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Hamish Young

Assynt adventures 2012
« on: June 27, 2012, 11:38:22 AM »
This year’s trip to Assynt is brought to you by the expressions ‘is it :?’ and ‘what’s the plan :?’.

Apologies to my compatriots from this trip if I’ve borrowed any of your photos from the trip; many are better than mine or have stuff I’ve missed when a camera wasn’t handy. With that out of the way.... let the story telling begin.

Once again we headed north to Assynt for the annual June gathering. After heading off from my place near Beauly on the Saturday morning we headed initially for Ullapool. A cooked breakfast at the Frigate Cafe & Bistro in Ullapool set us up for the day. If you’re in the area its really well worth a visit Following some supplies shopping we headed for Lochinver and picked up our weekly tickets at the Tourist Office. Heading off to the harbour we came across windknot where (Michael) was already terrifying the yachties with his back casts as he scoured the harbour area for some fish.

It was damn cold and windy when we arrived in Lochinver and by the time we got to the cottage in Drumbeg it wasn’t much better. Undeterred, cars were unpacked and float tubes assembled for a short session on Loch Drumbeg where plenty of free rising trout of the three to the pound size are to be found. Well, usually. I fished hard and managed a dozen wee trout before deciding a nice warm coffee and a dram were more appealing than the prospect of frozen hands and man vegetables. It wasn’t warm out.

Decision was made to hit the salt on the Sunday so we all headed off to bed nice and early without touching a drop of alcohol. Pure dead honest we did.

On Sunday at the ‘Bay of Pigs’, our nickname for one of the better Pollock marks on that bit of coast, the motley crew started fishing whilst trying to get over Lee’s unusual dress sense......

Lee was the first to hook into a Pollock and what a belter it was for his first Pollock on the fly.

Sport was unusually slow; a few picked up here and there but not the usual fast action with rod benders.

Deciding that it just ‘had to be done’ our Kev (in his honorary role as the Robson Green extreme fishing lookalike) made for the salt in his float tube for some extreme fly fishing. Certainly he looked pretty comfortable out there and very shortly he was into a Pollock that ran him pretty ragged in the kelp beds.

Successfully returned I wondered if it was the first Pollock to be caught from a tube with a fly rod in the UK? I don’t know of it being done before.

Not to be outdone, our equally intrepid dresser windknot got out there in his inflatable kayak and got into a fish too. I though he looked a wee bit like a floating advert for Burberry wading jackets..... But, then again, he was pretty visible in case the worst happened.... Our Kev kept him under control whilst the wind picked up:

Monday we had three boats booked out on Loch Assynt. The Assynt Angling Group now has three boats on the loch following the loss of Loch Ailsh from their fishings. Seems likely that the proprietor of the Ailsh fishings may also withdraw from the protection order too, which is a great shame for all visitors as Ailsh is a superb water and undoubtedly my favourite loch in the area. Anyway, Euan and I had the ‘new’ boat based at the Lochinver end of the Loch. Things got off to a bad start.
My nice new downrigger didn’t fit the boats gunnels which really pissed me off something chronic as I really wanted to (finally) get to use it. The sun climbed further and brighter into the sky which didn’t help, and with the wind chopping and changing direction faster than many a member of the fairer sex changes their minds when out shopping my mood got worse. Things didn't improve as the day progressed, but I did try to smile.....

Conditions were, quite simply, shit. It was a struggle to catch even a small trout on the fly and whilst the boats offered on the Loch are very stable they’re a pain in the arse to get a consistent drift in differing (or any) wind conditions. You must have a drogue and know how to use it. Eventually, Euan and I made the right decision and beat a retreat off the water. A good decision only ruined by our landing just in time to meet the world’s best angler on the shoreline. Well, that’s what he said he was.
Despite his undoubted ability as a tempter of great fish with nothing but a pin, some string and a cane I was in such a foul mood that I was having very uncharitable thoughts about making the world a better place by chucking him in the Loch with some stones attached to him for good measure when... oddly enough...he legged it. Probably just as well.

I’ll leave the others to add their two cents about their day on Assynt, couple of cracking stories in there I believe.

Tuesday dawned and we hit the salt again. Sport was still slow. I caught naff all.
But Euan beat his personal best Pollock on the fly twice. Git.

Wednesday.... salt again for me and Euan whilst others headed to the hills. I nipped into Lochinver and cancelled two out of three boats booked on Assynt for Thursday as the Monday had been such a shit day. Euan and I decided we would still give it a go and retained the Inchnadamph boat. After visiting the Lochinver Pie Shop (you just have to go there) we made it to the ‘Bay of Pigs’ and this time I actually managed to get a fish or two!

