Is it all about the numbers???

easker1

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Anumber of years back when I was gillying at the Loch Maree Hotel , the late Steve Parton and Stuart Bingham (Editor T&S ?) came to fish the loch stayed at the Kinlochewe Hotel and fished their Beat, and completely Blanked , except for a few wee browns and tiny Fionnach,, they said they wouldn't take a gilly as they could fish themselves, they fished from dawn 'til dusk and tries every trick in the book even spinning and trolling, but in the days they were there nothing significant, the guests at the Loch Maree with Gillies were getting reasonable bags , I spoke to Steve shortly After and he said their stay was rubbish and he would never go back to fish there again , they just couldn't read the water, so it just shows that with a decent gilly it may have been different easker1
 

Wee Jimmy

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Sure, I know what you mean, and I try to be open-minded too. What I'm getting at is just that there are certain situations where working out the cadence of the retrieve makes all the difference between success and failure. One time it might be the long steady sweeps and another time it might be short fast twitches, etc, etc...

What was quite marked on that trip was Mark analysing the guys and keeping telling them they were retrieving too fast. He had a day where the pair he was out with were catching nothing, and they were getting a bit narked at being told they needed to change their retrieve. In the end, one of them offered his rod to Mark and said, "Here, you show us how to do it then." So, Mark took the guy's rod and had a couple of casts and hooked a trout! Without missing a beat, he handed the rod back and said, "There, that's how it's done!"

The other trip that springs to mind was that one to Loch Brora. The retrieve wanted to be very particular that time. Sometimes the nuances of the retrieve matter way more than what flies you've got on, but you still run into the "magic fly men" who think all you need is the correct fly and you will fill your boots.

I think rainbow fishing has changed with the advent of triploids. Everything has slowed down in recent years, has it not? Many fewer fiddlers' elbows on display these days, methinks?

Col
Yeah tuning in to what the fish want,is what it’s all about for me.I do agree that grinding away with a tried and tested formula is sometimes necessary .
Thing is I find myself at odds with Marks steady long draws because if I was pushed,I would say a quicker paced retrieve tends to work better....certainly for me over the piece when pulling trads for normal trout.I fully accept ferox may tend to react differently.
 

Scotty Mitchell

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I had a conversation with Stan Headley about retrieves once, his take was the kind of retrieve Mark was suggesting for rainbows, but a more erratic generally faster retrieve for Browns will always be better. I paid more attention to that over the years and it is my experience that it’s true.
Again, I know SFA about Ferox fishing.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Yeah tuning in to what the fish want,is what it’s all about for me.I do agree that grinding away with a tried and tested formula is sometimes necessary .
Thing is I find myself at odds with Marks steady long draws because if I was pushed,I would say a quicker paced retrieve tends to work better....certainly for me over the piece when pulling trads for normal trout.I fully accept ferox may tend to react differently.

Aye, I think Mark is employing that retrieve always with ferox in mind - and it will catch the regular browns while you are about it, sort of idea. Maybe it just works better for the bigger fish - ferox and salmon?

But the whole numbers thing comes into deciding how you choose to play it. Ferox or salmon, your target is 1. You might fish all day without an offer, so you have to decide whether you fish the whole day with the retrieve you reckon gives you the best chance. Or do you mix it up, in case that isn't what they want on the day, and risk doing the wrong thing at the exact moment that a fish has a look at you?

It used to be the problem when Leven was dour as a dour thing... you weren't getting enough feedback from the fish to tell you whether you were doing the right thing or not. Do you persist with it, or do you change? Same with the flies. You were starting with the team you had most confidence in... until you felt you needed to change... and then change again... and you ended up fishing things you you had no confidence in! 🤪

Col
 

codyarrow

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I had a conversation with Stan Headley about retrieves once, his take was the kind of retrieve Mark was suggesting for rainbows, but a more erratic generally faster retrieve for Browns will always be better. I paid more attention to that over the years and it is my experience that it’s true.
Again, I know SFA about Ferox fishing.
I would say that would sum up the difference in styles between myself and boat partner.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I had a conversation with Stan Headley about retrieves once, his take was the kind of retrieve Mark was suggesting for rainbows, but a more erratic generally faster retrieve for Browns will always be better. I paid more attention to that over the years and it is my experience that it’s true.
Again, I know SFA about Ferox fishing.

Bear in mind that Mark taught Stan how to fish the ferox lochs... ;)
 

Wee Jimmy

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Aye, I think Mark is employing that retrieve always with ferox in mind - and it will catch the regular browns while you are about it, sort of idea. Maybe it just works better for the bigger fish - ferox and salmon?

But the whole numbers thing comes into deciding how you choose to play it. Ferox or salmon, your target is 1. You might fish all day without an offer, so you have to decide whether you fish the whole day with the retrieve you reckon gives you the best chance. Or do you mix it up, in case that isn't what they want on the day, and risk doing the wrong thing at the exact moment that a fish has a look at you?

