May 1st, 2013
The other day I had the pleasure of a days salmon fishing on the famed Lanrick beat of the River Teith. Lanrick is just upstream of Deanston famous for its distillery. The Teith itself is a great salmon and sea trout river with the added bonus of being just 40 mins from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Lanrick is some 3.5 miles long with approximately 1.5 miles of double bank. It reminds me very much of a highland river, shallow for most part and easy to fish at most times of the year with a floating or slow sinking line. Lanrick is in two parts Upper and Lower beats. The lower beat is marked by a famous cauld pool called simply the “Pool” at its bottom limit . This pool must act as a barrier and slow down the movement of fish in very low temperatures and water conditions.
I shared the beat with another rod and only managed to fish a limited number of pools. The “Pool” and “Gravel Bank” are two fantastic pools, in fact I am not doing the place justice as all the pools that I fished that day were great pieces of fly water. The river also has a reputation for big fish, my second largest some 21lb was taken off the Teith albeit further up stream. If my memory serves me right I recollect a fish close to 40lb being taken off Lanrick a few years back.
I wish that I could report that I had caught fish but sadly no salmon, I did however catch a superb brown trout of approximately 2lb from the “Garden Pool” which set my pulse racing for an initial second or two. A down side is that whilst in the fishing hut I noticed a sign that read they practiced total catch and release which I totally support. It then went on to say that any Grayling caught should be killed which is a bit of an archaic view towards our fourth natural game fish. In this day and age we should value all our game fish. If you want a days fishing close to Glasgow and Edinburgh I would strongly recommend Lanrick.
January 10th, 2013
In the late 80,s I think it was when I first met Willie Gunn on the banks of the Brora I can even remember it was on the Ford pool. I remember him as being a small weathered man getting on in years, Willie had been a ghillie on the Brora. He talked about “backing up in the spring”. Some of these Brora pools are long and flat and the early spring fish would collect in the slower deeper water and the only way then to fish them was slow and deep was to “back up”. The pools in question were the likes of Rallan and Bengie and also probably the tail of the Madman. Winters prior to the 80′s were much with sharp frosts which would keep the river low and slow the fish downand keep them in the lower river.
Rob Wilson of Brora kept the tackle shop at the time he I believe first dressed the Willie Gunn and they sold them tied on Waddington shanks and even thick copper wire for the heavier ones formed as Waddingtons. I bought some and then over the years made some, it was without a doubt a successful fly in fact I caught one of my better fish with one on the River Teith at 21lb, it worked a treat. Over the years I had lost may way with Cascades and variants and have not used a Willie Gunn for some time, although even my cascades kept the basic colour concept of orange, black and yellow.
Now some of you may know that I help run the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, bagpipes if you are confused. Well one of young stars happens to have a girl friend whose father just happens to run The Helmsdale Tackle Company. How lucky is he attractive girl friend whose family run a tackle business in a fantastic part of the world. Knowing that he had plans to visit them over Christmas I jokingly said (joking but always hoping he might want to oblige his boss) “bring me back a fly or two”. Imagine my delight when he returned in the New Year with two beautifully tied Posh Willie Gunns Coneheads nicely boxed with treble included.
Posh Willie Gunn
Posh they certainly are with posh tosh opel mirage tinsel on the body. The season opens again next week in my part of Scotland and I am planning to resurrect my interest in Willie Gunns especially the Posh version if you want to try one and do not tie then may advice is contact the Helmsdale Tackle Company with the link above.
December 2nd, 2012
The Vladi worm a fly devised by Poland’s Vladi Trzebunia to imitate the common earth worm. In my early days grayling fishing I used to trot with gilt tails, small earth worms kept in moss and fed regularly with cream and they worked. Why I doubted that this fly would be of use for Scottish grayling I am not sure but I was fascinated by the fly and set about getting the right materials.
Daiichi 1870 swimming nymph hooks difficult to find in the UK so I sent off to the US although I did see taht a Uk company now stocked them. Bright pink condoms were next ebay came to the rescue, when a dozen arrived, bright pink the required colour. I felt that I had to explain to my partner why I needed all these condoms in my tackle box in case she came across them.
The material arrived and I set about tying a few “worms” and they looked great. They then sat in my fly box possible for the next 3 years. Eventually I got round to trying one it was on my annual day on the Tweed at Tweedswood and it worked, very quickly, on the second cast. I moved it around on the cast, gave one away and it still worked. I tried it after I saw an article in Trout and Salmon magazine where a version using polythene was being used instead of condom to effect.