Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who fishes wins.

On Tuesday this week I met up with two of my mates, Keith and Mark, for a trip to the Trossachs to fish a new venue for perch and pike. Keith's new job as a bus driver/tour guide has taken him past many stunning places that he is now desperate to go and fish. Before picking Mark up at about noon, Keith and I headed down the coast to Dunbar to mess about for an hour or so. We started off in the harbour and while the large spring low meant most of it was dry and the rest was covered by only maybe a foot of water or less experience told me there may still be fish there. As predicted a few tiny flatfish were around but something else caught my eye, lots of sand gobies in certain spots. Alas I didn't have any of my smaller hooks with me and despite trying for a while couldn't hook any of them on my #8 jighead, the smallest I had available. Having made a mental note of the areas where they were most plentiful for a return visit the next day we headed over the back of the harbour to explore the exposed rockpools. Dropping  small sections of Isome mounted on jigheads into them saw us catch a few long spined seas scorpions and time flew by as we enjoyed the sunshine and hopped around the rocks looking for the little aggressive fish. So much so that we lost track of time and were late leaving to go and pick up Mark.

Loads of attitude for such a small species.

A short drive up to Haddington later and with Mark ready to go and quickly loading his gear into the car were soon back on the road. As we were soon pretty much on one of the routes Keith takes people on guided tours he inevitably slipped into guide mode and told us some interesting historical facts related to the various battles and key events that had taken place at certain spots as we were passing them which I found very interesting. He also told us about some of the stupid questions that people ask him as well. When we passed the David Stirling Memorial after leaving the M9 I decided to stop so I could have a quick break from driving and also having passed it a couple of times before I thought it would be nice to take a closer look.

The David Stirling Memorial stands on the Hill of Row near Doune.
David Stirling. Founder of the Special Air Service. Also a keen angler.
Don't believe me? Here is the proof.

Back on the road again we stopped in Callander to acquire our permits and then headed further west up and over a large hill on some quite windy roads before reaching Aberfoyle after which the road was single track with passing places and we passed some absolutely stunning lochs at the side of the road as we went, soon arriving at Keith's chosen one, Loch Chon. Parking the car in a large passing place we tackled up and headed down to the waters edge. At this point we decided to split up. Keith headed towards the head of the loch whilst Mark and I worked our way down the eastern shore.

Some sections of the eastern shore were quite lovely.

Whilst the scenery was stunning, Mark and I had covered a fair amount of the shore without so much as a nibble and I was beginning to think that it was going to be one of those days when Mark called out that he had hooked a fish but just as I looked over it splashed in front of him and came off. Mark thought it was a small pike that had taken his Savage Gear Cannibal Shad and was quite gutted to have lost what would have been his first pike. Slightly encouraged however by at least finding out there were some fish around we continued working our way along the shore but no further action came our way. I began trying different lures and after a while I decided to throw caution to the wind and switched to a rather large 19cm Savage Gear 4Play in a rainbow trout pattern in the hope of tempting a big pike. The loch was still fairly shallow in front of us and I waded out a bit until I could see the drop off but it didn't look terribly deep beyond it and generally speaking the area we had covered had been rather featureless so we decided to head further along the shore to a spot where a small stream flowed in and there seemed to be a deeper drop off closer in. Casting out past this and slowly working the lure back, letting it sink down until I thought it was close to the bottom before cranking the reel's handle a few times, after about four or five retrieves the lure had come up over the drop off and had almost reached my rod tip when a pike suddenly appeared up over the drop off and lurched upwards grabbing the middle two sections of the lure before turning and charging off striping line from my reel as it went. Having waited so long for a bite I didn't want to lose the fish so I didn't put too much pressure on it and after a few small runs my first fish from Loch Chon was landed. I called to Mark and he came over to take a photo of me with it.

Obviously a tasty trout was irresistible.

Having seen the lure the pike had taken Mark quickly switched to a Savage Gear 4Play he had in the rather garish orange and yellow with black stripes "Golden Ambulance" pattern and we carried on fishing where I had caught the pike for a while before moving on. We then reached a large bay that was very shallow. I decided to have a break whilst Mark, who wasn't wearing waders, hopped out onto some rocks to get a bit of extra distance on his casts.

Mark gets ready to cast out his Savage Gear 4Play in "Golden Ambulance".

