Tight Lines

Newton Stewart angler Dennis Marsh with a thumping smoothhound that weighed in at 13lb 04oz. caught a couple of years ago from a Garlieston rock mark.
Newton Stewart angler Dennis Marsh with a thumping smoothhound that weighed in at 13lb 04oz. caught a couple of years ago from a Garlieston rock mark.

What a week for fishing – NOT. The weather has played a massive part in everyone’s life this past week, anglers included.

But all we had to suffer was extra time in front of the fire and television … that is if we were fortunate to have power in our homes at all.

Consider the many who were without electricity and heating, the hundreds who slept in makeshift evacuation centres in the McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart ARC, Penninghame House and the Ryan Centre in Stranraer, the farmers who were out in blizzards and the aftermath rescuing livestock, and the power workers who fought against overwhelming odds to restore power. If all you lost was a couple of days on the bank side or the rocky foreshore, then count yourself very lucky.

Late hatch

It’s a good time to look forward to the coming weeks and, hopefully, what will be on offer. For the put-and-take trout angler, not a lot will change. The water will see only a very slight increase in temperature and the fish will have a tendency to stay in the deeper layers. Find the depth they are at with timed retrieves as the line sinks and change the lure pattern until you get the right combination. Even in these conditions, the fish will be responsive to a well presented fly or lure.

The evening after a good sunny day can result in a late hatch. The top layers of the water will be a degree or two warmer after being bathed in sunshine for most of the day and the hatch will bring fish to the surface, so the dry fly should score well in these conditions.

Pinprick bubbles

For coarse anglers, it’s very definitely a time to look forward. However, for the next week or so, stay indoors.

The volume of melted snow water will fill the fisheries and will have a detrimental effect on the fishing for a short time but think ahead to what to expect.

Bream are showing early this year and once we return to normality with the westerly wind, things should start again.

Late May or early June should see the tench and carp begin to look around for a feed. The prime time for tench is daybreak, as they give their presence away by the thousands of pinprick bubbles breaking the surface as they stir up the bottom silt and sediment, sifting out the bits of food. Pre-baiting a spot can almost guarantee good sport but once the sun is up, the tench will be looking for cover and the bites will slow down.

Mini sharks

Just like the coarse anglers, the sea anglers will suffer as the snow melt finds its way into the Solway but only for a short time.

Sport is hard to come by at this time of year with most rods looking for ray and the odd bass or two but in just a few weeks, all this will change when the hounds arrive around our shore.

Smoothhounds have been landed as early as late March but the preferred months would be April, May and June. These hard-hitting, torpedo-shaped mini sharks give a great account of themselves, punching well above their weight and misleading the angler into thinking he has caught a massive fish when in reality it’s about half the weight he would have thought.

Crab baits are the favourite, followed closely by well presented fish baits.

This week’s photograph shows what local angler Dennis Marsh landed just a year or so ago when he headed off looking for the hounds.

A date for this weekend: March 31 sees the Peever Easter Open. Registration is 8am-9am at the Gordon House, Kirkcudbright,