Archive for the ‘Glasgow Casting Club’ Category

A Day on the Tay

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I always like to visit new beats and bits of river.  The other day I had the pleasure of going to Upper Murthly a middle beat on the Tay.  I just took the notion and booked it on a couple of days before.  That’s the great think about the internet being able to book fishing’s at very short notice when you see fish being caught or the height looks right.  I got it slightly wrong and the river was 3ft up but running very clear and cold at 42 degrees.

Tony Kings dogs!

I was met by Tony Black the ghillie and his 4 beautiful dogs, it turns out that I was the only rod on the beat that day so I got personal attention.  It has been a long time since I fished a beat where the ghillie called me sir, wore tweed and a tie and offered to carry my rod, the last occasion was Birkhall on the Dee, the Queen Mother’s beat.   As ever Tony being a ghillie was optimistic he had caught a fish the day before so they were around and if there should take a fly.  I was relaxed and simply wanted to enjoy the day and surroundings if I had an encounter with a fish then that was a bonus.

Using a Loomis Stinger shooting head S3 and a Willie Gunn and off we went to fish the Tronach pool which was at the top of the beat.  Shooting heads I prefer in high water or if you want to fish a sinking line, they are easier to control and lift out of the water, pull in the running line when you have fished the cast out, role cast to lift the head to the service then straight into a cast in this case a single spey.  I fished the pool down several times before lunch changing fly on several occasion but no fish was encountered.

It did get me thinking about my casting though, on the pond at the Glasgow Casting club it’s comparatively easy but on the river all sorts of faults creep in this case “crashed anchors”.  I am going to have to consult some of my mates within GAIA although I suspect I am dipping the rod.

Tronach Pool Upper Murthly

Lunch was a relaxed affair in a warm hut with Tony talking about the flies he ties always good to hear someone else’s views.   He has had a write up in the T & S for a few of his flies the Ghillie, a Murthly Marauder and a Stenton Shrimp.  Always interested in new patterns especially local ones I committed to looking them up in past copies of the magazine.

I wish I could now say that we went onto catch several fish in the afternoon but of course that was not the case.  I did walk the beat and checked it out for future occasions crossing the river in the boat whilst Tony harled.   It was a good day I enjoyed it and hopefully I will fish the beat again.

BFCC and Glasgow Casting Club event

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

The Bristish Fly Casting Club  contacted us over a year ago now and asked if we could assist in organising a Scottish day well it happened today in Glasgow.  About 30 of us gathered in Pollok Park on a bleak September day in the pouring rain but despite the rain we all had a great day.  Mike Marshall organised the event and Mike Heritage, John Reynolds, Rodger Miles and Tracey Thomas gave up of their time, traveled from the deep south by road and air and proceeded to share their expertise with us.

Brian pushing his 5 weight

What experts they were the leading light of BFCC, Mike Marshall, and FFF Master Mike Heritage, along with GAIA members Roger and John so much quality in one place. Group lessons were arranged for those who wanted them followed by competitions which were great fun.


I was delighted to see the enthusiasm of some of our Glasgow boys the young bucks were taking to distance casting like ducks to water.  I must make special mention of Willie McGuire and Malcolm Prescot who won trophies.  Full results will be posted on the BFCC web site in the next few days, please do not ask how I got on all I know is that I need to do a great deal of practice before next year, yes the date is fixed for the 9th September 2012 and as this year places will be restricted so book early through me or Mike Marshall.


Pollok Park in the rain


On a final note Mike Marshall celebrated his 75 birthday earlier this year and one of the competitions the BFCC run is for a  T120 Double Handed Fly Distance  (Any rod up to 17’ (5.2m). Any shooting head line 120gm max)  they looked like carp rods with an extension.  Mike on the day won by a mile somewhere in the region of 212 ft.  We watched as he prepared a very slow and beautifully prepared false cast and then he let go it was effortless and from where we stood we could tell it was a long one as the guys marking  had to run backwards, thanks Mike for showing us that it really is down to technique.

