“I thought I’d never catch a fish...”
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.