Monday 10th contd...
Sitting in the car, absolutely drenched through and desperately trying to dry out my hands, I was in one very bad mood. This was my last night in the Highlands. I had to go back to Austria next weekend for a filming project and had been savouring the chance to have one last evening with rising trout. Where I was just now had certainly not been part of this plan. The clock in the car showed seven thirty and still the rain hammered off the roof. Seven forty five and the rain seemed to be slightly easing. By eight o’clock the rain had practically vanished and I was regaining the drive to get out of the now warm car and back into damp cold waders. I decided to give it 15 more minutes to see if this was only a brief break or a more prolonged change in the weather. By nine o’clock I was back at the waterside.
Everywhere I looked I could see fish rising. The loch, which had been so dead previously in the day, had now transformed itself into a boiling cauldron of feeding fish. Looking around for a clue as to what they were feeding on I noticed some rather small sedges coming off the field behind me in ever increasing numbers. Two small dries were quickly tied on and out they went. Almost instantly I had a take and soon a fine stocky, almost humpbacked trout came into the net. At just over the 2lb mark it was great start.
Out went the dries again and five minutes later another fish nearer 2.5lbs followed. By now I was very aware of the new arrivals to the scene. Caenis. Millions of caenis. Caenis in my ears, caenis in my hair, caenis on my rod and caenis just about everywhere else you could find. I had been so engaged with the fishing I hadn’t even noticed them. Not wanting to stop to change flies or let the dilemma sink in (the one that every fly angler knows when the caenis arrive in biblical proportions) of what to do next I cast back out into what was now an ever rapidly darkening evening.
From my left hand side I saw a large trout roll on the surface and quickly lifted the whole line and placed it over where I thought it would be. Up and over it came and the best fish I had seen so far that evening was duly netted. A real beauty of around 2. 3/4lbs was soon released and by now my jacket resembled more of an arctic division action man uniform than that of an angler.
Then it came. The best fish I had seen move all night hovered into view about 20metres from the bank slowly sipping down flies as it went. All I could see now was the V on the loch’s surface. It was 10:45 and getting seriously dark. It had to worth a shot so I walked round the bank for about 10 metres, composed myself and gently let the flies fall into the path of whatever was cruising below. As it came nearer I gave them one tiny twitch and suddenly my backing was in full view. The trout steamed off into the night and all I heard was a loud “spo-lo-sh!” as it jumped in the darkness. To say that I was happy to be holding a 3.5lb trout five minutes later would have been an understatement of the highest order.
Four trout all over two pounds with one of them over the magical three-pound barrier all in less than two hours was more than I could have wished for. The dismal mood that had taken over me as I had sat huddled over the car-heating fan four hours ago now seemed like a distant dream. It serves well as a tale of when being at the right place at the right time is always going to give you the best rewards. I only wish that Ralf had gone against his instincts and stayed with me for what s easily, and probably will be for a long time to come, the best limestone loch session I have ever enjoyed.