One last cast….
As it was my last day in the highlands that I could technically fish it was a tough choice of where to go. I felt torn between the hill lochs that had been so good to me and my guests over the last two weeks and the unknown that still lurked in the limestone loch. I decided to toss a coin for it outside the tent. Heads and I go for the hills, tails I turn north for Durness. Tails it was and I must admit that both my legs screamed their approval when they heard of the news.
Arriving at the loch side all was not well. Where was the wind?? A near flat calm had spread over the entire loch making any bankside casting a near fool’s paradise. I’m not saying that it can’t be done: it just makes things all the more difficult and frustrating! The fish were certainly in the mood though and the rises of hungry trout could be seen all over the loch. Pulling down my midge net (thankfully only for about the 3rd time in the last two weeks) I walked down to the east side of the loch where a good group of fish had been happily rising since I had arrived.
I honestly think I should have gone for a walk instead and waited for the wind to arrive. It was one of those mornings where you were really happy to be alone at the water as any angler in sight of me would have doubted why I was there holding a fishing rod. Tangle after tangle, one bad cast after another -it just wasn’t going my way at all and to make things worse I missed a very good fish on the only good cast I made in the first hour. Why was I even here?
Then the weather gods answered my cries of despair and sent a nice northeasterly breeze, that was to last for the whole day, down and over the loch. The fish carried on rising but not with the same intensity as previously. My chances had to be better now, surely? Deciding to head for the end of the narrows, just at the start of no-trout’s land (the seriously deep water) was the next course of action as I hadn’t fished it very much on my previous visits and wanted to explore it.
The walk round was spent in the company of hundreds of small ginger sedges, all trying to stay away from the water. I wonder why? Off came the olive half hog and on went the red arsed green peter on the bob. I began taking trout up to about a pound by dead drifting the green peter over the deeper water before I came to the point facing the island. By carefully approaching the water I could see a few nice trout working their way along the marginal shelf. Slowly pulling line off the reel I readied myself for the attack. Out went the flies and up came trout number one with a lovely turn over the fly and a tail smack to follow. The trout went simply crazy jumping clean out of the water and zigzagging all over the place. Heart in mouth stuff if ever there was some! Slowly gaining the upper hand I drew him to the net only to see him race off again stripping line of the reel at an alarming rate. Second time round at the net and he put up the white flag. A huge feeling of relief came over me as the now exhausted opponent slid over the rim and fell into the net - another fine fish that went nearly three pounds (I weigh the fish in the net before release).
It was time to sit down and compose myself before even thinking of trying again. The fish were still showing about ten metres further out so I gingerly cast out again only to see another mouth come up and engulf poor old peter! Another trout of around two pounds soon lay at my feet.
This went on for well over an hour before the fish and I had simply had enough. The loch had been so good to me today that even though I could have fished on for hours I decided to say goodbye and poured a small drop (don’t want to waste it!!) of whisky into the crystal clear waters. I hope she remembers me next year….
The last evening was spent afloat with George in a nice wild wind catching brownies and finnock. The company had been amazing for the whole period and to end the trip with a good friend, a few drams, near darkness, wild trout and plenty of laughs in the boat was the nicest possible way that I could have ever imagined.
A very satisfying experience all round and I can’t wait to announce the dates for next year!