I had looked forward to fishing this all week on and off the phone to my boat partner for the match Ronnie Christie. We would compare wind guru reports one day it looked ok the next time you looked it seem as though a couple of wind turbines could power the country! On Friday afternoon it was unclear whether or not boats would be allowed out on the Saturday. We were both humming and hawing whether to even bother with the practice day. Keen to get as much fishing in as we could we decided to give it a go, what’s the worst that could happen? When we arrived the windsock was already at a ninety-degree angle to the pole. This year has been punctuated thus far with these types of conditions. We kitted up and were told that boats would be allowed out I was somewhat surprised to see a couple of single manned boats leave the jetty though.
We started in Church Bay doing the only thing you can do in this type of wind, we pulled and Ronnie was rewarded with a little trout after a couple of more fruitless drifts traveling at Mach 2 we decided to go and fish in more sheltered areas. Picking our way up the South Arm avoiding big clumps of anchored boats in what we would quite like to have fished through. We dipped in half-heartedly in little gaps but to be honest it was pretty poor. There had been some reports of good bags coming from Lax Hill and Cattle Trough so we battened down the hatches and made a particularly uncomfortable trip from Gibbets to Lax which can only be described as emotional! Needless to say, we caught bugger all, after a couple of hours we thought we might get down into Yellowstone and a bit of shelter. As we motored, read surfed down the arm we passed Old Hall and K Buoy all churned and coloured up to our dismay Yellowstone was just the same. It was at this point that Ronnie pulled out the family pack of Snickers, tossing one to me he said have a bar of morale. I replied don’t put the packet away I am going to need more than one bar. We eventually got around the corner to very different looking water.
The sun was out and on the lea bank the ripple was very manageable it looked fantastic. We tucked right into the bank and Ronnie had switched to the nymphs I had stuck with my large pile off admin which had happened while motoring down the wind. While I was in the admin vortex Ronnie’s line shot off at a rate of knots as a good fish tore away in the shallow water heading for the hills. It was a big brown trout and it gave an exceptional account of itself running the line to the backing. As Ronnie netted the fish it was in perfect condition what a cracker it had made the day worthwhile. I went back to my knitting only to look up and see Ronnie once again into a slab a Rainbow this time. This is becoming a recurring theme in my fishing of late I get a tangle and my boat partner gets into fishing heaven! After I sorted my life out and we got round to re-drift it was my turn. I was still on the pulling rig though but was just happy to be over some fish. They came fairly steady in a space of half an hour and although we were fishing different methods the fish did not seem that fussy. The day went on the wind did not drop and all in all, it was a pretty ropey day. We came off the water pretty knackered, but the prospect of better conditions the next day kept morale at a respectable level. As we were packing up we got to chatting to some of the rudder fishermen who had been in a match they were all reporting full bags from the basin. I just caught the shop before it closed and bought a few tube flies and some hooks to use with them.
The Sierra pairs comp is a fishery rules competition which the only rule was to fish out the front of the boat. This opens up a raft of different things to try, Ronnie nor I had fished with tube flies before but how hard could it be? We tapped up Al Owen for a quick cabby on what to do with these huge beasts. I was just glad I was on the engine I told Ronnie to buckle up and get the crash helmet on. We headed up to the boils, I had not fished here for the best part of twenty years. The first drift produced a good knock a follow and a fish to the boat. It seems to have got off to a good start, I tried to start the engine and it fired up. When I turned the throttle the boat made no headway in the wave, and I mean no headway. Initially, I thought we had gotten a duff boat and Ronnie was complaining that we were not getting back to the top of the drift. I told him that I had it flat out and we might need to phone the lodge. That’s when Ronnie pointed out that I had the choke fully out what and arse! Back round again and again but the sport was slow. We decided it was time to start looking round hitting all the usual areas searching out the odd fish here and there. By the time we had reached the Church half the day had gone. The good news was That we managed another fish and a bit of interest. Back over them then, the next drift produced four fish with lots of other nips and follows. This was it we were on them it won’t take long now! Back round, not a sniff we checked left and right for not so much as a follow. Where do these fish go? We had a very quick look into Yellowstone which now looked pristine but we both feared we had missed the party so back to the Church to grizz it out. In short, Ronnie managed another two fish bringing our final total to eleven, not too shoddy but not good enough to qualify. It was grand to spend a couple of days in the boat with my old mucker, just a shame about the Saturday the wind has surely ruined many a loch style anglers day this year. Let’s hope that summer is on the way.