Scottish Fishing Diary 1987

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Scottish Fishing Days and Nights 1987

by John Gray

Fishing Diary 1987

Diary Archive
1985 1996

Sunday midnight 28th June - Meetings

My first visit of the season to the Endrick. This early in the year, I thought the best chance of a fish would be below the Pots, so tried the Meetings Lynn. A calm night, fairly warm, no moon. Mist forming. Rain previous night but river fairly low. A few fish showing below the Meetings Lynn. One other fisher. Had one small touch. Gave up 2.30am.

Wednesday 29th July - Meetings

Reports of a few fish caught in mid June after a spate. Some fish reported going over the Pots. Very little rain since May/June. Perhaps one spate early July. Fish in Loch Lomond and in the Endrick below the Pots. River very low. Coolies has been altered - looks good towards the top run. Need a big spate!

Meetings - Quite a few fish moving below the Meetings, some big. Had one take which resulted in a broken top dropper.... bad knot?

Monday 3rd August - Meetings

1 sea trout

A nice night. A showery day but no effect on river. River even lower now with fewer fish moving below the Meetings. I fished from 11 to 12.30 am. had one fresh fish 1 1/4 pounds at midnight.

Wednesday 12th August

Heavy rain, off and on, from 3pm till 10pm following a fair amount of showery rain in the two previous days. At 12 midnight the river was slightly up and very dirty, probably rising through the early part of the night. No fish seen on Coolies or the Dam.

Thursday 13th August  9pm - 2am

With no rain on Thursday, I started the night at Coolies. The river was reasonably high with some flow at the top of the pool. There is now a good run at the top of the pool after some alterations. Very windy and difficult to fish. No fish showing.

Meetings 12 midnight - 1.20 am

1 sea trout

Arrived to find a few fishers already on the river. Only a few fish moving. A nice night with a half moon behind cloud, and quite bright. A fair flow on the water and no bother with weed. Conditions were good, with clear water but there seemed to be a lack of fish. It was reported that they had run upstream over the Pots. I had one fish of 1 3/4 pounds, in reasonable condition, at the lower tree stump below the meetings. With no other touches, I gave up at 1.20.

Saturday 16th August

Saturday night/Sunday morning brought heavy rain. 1 1/2 inches was recorded in the Glasgow area, resulting in a fair spate on the Endrick.

Monday 17th August  12 midnight - 4.30 am

1 sea trout

River slightly coloured but dropping and clearing. River at a good height, perhaps running slightly too fast. Sink tip line. Calm and drizzly at times, very warm and humid. No fish showing at all. No touches early on apart from small browns. Robert arrived about 1 am and had two fish, 2 lbs and 4 1/2 pounds, after 3 am at the tail of the pool. Still no fish showing. I had one fish of 2 pounds in the top half of the pool. The river was reaching an ideal level about daylight - typical!

Monday Morning, first light, 7.30 am - Bill had three fish and lost three at the Cart Wheel below Drumtian.

Monday Night 17th August - Dam

2 sea trout

I arrived at 11.30 to join about ten other fishers and had to wait till 12.30 to get on the pool. There had only been four fish caught up to 12.30. The river was at a good height for the floating line. A warm night, with only a few clouds and a bright 1/4 moon later in the night. No fish moving at first and only one or two later in the night. There weren't many fish about. I heard 2 or 3 entering the pool between 2.30 and 3 am. I had two small fish both just over a pound, one at 3.30 in the top half of the pool, the other at 4 am just below the burn mouth. It began to get light shortly after. Only one other fish caught about 3.30, a fish of 2 lbs. Although the water was at a good height for night fishing, we need a good spate to bring fish upriver.

Wednesday 19th August - 9.30 - 2 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Water very low. Minimum flow, floating line and 2 size 10 flies with three maggots, moved round very slowly. No trouble with weed. Coolies might have been a better bet. Four fishers. Alec had one or two offers. Billy had one fish of 3 1/2 pounds and lost two more. I had one fresh and lively fish of two pounds on the tail fly with Ryobi floating lure on top dropper. Rain had been forecast but didn't start till 1 am. All fish caught before midnight. Very few fish showing. The rain continued through Wednesday night and into Thursday, and set to continue, on and off, till Friday.

Friday 21st August - 5 am - 8 am (daylight)

1 grilse, 1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Heavy rain on Thursday all day till midnight, with the river in high spate late Thursday. It was just breaking the stone at 5 am on Friday morning and falling, fairly coloured. A fairly bright morning with broken cloud clearing. A few fish were moving. Alec had two sea trout of 4 lbs and 1 1/2 pounds by 7 am. I had one grilse of 4 lbs and one sea trout of 2 lbs, both on my own size 10 shrimp treble, fished on a neutral line. One sea trout caught opposite bank. Heard later that a total of ten fish were taken that morning.

