Friday, 22 October 2010

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Dee @ Balmoral

David Wood, The Wine Shop, Leek 01538 382408. Mob 07875 405 980.

A Room With A View

Arrived at our hotel in Ballater in Royal Deeside last night. The meal was fantastic...Ravioli of Woodpidgeon followed by venison washed down with Sancerre and Pouilly Fume.

After dinner it was in to dramming mode with the terrific Talisker 25 year old and Rare Malts Linkwood 26 years old, finishing off with a classic Lagavulin 16 years old.

Just getting ready to meet Donald Renwick for a day at Royal Lochnagar Distillery at Balmoral.....

David Wood, The Wine Shop, Leek 01538 382408. Mob 07875 405 980.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


I'm currently sitting in a mini bus travelling from Aberdeen airport on the way to a hotel in the heart of the highlands. We're driving upstream on the banks of the Dee and I'm passing some of the most expensive water to fish in the world.

Posts on this blog have become more 'angling' than 'dramming' and so it's time to throw the spotlight back on to whisky for a wee while. During the next few days I hope to post a few pics from my travels which shall take me to some gems of distillerys including Lochnagar, Glen Ord and all the way over to Skye for Talisker.

I've been lucky enough to be invited on the Diageo Malt Advocate course and it promises to be a few days packed with nosing and tasting many a wee dram of the amber nectar....


David Wood, The Wine Shop, Leek 01538 382408. Mob 07875 405 980.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Looking for the Lunking Ladies on the Wye

I was desperate to get out fishing again this week as I'm away in Scotland and then London with work for a good couple of weeks quite soon. Earlier in the week, Jan, one of the river keepers, very kindly showed me around one or two spots on this lovely Derbyshire river. I remember swearing every few yards or so as I came across fishy looking swims over and over again. Other anglers reading this will know exactly what I mean about Tourettes syndrome setting in as you round a bend and find a deep glide, or a fast riffle dropping into a deep trench, or rippled moving water that has fish written all over it. If you'd have heard me a couple of days ago, when first visiting this stretch of river, you'd have thought I'd turned into Glen Pointon, or worse still Roger Mellie (the man on the telly).

I put up a pic on the previous post of my first decent sized grayling of October on this particular river. Having seen the pic, one or two readers have given me a pound and a half for it...any advance on that? I'll certainly be wanting more than that for the lovely fish I caught early this afternoon which is shown in the two pics on this post.

I started out fairly early today. I got the car packed up even before the kids were up and ready for school. It was a cool and completely overcast morning and I thought it looked almost perfect for grayling fishing. There was a spot of rain in the air and at first, I had a job to get organised and my OCD started to kick in when I realised that, because of the low air temperature and the threat of rain, I may have to wear a coat. Those that have fished with me know how my head goes if everything isn't just how it ought to be....

And so I made my way down the river, trying desperately to remember all of the spots that I'd fished a few days ago and where Jan had pointed out features, swims and runs to me. Once again I was completely taken aback by the beauty of the place, the river and the whole valley really. It reminds me so much of Pitlochry in the Highlands, you're never far away from a dipping dipper, a fleeting kingfisher or the eerie scream of a buzzard above the trees. There's many a spot that wouldn't be out of place in a Turner. The banks are a pleasure to fish, yes it can be a challenge to the angler to get the right cast in without wading, but all the more rewarding when the take comes and a fish ends up in the net. I've found that, even with my 10ft 4wt Streamflex, it's nearly always possible to make that cast whenever, and wherever you want to.

I was taking fish all the way down the stretch and once at the end, I sat down and tucked into my lunch and took in the surroundings once more. I had a leisurely stroll back and had a particular spot in mind. I'd fished it in the morning and dropped a couple of fish but was sure that it was holding a good few more. I'd got an hour before I was to leave in time for the school run so I had enough time to get a few casts in before heading off back to the car. I was dropping fish again and was getting a little frustrating and started to think about my last cast. This time I'd cast just that little bit further, and nearer to an overhanging branch. No sooner had the drift began than the tip of the line shot away and a good fish was on. I new it was a decent fish immediately and I was desperate not to drop this one as I knew it would be a perfect end to the day.

After a decent scrap, this lovely fish came to the net. It had taken the point fly which I was surprised by given that almost all of the others had taken the dropper.

Another superb day's fishing on the Wye. I'm hoping the grayling just keep getting bigger and bigger....


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Great Grayling Sport in Derbyshire

Had a couple of hours on a new stretch of water that I'm fishing over winter yesterday and had some fine grayling sport. This lovely fish was the best of the day and one which I shall endeavour to beat during the next few occasions that I visit this fantastic river.....


Monday, 11 October 2010

A Few Fine Autumnal Hours on the Wye with Pointon....

Enjoyed a few hours on the Wye with Glen yesterday. I called round to Pointon Palace at around 2pm to find him collapsed in his living room with piles of paper all over the floor along with an upturned child's size desk and chairs. A used, and unemptied potty sat in the corner and it basically looked very much as if he'd been burgled by angry toddlers. Amongst the debris and empty Benson & Hedges packs was one Tarquin Pointon who I'd clearly woken up when I knocked on the door. He swore at me in his strongest Liverpudlian accent, asked me what time of day it was, I think, swore at me again and slowly began to get his act together to eventually leave the house and get off to do some fishing....

Things must be on the up for 'The Vital Spark'  because the first thing I noticed was that the space on the drive that is usually occupied by the knackered old VW van was now occupied by a snazzy looking Porsche Cayenne.....and so, this turned out to be our choice of transport for the day. I half expected to find a tray or two of Ferrero Rocher and a bottle or two of Asti Spumante on the back seat to accompany our arrrfternun fa*king tea.

And so, it was on to the river with a couple of hours of day light to spare and Pointon was straight into the Grayling. The fish were hammering the dry fly and great sport was had for the rest of the day. The rivers in Derbyshire and Staffordshire have benefited from the much needed rainfall that we've had in the last couple of weeks and now that the warmer weather has returned, the fly life has gone bonkers with the many hatches that are coming off during the day. On the last day of the season I had one of those mental days at Dovedale where hungry fish are rising everywhere and nailing every fly that they can in preparation for the winter to come. Many of the bigger brownies came out to play, each taking olive patterns and sedges.

The pic below shows Glen's biggest fish of the afternoon session. I don't know why he has got the expression on his face but he went down hill after that, he gets tired in the early evening, and so It was time to get him back in to the Porsche and back to the sheltered accommodation.

On the way back, Glen and I agreed that we'd had a fine afternoon and that we'd enjoyed travelling in style in the Porsche....but, at the end of the was no LDV.....


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

A Few More Islay Trip Pics.......

Just a few more pics to wet the appetite of those anglers joining me on our next trip to Islay. This time the pics have been very kindly donated by Mark Williams.

The pic above was taken on the last day on Islay as some of the lads decided they'd fished enough and wanted to see a bit of Islay. This particular bit of Islay is the still house at Laphroaig distillery.

The second day's fishing on Islay took place on Loch Gorm. I've fished it with some success from the bank a few times but this time we had booked boats and I have to say that I didn't enjoy being restricted by the boat and felt the urge to climb out and start wading. My head dropped very quickly and my fishing was never going to be any good as my confidence was low and I was getting more and more frustrated by the many tangles that I was finding myself in. Anyhow, whilst I was throwing all of my toys out of the pram. Peter "Pollock" was simply chilling and catching one or two lovely wee Gorm brownies all of which had the buttery colours that are typical of the fish caught in this huge machir loch.

I'll be bank fishing it next time. You can keep your boats.

I'm more at home, and more confident on Loch Finlaggan and on future trips, especially if we are based at Finlaggan House, I'll be creating an itinerary that includes at least a couple of day's fishing on this large, wild and beautiful loch. The fishing can be quite rewarding. Fishing the Northern end of the loch, particularly on the visitor centre shore, many small fish of less than 1/2 lb can be caught in a couple of ours on small sedges and F flies. For those that decide to invest the time in walking all the way down either shore, the fish tend to get bigger, they're angrier and generally much more fun to catch. If it's a lunker you want, get yourself down to the reeds at the southern end of the lock where the river Sorn makes it's way out towards Bridgend. The odd Sea Trout makes it's way up this wee river into Loch Finlaggan.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Jase Snape's Pics from our Sept 2010 Islay Trip

My good pal Jason Snape has kindly made some fab pics available for me to be able to pinch and post on Angling and Dramming. They were all taken during our recent trip to Islay and I hope that they are enough to persuade one or two of my fishing buddies to join us on one of our trips in 2011. Those of you who are booked on our trip in May 2011 have this fantastic scenery to look forward to.

The pic above is taken from the west shore of Loch Finlaggan looking towards the Paps of Jura. Finlaggan House which, since the closure of the Bunnahabhain Cottages, is now Angling and Dramming's preferred retreat, is just off the left of the picture.

Ian Gould (of Errwood) and I sit on a Wade Bridge on our way to the ferry to Islay....the reason we don't look too happy is that we're not yet on Islay.

Ian and I were desperate to tackle up when we spotted this lovely burn.....

Jase started to get all arty farty on the ferry and took this lovely pic over the sea to Islay.

Me on Calmac's Isle of Arran.

Our home for 5 days, Finlaggan House.

Ian of Errwood wades into the depths of Loch Finlaggan for the very first time. Neoprene waders were his wise choice, due to the cool conditions.

I have the craic with Ian whilst making our way to some of my favourite swims on Loch Finlaggan.

Fishing the east shore of the loch.

David Morris turns up to show us how it's done.

Ian tries to convince David Morris and I that he's just dropped a 6lb wild brownie.

Views over Loch Finlaggan.....not bad eh?

Fancy joining us next year....get in touch ASAP!