It used to be the problem when Leven was dour as a dour thing... you weren't getting enough feedback from the fish to tell you whether you were doing the right thing or not. Do you persist with it, or do you change? Same with the flies. You were starting with the team you had most confidence in... until you felt you needed to change... and then change again... and you ended up fishing things you you had no confidence in! 🤪

Col
Aye I tend to struggle if a grind is required,I can persevere with the same flies all day,but I’m always thinking about retrieves and depths...👍
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Aye I tend to struggle if a grind is required,I can persevere with the same flies all day,but I’m always thinking about retrieves and depths...👍

Aye, it's one of the big questions of that type of fishing... do you grind, or do you mix it up?

It fair puts in perspective, though, folk who are worried about the difference between 5 and 35! 🤪
 
D

Deleted member 90002

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Who's done it,
catching nowt and fed up, so you whip the fly in to change it and bang you catch a fish 🎣
I've had trout rise as I've put my fly into the water whikst setting up and getting ready for first cast scared the crap out of me..
 

BobP

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Same applies to the numbers game.No skill involved whatsoever.
Yes, I'd agree whole-heartedly with that. I fished a Scottish loch years ago and went down to one fly because I was fed up with catching 8" wild browns 3 at a time. Same in an Irish lough up in the bog country west of Galway. Really smart wild browns 3 at a time. Real challenging fishing that. 50 fish an hour.
 

micka

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Sure, I know what you mean, and I try to be open-minded too. What I'm getting at is just that there are certain situations where working out the cadence of the retrieve makes all the difference between success and failure. One time it might be the long steady sweeps and another time it might be short fast twitches, etc, etc...

What was quite marked on that trip was Mark analysing the guys and keeping telling them they were retrieving too fast. He had a day where the pair he was out with were catching nothing, and they were getting a bit narked at being told they needed to change their retrieve. In the end, one of them offered his rod to Mark and said, "Here, you show us how to do it then." So, Mark took the guy's rod and had a couple of casts and hooked a trout! Without missing a beat, he handed the rod back and said, "There, that's how it's done!"

The other trip that springs to mind was that one to Loch Brora. The retrieve wanted to be very particular that time. Sometimes the nuances of the retrieve matter way more than what flies you've got on, but you still run into the "magic fly men" who think all you need is the correct fly and you will fill your boots.

I think rainbow fishing has changed with the advent of triploids. Everything has slowed down in recent years, has it not? Many fewer fiddlers' elbows on display these days, methinks?

Col
Col, I'm fascinated to hear how you blazed your own personal trail in something like dapping and ferox hunting. Did you owe your interest and beginner's knowledge to authors like Bill McEwan? Did you have someone experienced who showed you? Have you learnt much from other anglers on lochs you have fished? Was there a lot or trial and error? Are you still learning new approaches? Is 'wild' fishing your premier love?

Mick
 

bobmiddlepoint

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Yes, I'd agree whole-heartedly with that. I fished a Scottish loch years ago and went down to one fly because I was fed up with catching 8" wild browns 3 at a time. Same in an Irish lough up in the bog country west of Galway. Really smart wild browns 3 at a time. Real challenging fishing that. 50 fish an hour.

I'm not sure anyone has ever tried to sell the idea that 3 to the pound wild brown trout on lochs or loughs is challenging fishing. I'm not at all sure the fact that it is easy is a bad thing either. I quite like a day of easy fishing now and then, especially after days of struggling on the lochs that don't produce dozens of 3 to the pound trout.


Andy
 

Rhithrogena

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Yes, I'd agree whole-heartedly with that. I fished a Scottish loch years ago and went down to one fly because I was fed up with catching 8" wild browns 3 at a time. Same in an Irish lough up in the bog country west of Galway. Really smart wild browns 3 at a time. Real challenging fishing that. 50 fish an hour.
I can hear the rasp of Claymore's being sharpened 😂
 

Rhithrogena

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It is a numbers game for me. At some point I want to catch, not just fish.
I love being out in the country, and am a good naturalist, and love my time fishing, but fish have to be caught, sooner or later.
There is a fine line between fishing and standing waving a stick around like an id*ot..
Edit: not allowed to write id*ot
 

BobP

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I'm not sure anyone has ever tried to sell the idea that 3 to the pound wild brown trout on lochs or loughs is challenging fishing. I'm not at all sure the fact that it is easy is a bad thing either. I quite like a day of easy fishing now and then, especially after days of struggling on the lochs that don't produce dozens of 3 to the pound trout.


Andy
Actually Andy, they have. We have had scores if not hundreds of posts on how clever and demanding wild brown trout are. No mention of how clever and demanding large wild brown trout are as opposed to wild brown trout per se. That I will happily grant you. Brown trout, whether wild or naturalised, do not get to be big brown trout by being stupid, but in any population they will always be in the minority.

