The five steps to a fishing holiday are as follows:
Step 1. Book it.
The three criteria which must be fulfilled for this are; you can get the time off work, you can afford it, and lastly (as others who could not attend found to their cost...) you can get it past the missus!
In the grand scheme of things a trip to Lochnaw is not as expensive as you might imagine. All-in this trip cost me less than the fishing alone if I were targetting Scottish salmon for a week.
Step 2. Think about it. A lot.
This step sees post-it notes going up all over your abode, reminding oneself to pack various items of kit. Some are cryptic, for instance, 'rubber bands!' or 'carrier bags', whilst others are self-explanatory bits of tackle.
Step 3. Prepare for it.
Personally, this involved an evening in the pouring rain brewing up hemp and consolidating my gear.
Step 4. Execute the plan.
You can never consider all eventualities you will face but if you've put enough time into items two and three your wits should see you through.
Step 5. Reflect on it.
I'll be reflecting on this last trip for sometime as it was simply fantastic.
Warren Gaunt picked me up last Saturday morning and we headed North into heavy rain. After a tour of the loch in the back of an estate workers Landrover we discussed our preferred spots with the rest of our party - Phil Smith and John Found.
On a whim, Warren and I decided a little more time reccying the road bank was worth the effort given the spot we'd previously agreed on involved a long walk from the car. We found a rocky beach, complete with rock pools, and talked ourselves into giving it a go. I even did that Bob Nudd thing where he faces the water, deliberately places both feet on the ground shoulder width apart and bounces slightly on his knees whilst surveying the water in front of him. Two hours later and we were almost ready to fish. The rain continued.
I'll let the photos describe how events unfolded as they speak for themselves. Suffice to say I ended up catching twenty four two pound roach to two fourteen. The average size of the two pounders was two ten and I had multiple fish at all weights above two pounds eight. Between us we had forty two pound roach with two 'threes' amongst them.
I didn't go to bed for the first two nights as I was too excited to sleep. The scenery was as dramatic as the weather. We had eveything from wind in all directions to flat calm, bright and sunny to a months rain in twenty four hours. In fact the loch rose so much in the last twenty four hours of our trip our bivvies were under water by the time it came to leave and our rocky beach was gone, submerged for another year.
I had six two pound roach, the biggest was two pounds thirteen ounces - a new pb.
|2.13 Lochnaw Roach. PB.|
|The rock pools proved very useful for mixing groundbait and washing hands.|
|Warren's first night fish of 2.14.|
|Six of the best, and up all night.|
I caught eleven two pound roach in a hectic evening session. I couldn't keep one rod in the water for long let alone two.
|5 of 11|
|Stunning Lochnaw Roach.|
|6 of 11.|
|Warren's 3.2 Roach.|
|We celebrated our first 'three' with a couple of special beers.|
The side bet on the Sunday night was whoever caught the biggest fish would have breakfast cooked for them the next morning.
|Served to Warren on a silver platter I took my loss like a true gentleman.|
I caught four two pound roach.
I caught two two pound roach including a new personal best of two pounds fourteen, and a two thirteen perch.
|Warren watches his rods, from the margins (tit).|
|2.13 Perch caught as the feeder was on the drop.|
|Look at the mouth on that.|
I didn't catch any two pound roach. I was thinking of asking for a full refund at this point.
|Warren's 3.0 roach.|
I caught one two pound roach.
Then the rain came......
|Grant Mitchel. Note the new water level!|
It had now rained hard and constantly for over twenty four hours. We returned to the loch in the afternoon with the intention of fishing into evening but our shelters were now well underwater and I was soaked wet through every time I left cover to cast.
I hooked and lost one last decent roach which came off under the rod tip and now wet and deflated we decided to call it a day.
|It came off Wal, it came off! My body language says it all.|
|They're not ripples in the foreground, that's Warren's floating groundsheet.|
The one consolation in pulling off on Friday night was a night in the warm lodge with a chinese take away and beers whilst it lashed it down outside.
|I ate this food.|
Homeward bound with a car full of soaking kit but with broad smiles on our faces.
I headed down to the Warks Avon at Wasperton for a couple of hours to finish my fishing holiday off before England played in the Euro quarter finals match and was rewarded with a 6.11 barbel.
Here are our challenge scores tonight: