Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fly Fish Islay Sea Trout Heaven

As many know i am a fishing nut and have been since my early age...special things only happen for one reason...I get told I am spawny and catch anywhere i go but there is one reason only for my results, I put more effort into my fishing and spend more time actually fishing than anyone i know excluding JT!!!

I was talking to a famous carp angler tonight who said he thinks and breaths fishing...its in his blood and he just cant stopping thinking about it...A few divorces have been down to many a obsessed angler!! Well I know where he comes from and I assume there are many anglers who read this who I strike a chord with..

My Mrs takes me around shops looking for house stuff and a few weeks ago she pointed to a teddy bear and said 'aww how cute is that' ? I looked up and the first thing i thought was 'fuck me them plastic eyes on that bear would make cracking eyes for a clouser minnow!!' Now when it gets that bad you know you have completely lost the plot and I even thought to myself...'this is gettin too much'!! but one thing I know is if I am going mad through fishing I am enjoying the roller-coaster!!

My Dad was 65 when he died through cancer and at the end of his last few weeks he told me to enjoy every moment I have got because this is not a trial run...I certainly am Dad but am skint lol. I have been guiding for David Wood's Fly Fish Islay trips and have loved every minute of it...at times it can be hard work but it is most rewarding when you help a newbie catch his first brown trout....

One day last week while in Islay I had been out with two of our guests, Sean and Mark on the famous Loch Gorm..we had a cracking day brown trout fishing and were absolutely knackered from 10 hrs fishing...driving back in the car to our house at Loch Skerrols we passed the sea loch and I spotted a huge boil in the flat calm at dusk...I knew what it was instantly and asked the lads to stop the car...I was fucked and dying to get back infront of a log fire that I knew Woody had lit for our return but I knew there was a bar of silver out there showing itself..

Luckily the lads let me have a dabble...

Out came the 10ft 6" sage xp....I already had a wet fly set up on so just snapped the flys off and looked in my box for something sea trouty...bad news...I had left my sea trout flys at the house but had a small clouser pattern I had caught a few small pollock on earlier in the week clipped to my Simms chest pack..The lads waded out along side me, they new my head had gone and was mad for it..I asked them to look all around for fish showing and suddenly a bar of silver came crashing out of the flat in 3ft of water that I could estimate at 7lb plus!! "Oh my fucking god!!" Sean shouted!! We were all amazed by the size of this fish flashing its chrome plated flanks at us..another 2 showed thereselves only 15 ft away!! I told the lads that if I hooked one I'd be in for one hell of a explosion silver rocket!!

I started to softly throw a shortish line as not to spook these fish... proper heart in the mouth stuff I was getting that feeling of pure adrenaline as I knew what could happen at any second...fair play to Sean and Mark they stood quiet and watched with excitement.

After five casts in the dark I felt the strangest rattle on the tip of my rod...like a constant light bump at the end of my rod...I kept pulling waiting for a lock up and saw a huge dark torpedo shape nibbling the buck tail on the back of my fly!! Oh my god !! I speeded the fly up and it came a rod length out and they big dark shade saw me and turned away at speed I have never seen before.. The lads saw my face and asked what had happened...This spooked the whole shoal of sea trout and it all went dead..it was time to get back to the log fire with a dram and work out what to do... I had instanly worked out what I needed to do...get rid of a tail on any fly and get the medicine out!!

The top sea trout lads in the UK tell me there is no better fly than the teal blue and silver...I had these back at the house but a version exactly the same but with a red head known as the medicine!! now I have never heard of a better name of fly. Back at the house I sat with the group necking Woody's drams, all the lads smelling them and talking about peat and age..I aint got a clue about all this but that Finlaggan whisky makes me feel off my head so I got it down my neck!!

Woody had given me the day off guiding on Thursday, all the gusests were buzzing and had all caught fish.. I had time to go a live my dream myself and it felt amazing as i packed my tackle in Woody's car...'where do you want to go Glen' mmmmmm......Lets me at them Sea Trout brother.....

We drove to the spot and luckily the tide looked just pefect for the job, on its way in fast...the weather was warm and dull with a black clouds full of rain...strangely there was a cracking light that made everything look fluorescent..I was unsure if it was the effect of last night's Finlaggan whisky, but it still looked ace!!

Woody was unsure if he was going to fish, it can look daunting fishing the sea but I knew what I had seen and he decided to come along with me while I fished with one rod...We waded together and before long we saw a 3 ft jump from a sea trout...a rush went through me as know I knew I had some kind of chance.....

Wading along very slowly towards the odd showing fish I got closer to where they were... I was now in the zone and put a sixteen foot leader on with 3ft of florocarbon 6lb ...The fly was the 'medicine' it looked right, it turned over sweet... my nerves were shot!!! I kept thinking 'dont fuck this up'.

I cast a few tester casts out the way and studied how it fished by retrieving the fly past my waist... it was sinking quite slow and fishing right in the surface so I decided to let the fly sink down and rip it right through the water column so I could cover all the 4 ft of water...I was not going to figure of eight, I wanted to give these fish no time to make a decision, I decided a good rip was the key....