Friday 21st August - 8 pm - 1 am

2 sea trout

Cowden Mill - I arrived at 8pm and was 6th in the queue. Started fishing at 10pm, with a total of 16 fishers on the pool. A clear night with the river at a perfect height for the floating line, though slightly fast in parts. I finished my first run down the pool at 1 am. A few good fish had been caught between 9.30 and 10pm at the top of the pool, one about 5 lbs. I had two fish, one nice fresh fish of 2 3/4 pounds, two thirds of the way down, and one of 1 3/4 pounds opposite the burn mouth. About ten fish had been caught when I left. Nine fish were taken on the Saturday night, six by Frank.

Monday 24th August - 12 midnight - 4 am

Cowden Mill - I was first on a 12 midnight, with five more following behind. Only one or two fish moved. Water very slow, only just enough for the floating line. A nice night, fairly warm becoming cooler as the sky cleared. Not a touch! I foul hooked a fish of 1 1/4 pounds, safely returned. Peter had one of 1 1/4 lbs. need another spate badly.

Tuesday 25th August - 10.15 pm - 2 am

1 sea trout

Coolies - A nice calm night, ideal conditions. Rain started after midnight, mainly light. A good flow for the floating line. Four fishers. Very few fish moving and nothing caught. I hooked a very lively fish about 1 1/4 pounds just above the burn. I managed to beach the fish but the hook came out and the fish slid back into the river. No other touches. Saw several owls on the way home at the top of the Crow Road.

Thursday 27th August - 9.30 pm - 2 am

Cowden Mill - About six fishers on the dam. A nice night clouding over, becoming cooler and windier. River very low with only a slight flow. Quite a few fish evident in the pool - a shoal was seen in the afternoon. One size 10 fly on four foot cast with three maggots. Not a  touch! I tried the surface lure to no effect. No fish caught all night. Need rain.

Early Tuesday morning, 1st September, we had heavy rain, about 1 inch, but apparently little effect on the Endrick.

Tuesday 1st September - 9.30 pm - 2 am

2 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Seven fishers on for a 9 0.clock start. I fished from 9.30. The river had risen a few inches only and was still a bit slow even for the floating line and 2 size 10 flies. A very clear, calm night. The farm light was on till midnight. About six fish caught altogether but nothing over 3 lbs. I had two fish, one of 1 1/4 lbs just above the burn mouth and one of 2 pounds at the tail, under the tree on the far side. Temperature dropped a bit after midnight and no more touches. need a good spate.

Thursday 3rd September - 10 pm - 1.30 am

Cowden Mill - Water very low. A clear and very windy night but not cold. Some fish moving and six fishers on the pool. No one had a fish. I didn't have a touch. Coolies might have been better, if difficult in the strong wind.

Some rain early Saturday morning, half an inch at the most. Very heavy showers Sunday afternoon, enough to put the Endrick up to a good level

Monday 7th September - 12 midnight - 4 am

2 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Dam at a good high night level. A very bright night with a full moon behind cloud. 8 fishers. Floating line, longish leader, 2 size 8 flies, tail fly with 8 maggots (1 fish 2 lbs), exchanged for long shank with 10 maggots (1 fish 1 1/2 lbs). Sink tip might have been more effective early on. About eight or nine fish caught, a couple between 4 and 5 pounds. Monday night should be good for the floating line.

Monday 7th September - 11 pm - 4 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - About seven fishers on the dam. Very clear night, full moon, too bright. Good flow for floating line and two size 8 flies. Had a fish of 3 lbs about midnight below the stone. Lost another good fish later in the same place. Only three fish caught all night. River dropping slowly.

Wednesday 9th September

Very heavy rain Wednesday morning, resulting in a good spate. River was dropping at Cowden Mill in the afternoon and a few fish showing. River was at a perfect height at dusk. Three fish taken on shrimp fly. I had none. Regular spates from Wednesday to Saturday should bring fish in in numbers.

Thursday 10th September  5 pm - 8 pm

Cowden Mill - River above stone but dropping and fairly clear. About eight fishers already on the pool. I fished neutral line and size 8 treble shrimps. No touches. About four salmon and four sea trout taken. Frank had two salmon of 4 and 8 lbs on a silver/magenta stoats tail and a heavy sink tip line.

