Does anyone else have a bogey loch? This year mine seems to be that Scottish icon Loch Leven. Not that Iâ€™ve fished it often; in fact only twice this year, but Iâ€™ve blanked both times. Iâ€™m no fishing pro but Iâ€™m glad to say that I donâ€™t blank often. As it happens, only twice this year if my fishing diary is correct, so Leven really HAS been my bogey venueâ€¦
Blanking, however, has not meant that I havenâ€™t enjoyed myself. I have had excellent company on both occasions and indeed I have had the pleasure of watching each of my boat partners boat a fine Leven brown trout of approx 3lbs. Frustrated I may have been at my own lack of success, but not to the point when I have been unable to enjoy a friend making a good catch. So well done to both Scott Menneer and Phil Cachia for showing me itâ€™s done!
As predominantly an angler of wild trout in wild places, I am very much of the opinion that blanking does not necessarily mean an unsuccessful day per se. The joy to be had visiting and experiencing a wonderful loch in pursuit of fickle, wild fish is very real and means that my time is not wasted just because I have not landed a fish – the company and the scenery make up so much of the enjoyment.
The pressure, however, is building. I canâ€™t afford my third visit to be a blank. I do â€˜fish to catchâ€™ as any of my fishing friends will testify â€“ the scenery and company can only do so much! The challenge is all. Working through methods, flies, drifts until success is the game â€“ and I love it. The fact that this success has eluded me so far on this great loch just makes me more determined to â€˜crack the codeâ€™. Being such a large water and my being so relatively unfamiliar with it, I have much to learn about its drifts, moods and holding areas. 30-odd years of angling experience notwithstanding, I have to go back to basics and start on the bottom rung as it were. Helpful and generously given advice from the loch management has not yet ensured success â€“ my own incompetence has seen to that!
Until I resumed my relationship with Leven this year, it had been 6 years since I last cast a line across its rich, shallow waters (my fishing diary notes that on that visit I managed to hook a fish on my very first cast of the day). Having since been in the doldrums with boat numbers reduced to a handful, things have been steadily improving and boat numbers have increased to their current number of 17 or so. Â It seems that there are a growing number of Central Belt anglers who are happy to eschew the ubiquitous rainbow and chase our native fish again even though their size and co-operation cannot be guaranteed. What is guaranteed is their beauty and wildness.
With my trip to Assynt now consigned to my fishing record â€“ and the rugby season started, my time for fishing Leven again this year looks over and so I will have to wait until next year to do battle again. I certainly look forward to it and hope that the pressure doesnâ€™t get to me. Third time lucky perhaps?