2nd – 15th October 2023
Generally, superb conditions, hard fighting fish and still taking dries …. Just three good reasons why you should be taking advantage of the last 6 weeks of the season. With a good mix of rainbows and browns being caught from bank and boat and water conditions just about perfect we have had some excellent returns over the last two weeks and of course we held our annual Coldingham Cup Boat Competition last weekend. With that in mind we will focus on the competition and include a loch report from Les Lockey following his latest visit to Coldingham.
Looking at the forecast with a few days to go before the Coldingham Cup it certainly looked as though we had picked the right day to hold the event. How could the forecasters be so wrong?
The day before Cup day, it rained so heavily that we had to bail the boats no less than three times during the day and we expected much less on Sunday, the next day. However, this was not the case and the rain remained extremely heavy for most of the day of the competition. Not to be deterred the anglers set off at 9am and within minutes fish were being caught. Definitely off to a good start.
The three-hour morning session had clearly been a good one for many anglers but as always, people were understandably keeping their cards close to their chests when they came in for lunch. Most people came in to the fishing lodge looking like drowned rats at lunch time and the one-hour reprieve from the weather was a very welcome break for just about everyone. Surprising what a bacon roll and a cup of tea can do to lift the spirits and give people the encouragement to go again after lunch.
A rise in temperature and the eventual clearance of the rain clouds meant that most of the afternoon session was fished in near perfect conditions, so much so that some people ended the afternoon with a dry fly session. Quite unbelievable given the conditions of earlier in the day.
Thankfully all anglers managed to catch fish and with a total of 104 fish landed for the 17 anglers taking part it gave us a rod average of 6.1. Not bad at all given the horrible conditions for most of the day. Well done to all.
But as always on any days fishing there will always be some that do better than others and so here is a list of the first three places based on the number of fish caught plus a bonus point for each of the 6 one hour sessions available.
Ist Place – Ken Wood – 17 fish plus 6 bonus points. Total 23 points
2nd Place – Karl Ferguson – 10 fish plus 6 bonus points. Total 16 points
3rd Place – Darrel Young – 10 fish plus 6 bonus points. Total 16 points.
(Karl came second on account of the time of his first fish and it should be noted that 4th place Rod Entwistle also had 16 points but had a later first fish time)
I think that it’s fair to say that despite the early weather, a good day was had by all and our congratulations go to Ken Wood on his second victory since the launch of the competition a few years ago. His name will once again appear on the honours board for the start of next season.
Our thanks also go to Mike Wilson from Fishers of Penicuik for once again enhancing the prize money and supporting our events here at the loch. Greatly appreciated Mike.
Fishing Report by Les Lockey
23th – 29th September
What a difference a fortnight has made to the fishing. A spell of colder nights and cooler, overcast days with heavy rain at times has resulted in a significant drop in the water temperature and a noticeable reduction in the algal bloom although there is still a way to go before the loch is back to being crystal clear, but the improvement is obvious and the trout are responding accordingly.
After my disappointing return for the dads team in the lads and dads competition, Monday was a day of experimentation having just acquired a new more powerful 9 foot, 5 weight rod. Several lines and a variety of different flies were tried until I felt confident with my new set up and it was during these trials, I found a small black lure fished on a floating line would often result in fish following the fly only to turn away at the last moment. A slight adjustment to my retrieve and a speeding up of the fly by raising the rod tip as the fly neared the boat saw three magnificent brown trout engulf the fly just as it was about to leave the water. Really exciting fishing, particularly considering the largest of these was a superb 8lb fish. Despite this success, I turned my attention to the dries and given the calibre of fish I was catching and the wind strengthening by the minute, I upped my fluorocarbon leader strength to 13 pounds breaking strain. Don’t laugh, at 0.201mm in diameter Soldarini Fluoro is still thinner than most 8lb leader material. I also shortened the length of my leader to about 12 feet because of the wind and increased the distance between the two flies to about 7 feet as I didn’t want two bulky dries, an orange foam daddy on the point and a black flat daddy on the dropper, to be fished close together. All these adjustments seemed to work quite well as I landed three more fish and lost another two.
For most of the week the wind started off quite light and from the South, but gradually strengthened over the course of the day and often changed direction to a more of a north westerly. As a result I tended to only fish the morning sessions stopping about 12.30 with Tuesday being a red letter morning. It was just a touch warmer with low cloud and a constant gentle breeze for most of the morning resulting in increased numbers of rising fish. Even as I set up my boat, a fish rose in the bay to the right of the jetty and with the setup from the day before still attached I flicked out the flies and had an instant response as a nice brown took hold. Following that encounter, I decided to leave the set up alone and simply drifted from the boat jetty across the loch to Lochside Bay and the results were amazing. 4 fish on my first drift and one lost and the same again on my second drift, by which time it was only 10.30. I finished the morning with a total of 16 fish netted, the largest of which was a stunning rainbow of around 5 pounds plus a further 2 lost in play. Strangely, 8 browns took the foam daddy, while 8 rainbows chose the black flat daddy.
Following storm Agnes, the remainder of the week seemed colder and windier but I persisted with the same tactics and flies and managed to land a total of 41 fish, with quite a few more managing to throw the hook, and all bar three on the orange daddy / black flat daddy combination, with the majority coming to the foam daddy on the point. I must say that the condition of the fish I caught was exceptional, to say nothing of their fighting qualities, but there were 2 brown trout in particular that will stay long in my mind. Not the largest of the fish I landed, but in the water, their yellow colouration was so vibrant with bright yellow fins and tails, they reminded me of golden trout. I have included some photos so please check them out. You will be hard pressed to see more stunning fish. Well done, Gareth and Carmel for stocking such quality fish. I know the brown trout stockings may have been a fortuitous mix of circumstances, but thankfully you were brave enough to take the chance when the opportunity arose and I for one am delighted with the results. It has certainly spiced up the fishing on the loch and I am already looking forward to next season.
Club Days over the next two weeks:
Sunday 22nd Oct – Black Bull FFC and Boarder Bears FFC
Saturday 28th Oct – Bank of Scotland and Chatton AC
As always we wish them a great outing and weather to match.
Gareth and Carmel.
Ps Sorry for the slightly later than usual posting but we were fortunate to get a late season break and only just back.