Saturday 12th September  5 am - 8.30 am

Cowden Mill - Heavy rain Friday evening. River in good condition dropping nicely, perhaps a bit too high but should be in good order by 10 am. Billy D had one sea trout about 3 lbs on a shrimp fly. I had one touch. The river should fish well all day.

Saturday 12th September  5.30 pm - 12 midnight

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - River at a good height for daytime fishing. I walked to Kiltrochan. When I came back, Billy S had 2 fish, including a seven pound salmon and got two more before dark. Only about ten caught all day. River still a bit high for night fishing but I got a small sea trout of about a pound at 11 pm. River continued to drop all day Sunday.

Sunday 13th September  12 midnight - 5 am

3 sea trout

Cowden Mill - River at a good height for floating line and dropping slowly. A few showers to start but sky cleared with a very bright, high half moon. Also fairly cold with a bit of a wind. Very few fish showing and only a few fish moving into the dam. There appeared to be few fish in the dam, surprising after three days continuous spate. Fish should have been running the Pots all day Sunday. I was first on the pool and began just above the big stone, taking a 3 1/2 pound fish on my second cast, on a size 10 spider with 3 maggots. I had another fish at the tail on the same fly with 2 maggots at 1.15 am. One more fish in the middle of the pool on my third run down, 1 3/4 lbs. Only 3 other fish caught, a total of 6 fish for 11 fishers. Jack had one of 5 lbs. Should be good Monday night.

Monday 14th September  11.30 pm - 1.30 am

River still too high after rain in the morning/afternoon, but dropping and clearing. Should fish about 3 - 4 am. I didn't!

Tuesday 15th September  8.30 pm - 4 am

3 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Perfect night.... mild, calm, good cloud cover with the river at a good height and dropping slowly. Not many fish showing. Eight fishers. I was on first at 8.30. It was still a wee bit light. I needed two size eight flies on the floating line to get them fishing deeply enough. Perhaps a neutral or sink tip line would have been better. I had a few small touches early on and others complained of missing fish.

I had 2 fish on the first run down, one of 3 lb 4 oz just above the burn mouth in midstream and the other 4 lb 8 ozs just above the tree at the tail of the pool. No fish on the second run down but one on the third, a fish of 3 lb 2 ozs, caught just below the beech tree. All fish were taken on a size eight with 5 or 6 maggots. My total, 3 fish for just under 11 pounds. Total for the pool was 11. The best period was from 9 pm to 11 pm, after which it became clearer, colder and misty later.

Wednesday 16th September  11.30 pm - 4.30 am

Cowden Mill - River at a good level, only one or two inches down on the previous night. Perfect for the floating line. Very few fish moving. Only one sea trout taken between dusk and midnight. Jack had a sea trout of about 2 lbs about 3 am. I had a brownie of 1 lb 4 ozs soon after. Fairly mild earlier becoming colder later. Fish not present in any numbers. Perhaps another spate needed to bring more fish upriver.

Heard later that no fish had been taken on Thursday night.

Sunday night 21st September  midnight - 4.30 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Weather perfect - very mild, cloudy and dark. Had been some rain during the day but it had little effect on the river. Minimal flow but OK at the top end of the dam. 5 fishers. I was second on the pool. I had a fish about 12.15 on yellow raffene spider size 8 plus 4 maggots. I had to change to two size tens later because of slow flow. The fish was only 1 lb 10 ozs but very fresh, caught above the big stone. Hardly another touch but lost a fish under a pound later. Two other small fish were taken by Jack (3/4 lb) and Robert (1 lb). Need rain, although reports again of a fair number of fish coming over the Pots.

Heavy rain on Monday morning from 5 am till 9 am, followed by lighter rain. The rain continued in the afternoon on and off, perhaps a total of 1.5 inches in 12 hours. Should result in a good spate Monday afternoon.

Tuesday 22nd September  5 am - 8.30 am

Cowden Mill - At 5 am the water was breaking the stone and dropping, giving a good height and colour at daybreak. A few fish showing but nothing taken. A few fish were caught yesterday evening. The river should be good for night fishing for the next few nights if the sea trout have arrived in any numbers.

Tuesday 22nd September  midnight - 10 pm - 5 am

3 sea trout

Cowden Mill - A mild, clear night with the river at a good high night height. No moon. Almost perfect conditions. About 8 fishers on the pool at 10 o'clock. Only one fish caught ( Colin 3 lbs). I started at 10 pm and soon lost a fish of about 7 pounds which I had on for a minute or so. There were few fishers left by midnight. I had two fish by 1 am, one of 2 lbs in the middle of the pool and one of 2 1/4 at the tail, both on size 8 with 5 maggots, fished on a sink tip line, which began to snag near the tail end of the pool. I tried the floater but it swung round slightly too fast even with a lot of maggots. I caught another of 14 ozs at the tail on long shank fly with 10 maggots at 3 am. One other fish caught about 2 lbs at 3 am.

