After a near explosive start from Hughie at the petrol station, I received nice confidence booster when Rab presented me with a bag of jelly worms from the sweet counter. Reputations always seem to travel well! We arrived at Wolfclyde Bridge where conditions were good with blue sky, patchy cloud and a strong run on the water after the Thursday's heavy rain.
Bobby and I were the only ones to stay on the bus and head upstream to the other starting point. I crossed the fast flowing water and stopped to tackle up. To my amazement, a fish rose at the exact spot I'd stepped out of only one minute before. Who said Clyde trout are wily creatures?! This one was really taking the piss worse than big Rab!
A determined looking Scott McDade at Wolfclyde Bridge
The plan was to make straight for my favourite stream. Half way to there, I spotted a nice fish against the far bank and stopped to cover it. Dodgy wading against the strong current and plenty of drag to overcome. But I did get one chance, and missed it. Never mind, onwards and upwards.
Arrived at my favourite stream and unusually decided to stay on the left bank. Nothing was rising as I fished upstream dry. A change was required. So off with the dry Black Gnat and on with a wet cast. GRHE Goldbead on the point, Pheasant Tail nymph on the middle and a Needle fly on the top dropper.
I knew straightaway that this was a good move. Three good offers as I fished back down the stream. One was a trout of about 11” that connected enough for me to bring him to the top of the water before the GRHE came free.
I started a new sweep at the neck of the stream. A couple of good pulls and missed both of them. Then – bang and I am into a beauty of around the two pound mark. I played him for a couple of minutes. With a deep shelf in front of me along the bank, I had no option but to bring him up to me against the strong current. He is up in the water, beat, GRHE clearly visible in his mouth. Gently does it. Ping . Aff!
Nowt else for it but to dust myself down and go back to the top of the run. I changed GRHEs in case the hook was letting me down. I also shortened my leader to leave only2 ½ ft between the Pheasant Tail and GRHE and started again. I got to the exact same spot. One last cast there and wham – I'm in again. Another beauty from the same spot but the same set of problems though. Right, take even more time this time. Try to coax it to swim upstream and net as it drifts down. Good idea, but, because of the strength of the current, no chance of happening. Right, nothing else for it but to bring him inch by agonising inch up to the net. Holding my rod down and across seemed to help keep him on. Net in water waiting, waiting till he's finally over it. Up with the net and disaster strikes. My middle dropper was caught in the net, but the trout wasn't!
Bloody hell, what do I do now? The trout was purgled (There's a good Auchinleck word for you) I tried to net it several times, but the strong current made sure it was always 2 ½ feet downstream from the net; always out of reach, keeping the same distance from the net. How is it possibly still on? Stand off time – till I think my way out of this predicament. Right, I've got it. The only way I can possibly net it is to bring my leader through my rod rings so that the fish is as far upstream and as close to me as possible and then do a rapid downstream lunge with the 2 ½ ft play I've got with the net.
Bobby Blackley and Stewart Wallace get prepared
Gotcha! Boy was I relieved to have landed this one fish that truly should have got away! 1 ¼ lbs of very knackered trout. I then crossed the river and fished the full way down the big stream. I covered the one rising fish I saw and caught it – a nice grayling. Next cast caught his pal. I caught one other small trout on the needle fly. Time to move on. I hooked and lost a nice trout at the neck of the next stream. I then walked half way up a large flat and plopped myself into the water, which was much deeper than I anticipated. Keeping tight to the bank I brushed past a couple of bushes as I waded through. Unknown to me at the time, my landing net must have been pulled off my back at this point.
What was I going to do now? In normal circumstances, Clyde trout are easily beached on the many pebbly patches of shore. Water covered all of these safe havens today. Nothing else for it but to improvise. A sturdy Morrisons plastic bag was dug out of my bag. Two twigs were found to wedge it open. Fishing recommenced and I promptly connected with a 10” trout. Well, did it work? What do you think? No chance! The twigs burst through the bag and the current closed it tight. With the bag abandoned and the trout played out, I simply grabbed the creature and walked out of the water.
The good fish that Bill eventually netted
Around 8.30 pm a really good hatch of small size 16/18 light olives appeared and the trout went mad for them, At one point, they were rising all around Stewart, who must have forced marched up from the bridge. The wee Rid Filla proved his worth once again by rising two fish but neither stuck. On seeing this, Stewart put on his version of this magical fly and was unlucky to lose a good fish as darkness fell.
Just for the record – I wrote this on the train to Dundee , which, because of a derailment my journey took 5 hours. I finished it on the train back – just after I had dropped my new unread issue of “Today's Flyfisher” into the space between the train and the platform at Dundee station, as I alighted onto the train. Do yourself a favour and steer clear of this walking disaster for a while!