Friday July 27, 2018

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Burnin' Love

Written by Bob Legget

thumbThere was a time when almost all young boys went fishing. This was mostly during school holidays and usually starting out on one of our abundant Scottish burns. Nowadays the early route into angling is typically via the stocked fishery which, I feel, gives the budding angler false aspirations of both ease and trout size.


With a few exceptions a half pound burn trout is a monster, but there is a silver lining. All of these streams run virtually untouched and you won’t really need to be a detective to find a suitable one close by. Probably very wild, probably very overgrown, almost certainly with small three or four to the pound sized fish or smaller and sometimes even free.

The love of a small burn is with you forever. Try crossing a bridge without looking over. We anglers all do that, but if you’re a burn man then try crossing a bridge without reading the water and planning your assault.

So what should you look for in a small stream? Well, for a start, size is certainly not everything. There is often good fishing to be had on some tiny waters. My long suffering pals can vouch for that, watching me on a headwater stream they had both just walked past. 1They were very impressed by my angling prowess, or at least I like to keep telling people that!

Covering the water in streams like those doesn’t take all that long, however some highland spate streams tend to hold your attention a little longer, especially after a bit of rain when that wee bit you stepped over yesterday just yielded your biggest trout of the day!

As a rule of thumb any water that enters or exits a decent trout loch will be a decent trout stream given the right conditions. It’s the right conditions bit you’ve to learn for yourself which is the whole point and all the fun anyway. If you also consider the fact that a loch to a brown trout is like the sea to a sea trout then they will, given enough water, run that stream. Fish the water carefully, what you stepped over yesterday might just be full of fish today.

Not that all the best sport is limited to spate conditions. All these waters hold resident populations which are very often a healthy size.

Fish aside, there’s nothing finer than a wander along the wild banks following a burn that drags you on and on miles from your starting point. Whether it’s battling through the undergrowth, fighting through the heather, or cursing the wind, it really is a passion. When it all falls into place the reward is as high as you can get and all the excitement you felt as that young boy comes back again, only this time with the added bonus of sitting down in the pub at the end of it all and not having to worry about the boys in blue catching you!


 Bob Leggett has been fishing all his life and now at the tender age of 67 is not as mobile as he once was. He still likes to get out when he can as the burnin' desire to fish has never left him.

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