I was now back in the Highlands, ready for the next guests and also battle with trout. I had arranged to meet Andy Richardson from “From field to stream TV” for a weekend filming slot. Andy is doing so much to highlight the uniqueness of country sports in Scotland and he is a credit to everyone who pursues happiness in the wilds of Scotland. The planned film would focus on wild brown trout fishing at the hill lochs. Meeting Andy at Scourie on Saturday morning had gone smoothly but the weather was not looking so good. No wind and overcast skies provided the ideal conditions for a midge hatch that had sent me running from the tent to my car in a time that would have put Usain Bolt to shame only a few hours earlier. The only choice was to head for the hills and pray for some breeze to pick up. After 40 minutes of blood, sweat and snotters (look that one up in a Scottish dictionary!) we arrived at the top of the hill to be, again, greeted by a lovely light breeze which was just enough to keep the midges away and let us take off our midge armour. Praying that this time the fish would want to play ball (I still had the first day’s guiding with Dieter and Clara in my mind) we headed down to my favourite loch in a chain of three system. I let Andy start things off at the pool with a fish on the first chuck. He was speechless! It couldn’t be this easy, could it?
We went over the ridge to the main loch and as Andy started to get the camera rolling I began casting out in the margins. Wading slowly out and casting that little bit further out soon brought a fish up to a (another special fly) coastal buck brown sedgehog. This one stayed on and after a lively tussle was soon netted. A nice fish of just over the pound mark and a great start to a day when the pressure to catch was really on! Another smaller fish was soon landed and released before things went a bit quiet. Wading towards the end of the bank I remarked that I would have expected something by now when the surface erupted and the sedgehog was truly annihilated by a much better fish. By god this one was a fighter, trying every trick in the book to get free. After about five minutes a fine trout somewhere near to the two pound mark was resting in the net before being released back to its watery home. Time for a wee dram!
Working our way round the loch to another favourite point soon had us preparing the next phase of attack. I suggested that Andy should have cast or two first and soon after I was hearing the cry of “fish on!” as his rod buckled over. The sheer power of these trout has to be seen to be believed: jumping, headshaking twisting and rolling all over the place trying to get free. A fine trout of one and a quarter pounds was quickly admired and released to fight another day.
I was going to move on but Andy was sure that another fish or two were present. Spotting a boil at about 25 yards out soon had me casting over it to try and see what had dented the lochs surface. In a classic head and tail rise the sedgehog was taken by a head that made my blood turn cold. This was surely the one we had been waiting for! Then a slow, long drawn out battle commenced that left me wondering what I had actually hooked. I had seen the trout’s head as the fly was taken and knew that it was no wee brownie but you still don’t know until you see it in the net, do you? The true size of the trout could soon be seen as it approached the net and I will never forget Andy peering over and saying “ by Christ that’s a monster trout!”
The trout was long with a massive head and tail but for some reason it appeared to be rather wasted away in the middle. I can only assume one of two things. Either it had a problem with parasitic worms or it was simply in the last years of its life. It was still a truly wonderful trout to catch though and holding it for a photo before release was a sheer privilege. We pushed on to the next loch but by now the wind had picked up and we both decided that we had both shared a truly wonderful day at an amazing hill loch. So far so good!
Waking up to a sky that simply seemed out of place in this part of the world – blue skies with no clouds! – had us in a mix of emotions. Where do we go and what do we do when we get there? Thankfully my good mate George came to the rescue by inviting us to accompany him to a loch where we could fish away to our hearts content without upsetting anyone. It is important to remember that fishing on a Sunday is still frowned upon by many in Scotland so having the option to fish should rarely be ignored when presented. The bulk of my talking to camera shots were filmed and the trout decided to go mental for the camera again! Fish after fish were landed and the true essence of the Highlands were captured in an unforgettable few hours fishing. The odd cry of “BUGGER!” rang around the loch as George missed yet another big un but between us we must have had about 25-30 trout for the morning. A quick word about my friend George. As an angler you could not possibly hope to meet a friendlier, more generous and more fun guy to fish with. Every time I have ever gone fishing with him you just know it’s going to be a good trip and I have lost count of the times he has provided help when it has been needed. You’re a star mate! Back to the fishing, the weather slowly deteriorated bringing with it heavy rain, no wind and a whole generation of midges with it. Andy decided the midge free haven of his car was a far more sensible spot to be and we shook hands on what had been a wonderful weekend. We also decided that we should do it again next year so stay tuned! George and I jumped into my car and headed for home. With the next guest due to arrive in the evening it was big smiles all the way home!