Category Archives: Memories

There and back again

Early Saturday saw us loaded and northbound to our first stop, the Wild Trout Trust bash in Derbyshire.  Some fascinating talks on stocking policies, gene pools and the Riverfly Project and a chance to catch up with some old friends was followed by a guided walk of the rivers Bradford and Lathkill.  I think everyone was eager to get out on the river and get out of the most uncomfortable chairs a behind has ever had to endure 🙂

The river walk was designed to explain the habitat improvements made in order to support the decision to stop stocking in 2005 [?]. Whilst this was educational, what everyone was spellbound by were the profusion of wild browns and rainbows lazily finning and confidently taking the profusion of aquatic flies drifting over them.  Simply mouth-watering.

After an overnight stay in the Peak District and an early morning northward dash, we set up camp about 10 yards from the River Braan.

Bongo and Awning - Braan

IMG_4299

The rest of the day was spent in reconnaissance, taking in the breath taking scenery and being totally blown away by the amount of fish-able water within easy travelling distance from our base, the sheer size of some causing comments like the one from the passenger seat as we drove over the Tay bridge in Pitlochry, ‘Feck me!  It’s the English Channel!’

Having had our appetites well and truely whetted we were more than ready to fish on Monday.  At the reccommendation of the guy in the tackle shop in Pitlochry, we headed for the Tummel, just below Coronation Bridge.

IMG_4301

IMG_4305

For all other purposes the weather was magnificent.  Hot, cloudless blue skies, no wind.  Needless to say, this was somewhat less than ideal for fishing a strange river.  Very hard work but at least we caught fish and got rid of the yips.  I hear that the World Fly Fishing Championships will be held on the same stretch of water later this week –  I hope they have more joy than we did.

Fishing continued in the same vein under a mercilessly cloudless blue sky for the next few days.  Plenty of fly life in the air but very little on the water and no consistent ‘risers’.  Fishing into the darkness with very little success, frustration building, the decision was made to de-camp to the Upper Clyde.

IMG_4321

We fared no better here, a few small fish caught, more lost, and the sight of a monsterous brownie hoovering up fry was our total return for a hard day fishing against the odds.  Neil claims to have had a huge pike brush by his leg in a pool at the tail of a riffle but, by then I think the sun had got to him [or me] 🙂

The following morning we were racing south, heading for home waters.  We stopped by the Annan for a couple of hours, just in case things were better there – they weren’t.

A bath, a decent meal and a very surprised wife set me up for the following day.  I met Neil at Waterloo Bridge on the Monnow where, apparently things had been tough too but, shortly after I arrived it started to rain.  Would this be what the river needed to freshen things up a bit?  Absolutely!

We both took fish.  Good, wild fish.  And last knockings found me in a long shallow stretch with a decent run under some low over-hanging branches.  There were rises so subtle as to be almost undetectable.  I swear the surface remained unbroken while the trout were sucking down flies from a few inches down.  Fly disappears, wait a few seconds and tighten – fish on!

I took four good fish out of that short section, the last being the fish of the day and possibly my fish of the season, a touch over 16 inches.

So we were back.  Older certainly, wiser maybe, more appreciative of just how good the Monnow is – absolutely.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Would I do it with Neil again?  In a heartbeat.  I think it’s time for more beer & bullshit.


Caption Competition

Taken on the opening evening of the Monnow Social 2007 – Anyone want to hazard a guess at what this sagacious looking lot are saying?

Only a few days until we have to do it all over again 🙂


Passing the time

Here I am again. Middle of the night and I’m baby-sitting a database migration – 70 gigabytes of ones and zeros moving silently from Frankfurt to Hamburg. I’ve done all I can; now I have to watch and wait, just in case there’s a problem – when this is done and the Germans have got their very organised act together I’ll have one less thing to worry about. It’ll be theirs – no more come-backs, no more call-outs. Just one more step on the way to working myself out of a job. I usually have a side-kick to chat to when I do this sort of thing but the powers that be have decided that he’ll be needed in the morning to rectify any mistakes I make tonight. Hmm – I’ve been doing this kinda stuff every week for the last 10 years and if there are any mistakes they won’t be mine.

The forums are full of the same old, same old questions and the blogs are fairly static. Gareth reminds me that there are 11 days, 21 hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds until the opening of the Trout season on the River Taff – thanks Gareth; that really helps at a time like this 🙂 and I see that Warren has stopped posting on Water Lines for some mysterious reason – shame, that was shaping up to be a very enjoyable and educational read. I wonder if I could persuade him to contribute here?….

Masochism dictates that I read over some of my old posts and I’m appalled at some of my typos and grammatical errors so I spend a while mending my mistakes and try to remember the true spirit of the experience that lead me to write them in the first place – then I stumble across The Cruelty of Chronos which brings a tear to this crusty, cynical old eye and I truely remember what fishing is all about.

I wander out on to the patio for a smoke and I see the fog, clinging, freezing to the branches of the old Crab-Apple. I’m struck by the silence and reminded that my recent hopes of an early end to winter are mis-placed and the glory days of May are way down the road in an uncertain future. I remember soft nights like this in far from happy times in far away places when fear was an unexpected noise and relief was the realisation that nature had wandered closer than is good for any creature of the night; and I remember the glorious Hebridean nights in the company of friends and Sherry Spinners and taking a wild Brownie on the dry at midnight on Cuckoo Loch.

It’s 03:15 and I’m bored – much more bored than you are, reading this – and my state of the art software tells me there are 2 hours and 51 endless minutes before I can even contemplate going to bed so, I’ll leave you knowing that this post is almost as pointless as my work here tonight.

See you on the dole queue [apologies Tom]


Hummingbirds and Eagles

Following my pointless moan on the previous post I decided to resurrect this article that I have started and abandoned several times.

Arizona ~ April 2007: Even though summer had not yet got into full swing it was dry and very, very hot. I was grateful for the cold water swirling around my legs as I waded further into the Lower Salt River trying to read this strange body of water, so unlike anything I had fished before. The parched valley runs west through the desert from Saguaro Lake towards Scottsdale and the river’s course is picked out from the surrounding desert browns in a vivid green line of Palo Verde and Mesquite trees, home to Red Winged Blackbirds and Black Chinned Hummingbirds.

Lower Salt AZ

Continue reading


It’s been a while

Almost 6 weeks since I last posted anything. I haven’t been lazy, there’s just been so much going on. Work, family holidays, family illnesses, the Monnow Social – ah yes, the Monnow Social…..

Continue reading


Midnight on Cuckoo Loch

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.

Continue reading


%d bloggers like this: