Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Voyage to St. Kilda 1

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 11:05

Porpoise Just back from annual leave on Skye. One of the highlights was a trip I made to St. Kilda (see These islands lie 80+ miles to the West of Uig. The next images are nothing to do with fishing, I fear, but simply constitute a fragmentary record of what was a significant and fascinating trip. Hard-bitten fly-fishers who aren't as interested as they should be in the vanishing of cultures, or in whales, seabirds, dolphins and porpoises, will find some images of hill-loch trout and dry Daddies below. The present image is of a porpoise, whose apparently lazy, forward-lolling roll accompanied us through the Sound of Harris at dusk on our return voyage from St. Kilda to Skye.

Voyage to St. Kilda 2

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 11:01

Dolphins off Harris On the return journey from St. Kilda to Uig we not only had a glimpse of a minke whale - just a tantalising glimpse, yet a certain sighting - but were also visited by dolphins (here) and porpoises (see above). It's an interesting thing about dolphins: when they're sighted off any boat, from St. Kilda to Mombasa, everyone on the boat smiles, without exception. Long may it remain so.

Voyage to St. Kilda 3

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 10:57

Gannets Offshore there are great sea-stacs where the gannets and fulmars sit and work from their guano-freaked pulpits of stone. The harvest of fulmars, in particular, was a massively important part of St. Kildan work and culture.

Voyage to St. Kilda 4

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 10:50

Main Street An extraordinary place. There were cultures on these islands for probably 5000 years. What finished St. Kilda were (e)migrations, the coming of tourism, and (as it seems to me and for what it's worth) the utterly malign influence of the Scottish Presbyterian Church during the 19th century. Eventually St. Kilda was evacuated, at the islanders' own request, in 1930.

Dark-adapted eyes 1

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 10:44

Daddy Many of the little hill-loch brown trout of Skye have something in common with e.g. the sonaghan of Lough Melvin in Ireland: they have very big eyes, adapted presumably to hunting for food in the nutrition-poor, peat-dark fastnesses in which they've lived for the past 10,000 years. Where conditions allowed - and they didn't often allow, during a couple of becalmed weeks - I hurled dry Daddies at these miniature titans and, again when conditions allowed, enjoyed a lovely few hours. There were some Claret Duns and chironomids about and occasionally these hill-loch wildies responded to natural flies, but I was simply too lazy to change from fishing the Daddy, which they'd take with some purpose irrespective of what was actually hatching. All these trout were safely released, incidentally.

Dark-adapted eyes 2

Sunday, 20 September 2015 at 10:40

Langaig brown I didn't fish with much seriousness but what little fly-fishing I did do I thoroughly enjoyed, despite conditions that ranged from fell sunshine and flat calms to flat calms accompanied by sultry airs - the Scots call these non-existent winds 'airts' - carrying almost unbearable midges. I reckon that if you can't enjoy a few hours casting artificial flies at feisty little loch trout then that would be a poor show.

101 Ways to Have Fun with Your Drop Net

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 at 08:28

Drop net It's not been bass weather. A planned trip for Monday last was scrapped, but not before I'd acquired a drop-net. (One of the marks we'd planned to fish during our aborted session was a pier: thus the drop-net.) Yet a drop-net needs some tinkering before it can become optimally efficient. Use the thing straight out of the packaging and the meshes, once dropped into the water, will float uselessly. And therefore you need to weight the bottom of the net so that the meshes will sink. Sheet lead is best. You can acquire this from building suppliers. You'll need about 350-500g of lead to weight your drop-net. I bend a lead strip around the small ring found at the bottom apex of the net, as shown in the photo.

These activities represent fishing-displacement at what is almost its finest. What a sparkling time I had, there with my drop-net and my strip of lead. And there are those who say I should get out more.

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