A Week Up North
« on: June 28, 2011, 00:59:33 AM »
Not long back from my anual trip north and just got pics downloaded from camera, got rid of hangover etc.  

This year was a different trip to previous years, new house and some new company for the week, both were superb.

The week started on Friday night for me on the River Ewe at Poolewe for a spot of sea trout fishing and midge feeding, new repellant was properly shit, would have been better spraying on CO2 enriched blood.  Worth the grief as I managed to connect with a 2lb4oz sea trout at about 1AM don'tknow who was happier about it me or Ghillie Ray Dingwall.  Still not many sea trout about depsite a slight upturn in numbers.

Saturday got of to a great start too, cooked breakfast prepared by none other than David Craik, then off to the river to dick about with some rods and do a bit of fishing. The Ewe has to be one of the nicest rivers I have fished anywhere, the water was about perfect and the fly fished well through every pool, conditions just felt right.  I don't remember the name of the pool but I could see the sea from where I was fishing and it just looked fishy.  Nice glide with a good flow down the middle wide enough to require a good whack to cover, about 6' deep that shelved to a narrow tail.  After about a dozen casts something grabbed my fly and went nuts, after about 10 minutes it came in, expertly folded into my rather undersized Maclean net by Scott Mackenzie who ghillied for me in the morning.  The fish went 14lb4oz on the scale and although it was not dripping with lice it was very fresh and only a few hundred yards above tidal water.  Superb way to christen my new MacKenzie 13'er :grin

Second run through the pool produced another superb fish.  Without doubt the most energetic salmon I have hooked, hooked mid river about 20 yards from the tail it was very difficult to prevent it heading back to the sea.  Several times I had to really lean on it to turn it, Scott was more than a bit twitchy and I got bollocked for being too hard on it.  Final run it made was over 30 yards straight to the other side of the pool, superb fish that weighed at 11lb2oz and was covered in lice.  Two pics of this one as I feel the fish deserves it!

Had another fish on & off before packing up.  All fish were taken on a #11 Gold Cascade swung on a DTX floating shooting head and Rio 10' intermendiate polyleader.

Left Poolewe at about 17:30 to head to Drumbeg and meet Wind Knot and Kevin Muir, pleasant drive despite being raped 1.51 per litre for diesel in Ullapool  :z6  Arrived at Lochinver harbour to find Wind Knot had been there all day and caught all the other sea trout on the west coast earlier in the day.  Hopefully Michael has some pics to put up.

Sunday saw a bit of pollock & mackerel fishing around Lochinver and the arrival of Hamish & Ewan.  Plenty of Mackeral about on the west coast which were eaten both smoked (cheers Kev) and poached thoughout the week.  Day finished off with a bit of trout fishing which turned out to be rather uneventful after the salt.  Michael & Kev tubed whilst the rest of os fished the bank, proved to be very hard going so we canned it early and get pissed instead.

Michael working hard to digest the Bombay Badboy

Kev gives a helping hand to Michael something to do with sticky flaps, one of those "you had to be there moments"  :z4

Only decent trout I got that night despite fishing hard, not all highland lochs are full of starving bandies

Monday was more Pollock fishing which did not really happen, other than H loosing a nice fish there were plenty caught but nothing over a few pounds.

Hamish desperately trying to hold onto a large powerful pollock, I saw the fish at the surface on its side when the tippet popped, I'd give it about 8lb, I think the leader was touched so in salt terms some may count it as landed.

Wasn't really a night for trout fishing so, we got pissed again and Hamish cooked which as always was a bonus.

Michael finishes a bowl of H's sausage cassoulet.  I like the look of confusion....  "How could it be that good, I didn't see Hamish boil the Kettle?"  :z4

Kev getting nailed into the whisky

30 minutes later, note the glass full of pollock Humungi

Spot more Pollock fishing on Tuesday but again, was patchy.  Didn't seem to be as many fish at the usual marks this year although this did not detract from the enjoyment, there is something really nice about casting a fly in the sea particularly when you have the kit dialed in.  Most of us were on Airflo Striper lines which turned out to be awesome, far better than the Rio Outbounds I have always personally favoured.

Michael setting up for a backcast delivery in a tricky crosswind

Michael unfortunately left us on Tuesday and my old pal Will turned up which was perfect timing as it partially relieved Hamish from Kitchen Bitch responsibilities.  Tuesday finished with us all in tubes on the same dour loch we fished on Sunday (I hate those mother (&^*%$ rubber ring things), was harder work again and we struggled so back to the ranch for more beer.

