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Autumn 2008

Autumn 2008

"We cool?” Stewart Lochrie is most definitely hooked

A Braw Day On The Braan Brian Tulloch enjoys a fine day on a lovely highland stream

A Female Angle Yvonne Cowie proves that salmon fishing is not just for the boys

A perfectly good boat of my own Bruce Sandison on the Isle of Barra

Highland Hill Lochs Big-Country Style Ian Cramman seeks ‘loch’ trout in wild Wyoming

Nymph Mania Encounters with river nymphs by Alex Laurie

Wendy’s Big Trout Joe Whoriskey visits Glen Affric

Get Lost!
Weather to go? John Cargill gets blown away in Skye

Short Lines
Failing Miserably John Cargill does what he does best

Getting Articulated A play on words with Bob Graham

Back Casts
A Learning Curve How Vince Smith became hooked for life

The Tweed at Melrose – 1952. Bob Graham recalls a red-letter day

Fly Tying
Step by Step with Dennis Shaw The Snatcher

Virtual Fly Box
The Butcher Family Alan Goodwin takes a look at some famous flies

Tackle Reviews
Pitsford Pirate Floating Fly Lines Reviewed by Fred Carrie

Book Reviews
Skues On Trout Reviewed by Peter McCallum

Northern Climes
Fish Farming Shetland-Style First Published September, 2007

Fishing Fiction
Adventures of Vushwelt and Kachsum’or A Tale By Sandy Birrell

A Braw Day On The Braan
Brian Tulloch enjoys a fine day on a lovely highland stream
(click any thumbnail image for a larger version)

The last time that Col and I had fished together was at the start of July and it was a wee bit of a disaster. I thought that it would be good to find a pike loch closer to home as we usually fish the likes of Loch Achray or sometimes Venachar in the Trossachs, but after doing a bit of careful research on the internet I identified Loch Gelly in Fife as the perfect closer to home venue. Col was a wee bit surprised when I phoned him up one evening and asked if he fancied doing a bit of float tubing for pike in Fife, but was daft enough to agree. A short drive over the Forth Bridge and we were there, eagerly setting up our fly rods and pumping up our tubes as fast as we could. From the road the loch looked quite pikey with reeds around the margins, but as we walked down through the long grass to the shoreline reality soon hit home. Firstly it was the stench, a repugnant smell of rotting vegetation and slime, and then there was the water quality. We launched our tubes into the thick green soup of algae and it quickly dawned on me why the loch is free to fish. We threw various pike flies into the murk for a while and did a fair bit of finning around the loch before looking at each other and laughing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess. It was the end of August before we had the chance to fish together again after that, but thankfully this time we were going somewhere far nicer, the lovely River Braan in Perthshire.

The drive up from Linlithgow passed quickly with all of the usual excitement and expectancy of the day’s fishing ahead and talk of tactics, flies and memorable fishing trips of the past and possible venues in the future filled the car until we arrived at the shop in Birnam to buy our permits. It was still only eight am and we had the prospect of the whole day working our way up this marvellous stream, our only slight concern being that the water might be coloured up with the heavy rain of late. Certainly our local rivers were out of sorts, but we knew that the Braan usually runs clear, only colouring up after the severest rainfall. As we drove up the A822 we soon got our first glimpse of the river and pleasingly it was running clear and at a perfect height for fishing, great!

After studying the map on the back of the permit, we decided to park at the Newton Bridge just below Trochray, a stretch neither of us had fished before as we usually opted for water farther upstream. I don’t know about you, but for me one of the great pleasures in fishing is looking over a bridge of whichever stretch of water you are fishing for the first time. This bridge was no disappointment, below it fast broken boulder strewn water typical of the Braan, above it a bend in the river followed by a long pool carrying a good bit of pace, it had looked superb. We ventured down to the pool negotiating an electric fence on the way before deciding what to do. Col thought it would be a good idea to take turns in the pool, a jolly civilized way of fishing reminding me of that classic BBC program “The Educated trout” where John Goddard insists that his angling companion Brian Clark has the first chance at the huge trout lying in the chalk stream. Anyway, that’s what we did, picking up a good few trout in the pool with the best a plump half pounder for Col on a balloon caddis, not just a normal balloon caddis I hasten to add but one with rubber legs.

Continuing our way upstream there was the odd pool, but more often than not fast broken “pocket” water which was great fun to fish and we picked up trout here and there whilst trying not to fall in on the slippery boulders and sudden pots underfoot. At one point we had to get out of the river to get past some falls and found that the bank sides weren’t that easy to negotiate either with the undergrowth towering above our heads, it was quite tricky. Well tricky for Col anyway, because naturally I let him lead the way! After fighting our way through this jungle we found a lovely big pool which turned out to be just below the Drumour Bridge. It was a good place to take a breather and some well earned food and we feasted on a typical Scottish diet of chicken drumsticks, sausage rolls and pork pies all washed down with Iron Bru, just the ticket.

After our feast it was back to the fishing, but it was clear we would have to wade across the river to fish the pool effectively and I was half way across when Col shouted out in distress ”OH NO!” At first I thought he must have slipped and broken his rod or maybe dropped his fly box in the water, but no it was much worse as it turns out Col was feeling a wee bit delicate after his lunch combined with the curry from the night before. Not surprisingly he had a sore stomach and he wasn’t feeling too clever now - he needed to go urgently! I continued to wade to the opposite bank whilst Col ran back into the jungle to be at one with nature. After a short time Col rejoined me seemingly recovered from his tummy troubles and he made short work of the free rising trout in the pool which took a liking to his new rubberized balloon caddis, again nothing big but great fun. We stood on the Drumour Bridge after the frenetic sport in the pool below for a wee look upstream to see what lay ahead, more rapids and difficult wading by the look of it, so we walked back to the car and drove to a stretch further upstream.

We parked the car at a rickety old bridge and wandered downstream to some inviting looking water that we knew about from a previous visit. Both of us were soon enjoying some fast and furious sport on the dry fly, the best a bonny 12oz fish for Col on the balloon caddis with the rubber legs. I also had a new favourite fly - Hans Weilenmann’s CDC & Elk, easy to see in the fast flow and the trout seemed to like it. Upstream the fishing just got better and better, both of us picking up trout in the 10 to 12oz range, good fish for the Braan. One of the pools in particular sticks in my mind, I fished the tail of it catching a succession of modest trout then invited Col to fish the rest of the pool which of course he did, landing two 12oz fish in a row, before a classic Col moment. “Get the net ready Bri, this one’s a two pounder” he’d said, and I sprang from my comfortable bank side position where I had been watching proceedings to help land the monster. After a wee tussle Col drew the fish over the waiting net, a trout of around a pound! As I may have mentioned before in these pages, Col can get a bit carried away when estimating the size of fish before they are landed. Still it was a bonny looking trout even if it wasn’t a two pounder and we had a good laugh about it as we trudged back to the car contentedly. It had been an enjoyable day fishing on this un-spoilt trout stream in wonderful surroundings and catching free rising trout. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

Brian Tulloch lives in Kirkliston near Edinburgh with his wife Ruth, daughter Megan and son Jamie. Brian works for a gardening contractor firm. He fishes mainly for brown trout on rivers and lochs, but also enjoys fishing for grayling and pike. Brian's favourite place is Dunalistair water, the home of both big trout and huge pike.

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