Get a Fly Casting Lesson

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Some say that I might be biased being Chairman of GAIA but I really do believe that we should all take casting lessons if you plan to be a fly fisherman.  Having done so you then need time to practice, going fishing is not enough you need to go practice.   Fly fishing has a technical requirement similar to a golf stroke, if you wish to fly fish you need to cast or you will struggle to get past go.   Golfers all take lessons at some stage in their golfing careers and most of them will continue to refresh their strokes or putting techniques.  They also practice, golf driving ranges and practice greens get used and professionals video their clients efforts to aid development.

Fly fisherman for some strange reason believe that they can go without instruction and development.  I was out the other day with an experienced fisherman in a boat and was surprised to see that he could not double haul. His fishing would have been more enjoyable if he could improve his casting.  It was not about distance but about less effort to attain the same result and after 8 hours in a boat at our age less effort has to be good.

Casting Clubs work as a support group

I doubt that he has ever had a lesson and yet was happy to spend £500 on a rod.  Expensive rods do not improve your casting, I own rods that cost many hundreds of pounds and yet often turn to rods that cost tens of pounds only, my first choice boat rod costs £70 and was won in a competition.  Its technique and practice that improve casting and fishing performance.

GAIA instructors learning

Photo courtesy of John Symonds

If you fish a river for trout or salmon than casting is even more important to cope with the vagaries of river currents and winds.  Master caster Gary Borger I think it was who said that having learned to cast well  and understand the principles with overhead casts it was then a requirement to learn to develop faults, curve casts, aerial mends, pile casts.  These are skills required to fish well especially on running water.  Notice that we have not even mentioned salmon fishing and spey casting.

After 40 years fly fishing I still get lessons and get videos of my technique I am constantly looking for improvement, my current project is sorting my left handed spey casting .  If you doubt the value of lessons go try it get some from a qualified instructor preferably a member of GAIA then go and practice in preparation to fish.

Back to Fishing

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Well thats it Piping Live! over for another year.  Thats how I earn my living being involved in the National Piping Centre of Scotland and running Glasgow International Piping Festival aka Piping Live!  A mad week of piping when pipers from all over the world descend on us to play the pipes some 30,000 attend the festival annually Piping Live! 2010

Now maybe I can go fishing.  I have not been too active fishing of late but I have been to the Clyde to look for Mullet.  I went to the Black Cart just above where it enters the White Cart and then the Clyde.  I have had no success but I did manage to see a shoal and a few salmon.  This is a picture of the weir below the bridge where I had hoped to see fish the closest that I got was a shoal coming over the weir.

Black Cart Renfrew

What next well I have a couple of days booked on the Lake of Menteith and I have high hopes that the heather fly will be around and I can try my new foam pattern.

The Glasgow Casting Club is still doing well and is meeting every Thursday we are planning to welcome the British Fly Casting Club to Scotland in September 2011.

Coaching and Casting

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Well the Glasgow Casting Club is up and running again it seemed a seamless handover with the fly tiers.  We get on average about 15 guys turning up every Thursday evening at Knightswood pond both single handed and double.  There are always guys around to help with both disciplines and if you have any specific issues someone will have an answer for you.  It also a good place to try out rods and lines there is always likely to be someone has got what you would like.

knightswood Lake

The latest with the group is that we have had an approach from the BFCC to possibly run an event in Scotland in late 2011 which would be great if we can make it happen.

Reading their home page and their objectives it would appear that we share similar aims and objectives the first being :

To provide a sociable Club environment where casters of any ability can maximise their potential, whether it be to better understand tackle, catch more fish, or to cast a long way.

Four of us are off the Wales in a couple of weeks to join up with them and see what they do.

Coaching is still very active with a few workshops recently on the Clyde where it was bitterly cold but we did catch fish.  I have also had a number of 1-2-1 sessions with fishing and casting, fishing on the Lake and casting on the Clyde a great spot just above the m74 at Bothwell and what a great spot it was.

I am off to Nottingham this weekend as part of my coach educator program for the Angling Development Board running UKCC First4Sport Level 1’s and 2’s not sure why I have done it, but now that I am this far with it I need to complete .  Maybe get to fish this weekend just on my own.