bibio and Diawl Bach!
The day after I got back from the north I had arranged to go tubing on Harelaw with my RAF pal, Al G, who is known to some of you. He is a top angler and I look forward to doing boatman duties for him in the National Final on 10 September. We tubed all over Harelaw all morning for no reward, other than a few perch and a wee pike for Al. Talked to Alex, who runs Harelaw and he agreed we could try his other place, Snypes, in the afternoon, again from the float tubes. We each had 2 nice fish, Al's on dries and mine on the same pearly invicta that worked on Na Thull for the brownies. Since that trip I hear that Harelaw has closed for the season and may open under new management in 2012. Can't say I'm surprised.
The next weekend saw a trip to Lintrathen for an RAF Northern League match. It is a nice fishery, about double the size of Butterstone, I would estimate, well stocked with rainbows and holding loads of perch! We fished the west end to start with, but it was a bit slow (4 by 1pm) and the water a bit murky, so toured the Loch to find one of the other lads doing well at the dam in clear water. That proved to be key and I ended up the day with 9 fish and 2nd place. Rod average was 5 for the day and the fish were good quality. They took a variety of flies, with 3 on the bibio hopper and 3 on the UV cruncher, all on a midge tip line.
Last Wednesday (20th) I fulfilled a longstanding promise to take my pal Ross fishing in the borders (he lives in Melrose) and we ended up at the Watch Reservoir a few miles from Duns. The Watch had come recommended and we were not disappointed. Bill, who runs the place, gave us a comprehensive briefing on fish locations and tactics, and proved to be spot on. The high quality rainbows (see picture page) were on the surface and moved readily to the black booby, the Kate variant (see above) and an orange blob. Ross landed 4 fish and I hooked 4 fish - work that out for yourself!! A super afternoon and the day was completed with an excellent curry in Gala and a few wee nippy sweeties later on! Happy days.
Which brings me to Butterstone on 24 July. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. 10 RAF anglers took 24 fish and returned 5, with Warren the fish magnet accounting for 6 and 5 returned. By the time I found him, (at 1pm) at the cottage on the North shore, he had already caught 6 fish and a few of the other guys had 2 or 3 fish. My boat partner and I were blank, having tried the west end, top bay and reeds just north of the wee bay at the far end. Tried different things, including the mid glass, Di5 and bung, but to no avail. Weather was dreadful for fishing, with bright sun and a cold, blustery north wind. Eventually put on the fast glass (as recommended by Warren) with a cat booby, blob and cruncher. Took first fish at 1.50 and proceeded to bag up by 4, much to my BP's disgust, as he could not get a pull. My 6 fish were good enough for 2nd place, behind Warren. The other guys who had fish in the morning failed to catch in the afternoon, including good anglers like Willie E. Very odd. But to me the most odd bit was the fish. Most fish were in the 2.5 - 3 lb class, but most of my fish were of very recent stock and had very poor tails. No complaints about the fight, though. What I don't get is the 6 fish limit. What are you meant to do with 16lbs of fish if you fish there regularly - plus it is nearly £60 per boat and no drogues! The fish we got on Carron the day before with the B&B were much better quality (full tails) but closer to 1.5 - 2 lb. Butterstone has even gone to the extent of stocking some 1 lb rainbows for the ospreys! Why not stock with 1.5 to 2 lb fish, let the ospreys have the smaller ones (they seem to do OK on the Lake) and reduce the price a bit? I would be interested in your thoughts - use the comments facility!