Years ago I was invited to join John & his dad George for a week’s fishing on the isle of Lewis. Joining us would be a mutual friend, Peter, who had fished all over the world. John, as you know is an Otter and George has been fishing for years, an angler of considerable skill. This made me the novice of the party by a very long way.
The first thing that struck me about Lewis was the sheer amount of water there is to fish. As well as the more famous Salmon systems there are hundreds of named lochs and even more tiny, un-named hill lochs [are they called locharns?]; they all have one thing in common, they all hold fish.
The weather was fine for early summer in the Hebrides and we fished a loch or two each day catching fit, feisty & beautiful wild brownies, all under a pound, most less than half of that.
One night, after dinner, the owner of the B&B where we were staying told us of a little loch just over the hill that we might like to fish. He didn’t think the loch had a name but due to the number of Cuckoos up there he always called it Cuckoo Loch. George & Peter were still sleeping off dinner so John & I made the hike of a mile or so over the hill and reached the loch about half an hour after the sun had dipped below the horizon.
The sky was that beautiful brassy colour only seen at these latitudes in early summer & the air was filled with the calls of Curlew and Raven with the occasional ‘Go Back Go Back’ from a startled Grouse and the desolate ‘peeep’ from a bird of pray too far distant to identify. The dominant sound however was the call of the Cuckoo which seemed to surround us and only served to increase the unreality of the place.
The loch itself is quite small; at a guess I’d say less than 2 acres, and everywhere the flat brazen surface was dimpled by trout sipping down tiny flies. Neither of us could see what was being taken so we took a guess & I tied on a tiny Sherry Spinner as it was the smallest thing in my box. We split up & worked our way slowly around the shore casting only to rising fish. No long distance stuff involved here, only short, delicate casts of about 10 to 15 yards, closer on occasion. Past midnight and the air & the light were such that we could still see our tiny offerings being slurped down. Magical.
I can’t remember how many fish we caught; it wasn’t an occasion for keeping score, only a chance to appreciate the setting, the surreal atmosphere, the perfect tranquility and my good fortune at being given the opportunity to fish in such an enchanting place in the company of a good friend.
For more information of fishing in the Hebrides click here