and fish a small pool in a wee burn along the way. As we walked towards it, I found a rod and reel in the grass. I remember that they were of a much better quality than I had been used too, Shakespeare I think, and I let out a whoop of joy. Until then, I had always been limited in my choice of tackle by the uneven and irregular generosity of my father, and had had to make do with absolute rubbish from Woolworths, or whatever I could scrounge from uncles and friends who had either lost interest or taken pity on me. But now, now I had a proper rod and reel. Worth well over £100, a big deal back then, it was something to be proud of and that would set me on the path to greatness and legend.


    Or not, as it turned out. My mother made me take it to the police station and hand it in. So much for my dreams of becoming a professional angler. I considered hiding the rod and just pretending that I had turned it in, but she had thought of that and arranged an escort to the station. Gutted, I was. My dreams of epic days on sun kissed beaches cruelly dashed against the harsh rocks of reality. Of course, she was absolutely right in telling me that I would one day meet the owner of the rod and he would want it back, but that's not the point. For a moment I was the envy of my friends. It was glorious.



    Well, a month or two later a man appeared at my door, and asked my name. When I told him, he said thanks and handed me a pound note. Stunned, I told him my name again, in case the mention of it had become worth money over night. No such luck. He had claimed his rod and reel from the police station and had visited me to thank me in person and to offer me a reward. A pound was reward enough, but he said that as I had been honest and was interested in the noble art, then, parental consent pending, he would take me fishing at the weekend....


    To be continued.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  16. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    April the somethingth 2019



    Today was a special day for me, as I fulfilled a lifelong ambition. As I said before, I would be venturing further out than previously, and more frequently too. So, after a perfectly tedious journey of 12 hours, I finally reached the hallowed waters of what is possibly the worlds finest trout stream. It is a stream that has haunted my dreams since I was a boy, the first glimpse of it giving birth to a yearning that has stayed with me and fed my imagination, lending colour and light to long decades made grey by the banalities of adult and working life. It was a fragile hope that I dared not to give name too, as though it were some rare and delicate flower that would be crushed by the weight of my thoughts upon its fading petals.



    Do I have to name it? No, I didn't think I would.



    We all know where I mean, and we have all dreamt of visiting it one day, as though it were a pilgrimage to a scared site. I suppose it is, in many ways, our spiritual home, with a visit here a promise that we all make to ourselves at some point in our lives. Well, today would finally be my day. After years of thwarted ambition, I had finally reached my El Dorado. All my life I had pictured it as a green and pleasant Arcadian landscape, free from the trappings of modernity and progress, with nothing as gauche or inelegant as a fast food joint or a satellite dish to besmirch it's reputation and strident determination to always be Just So. The locals would all be taken straight from the pages of an H.E Bates novel. There would be honey bees and a vicar on a bicycle, waving a rosy cheeked good morning to the tweed clad farmers, leaning against the gate to the bulls field. It would be a picture of pastoral serenity, never changing and never failing. And it was. It was exactly as I had pictured it would be. Somewhere, a page has been torn from the annals of time and frozen in aspic, perfectly preserved for future generations as a glimpse into a world that never really was.



    But enough of all that, I was here for one thing and one thing only. To catch a chalk stream trout. Or, if the gods smiled upon me, maybe even two. As is my habit, I woke early to avoid the madding crowd, ate a quick breakfast, telling an outrageous lie to the host of the B&B I had rented during the kippers, and off I went. I had done my research and knew where to go and what flies to use and all the technical stuff one must memorize before putting a line out, so I was as best prepared as I could possibly be. Except for one small fly in the ointment. For all that we had planned and saved, noted and researched, we had not anticipated that there would be a full bloody TV Crew there, filming some celebrity Johnny for an upcoming feature on how jolly middle age was these days. I didn't recognise the blighter, but my companion described him as a sort of Everyman, the chap they wheel out to be hopelessly inept at whatever task he's set, but does it in such a charmingly buffoonish and inept manner that we're all supposed to love him. A sort of modern day Richard Briers I suppose. Well, he could bugger off as far as I was concerned. I hadn't driven 500 miles to be put off by some woolly jumpered clown, umming and aaahing his way through the simple task of catching a fish.



    Fortunately, the crew were friendly and let us know that they would be moving do a different location in an hour or so, and, due to them filming, there would be few anglers out until midday, so their presence was actually a blessing in a rather scruffy disguise.



