Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

The Complete Book about Grayling by Bob Willis

Tuesday, 1 December 2015 at 11:52

Cover image Friends from the Grayling Society - the rogues - sent along The Complete Book about Grayling by Bob Willis (Charleston SC: 2015) - a 75-page, illustrated account of the author's quest to locate and catch Arctic and European grayling across the Northern Hemisphere. Did you know, for example, that the Amur grayling is found in North Korea, where it's known as the Yalu grayling? Willis unfortunately couldn't visit North Korea, but he writes about North America, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Mongolia, Scandinavia and the UK. It's astonishing how varied are the habits of the grayling(s) in these different regions. Willis also shares some useful information about travel and its difficulties as well as detailing some local flies: the 'anti-wobbler nymph' (Siberia) was a new one on me, while the size of some artificials used in Mongolia (Hoppers in sizes 4-8) made me think. Many thanks to the rogues for sending along this text. I enjoyed it.

Pre-spawning sea-trout survey on the Foyle

Monday, 30 November 2015 at 11:27

Sea-trout being returned Gardiner sent me a wonderful YouTube film he'd shot a couple of weeks ago when staff from the Loughs Agency (Northern Ireland) were conducting a survey of pre-spawning sea-trout stocks on the headwaters of various Foyle-system rivers. It's a wonderfully informative film with great commentary by the scientific staff involved. Lionel's hat is equally sensational. After you've opened YouTube ( paste watch?v=D1rARVjiPcwi into the search box. Ignoring the stuff about Adele, who is some kind of chanteuse, scroll down to 'Pre Spawning Sea Trout Survey'. Enjoy.

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.

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