Woody was wearing breathable waders and kept moaning his balls were freezing so he went out to the beach the have a warm..my Snowbee granites in neoprene are absolute amazing for the cold water and I rarely wear anything else now as I can fish for longer ...I am sooo glad I did too.
I had a scare on a retrieve when I saw a fish that hit my fly that turned out to be a herring!!
I now faced out to sea with a strong wind blowing in my face...I was right in the spot I wanted to be, I could get a 20 yard line out to where iIhad seen fish..I had changed my rod to a sage xp 9ft 6 8 weight with a floating greys xd line...I would never have got the line out in these conditons....

Strangely i turned to Woody on the shore and said... 'I am gonna get one in a min I just know'  this has happened to me loads of my fishing life and I cannot explain it..I just gets a feeling that its all gonna happen..weird...

from this point my fishing life changed and gave me a fishing rush we dream of.........
bending a sage xp 8# to the butt at 30yards

I laid 20 yards of line right in front of me... I let the fly sink for a few seconds and started to rip in short bursts... the second rip I felt two short rattles!! omg!! the thoughts that go through your mind is so quick its untrue.. the silver bar did not give me chance to think and I felt a huge electric wack on my right index finger holding the line up against my cork handle..I lifted the rod and before I could let the line drag through my fingers holding tension the 5yards of loose fly line whipped up and sent the my scierra reel into life...I was lucky as my rod hand and line were soaked and it all went out smooth.....luckily I had set my drag up sweet before and its so good I did... the fish stopped and made a boil..I still had not seen the fish but the boil looked amazing in the sea and made my nerves more shot.... had I turned it ? no chance it then just blasted right out and into my backing....I did look at that dodgy line to braid knot as it bumped through my rod eyes!!!
heart stopping moment

Woody was cheering from the beach shouting 'goooo on son' !!! I knew I had to start getting stuck into this fish as there were kelp blumes here and there... Ileant into this fish and it come right out in the air to mine and Woody's amazement... all the way back to me it was jumping and thrashing at the surface...I was now bossing the fish and started to relax and got it under some control... by this time Woody had waded out to me and it nearly shot around him in a scary moment...

As the fish turned upto the suface Woody shouted  "oh my god what a fish!". We were both amazed..
I carefully beached it onto the sand and felt overwhelmed to have the fish caught.... we both sat there and admired this absolute beauty of a fish..only 4 sea lice over its body and silver as it comes....the light was superb and shone over the sea beach, while holding the fish it struck me how solid these fish are and its obvious they have pure power...Woody was now buzzing and grabbed my rod and took off to have ago....

my best fish ever and what a pic by woody

I sat on the sand high as a kite, and reflected what had just happened..I could not think straight...but I knew I had just landed the fish of a lifetime..

I got out my golden virginia, rolled a nice carrot shaped fag full of sand and lay back on the beach puffing away!! I was 'living the dream'....
I made my way out to Woody and he started chucking my set up out, there was still a few showing and there was a chance.... Woody's line straightened out so fast that it just broke clean off!!! A huge boil around his fly and it was all over in seconds...it could of been a magic tail for us both but Woody will have his day soon.....

I must thank the Islay Estate keeper Scott Brown for helping us in many ways on Islay. He is a top bloke and can't do enough for you when asked. He is the modern style keeper and does not have the old fashioned style that can be very dated. He cares for his lochs and the fish. They don't throw big browns up the banks when caught on Salmon rivers...the old school approach is dying off thank god and Islay is a fishing Heaven...

I am currently doing a blog to credit this years guests who have bought so much fun and madness to our trip so shall be posting in a few days..

let the dream continue........

Nice one


David Wood runs Fly Fish Islay and if you fancy a trip with everything all sorted with accommodation and guided fishing contact him on 07875 405 980. Email: flyfishislay@gmail.com

If you want to do it alone Islay Estates can provide permits for most lochs and rivers...contact them on 01496 810 221. Email: jane@islayestates.com



  1. Awesome fish mate ....well done, a quality write up as always. I'll have to join you for a trip v.soon pal.

  2. Amazing Fish Glen and a fantastic read!


  3. Glen that's a great action shot, thanks.

  4. Wow thats one hell of a fish Glen and the report is superbly written..
    keep it up

  5. Still the best blog I have seen
    Well done
    Chris A

  6. Exhausted after reading that blog, Glen. You take the reader with you, that's for sure, with all that bubbling and flashing silver.

    A great fish and a great account. Hemingway (Ernest, not Wayne) would be proud.


  7. Incredible fish Glen!

    My heart was actually pounding as I read the blog -superb.

    Richie M

  8. Glen, Its a great shot.
    The fishes are excellent. you have expressed in a marvellous way.The write up is really convincing.I always like to read on fishing since i am fond of fishing specially on Carp fishing. Among different kind of fishing, I prefer Carp fishing because of feasibility,easiness etc.I was born and brought up in village,where fishing, Carp fishing are done in most of their spare time.However, thanks for such a good blog with post on fishing.

  9. Awesome story Glen and thanks so much for sharing this with us. Truly was a magnificent catch, well done! Love the snapshots of your glory moment. :)

  10. Great fish, great read and great photos. Really enjoyed reading.


  11. I am quite happy to see the update here.

  12. These articles and blogs are truly enough for me for a day.
    additional reading

  13. This stuff is down t earth, hats off buds out there.
    a knockout post

  14. Great article. I read this article properly. This is one of the best posts. Thanks sharing this article
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