    Rather than hang around for an hour, we moved a little further upstream than we had planned and set about our business. I had chosen a Daddy Long legs pattern as I had seen a few skipping around on the surface the night before and there were a few trout rising already. After a few casts, I had one! I blooming well had one! I had caught a blooming chalk stream trout on the blooming chalk stream I had dreamt about blooming well catching one on! Afraid that I might lose it, I played it for as long as I dared before bringing it to the net, where it allowed itself to be scooped up and landed without too much protest, before posing for a picture, and, now immortalised, swimming back to the exact same position I had caught it from. It wasn't a big fish, a pound or so, but that didn't matter. It was the culmination of a long held aspiration, and the satiation of a smouldering desire. To have it in my grasp even for a moment took me back more than half a century, and just for that moment, I was a boy again, sitting on dismal window ledges as the rain hammered down outside, and I imagined being a grown up striding manfully along the riverbank, my hat tilted at a rakish angle as I regaled my adoring wife with tales of heroic innings with the village eleven, before catching the biggest fish ever and becoming a figure of legend.



    Lost for a moment in reverie, I hadn't noticed that my companion had caught a fish too, and needed a little help getting it in. His was roughly the same size, and we caught a few more before lunchtime rolled around and the water became too busy to fish, with ramblers and fellow fluff chuckers lining it's banks, at a respectful distance from one another of course.



    So, we bade our farewells to the water and made our way back, with little glances over our shoulders as we went, to get just one more glimpse before it was all over. We had finally made it, and we had both caught a few too. We drove back home in silence, a little sad, but elated too, and nothing needed to be said. We had made our pilgrimage to the fabled land, and dipped our toes into the holy waters therein, metaphorically speaking. I doubt I shall ever see it again. I feel the darkness of age creeping up on me, and, as the years take their heavy toll, a journey of that length isn't one I can see myself repeating in this lifetime, but, if there is a heaven, then it is there in that place, and I will at least pretend to believe that I will be allowed to cast a line there for all eternity if I can prove that I did enough before my time was up. It is a comforting thought.





    Until next time, tight lines and Tally Ho!


    fish120190421_163857.jpg DSCN0018.JPG fish120190421_163857.jpg DSCN0018.JPG
     

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  17. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Great stuff crabby........I'm itching...:BigGrin: to see the next instalment....
    Well done......:thumbsup:
     
  18. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    My introduction to the dark art of poachery, part 2

    Parental consent gained, we made arrangements to meet at 9am the next Saturday at a local landmark, and to bring enough bait, food, and tackle to last a day. I could hardly wait. Until now, my fishing had been limited to the waters within my prescribed boundaries. Admittedly, those boundaries were wide and vague, and I rarely acknowledged them in any case, but this was the first time I would be permitted to range far outside the arbitrary safe zones, as set by parents the world over, and discover new and, possibly, better fishing pools.



    I have always been fascinated by fish. Their shapes, colours and movements delighted me, and I would spend hours just watching them in their streams and canals, or drawing them over and over again, trying to get the placement of their fins just right, memorizing the names of each one from a great thick book on natural history that I found at a jumble sale one afternoon. While my friends were fighting with one another over action man dolls and cupcakes, I had snatched the book up, unchallenged, for about 5p and rushed home with it. Growing up in Scotland, I have never seen or even heard of some of the fish described in its pages. Chub, Bream, Carp and Barbel were alien to me. What on earth was a Tench? I remember being hugely excited at the prospect of dangling a worm for one of these new species, only to be hugely disappointed to learn that they didn't live in our waters. I've still never caught any of them to this day.



    When Saturday finally rolled around, I, along with a friend, were met by my guide for the day, as per our agreement, and off we went. Did I give him a name? Let's call him John. My father had no interest in fishing whatsoever and had never taken me or come with me. This suited me fine. Fishing for me was a solitary pursuit, a chance to escape the shackles of parental tyranny for a few hours, so having one of them there would be to defeat the entire purpose. John was a completely new category of the adult form for me, a man unto himself. Not for him the stern voice and wagged finger of disapproval. He was free of the shackles of polite society, and had chosen a life of adventure and the challenge of living by his wits. A bum, in other words. Of course, I didn't know that then. In my innocence I viewed him as a sort of Quixotic figure, a rogue who smoked and drank and swore like a brigand. I was enthralled by him and his strange smell and mannerisms, and as he told us tales of catching tiger trout and going shark fishing, I held him in far greater esteem than any adult I had met so far. This is how I would live my life, free and wild. I would grow my hair out, wear mismatched clothes and look, frankly, like a scarecrow down on his luck. I would **** a snook at convention and stick two fingers up at the establishment, laughing off the tuts and shaken heads of infamy as I trod my own path through life.



    I fired of a hundred questions a minute and he answered them all with patience and a thoroughness that I had never found before. He knew his fishing, that's for sure. Until then my chosen methods were either a floated worm or maggot, a technique I had become deadly proficient in, or the same bait, fished on the bottom. I had never heard of the nefarious bubble and fly, trotting or ledgering. I had mastered the half blood knot and used it for pretty much everything that needed to be tied to something else. John, on the other hand, knew all sorts of knots, where to cast and when to use Method A over Method B. I finally had a teacher, something I had lacked and sorely missed until then.