We were quite far down the loch by this point and I could no longer see Keithand with no signal on our mobile phones we couldn't get in touch with him to find out where he was or how he had been getting on. After speaking to Mark we decided to head back up the loch to see if we could see him on the opposite shore and I thought I could but wasn't sure so I decided to shout to see if he could hear me and respond.  He did and we soon had a conversation going although the rather large delayed echos of my voice were very strange. I asked what he had caught. "Perch and pike." was the reply. He asked what we had caught. "One pike." I shouted back. Mark and I decided at this point to walk back up and around to where he was and were soon past the point where we had all started before splitting up. As soon as we got near the head of the loch it quickly became apparent that there were a lot more fish holding features and when we saw some nice big weed beds we decided to pause and have a quick cast over the back of them. I went with a Relax Kopyto Shad and after a few casts using a slow steady retrieve I felt a solid take near the edge of a weed bed to my left and struck into a fish.

My second pike of the day was soon landed. Slightly smaller than my first.

Mark obviously was still keen to catch his first pike so we stayed at that spot for a little while but he had no luck. We then started working our way around towards Keith who had now started working his way back around towards us as well. Fishing as we went I hooked a third pike, much smaller then the previous two. Just after releasing it Keith arrived and when we explained what a relatively tough time we'd been having he was quite surprised. He'd obviously not heard me shouting "One pike." and instead told us he thought I had shouted "Lost count."! He explained that he had caught fish pretty much as soon as he had left us and had caught over thirty perch and four pike around the head of the loch, all taken on Lake Fork Live Baby Shads.

One of Keith's perch.
A nice jack too.

Basically his choice of heading to the top end of the loch had been a much better one than our decision to head down the eastern shore. There were much more fish holding features, large bays, deeper water and lots of weed beds. Luck of the draw really I suppose. He then went into guide mode again, fishing this time, giving Mark and I a tour of the spots where he'd caught the most perch, his pike and also told us that whilst he had been reeling in two of his perch they had been attacked by pike. With this most informative insight into the areas best fish holding locations Mark and I were soon into our first perch of the day and whilst Mark was after a pike I think by this point he was just glad to bust the blank!

Like the inhabitants of Loch Lubnaig, the Loch Chon perch were in pristine condition (apart from those who had been mauled by pike that is!).
How long have you had this perch? This isn't the predator you're looking for.

Keith's mini tour of predator hot spots continued and we made our way down the western side of the loch. On the way we had to cross a small stream which posed a problem for waderless Mark so Keith and I helped out.

With no waders Keith and I took turns to help Mark get across this small stream flowing into the head of the loch.

After catching a few more perch, by this point it was getting quite late so we started to make our way back around to the starting point. Mark was obviously still keen on getting himself a pike though so carried on having the odd cast as we went. By this point the midges were out in force and the nets were on.

Mark uses his "Golden Ambulance" 4Play to search for fishy patients.

As we got close to our starting point Keith hooked a pike on a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad and after carefully playing it, allowing it to run a few times as the jighead he was using can bend out sometimes under pressure, I waded in and after a few aborted attempts lifted it out for him. The small #4 jighead was barely hooked in the outside of its mouth and if he had tried to bully it I'm pretty sure it would have thrown the hook with a violent thrash.

Keith's fifth pike of the day was long and lean with a few battle scars.
A nice way to end the day for Keith.

Mark was still trying to catch one but despite a few casts at the nice weedy spot where I'd caught my second pike he still had no luck and parked the "Golden Ambulance" before we headed back to the car. Whilst it was a shame that Mark had hooked and lost his first pike, all in all it was a very successful first trip to a new water with fifty five perch and eight pike landed. The decision to split up obviously paid off too even if Mark and I had spent a lot of time fishing with little reward whilst Keith enjoyed constant action. The lack of mobile phone reception meant that the text Keith had sent early in the afternoon to say he had found some fish didn't reach my phone until we were well on the way home! I wish I had thought of shouting up the loch to him a bit earlier than I did or perhaps I can pick up some cheap radios from somewhere so that on future trips to new venues we can get regular updates from each other should we decide to split up again to cover more ground. Anyway another nice freshwater venue to visit in future and some of the other waters we passed on the way will need to be explored too which I'm looking forward to as well.

Tight lines, Scott.

No comments:

Post a comment