Tuesday 8 May 2012

Fly Fish Islay 'John Lee, a brown virgin'

Fly fish islay.... the week
After a good nights catch up sleep for the lads it was a full Scottish breakfast in the morning  cooked by Peter and Fred..
We all pondered on our first days proper fishing and we decided fish on the our loch right outside our house..
Loch skerrols is a new venue to us and this was a great buzz to see what it was like... The scenery is quite different to most of the wild open lochs, it is surrounded by huge trees and lots of fallen one which gave away fish holding spots..
I wanted to get time with all the lads and see if I could help them in any way to get them there first jock brown..
John had not casted his a rod in his life, never mind a fly rod, I spent some time on the field next to the house helping him to cast a line..he soon got the hang of it and I got him turning over enough to hopefully get him his first ever fish..
Later that evening I took Fred and John out on the boat and fished some loch style drifting.. Fred is a experienced veteran and needed no help from me, just the odd pointer as to what I knew about how to fish these lochs..

I set John up with a single LTD sedge on a tapered leader, a simple method but quite deadly on certain days... we were all hoping of his first fish ever..
Fred was bumping into fish on wets and landing his shareful, John on the other hand was looking at the skyline on most occasions and his fly was getting smashed only for me to shout 'strike!!' John would be startled by my shout as his mind was somewhere else!! And then the strike would come about 3 seconds after the fish had engulfed his fly and spat it out...It wasn't just a strike, is was more like whipping the ass off a horse in the national only harder!!
John never landed a fish that night but to be fair to him he had never picked up a rod in his life, i needed to get him in the house for some homework...
A few days later i had not had the chance to spend any more time on the loch with John, and while he was out bird watching he spent the odd few hours waded into the loch thrashing the water to a foam around him...i could see from my boat he was really locked onto getting his first ever fish....it was time to get him in the house...
I spent hours with him showing everything from why a rod is used in fishing, the reasons on striking into a fish and keeping a tight line, how to play a fish until its ready to come to the net, all these small things come second nature to a fisherman of any sorts but when you have never fished its hard to take it all in...
I stood with John holding the end of the line pretending to be a fish yanking at his rod, running off then coming at him, he soon started to get the hang and was keeping a tought line and i knew he was ready..
He told me how good this was for him as he often wondered what to do when hooking a fish... i knew now that if he was able to set the hook home we were in good chance of landing one...John is a clever lad and he picks anything you tell him instantly, he just needed that concentration on the water...
Skerolds was overcast with a hard easterly wind, conditions were tough to say the least but i knew of a bay where i had taken fish earlier in the week (robbos bay) .....here is was calm and overhanging trees blowing lots of terestails on..
We waded right around on the edges taking careful steps wading... our second cast of the ltdsedge and the biggest fish of the week porpoised his fly!! strike!!! 2 seconds later John ripped the line off the water to thin air!! 'come on John stop thinking of birds!!
John was gutted with himself, i think me shouting strike was firing his head off the scale and he was panicking slightly...The same happening again further around into the bay but this time his timing was spot on but his stike was still to hard...
I then gave him the best lesson i could describe for a 'Strike'.......... 'Its like this John, imagine your in a brothel and there is a girl lying in full suspenders on the bed, she asks you to whip her ass with the leather whip' 'just a slight little crack of the leather whip then lift off quickly' 'the lift off is just like the perfect strike!!!'
Not saying John had ever done this type of action in his life but he nodded his head at me and seemed to get the drift very well lol
I just knew his time was coming, that feeling you get...i saw a fish boil under the surface and knew this was the moment, Woody had come around to see us and i quickly shouted at him to stop in his travels as not to spook the fish... Woody gazed from 20 yards away and john plopped his fly only 15ft from the end of his rod tip.... We both leant forward waiting then wallop!! 'strike' before i shouted strike he struck lovely 'leather whip style' low to his right...'Keep it tight' i shouted, he stripped his line back and i watched his rod loop over...bumping away he has his rod perfectly in the air..'just take your time now, there is no rush'..... my heart was pounding like i had just hooked a ferox.
I grabbed hi net off his back and lowered it into the water and told John to guide it into the net, these brown really do kick for there size and when it saw the net it tail walked hitting the rim of the net!! i moved the net away and there was a silence, i was crouched down and could not see the fish, its come off i thought...then John whacked his rod over and guided it straight in!!
YES!!!! we both shouted, then a load of cheers come from all over the loch from the lads who could here what a just happened...
I turned to John and shook his hand, he looked gobsmacked he had done it... the fish lay in the net and woody came rushing over to congratulate him...