    I learned so much from him on that one day alone that it was only many years later, as I passed my knowledge on, that I realized how much he had given me. In a few short hours I had gained several new knots, the directions to about a dozen lochs, and the know of reading a water properly. I was no longer casting blindly, but now I could tell where the fish were lying by reading the wind and shadows, currents and drifts. Crucially, he showed me where the bailiffs patrolled, where they didn't, and how to avoid the brutes. That was the single most important lesson of my young life. Some might say that he was a bad influence, but they can go and boil their silly fat heads. A boy should know these things. Along with how to light a fire, steal apples and win at conkers, catching a fish without getting a kick up the arse from the ghillie should be taught at primary school.


    Part 3 to follow.
     
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  19. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Tuesday 15.05.19



    Visited a new loch today, after being recommended it by a member of these forums. It was a bit of a drive and a much longer walk that I would have liked, but it was worth every moment. The loch is fed by a wide and fast flowing stream or small river, and is hidden away in a quiet little corner of the interior. It is privately owned, but policed voluntarily by it's members, so no wearisome bailiffs around to disturb us. Lovely stuff.



    My companion and I got there around 7am and both set up with a dropper rig, size 14 Black Spider on the front, and a tiny size 20 copper wound nymph at the business end. This proved to be very successful and we were immediately into the fish. My first was a beautiful little brownie of around half a pound, the average size for this completely wild water, followed by many, many more. All the trout here are beautifully marked, and a little darker than most of the fish I've caught in Scotland. After an hour or so we took a short break for breakfast and watched several birds of prey take their share of the fish and small mammals that roam the banks and the crystal clear waters.




    After breakfast we moved to the opposite bank as we had seen a lot of fish rising there, and, once again, we were into the fish from the first cast. It was a huge amount of fun on our tiny 3wt rods, and we set a wager for the biggest fish, the smallest fish and the most fish. The loser would have to stand the winner lunch and concede bragging rights for a period of 30 days. I won the most fish and the biggest fish competition, my friend winning the smallest fish category with a minnow that took his nymph as he was about to lift the fly from the shallows for another cast.



    Just after lunch, a group of young men appeared across from us and set about a method of fishing that I've seen a few times, but never tried myself. I have doubts about is efficacy, but it does seem to be very popular among the youth. To partake, you will need at least 4-6 participants and no more than one rod between you. The method used is to cast a worm out as far as you can manage then forget all about it, take your shirt off and wander around drunk, getting sunburn and singing incoherent snatches of football songs. I don't doubt that it is fun, but I don't think its one for me.



    Well, after a while, the young fellow me lads started getting louder and more obnoxious, partly due to their alcohol intake, and partly due to their absolute lack of success, while my friend and I were catching so many fish that we lost count (I'm claiming 30). I guessed, correctly, that their ire would soon be directed towards us and made the choice to pack up and head into the local village before things got ugly. As predicted, the friendly cries of 'Nice one mate' soon turned into 'HERE YOU!' and demands to 'GIE'S A GO BIG MAN' I declined, citing my earlier decision to pack up and go home, but that wasn't good enough for them and two of them broke away from the group and started out towards us.



    Did I mention that the water level was very low and that the rocky bottom of the loch was exposed? Well, it was, and we spent a good 5 minutes watching these imbeciles try to reach us, stumbling and tripping as they went, with many a curse and wet foot being picked up along the way. Eventually they gave up and shouted some drivel at us before turning back. To my immense joy, the louder of the two fell and landed quite heavily in the water with a great and fulsome splash. We gave him a round of applause and mimed the holding of score cards, giving him 7.5 and 8 out of 10 for style. This seemed to infuriate him, and he let off a volley of insults and threats before realizing that he had dropped his mobile phone and took to thrashing around and shouting about how his life would be altered without it.



    That was too much for us and we started to head back, helpless with laughter and holding on to one another for support. We had to take a slightly longer route as the way we had come would take us far too close to the now phone-less diver and his friends, but it didn't really matter. We had had a great day and caught so many fish that it was impossible to count them all. The biggest I caught was a strange looking thing, (see pics below). At first we thought it had been born with these defects, but concluded that it wouldn't have survived to adulthood in that condition, so supposed that it was the victim of a close encounter with either an otter or a cormorant. It gave a good account of itself, and its disadvantages in the fin department clearly didn't stop it from eating, so we wished it luck and sent it on it's way. It might be a little hard to see from the attached photograph, but it had lost both of its pectoral fins and the right side of its lower jaw.



    My next trip will be to a very well known river, possibly the best known among all of our salmon fisheries, were we have reccy-ed a spot that gives us easy access, good cover, and a variety of escape routes should we need to make a break for it.



    Until then, tight lines and Tally Ho!
     

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  20. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Great stuff crabby.......shame about the eejits but a good day nonetheless.......:thumbsup:
    Til the next adventure.....
     

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