Loch Lomond – A weekend in paradise

For us simple minded anglers, nothing quite gets the blood flowing like the thought of a good ol’ road trip. Loading up the wagon; hearts full of an excited optimism. The anticipation builds throughout the hum drum week; thoughts drifting lazily towards our piscatorial passion. Of course these dreams rarely fulfil expectations but thats what fishing is all about. I think.

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This trip was extra special, Loch Lomond the destination; Esox Lucius the target. Loch Lomond is the largest body of freshwater in the UK dwarfing even the mightiest of waters and its packed full of fucking pike; allegedly. As ever NCA associate Jamie Ward was riding shotgun.

For a change, I had conducted some initial research before this trip. Information was sparse but a few choice locations kept cropping up. The first was a spot passed on to me by an ex colleague, who was the inspiration for this trip. I was told of monster catches from this area. This spot was a small beach tucked away on the western shores of the loch barely big enough for a bivvy. Having conducted a thorough wader and stick depth check. I discerned that the depth of the loch very slowly tapered off and that it was still fairly shallow at 40 yards out, no less than 4 feet deep. However, the loch did seem low during our visit.

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The bait for the weekend would be the wallet hugging recession pike pack from Online Baits UK. Found here. The service was brilliant with delivery instructions followed to a tee. The pack contained a vast array of dead baits that only a fool would fail to catch on. I even injected the fish with heroin so they blended in and looked even more natural in this Scottish setting.

We spent the first frozen night (this trip took place in January) near Luss without a bite, We decided to move early the second day to the far side of the Loch to a location near Balmaha. Up[on arrival this spot felt much pikier, it shelved off straight away to around 20 foot at 10 yards out. Also rather than the gravel bottom there was a tackle munching, feature packed rocky bottom in it’s place.

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We spent another night cuddling around a fire place, shooting the shit but the floats remained resolutely un-submerged. Despite a valiant attempt to sink them by a Scottish yacht lout, who motored past us at about 300 yards out going flat out. Standing on the top deck of the boat was a man presumably Scottish, arms raised, shouting SCCOOOTTTLLLAAANND!!!. Whilst this is was a beautiful sight in itself, it was even more hilarious to see (first hand) the devastation that can be caused by a large boat travelling at speed. A couple of minutes after he passed, a tidal wave of gigantic proportions washed ashore and split both of our cups of tea and splashed us both a little bit in the face.

In summary, no fish were caught over the weekend trip but I could not recommend a trip up to Loch Lomond highly enough. Despite the freezing cold temperatures and teas being spilt by rampaging Scotsmen it is without doubt one of the most beautiful areas of our mossy little rock. I will be back probably with Jamjam.

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Fishing Britain – Silver Salmon and Manky Perch

Excellent video as usual from Fishing Britain, produced by the Field Sports Britain Boys, this channel is easily the best on youtube. This episode shows Ant Glascoe Jr. visiting some urban spots that I myself have visited.

Salford Quays with Paul

The difference of course is fish do actually end up on the bank.

Horton Lake Dorset

One of my old stomping grounds. Great Venue. Just don’t piss off Charlie or you might end up sleeping with the carp!


Brighton Beating Bowel Cancer Marathon

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for taking the time for reading my fishy tales.  As well as your continued readership I have but one humble-ish request.

Please take the time to have a look at my just giving page. I lost my mother to cancer at a young age and I really want to contribute towards research that will one day stop people from going through the same things I have.

Please like, share and comment (and then donate)


Let’s titty fuck cancer in the face today……….

A Day out on the water at Stock’s Fly Fishery

Every now and then a special days fishing pops up. It’s why anglers go fishing the joys of the unexpected. The quarry is usually known but the tales of legend and monster fish are always in the back of an anglers head. Inevitably, of course, these tales very fairly materialize themselves in the form of an unexpected catch. I will remember this trip for the unexpected events, unfortunately, these were not overtly fish related happenings that will stick out in my mind but because the day was plagued by unrelenting disaster.

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This weekends fishing destination was the infamous Stocks Fly Fishery about 90 mins drive from my home in Manchester. It’s a proper high calibre trout lake on which you half expect Matt Hayes and a camera crew to drift by on. It’s nestled in the Forest of Bowland it’s a real beaut of a fishery. Having heard about the fishery just after picking up a fly rod for the first time last year I have been dying to fish the place for ages.