A Picture speaks a thousands worlds...fact

That was enough for the both of us, anything else would not hit the heights of that fish...
Later that night we all had a drink for John Lees first ever fish, John come walking in with his trout on a piece of toast and a dram of whisky...his face that night was a picture and it made my week on Islay.
Some things happen in fishing and that one will stay with me for ever.... Well done JL
'You have  LIVED THE DREAM'.

nice one

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Fly Fly Islay April 2012 'Tranny fly fishing'

7 in the morning and a glass sea loch
A new way to fly fish, extra stealth....
Islay April 2012 Arrival of the guests
Throwing my gear in the van on a Friday night at 10.30 pm.. Fly tackle sea tackle, pike gear..the full lot..
The 30 min drive to meet Woody was time to think about the week ahead... It was time to make way for the magical trip over to Islay to guide a group of 8 to this magical Scottish Hebrides island...... Sweet
There is something about driving through the night, especially a long journey miles from the stresses of daily work back in stoke...
Driving past loch lomond in the pitch black always gives me the creeps.. This 27 miles loch is something else and one day I will fish it, as I gaze through the odd bit of street light throwing a orange glow in the deep black peaty water I look for likely pools to fish...it's that time of year and fishing has hold of my mind!!!
The ferry crossing at 7 went smooth with a glass surface sea...I got my head down for the 2 hr crossing, I was too fucked to see the amazing sights but was woken up by woody buzzing his head off...come on youth were nearly there!! It was a hour to go and was in a mess with lack of sleep but as soon as I saw the paps of Jura it gave m a lift of the week coming..
The lads joining us were due the next day, I  had not met any of them and woody had tipped me of  the bits he knew about them.. 'scoucers' he said.. Well I knew we would be in for a laugh but I started to put pad locks on everything !!
The house we were staying in was Skerrols House.. A anglers dream all perfectly set out for us.. A huge ripping fire place and a tying table overlooking the loch..winner
We got the house ready and unloaded the gear.
I found some knickers and a bra in my draw and only knew that this was my best catch of the week, it brought a new style to my fishing and i still have them on...... It was a choice of going to catch some zzzzzzzz or wet a line on the loch... We stood 100 m from the loch and saw a porpoise rise from a wee brownie...that was enough for us and we chucked our gear on and got on the boat..
The temp was 16 and there was fly life heaving off which I found odd for a wild loch.. Skerrols is surrounded by trees and this makes a huge difference to the hill lochs...more food on the surface is my style and I hoped of pure dry fishing..
I spotted a huge up winged fly and drifted the boat close to it to try and see what it was..i had no chance as a butter cup brown smashed it clean out the water...in my islay time i have neve seen a single olive on the water and this was quite exiting as I could see lots of them emerging off in the edges of the loch..towards the end of the week I managed to catch one by chasing it around Finlaggan Loch like a twat.. I recognised them as a Claret olive, three tails and a size 17..
Drifting over the loch we went single dry fly and it was nice to hook them smashing takes I have so missed..
Woody and myself got stuck into these fish and it felt so nice to be back, it always surprises me how hard these fish fight, a 2 lber would be just magic
notice the fly...LTD sedge

butter cup beauty that tail walked 3 times!!

Into my first brown 'on the dry'

30 hrs with no sleep and woody makes me row the boat upto the pier for the arriving guests (twat)
The next day I got invited out for the day with Islays top rod David Morris.. He is the modern Scottish wet fly man and from my previous meetings with him I noticed that he lives and breaths the fly just like myself..
The guests were not on the island yet so it was perfect to wet a line with this master of the wet..
Our styles of fishing are completely different, a Scottish wet style to my English dry fly river style..this would be interesting...
As normal I forgot my fly box and David gave me a few of his bibios which I greased up to fish the surface..
We were on the famous loch Gorm and hoped for some early season action
David fish a team of four wets, without naming them they were mostly of a snatcher style tyed by himself with extra fine detail which I admired.. I wanted to fish my ltd against his wets but I had no choice other than fish the dry bibio..
I started out taking two fish in the surface film, David was pulling wets to no avail and he did not hang around, he moved like the wind  casting left and right never standing still.. I stood and watched his style and before long he was into a fish... Another another another!! He was slating fish out at a unbelievable rate until it went quiet and this did not stop him.. He kept moving until he found another pod of trout..
I waded over to him and studied his methods like a hawk as i do with all top anglers..
We walked to a point next to a island with a wind behind us...claret Duns emerging off and duck fly were being blown across the into the shallow water, the trout were well keyed onto this and this was my chance to test the dry in a Engish dry style..
I showed David this and he looked at me like i was mad about to crouch down and drift my flys out... He walked straight through it and went into another run and started to take fish again pulling sets!!
I had a lesson from the wet master but it also taught me a lesson that over the week I could mix my style and his style to a effect of greater results... This payed me back nicely..
David took me back to the house and I thanked him for his kind offer and arriving back at scerrolds house all the new guests had just arrived..
We all shook hands as we introduced ourselves..
John lee one of the guests ran to get his telescope, he was a huge bird lover, not the same type as me!! He told me to look through his lens and I was gobsmacked to see the full beauty of a harrier over a mile away in full detail! This is something new to me and john taught me another way of bird watching of the following week that I can only describe as buzzing...
It was now 4.00 pm and we all sat in the living room giving the lads details of the coming week..the ripping fire had the lads tired after the long journey but  guest Tim asked me to take him out on the loch in the evening..
Later that evening we both sat on the boat and drifted in the witching hour taking fish to my ltd sedge, you could see from Tim's face he was loving it..he had seen nothing yet!!
Back at the house it was a Chinese and a few too many drams, good piss take out the scoucers and bed...

Wayne, Harrison, Glen, Fred, Pete, John, Woody...
Tim took the pic

A sweet first day
Nice one

PS Woody is taking bookings for our July and September Fly Fish Islay trips (May and June are now fully booked)...if you would like to join us on a trip, please email Woody (david@rarecask.com) for more info or contact us via our Fly Fish Islay page on Facebook....