My nice new Orvis Access 9’ #9wt proved to be very effective and the Encounter plastic reel more than ‘man enough’ for the job. Honour satisfied, Euan and I headed back for dinner at the hotel in Drumbeg and worked that indulgence off with an evening of tubing on Drumbeg which was great fun with loads of nice wee fish going nuts on olives.

Thursday dawned windy, although we had reservations about the wind direction and its strength we headed out onto Assynt with hopes high. After I got my head around getting that damn boat to drift ‘properly’ Euan and I had some great fun with brownies up to just under a pound in a ‘proper’ big wave. Unusually, we turned no big fish.
As it was a tad 'breezy' we stopped at the castle for lunch and had a chuck at the trout rising in the bay:

There are worse places to have a bite to eat:

Friday was ear-marked as a ‘tubing day for Euan and I, initially the plan was to ‘hit’ a couple of lochs other than Loch Cul Fraoich – but we ended up fishing the biggest loch on the Stoer peninsula. That wind we had on the previous day came back with a vengeance and much ‘flippering’ was needed to just hold station at times. The others joined us early afternoon after another wee adventure they’re better placed to tell the story off than I, but at one point there was five of us ‘tubing Cul Fraoich with mixed results. Euan had a belter of around 17 inches and I managed three to about a pound – but all early on in the day. I had to cut my session short as I got a really bad cramp in my right leg. The short 100 yards back to the shore were utter torture so I did the honourable thing after making it back to the shore... I sat down and took in the scenery and had a chat with another angler who was shore fishing. He had caught nothing and had been there since dawn. He hadn’t seen a float tube before – I got the feeling he had been out in the hills for a very long time – and was curious about how they worked. Euan made his way back, beaming from ear to ear having had a decent trout on Cul Fraoich for the first time.

Tired, we beat a retreat back to the cottage did some cleaning and tidying and reluctantly packed the Alfa ready for a last days fishing on Staurday on Loch Awe before heading home.

Saturday dawned with almost perfect conditions, the first time all week. A gentle warm breeze with a nicely overcast sky was properly promising and when Euan and I arrived at the Loch more Mayfly than you could believe were on the ‘wing’. I haven’t seen that many Mayfly for years.
With a gentle breeze dapping was out, so we gently drifted down the loch pulling wets and in some cases fishing them as ‘dries’.
In a nutshell I could wax lyrical about that day, it was fabulous. I’ll let the photos tell the story.

A perfect way to end what was, in many ways, an often character building but enjoyable week.
Cheers boys - it was a blast :cool:

H :z3
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Mike Barrio

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 13:49:20 PM »
Hi Hamish ........ excellent stuff "is it?" :z16

Thanks for the great report and photos ..... simply awesome!

Best wishes
Mike   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Allan Liddle

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 13:59:17 PM »
Cracking report Hamish, looking to head up there very soon for a blast at the mayfly feeders on Cama, or Veyatie.
Was hoping to meet up with you guys but couldn't gat an answer from Kevin who has become harder to contact than the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Allan L

Euan Innes

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 18:42:47 PM »
OK , so here's my tuppence...
H is right - it was really cold when we got there on the Saturday and even the brekky in Ullapool (yes, seriously good!) couldn't keep the shivers from reaching my pickled kidneys. Windknot was at the Lochinver crack house early and was back having a repeat prescription for all the days he was up north. I swear his feet were glued to the "Windknot Bridge" for the times that he wasn't out in his blow up lilo  :z4

We headed straight for the cottage, dumped the gear, tubed and then cracked the Old Pultney. This was not because we are drunks, well not entirely. It was for the cold and the shear bliss that another year had passed and we were back in paradise. Much laughter ensued, much curry was eaten (sorry chaps, couldn't fit any more in the huge pot that I always take). Even Michael put aside the delights of kettle based food and scoffed a plateful. I am honoured Sir!

Loch Drumbeg was perfect on the Sunday but the minister frowns on us unholy types wetting a line on the sabbath. Should have just let Ben loose, but the bay of pigs was calling. As this was still early on in the week, spirits were still high.

But as a foretaste of things to come, the fishing was hard. As H mentioned, I broke my Pollock record twice. Last year I had a four pounder. This year my first fish was a five pounder.

As you have seen by some of the other photos, I caught another one at around six pounds, plus another two at around the three pound mark. Didn't seem much at the time but times were hard in the bay of pigs last week and if your name isn't Lee then four Pollock is a good tally.

Loch Drumbeg that night revealed her best. Not the fishing but the splendour of the sun going down.

Monday had us on Assynt and for the reasons already mentioned not all the boats had smiles. Lee was seemingly terrified at Bens boatmanship, so much so that a rod ended up broken. If frowns were broken rods then the Lochinver end boat would have had a serious insurance claim. Trolling rods over the side and scenery like this should have been a great day,

But if you are in a pig boat that spins like a top, won't drift, a swirling wind and sun that gets brighter the longer the day gets then you get this.

If you listen real hard you can hear his teeth grind... :z4

Food was important all week. Top marks to Lee who produced this excellent chicken dinner.

The food at the Drumbeg Hotel is excellent and thoroughly recommended. I also recommend tubing after a three course meal, drifting, nodding off and waking up with a trout on the line.

The trout fishing was poor and the Pollock was the go to option, a reversal of last year. However, when the back drop contains five corbetts there are worse places to fish.

Finally by Thursday Hamish and I had had enough and wanted trout. Loch Assynt was "lumpy" but there is a good reason that I will only go out on a big loch with H and pretty much nobody else. We managed a drift all the way from the carpark down to castle bay, no mean feat I assure you. You have a gift sir! To coin a phrase from our Welsh pal, the fishing was "bitty". When it was on though, it was ace!

Friday was Loch Cul Fraioch, at last. Last year it beat me, twice, the second time making me walk back fro the far end carrying the Red Oktober. This year was almost no better, with two pulls before the bottom bay and naff all else. The swell at the bottom end was reaching three feet as it compressed into the bay. The Oktober rode it all easily and I was well chuffed.

As much as I'd like to white lie about my big trout it was only 15" not 17". It was the only fish that stayed stuck, fought hard and came to hand in a spray of spotted gold and silver water. I was laughing like a child when I let it go. Just perfect!

The last day was just magic as Hamish said. Mayflies the size of 747 jets and fat, greedy trout, coupled with a boat that drifted properly (is it too much to ask??) and perfect weather just made the week.
See the difference?

All in all, the week was good fun. The craik was it's usual self, the company brilliant, the abuse flowing. The drink also flowed but not in an out of order way. We ate well, fished hard and laughed until the chuckle muscles ached.

Lochinver pies rock, so do Brown trout when you can get a hold of them.
Lee's dress sense is practical but eccentric.
Michael has a chav wading jacket.
Float tubes attract seals when you take them across a channel to an island.
They get closer on the way back...
Kayaks cannot be propelled when you are playing a Pollock.
International Rescue use float tubes.
Plastic boats don't drift.
June is a month behind in Assynt.
Always take a fleece, even in June.

Thanks chaps, truly memorable. It's a pleasure fishing with you.  :z16

To next year  :z18


Living with deep, full breaths is the way of the trout. Fish, it seems, are the ultimate teachers in breathing.
RC Cone

Hamish Young

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 19:30:07 PM »
Nice post chap :z13

H :z3
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Mike Barrio

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 19:42:15 PM »
Great stuff Soundmannie :z16

Best wishes
Mike   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Jim Eddie

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 19:57:58 PM »
Some great photo's , sound and looks like you had a blast , well done lads  :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: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 06:03:32 AM »
Now that's what you call a fishing report!
Great read, thanks.

Noel kelly

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 08:49:23 AM »
Excellent reports guys :z16

Iain Cameron

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 13:11:09 PM »
hi Hamish

thanks for sharing, excellent report, enjoyed reading it.
not so sure about the superman style pants over the top of leggings look... but hey, this is fishin, not fashion!

Allan Liddle

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 13:12:58 PM »
Crackin report Soundmixer.  One question, why is thon guy wearing a linnen basket on his heid in the dinner table photie?  :z4

Mike Barrio

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 13:16:05 PM »

Nice one! :z16   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Rob Brownfield

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2012, 15:31:13 PM »
 :z16 :z16

Looked an amazing trip!!!


There was a chap that used to tube around Cove, not sure if he still does, but he had pollock and cod on the fly. I wonder if he is the same chap on the ADAA board who now kayaks off of Cove?
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Euan Innes

Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2012, 15:35:38 PM »
One question, why is thon guy wearing a linnen basket on his heid in the dinner table photie?

It's a Welsh thing boy-yo  :z7
Is it...

Living with deep, full breaths is the way of the trout. Fish, it seems, are the ultimate teachers in breathing.
RC Cone


Re: Assynt adventures 2012
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 19:29:52 PM »
Great report guys :z16 thanks for this.
Good to see Foinaven in all its beauty  :z14 Brings back some really good memories.




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