Occasionally, I have to help sort through second-hand tackle, picking out items that can be salvaged, repaired and donated to fishing groups and youngsters.
It’s always a treat to step back in time and see gear from a while back. Technology might have changed but fish haven’t so there’s usually some catches left in them.
This last week, I was helping out with an old tackle box that had newspaper clippings about fly fishing and fly tying, some classic beer mat cast holders and a handwritten fishing holiday fly menu.
Neatly written on little pub note pads, a list of Orkney lochs was matched with the patterns needed for a successful trip.
I’d like to think they were written over a few beers with the rest of the group at the start of an evening when everyone is serious about the task in hand before it turns into a longer night of fishing stories, boasts and bets on who’s going to catch the best fish.
Hopefully, they got to test out the flies and caught a boatload on their trip to some of the best trout waters in the world.
The list of flies for Stenness, Harray and the like had traditionals familiar to anyone who’s consulted Sandision’s Rivers and Lochs of Scotland.
Most people fishing Scottish lochs will have a selection of these favourites and their variants.
The dressings have stood the test of time. Some were built for the Orkney Islands. The Ke-He, which is still very much a killer fly, has been about since the 30s. It was developed by Kemp and Heddle combining to invent a classic beetle pattern for Loch Harray.
The Connemara Black dates back to the 1860s. It’s a classic pattern whose reputation has spread worldwide from the loughs of Ireland.
Loch Ordies, Kate McClarens and Black Pennels are all still catching brownies in Scottish lochs. And you shouldn’t be on Orkney without a Peach Muddler in your arsenal.
My favourite wet fly the Bibio didn’t make that list for Orkney. But after reading through the fly menu, doing a little digging about where those favourites came from, I’m going to have a go at the vice to fill up a box or two with more variety to take out loch fishing.
Hopefully, I’ll get a few fish as a wee nod to that anonymous angler’s well-planned trip.
Fish of the Week
THIS week’s winner of the Daiwa Fish of the Week is Blaine Lyon with this massive pike.
Blaine, 16, smashed his personal best lure-caught pike when he caught this specimen from a loch in the south-west of Scotland.
Congratulations, Blaine. Your catch has netted you £150 worth of Daiwa tackle.
Send your entry to: Fish of the Week, Glasgow Angling centre, Unit 1, Point Retail Park, 29 Saracen Street, Glasgow G22 5HT, or email with a photo and your full address to firstname.lastname@example.org