Wednesday was a split between pollock and trout, Will & I went away to explore some new marks which despite looking perfect and having all the right ingredients failed to produce anything much, rest of the day was spent tubing / banking Loch Drumbeg.

Off to do battle with the fish, Hamish on usual morning form before enough coffee has been consumed.

Loch Drumbeg from the front of the house

Will relasing one from Drumbeg

Thursday was a day afloat on Assynt.  Ewan, Hamish & I took a boat, Kev & Will tubed.  Picked up a load of fish fish drift and things were going well until we had to veer off course to avoid a cyclist in the wrong lane.

Assynt fished well all day and three in one of those Pioneer boats certainly is better than two, we actually managed to get it to drift how we wanted occasionally.  No really big fish but lots of fish, Claret Spangle, Bondage Zulu, Bondage Palmer, Kate Maclarens and various hogs & muddlers worked well.  

Assynt trout

Ewan & H had to leave Thursday and we were joined by Stuart who was keen to get into the pollock so that's how Friday rolled.  Hit the usual mark early on and then left to pester Mackerel and sea trout lower down the coast.  Again, the pollocking was tough, Kev managed a cracking fish, his best ever on the fly

Stu managed a couple of small pollock and a few mackerel too and Will really got to grip with the shooting heads

Further down the coast at another location, there mackerel were hammering baitfish close in and we all got a good number including some fair sized fish, no pics as Mackerel should not be handled if being returned.  Huge numbers of baitfish present and at times the entire area was boiling with activity.  I was running from spot to spot to try to get a throw in before they moved off, serious fun :grin

Saturday was a day for heading into the hills after some trout.  First place we went was a loch on which Kev & Stu have occasionally had some very limited success, they cycled it, I banked it.  Stuart fluked the only fish by raping the water with a Di7 and some humongus thing, serious trout.

Cracking week, good fishing, good company and superb accommodation (thanks Kev!).  Right, enough of my pish and I'm back to work tomorrow, hopefully there are a few more pics kicking around somewhere.


« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 23:26:33 PM by Ben_D »

Jim Eddie

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 06:19:06 AM »
Great Stuff Ben, some cracking fish there  :z16


"Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion."


Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 07:07:22 AM »
Great Stuff Ladies!

Check youz out thinking youz are the new Pollock bumz  :z4

Excellent stuff  :z16


Peter McCallum

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 07:36:12 AM »
Dead jealous Ben, glad you had a good week.

John Reid

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 11:28:57 AM »
Great report Ben.

Looks like you all had an amazing time.

 :z14  :z16

Michael Buchan

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 22:08:09 PM »
Had an awesome couple of days up north last week despite several attempts to poison me with with crazy weird food  :z7

Managed to catch my first seatrout from the salt which was brilliant got a total of 7 up to 3lb in 5hrs of fishing  :z16 Tried the same mark next three days and never got another one.  Going to give it a bash on the east coast as was some of the best fishing ive done.

Also on the trip managed to catch Mackerel, Pollock, Wrasse, Brown trout all on fly, great few days and assynt is a stunning place cant wait to get back

Some Photos of the trip

Me being arty

A wrasse which took a grey woolly bugger

My best pollock around 4lb

9 &12 weights taken their toll on the OAP's  :z4

Nice Beach



Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 22:57:54 PM »
You did well in the briney Mike, nice pics

Hamish Young

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2011, 23:58:31 PM »
OK, so that was the week that was. Managed to get old fishing chum Euan out of 'semi fishing retirement' and out on a decent fishing holiday  :z16 As I imagined the 'chaps' would be heading to a favourite haunt in pursuit of mackerel and such Euan and I headed for Lochinver. Euan (kindly....) even took a photo to prove the Alfa made it under its own power without breaking down.....

We arrived at just the wrong time to catch the tourist office to buy our week ticket for Assynt crofters so instead watched as Kev, Michael and Ben had fun with mackerel:

We elected to head off and get settled in at the digs rather than get chased by seals like Kev was.... so settled down to a quick run to Drumbeg. Got sorted out at the digs and ended up having a few beers at the hotel and buying our roving ticket for the coming week. Thus ended day 1.
Day 2 dawned fair but, oddly enough after a few shandys the previous night, Ben seemed strangely disinclined to engage in conversation:

Anyway, Euan had brought along his Snowbee tube (Red October, for those on the forum with longer memories) and it was nice seeing them both afloat for the first time in some four years:

We hit the salt for the first time and Euan connected with something big which fell off - I hooked into a big pollock which really ran me ragged. I eventually got its head out of the kelp and managed to catch the leader but the now clearly bloody great Pollock on the end managed to get away. I was gutted, it was a big fish but that's fishing. Anyway, gratuitous photo of Euan's borrowed 12wt bending into something big

There's always some fly tying going on during these trips and Kev was a veritable dervish at the vice at every opportunity

I neglected to take the camera out on the evening visit to a loch in the area but we were amazed by two things:
1. Ben got in a float tube and very nearly almost couldn't be heard bitching about it  :wink
2. There were others in tubes when we got there!
First time I have ever seen 8 tubes on a loch all at the same time. As Mr B would say 'cool'  :cool:
Next day on the salt again, tough going with a big swell and the fish unwilling to play. We went home, ate lots of food and drank beer/wine/whisky instead. Hateful.
Next day I beat a retreat to Loch Drumbeg and enjoyed some great 'tubing fun with plenty of free rising trout with the best about a pound and a bit in weight. Unfortunately my Snowbee 'flippers' detonated two nights before but Kev came to the rescue with a spare pair. I thought Ben could manage to get shed loads of gear in the Surf, but that Mondeo estate of Kevs seems to be a veritable Tardis :!
The first Inverness Boat Festival was on Saturday so as I had to be there and needed a days 'prep' I had to head away Thursday, that worked for Euan too so we all headed to my favourite loch in the area Loch Assynt for 'our' final day. There's probably better lochs around the area, but I love big lochs and a trip up to Assynt and not spending a day on the eponymous loch would be a capital crime IMHO.
There is one drawback though..... although practically indestructible the Pioner 15ft boats drift like a horses arse. I elected to break out the dapping rod and man the oars and drogue in an effort to get the cursed thing to drift half reasonably for Euan and Ben. We managed. Just. Had some nice fish to the dap too, but nothing 'big'. This pic neatly shows the lovely conditions we had. For extra amusement, ask Ben sometime what 'flat packed' 4.45 Lochinver Pie Shop pies from a wading pack taste like  :z7 :z4

Kev and Will went tubing, which might have been lumpy at times but at least they probably drifted nicely (Kev is in this pic somewhere.....)

We headed off at the back of 6pm and left the guys to it. Pity, I could have stayed another month. I was knackered when I got back, but in a good way. Roll on next years trip  :z12
For those who haven't been - you really should.
For those who have been before but have not returned - you should, it's good for the soul. A final pic:

Sums it all up for me.

Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Sandy Nelson

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 10:55:33 AM »
Awesome stuff, fabulous reports from all.

I'm now so pleased to be heading home :z16
is there room for me on next years trip. Well up for anything
along these lines, I've a bit of a taste for the salt now so it will be nice to
keep it up. :cool:

John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"


Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2011, 12:16:00 PM »
Well up for anything

I've a bit of a taste for the salt now so it will be nice to
keep it up.

Hello Sailor!  :shock

Hamish Young

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 18:30:50 PM »
You scare me Iain..... you really do  :z7

Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Paul Garrigan

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2011, 21:55:19 PM »
Great pics and reports lads. Looks like a top week.  :z16


Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 10:10:08 AM »
Scotland truly is piscatorial heaven on earth :z14

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2011, 18:01:06 PM »

        Great report and pics well done boys.

         Henry :z16

Irvine Ross

Re: A Week Up North
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2011, 20:04:47 PM »
Aye it looks like you had a good time right enough. Well done lads. :z16

My own personal version of "piscatorial paradise" was a week on North Uist.

Days of gale storm force winds - 7
time spent searching for somewhere sheltered to cast - 6 days
time spent fishing - 2 hours
total bag - 1 wee troot.

We drove past one bloke on a machair loch in South Uist struggling with the wind. When we passed him again 2 hours later he was still in the same spot and he didn't look happy. You had to feel sorry for the touring cyclists with the camping gear in the panniers. At least we had a warm cottage to go back to.

Ah well, maybe next time  :z15 :z15 :z15



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