As well as the above mentioned examples I have also fished Sheelin. Corrib and Conn in Ireland along with several of the west coast sea trout loughs. Sheelin was very hard work even in good mayfly hatches and with a ghillie, but limited numbers of fish will mean lots of blank hours. Corrib was very enjoyable. 1 blank in 19 days is not a bad record on 44,000 acres, but on one or two of those days it was saved by a modest fish at the death. Conn, once the method and location had been sorted was no bother apart from one day of quite high wind and a ghillie who refused to go more that 400 yards from the jetty in the worst boat I've ever fished from - anywhere!

River browns? Up in the Austrian mountains where they rarely see an angler the trout are very easy. Any bushy dry fly works. 25 in 90 minutes and then home for breakfast. Even lower down the valley where more anglers can be expected they are not difficult, especially on the nymphs. Wild rainbows in the river too, and they are no more difficult than the browns. The fish that IS a challenge there sometimes is the grayling, especially in a big hatch of BWO.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Col, I'm fascinated to hear how you blazed your own personal trail in something like dapping and ferox hunting. Did you owe your interest and beginner's knowledge to authors like Bill McEwan? Did you have someone experienced who showed you? Have you learnt much from other anglers on lochs you have fished? Was there a lot or trial and error? Are you still learning new approaches? Is 'wild' fishing your premier love?

Mick

I didn't do any trail-blazing Mick. I just learned from those around me. I was 'brought up' on Loch Leven in the 1960s and 70s by my dad's uncle. I first dapped on Loch Shiel, where I spent my summers as a student in the 1970s, working at Loch Shiel hotel. Shiel was a top sea trout and salmon loch back then and the regulars who came to fish every year were all dapping people. I was a wet fly fisher, but I learned the dap from them. More recently I have been taken out on Loch Lomond by some of the guys who have their own boats on the loch, and they are dapping men too, so I learned some new tricks from them. A big group of us fished the South Uist lochs for 8 years running for the salmon and sea trout, so the dapping rods were brought back into service there as well. When you get into dapping regularly, as I then did, it becomes easy to employ it on the waters that get a mayfly hatch, and there are a couple of lochs where it is the best method in a mayfly hatch, beating wets and dries. Also used it for the rainbows on Menteith at mayfly time.

The ferox thing came out of another group expedition. I first went with Stan Headley and Mark Hirst to get photographs for a T&S article on Arkaig and Lochy. We didn't catch anything bigger than a pound that short trip, but Stan had already been a few times and had some ferox under his belt. Word was out and the Lomond guys fancied a new challenge. None of us are looking for places where you can catch three 6 oz fish every cast. So, they put together a 10-man trip for a week, employing Mark and his boat. They trailered 4 boats up (having got all the necessary permissions from estates, etc), and we hired Mark as a ghillie/guide/whatever you want to call getting the local expert on your team, and he supplied the 5th boat. So, in the course of the week, we all got a day or so of going out in Mark's boat. Again, I was learning from Mark rather than doing any trail-blazing. It stands as testament to how much difference his knowledge made that, at the end of the week, we had caught 8 large trout (total weight 80 lb) between 10 of us, and 5 of the 8 fish had come to Mark's boat.

As for wild fishing being a 'premier love', I certainly enjoy fishing the big wild waters, but I enjoy fishing dry fly on the Lake of Menteith as much, if not more than any of it. Variety is the spice of life... and fishing. 😜

Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Yes, I'd agree whole-heartedly with that. I fished a Scottish loch years ago and went down to one fly because I was fed up with catching 8" wild browns 3 at a time. Same in an Irish lough up in the bog country west of Galway. Really smart wild browns 3 at a time. Real challenging fishing that. 50 fish an hour.

Instead of going down to one fly (and complaining about it), why not go to a big loch with large challenging trout?

IMG_5956a.jpg
 

codyarrow

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Actually Andy, they have. We have had scores if not hundreds of posts on how clever and demanding wild brown trout are. No mention of how clever and demanding large wild brown trout are as opposed to wild brown trout per se. That I will happily grant you. Brown trout, whether wild or naturalised, do not get to be big brown trout by being stupid, but in any population they will always be in the minority.
You probably have a bit of a point there but not from me. Several times I have pointed out rainbows on a large water are actually a like for like harder target. Brown trout do not become fixated on taking at levels.

The second point about big brown trout not being stupid I am not sure about. Apart from the fish eaters good large fish waters may be rich with less than perfect breeding conditions. Adding IQ to fish is anthropomorphic.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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We have had scores if not hundreds of posts on how clever and demanding wild brown trout are. No mention of how clever and demanding large wild brown trout are as opposed to wild brown trout per se.

Incorrect.
 
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