Jamie as usual was my ghillie / fishing buddy for the day. We would be boating for the day. I did notice when we were out on the water that the bank fishing looked particularly good. Lots of fishy looking spots and with waders the bank fisherman could stroll out a far way in places. Which I have found not to be so typical for the big ressies which tend to drop off quickly from the margins.

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Boat fly fishing is a very distinct method of fishing and to be successful on the water; boats and their handling require a certain degree of mastering. I’m relatively new to the world of boat fishing, but I feel confident enough now in my abilities to be out in a rough days weather. I’ve learnt the hard way with boats, I’ve crashed them into jetties, piers, buoys other boats, islands and the shore. I’ve ran out of fuel, forgotten anchors pretty much everything that has gone wrong in a boat I have done first hand. I did manage a few new ones on this trip but I’ll go into that later. I really do recommend familiarizing yourself with boats in the presence of someone competent, this obviously isn’t the path I went down in my quest for trout but it’s worth a thought if you want save yourself some stress.

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The weather on the day was poor to say the least, there was a strong wind whipping over the reservoir creating a large swell which frequently washed over the bow to spatter us with water. It was a cold day with the promise of some sunshine, on this basis I went for an intermediate line, despite the wind i fished a team utilising a bright blob on the top dropper as an attractor followed with by a big buzzer and a small buzzer. Perhaps it was not an orthodox set up but I like to give things a go myself (hence all the boat disasters), I’ve only just started fishing teams and in terms of combos I am still very much learning which flies compliment each other. I am open to suggestions.

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As I mentioned much of the day was a disaster. The motor above was the culprit behind most of these disasters. The first incident was caused when I turned the fuel tap from the on position to the off position which of course meant we ground to a stop 60 yards from the jetty and then struggled to get the motor started again, and had to suffer the eternal shame of having the other anglers convoy out past as we drifted aimlessly. Later as we cruising to the first Island Jamie left his tippet trailing in the water which inevitably found its way into the prop. Freeing the tippet from the prop would be no major issue so I hauled the motor up 90 degree only to discover there was someone else’s fly line tangled all around the props blades. Which put us out of action and in a wild drift with the weather causing the anchor to act more like a drogue than an anchor. I managed to take the prop off by popping out its retaining clip, at this point we were drifting fast towards the islands and by the time the blade’s were clear and back on the motors output shaft we were literally meters from the bank. It was a bit like Speed 2 except instead of Sandra Bullock as my sidekick I had Jamie.

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Here’s the break down for when we actually started fishing. Jamie was also fishing a team of small natural flies with an attractor lure at the top. Jamie was on a slow sinker as opposed to my intermediate. One of the few lessons we have learned in our short career is to keep mobile when fly fishing, so we spent around 45 mins in the different morning stops, cruising from the northern shallows to the aptly named Gull Island. It was at Gull Island were we found the fish, Jamie stuck first with a proper hard little fighter, I was in two minutes later; another hard little fighter in beautiful condition. We had found the fish unfortunately the weather had other ideas and almost immediately after catching the fish the wind picked up breaking the anchors grip on the reservoir floor and catapulting us into the side of the island before we could react. Luckily in the collision, in which we became seriously entangled in some barren half sunken tries the only fatality was my point fly which snapped off as we made our escape.

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The conditions on the day were tough, casting was hard and handling the boat was nearly impossible but we both managed a fish each and explored a beautiful water. The best part of this trip though without doubt was meeting the excellent people who frequent the fishery along with the owner who was not only helpful but extremely friendly. Sometimes going to a new fishery can be a bit daunting and to be honest the people can be dicks but this was so far from the case here. The final icing on the cake after a day of disasters is Stock’s policy which means if you don’t bag up you can take your fish limit from the club houses freezer. Even better on the day is another angler swapped 5 of his fresh fish for four of my frozen ones, a trout martyr if I had every seen one. If you love in the North you need to get down to Stocks.

More information here:


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From Durham with Love

It’s rare that I receive something in the post. Let alone something that I actually want. Last week this trend was bucked.

I had received a parcel from Stephen Blood of County Durham (if memory serves).

Look out for future use of Stephen’s hand tied patterns which he kindly sent me.


Other readers take note I like free stuff

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