Total for the night - 8 fishers - 5 fish. My three fish - 2 1/4, 2, 14 oz ( lost one 7 lbs). All fish fairly fresh.

A definite lack of sea trout. Where have they gone?.... netted by trawlers?  Poachers? Are they running later?

Wednesday 23rd September  10 pm - 1.30 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Similar level to night before - and similar weather, only slightly cooler and windier. Good conditions generally. Sink tip line, size 8 and size 10, then 2 size 8 later. A total of three fish caught all night. Fish still don't seem to be there. About eight fishers early on, all left by 12.30. Very few fish being caught anywhere on the river. My fish taken at 1 am - 2 1/4 lbs fresh - opposite burn mouth.

Friday 25th September  8 pm - 1.30 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - River at good height for floating line, if a shade low. Clear, cold, calm night. The farm light on from 9 till 12. Misty at times and hands and feet very cold later. No moon. Only Alec an I to start and 2 more arrived about 10 o'clock. I had a fairly fresh fish of 2 1/2 lbs about half way down the pool at 9 pm on size 8 yellow raffene spider + 5 maggots. Alec had 2 fish 4 1/2 and 2 lbs and lost a larger fish, all in the space of twenty minutes around 10 pm behind or beside the big stone on long shank size 8 plus 10 maggots. No other fish caught.

Monday 28th September   River Earn - Alan and I

1 sea trout

Alan and I fished Strowan on a day ticket. The river was at medium height. We fished worm all day and caught a 2 1/2 pound cock sea trout.

Tuesday 29th September  10 pm - 1 am

2 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Started at Kiltrochan 8 - 10 pm. Not a touch. Back at the Dam for back of ten with good cloud cover, fairly mild early but after 11 the sky cleared and it became very cold. River very low with only a slight flow but 2 size ten flies swung round slowly in parts of the pool. The Dam was full of fish. I had one at 1 1/2 pounds about half way down on the far side. The second fish took took fairly static or very slow moving fly/3 maggots below the burn mouth on a long line - 4 lbs very fresh. Seem to be a good number of fish in the Dam for the first time this year but river too low. A total of nine fish were taken on the Wednesday night.

Thursday 1st October  Coolies 8 pm - 10 pm

River very low but a flow at the top of Coolies. Nice night, calm, fairly mild. Clear sky but no moon. Very few fish moving in Coolies. Fished for 2 hours. Plenty parr and trout but no sea trout.

Cowden Mill 10pm - 2 am. Dam very low, virtually no flow. 2 size 10s swung round but very slowly. About 8 fishers. One said he lost one and caught one on a size 6, a fish of 4 lbs ( May have been foul hooked as the fishers left immediately afterwards). No other fish caught. Badly need rain. Jack had a fish at Netherton.

Monday 5th October  7pm - 11pm

Cowden Mill - Had been some heavy rain during the day but little effect on the river, although it rose slowly from 7 pm onwards. Floating line, 2 size 10s. Very little flow but was speeding up through the evening. Catching weed on tail fly. Plenty fish in the Dam, some more coming in. Had one take in the middle of the pool and lost it. No fish caught.

Coolies 11.30 - 12 midnight A few fish had been moving earlier but the river was rising and the burn mucky. River too dirty. More showers throughout night and Tuesday morning.

Tuesday 6th October  7.30 pm - 1.30 am

2 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Good flow for floating line. Too slow for sink tip. Clear sky with occasional cloud and showers. Full moon, very bright, very cold. Only myself and George, who left after one run down. I had one fish at the tail under the tree (2 lbs) on size 8/4 maggots and a second (1 1/2 pounds) at the tail on a sink tip line - fresh fish, good fight. I changed back to the floater and 2 size 8s and lost a big fish about 12.30 ( usual display from a lightly hooked fish ....  thrashed the surface until the hook came out).

Wednesday - rain on from 10 onwards most of the day.

Thursday 8th October  6.30 am - 8.30 am

Cowden Mill - River below stone at daybreak and dropping. Perhaps slightly low but fish moving. Lost one fish in the middle of the pool, neutral line, size ten Drury treble shrimps. Showery day forecast - should be good tonight if not too cold.

