Saturday, 11 August 2012

An extraordinary week of fishing.
Part 4: Loch Lubnaig

Following on from our successful morning on the Forth and Clyde canal we headed over to the deeper waters of Loch Lubnaig, in the hope of targeting artic char as well as the big perch that inhabit it. We popped into James Bayne's Tackle in Callander to get our permits and soon after we were on the shore of the loch. Ross summed up Lubnaig in one whispered reverential word "awesome!" The water was a good couple of feet higher than the previous times we had fished it but still clear with a slight peaty stain. Lure wise I went straight for a 5g Jackson Cymo in pink, a lure which has always done well for me at this loch. Ross was equipped with the same lure and Scott was using a small pink Evergreen vibe lure. We began to work the lures around an area where a stream flows in next to a deep drop off. I was working the lure with little rips and falls, classic sink and draw retrieve pattern, it wasn't too long before a fish grabbed my lure and bore down. Fish on! The fish didn't want to come up to the surface and took line to try and stay deep. I was playing it very lightly and keeping the rod tip down but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't a trout and that could mean only one thing, it was a good sized perch! I played it into the shallow water where Scott was waiting with the net. As soon as the fish got into the net the barbless single hook popped out of the fish and feeling very lucky indeed we set about weighing and photographing the perch before releasing it again.

Not an arctic char.
At just over a pound this was my biggest perch so far this year.

We carried on fishing and I managed to hook and lose a fish that I suspect was a brownie, before we started to move around the loch. Scott headed south to a little rock flanked bay he had discovered on a previous session, Ross stayed where the burn ran in and I went north round into the bay. Scott had rigged up his favourite Lake Fork Live Baby Shad on a 3.5g #4 AGM jig head and was working the weed beds. It quickly produced results with some greedy perch attacking his lure!

Golden Shiner is Scott's go to colour. Perch love it too!
No big perch for Scott but they were all in lovely condition.

The perch were in the mood and we would later find out he had managed to land seven all roughly the same size. Before he got back though I had just worked my way back round the bay see how Ross was getting on. As I was making my way I heard Ross give a shout and saw him playing a fish. Hoping it was a char I hurriedly made my way over. Ross had got the fish in the shallows and he confirmed it was a char with an almighty "Yes!" followed by loud cursing as the fish threw the hook and drifted off into the loch, with Ross in close pursuit! Gutted! The fish had come off just as Ross was lifting it onto dry land. Feeling his pain I told him of the 3 other char I had caught and not landed, seems they are as adept as other trout species when it comes to throwing the hook!

Ross tries to hook a second char.

We soon got back to fishing and I went with a brown Cymo and Ross with a silver Mepps. After about 10 minutes I had a bite and felt a head shake and a little darting run. I had my suspicions the moment it took the lure and played the fish as delicately as I could. The fish came into view in the shallows and I saw what I had been hoping for, an arctic char! With my heart in my mouth I played it into the shallows and with Ross guarding its escape route, managed to beach my first ever arctic char! I was over the moon and with the score evened up at last I photographed my lovely catch before watching as it swam back to the deeps.

Finally one that didn't give me the slip!
A little time to recover before being set free.

Ross was now determined to catch another char and set about working the area. At this point Scott returned and we told him about the arctic char Ross had lost and I had landed. He joined Ross and had a go with his pink Evergreen vibe lure for a char. I headed off round into the bay where I had had some perch on our last visit. Half an hour later I found a small weed bed with gaps that I could work the Cymo through and no sooner had I started targeting the gaps I had a bite and struck into a good fish! The fish kited and stayed deep and soon it came towards me and turned in the water showing beautiful stripes and scarlet fins. It was a nice perch and was a bit bigger than the first one. I didn't have any scales but it was over a pound and great fun on the LRF rod! 

Got you!
Perch really like the Jackson Cymo.

A quick photo then back it went. I shouted over to Ross who began to make his way over. He pitched up just in time to see me land a second big perch! Again it was bigger than the first but I didn't weigh it and after a quick photo it was soon released back to sulk in the weeds.

Another lovely Lubnaig perch!

I think we must have carried on fishing for another hour and a half but apart from a visit from the highland cows, there were no further action. All in all it was a brilliant afternoon session in stunning surroundings and it was warm as well! I was really pleased to land a fish I have never caught before and always considered them as quite rare. Shame Ross didn't land his first char but it wont be long before he will be back, they are on borrowed time!

Tight lines, Schogsky.

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