Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Monday 13 May 2013

Kilchurn pike fishing thoughts

Simon and I with a couple of modest pike from Loch Ascog, Isle of Bute.
Happy memories from our first trip to Scotland in May 1982
It was in May of 1982 that I made my first trip to Scotland in search of the legendary, hard fighting, pike that are inhabitants of the, peat stained, waters of many lochs and rivers. My memories are happy ones, yet we (I) weren't particularly successful in the quest; we caught plenty of fish, some quite large, but never really got to grips with the challenge of these wild places, despite 12 other trips up to the May of 1992. Fast forward to 2011 and, after an 18 year break from angling, I took up the challenge again. Older and considerably wiser, the chosen venue being Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe. A superb trip, culminating in Benno landing the first Scottish "twenty" that I'd ever seen - the best fish from a 50+ pike total that included 10 other doubles. In 2012, the same venue was again the scene for our efforts. Gale force winds, driving rain and sleet/snow providing the challenges for our equipment, Tom bagging our heaviest Scottish pike, to date, with a magnificent specimen of 21lbs 2oz. (there were 6 other "doubles" taken during the week)

De ja vu - older and uglier, once again, Simon and me with a brace from a Scottish loch.
So now we are back in real time and the events of the past week. I have had a couple of days to try to get to grips with the incredible success we've just enjoyed. What have we done so differently?

Dawn on Loch Awe - looking up Glen Orchy
Firstly, there can be no getting away from the role that the crazy weather has played - so our chosen dates were a very lucky coincidence. The numbers of big pike in Kilchurn Bay is without doubt the main factor behind our incredible catch. However, none of this would have been possible if it were not for the detailed planning that had taken place during the preceding three months. Bait supply was arranged, Simon had built a "bait boat" which incorporated a "smart cast-type" fish finder and we were all geared up to use braided lines on the reel. This stuff is the only line to use when fishing at distance - it has no stretch, so very unlike mono filament nylon, and allows direct contact with a taking fish. All very strange to me!

A very familiar scene during our trip - Benno bent into a hard-fighting Kilchurn Bay pike.

With the aid of the bait boats (we had three), baits could be fished at ranges in excess of 150m. This caused a few problems with boat anglers who couldn't believe we were able to cast(?) that distance. A little demonstration of radio controlled casting was enough to highlight our technology and the vast majority were perfectly happy to give us a wide berth. Quite why boat anglers, on a loch that is 26 miles long, need to fish directly opposite a bunch of guys who are bivvied up on the bank is a mystery; but that's another post!

Loch Awe magic - Simon with a superb pike of 19lbs 12oz.
It doesn't get much better.

Our use of fish oils and colour dyes, ensured that we were fishing baits to a population of pike which hadn't been caught on this type of presentation with any regularity. One of our blue dyes is unique to us, of that I'm 100% certain. We dyed baits, we flavoured baits, we "popped" them up, we fished them flat on the bottom; whatever we did, we did it for a reason and regularly ringed the changes as the week progressed. One thing that became increasingly obvious, as the days passed, was the fact that our baits were losing their attractiveness. We don't, yet, have the ability to keep baits frozen - our Norwegian Army cool boxes are excellent, for a week - something to work on during the next twelve months! My Yanmar generator kept the batteries for our bait boats, cameras and phones well charged, so there is a possibility that we might be able to utilise this technology to keep our baits frozen in the future?

Simon admires a nice mid-double, taken by yours truly.
We promised Davie that we'd keep the venue secret (not) - so an undisclosed southern still-water!
We had the good fortune to bump into Davie Robertson, the guy responsible for the Central Scotland Pike Anglers forum. A wealth of information about the pike of Loch Awe and other venues, we enjoyed a very pleasant couple of days in his (and Neil's) company - good luck with the wedding!
I have to end this post with my heart felt thanks to Alan Gray, the sprightly 84 year old land owner, who has made us so very welcome during the past three years. His hospitality is only matched by his wry humour and ability to spin a yarn - a wonderful man - many thanks Alan, it was some holiday!

Another nice brace - 13lbs 9oz & 14lbs 14oz


  1. Brilliant stuff Dylan, makes me quite jealous looking at these.

  2. Marc,
    It was a fantastic holiday. The fishing was of a quality that I'd never previously experienced. I had hoped that the weather would allow me to spend more time wandering around the loch; sadly not to be. There were a couple of bumble-bees that would have been new to me, luck on my side. Still struggling to get to grips with the extension tubes, although I have no doubts that the quality of my images is better than before. Good luck with your search for Pearl-bordered Frits - they are superb insects.
    All the best - Dyl

  3. Brilliant stuff mate great read thou I can't believe yous haven't had more twenties, I myself is very familiiar with Loch awe being only 1 and a half hour drive away, a tactic that has got me more bigger girls than any other time is fishing close in at night 4 rod lengths out at most but only at nightime I adopt this tactic. It has brought me wounderous results all over loch awe well at least at the pike spots anyway. Look forward to reading future posts all the best.
    Another keen angler

  4. I've just received a comment from "unknown" - therefore will not publish it. However, the answer to the question is yes, permits are required and can be purchased on the bank. Kenny & Krissie Gray offer camping and fishing permits for varying lengths of time, prices vary accordingly.