Thursday 8th October  7.30 pm - midnight

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - River at good level. Started with sink tip and changed to floater. About 5 fishers. Cold night, full moon, very bright but showery with occasional cloud covering moon. No touches except a break below the beech tree about midnight.

Coolies 12.30 - 2 am  River high but clear. One fish 2 1/2 lbs, fresh, near tail just below the style. I think the fish took the top dropper which came out during the fight and the fish was hooked in the forward part of the belly on the tail hook. Fish returned.

Friday 9th October  10 pm - 1.30 am

1 sea trout

Coolies - Alan's first trip to the Endrick. Full moon behind hazy cloud. Quite a bright night with the moon behind us. River at fairly high level for night fishing ( above stone) but running clear. Not too cold at first but became a bit chilly towards 1 am.

[ 3 other fishers using size 6 hooks, no maggots. One had a 7 lb salmon at the tail on a long shank teal and silver. Another four fish were caught before 1 am, all without maggots. I had serious doubts about how they were hooked]

I hooked a fresh fish of 2 1/2 pounds about 1 am on size 8/7 maggots on a sink tip line. Alan played it, I netted it.

Sunday 11th October  midnight - 4 am

1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Only one other fisher. Heavy rain from 12 - 2 am. The other fisher had a fresh 2 lb fish about 12.30. Few fish moving. Water low, moon hidden behind cloud, cold. Floating line size 8 and 10. My fish, 1 1/2 pounds, caught 2.30 in the middle of the pool. No other touches. Heard that a few fish had been caught at the milk bar during the day. Must have a look sometime.

Monday 12th October  7.30 pm - 10.30 am

Alan and I. Water at good height - cold and misty. Plenty of fish moving but not interested. 5 Fishers. Jacky had a fresh one about 2 lbs in the run at the top of the pool. We didn't have a touch.

Coolies 11pm - 1 am  There had been 2 fish caught - again without maggots! Turned warmer and cloud covered moon - flow a wee bit too fast for Coolies. Not a touch.

Wednesday 14th October  2pm - 4.30 pm                               

1 grilse, 1 sea trout

Cowden Mill - Water at the top of the stone at 2 and dropping. Fisher on the other ( private) bank had 6 fish mainly spinning in higher water and had one on the fly when I arrived with Alan. Billy had a grilse about 5 pounds just before 2 pm.

Sink tip line. I had a cock salmon of 6 lb 2 oz about 3.30 just below the beech tree. Went down to the Black Lynn until 7.30pm. Had a cock sea trout, dark, 31/2 lbs at about 7 pm. Met Billy returning from the dam. He had a total of 6 grilse and one big sea trout ( fairly fresh) and he'd lost 3, all in the run in to the dam, mostly taken between 5 and 7 pm, with water dropping all the time.

Thursday 15th October  5.30 pm - 6.45 am

Cowden Mill - River rising and colouring after heavy rain in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Billy had one grilse about 4 pm. Alan and I did not have a touch but fish showing

Friday 16th October  5 pm - 7 pm

Cowden Mill - Water just a bit too low with about 8 inches of the stone showing. Very few fish showing. Neutral line, size 10 trebles, not a touch.

Wednesday 21st October  Dawn to Dusk

Cowden Mill - Heavy rain early morning. River at good height at daybreak but rose and coloured steadily throughout the morning. Dropped again in the afternoon a little and at a good height by tea time. 1 fish caught by Alec, a six pound grilse on size 8 blue and silver shrimp around 1 o'clock. Colin had 2 and lost a few in the last hour the previous night with the river a little lower.

Thursday 22nd October  5.30 pm - 7.30 pm

1 sea trout (kelt)

Cowden Mill - Nothing caught all day. Several fishers. River at perfect height and colour. I had a 2 lb sea trout kelt on a blue/silver treble just after dark ( no maggots).

Friday 23rd October  5.30 pm - 7.30 pm

Fished from above the Stinky Burn down to Coolies. River a fair height, maybe slightly low. No touches on sink tip.

Coolies 10.30 to midnight  Few fish moving. 3 fish taken by fishers using bare fly! Some fairly fresh sea trout. I had no touches - river a bit high for maggot. Rod rings freezing!

Tuesday 27th October  7 am - 8.30 am

Manse to Fir Tree - Water low and clear but started to rise and colour after heavy rain earlier in the morning. No touches, only saw one fish move. Rain forecast all day till evening.

Wednesday 28th October  Dawn till Dusk

Cowden Mill - Cement Wall  Water slightly low for dam but good height for rest of river. Very few fish around. One or two touches ( salmon?). Another blank!


2 Grilse   38 Sea Trout

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The Dam looking downstream


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