“I thought I’d never catch a fish...”

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Your First -

Archie MacColl-Smith, aged 14, In­ver­aray, Ar­gyll

WHEN I started fly-fish­ing al­most five years ago now at In­ver­awe Fish­eries, I was only nine. When I first tried cast­ing I thought I’d never catch a fish but af­ter a lot of prac­tice I fi­nally landed my first rain­bow one evening on a Black Epoxy Buzzer and slow re­trieve. Then, three years af­ter I be­gan, I won the an­nual char­ity day com­pe­ti­tion at In­ver­awe. I used a Blue-flash Damsel on a float­ing line with slow short strips of the line. It was eas­ily the best day of my angling ca­reer. I was al­ways open to any ad­vice I could get and some of the best ad­vice is – if you’re vis­it­ing a new fish­ery – talk to the lo­cal an­glers and the man­age­ment to find out what tac­tics to use and where to fish. But I couldn’t have got any­where if it wasn’t for the help of my grandpa, un­cle Colin Clerk and Alis­tair Gal­braith. They taught me al­most all I know about the sport. I’ve also had lots of help from other peo­ple along the way. This month Ma­genta Blobs have been work­ing well with a UV Strag­gle Di­awl Bach on the drop­per, re­triev­ing an inch ev­ery so of­ten. Also, in­ter­me­di­ate lines with White Mini Snakes, strip­ping the line fast, then slow. Daddy Hogs and Grun­ters sit­ting on the sur­face have also scored well on a short seven-foot leader. Stalk­ing Bugs on a 3ft midgetip with short strips have taken their share as well. But if I could give a bit of my ad­vice it would be this. When you’re us­ing a dry fly, cast it out and wait no longer than 20 sec­onds then re-cast. Choose three points in front of you – the mid­dle, a left side and the right. Start at the left then move along and keep re­peat­ing this process. It seems to work for me. Over the last month I’ve been hav­ing great suc­cess at the Lake of Men­teith tar­get­ing blue trout with six foot midge-tips and in­ter­me­di­ate lines. The best fly for my­self, and ev­ery­one I fish with will agree, has been the Deadly Damsel (bought at Selectafly for £1.30). The re­trieve has been a slow fig­ure-of-eight. I have only had three rain­bows out of the Lake this month, the rest has been blue trout and the heav­i­est was prob­a­bly 6lb-plus. The best day I’ve had on the Lake this month was with boat part­ner Sandy McDon­ald. We came in with 14 blues be­tween us, all over 3lb. The Butts, Sandy Bay and Gate­side Bay have all been fish­ing very well.

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