Cold comfort in the wet

We might all be moaning about the wild, wet and cold weather just now and, to be fair, it has put paid to a few trips on the bank. However, on the plus side, the fresh water pushing through the rivers has had a good effect on the spring run.

The featured photograph this week is the terrific springer that Keith Wild caught and was featured in last week’s column – and they are still running. A 9lb for Barry Strachan and an 8lb fish for Craig Hughes, both from Association waters, plus the latest report, a beautiful double figure, liced fish for Roddy Crosbie (full report and picture next week).

A word of caution from the Association’s Hatchery and Habitat Trust: a few smolt are taking the fly, please treat them gently and return them as soon as possible. Still on the theme of future stocks, the hatchery’s 2013 fry release programme is ready to start and manager Murdo Crosbie would welcome help from any quarter. If you would like to help with this year’s fry release, find the contact details on the hatchery’s website.

Lose Your Rod

With settled weather and a coloured sea, the Solway is beginning to get into gear at last. Unconfirmed reports from a reliable source say the smoothhounds are in.

Until seven or eight years ago, hounds were very rare and any captures were down to luck more than skill. Then they began to show in numbers along the inner Solway but now have spread pretty much all around our coastline, with fish coming ashore from marks as far apart as Colvend to Stranraer. Crab baits are the number one for these torpedoes of the sea: they hit the bait hard on the run and scream off down tide. If you haven’t left your reel on ratchet, there’s every chance you could lose your rod.

Pollock numbers are on the increase with rock marks around Stranraer throwing up fish in the 2-3lb class on a regular basis. It won’t be too much longer before the mature fish will be putting in an appearance. A favourite mark that usually produces the early, better class of fish are the cliffs at Port Logan, one of the easier boat marks with launching on hand locally. Port Logan beach should fish well with an onshore blow. Expect flounder, plaice and bass, the last of which will be foraging in the surf line. Sand eel baits and crab/worm will all take fish.

34lb Pike

Spring fever is having an effect on local still waters with most species up and about from their winter slumbers. The big pike are feeding well just now with a reported 34lb fish from Loch Ken taken by an old hand, “the Piking Pirate”, Gord Burton. Full report next week on this red letter capture.

Decent fish are showing from most of the popular waters. Woodhall Loch was the venue chosen by Chris Carter for a two-day session, and six fish to 14lb kept him happy. Tench and bream are making good bags, with early morning and evening the optimum times. Both species offer better returns with a good pre-baiting ground bait regime.

Late sunshine will bring the carp up to the surface as they cruise around enjoying the warmth on their backs. These fish are the ones to target for some great floater action.