Brian Turner, aka islayfisher, travelled to Islay with his fly fishing friends for their annual trip. This was their 20th year, 18 of which have been on Islay with occasional forays onto Jura too.
Arriving the week before Feis Ile the guys were quickly on the waters of Loch Gorm on the sunday taking out the boats of Jim McHarrie at Ballinaby. The day was to be quite benign by Loch Gorm standards and trout were taken and returned quite freely up to 1lb. The days fishing and start of the week activities were toasted with a dram of the Kilchoman new bottling “Loch Gorm” which seemed appropriate.
On the following day the lads were up early to catch the first Jura ferry which was to take them onto the island and up the road the 25 miles or so to Ardlussa Estate. On arriving at Ardlussa House a great welcome was given by hosts Andy and Claire Fletcher and an introduction to their guide for the day, Head Stalker Ewen MacInnes. After a quick coffee in the house Ewen set off up the road with the guys following until the end of the “official” road was reached. Gear and food was then transferred onto the ATV for the journey further up the track and then off over the wild hilly terrain of the northern most part of Jura. The journey was to a group of lochs towards the western side of Jura with views over to Glengarrisdale Bay and indeed north to Scarba and Corryvreckan.
The first port of call was on Loch a Bhurra where after an hour or so a number of small trout had been caught and returned by all of the team. From there a cast on a small lochan brought more success and the mist was beginning to lift and the sunshine brought out the splendour of this north Jura landscape. Lunch beckoned and Ewan suggested moving up to the high ground of nearby Clachaig Mhor to enjoy the views and the fantastic venison pasties supplied by Claire Fletcher. What a delight to take lunch and a sloe gin whilst watching Scarba appear from the mist into beautiful sunshine.
With lunch taken the rods then dropped down to Loch an Eilean (the loch of the islands) where they spent another few hours taking small trout around the islands and features of this delightful loch. With mid afternoon approaching the final loch of the day was to be Loch a Gheoidh (the Goose Loch). The wind had picked up a little and the team concentrated their efforts on the western shore of this loch each taking and returning a fish or two. All too soon it was time to journey back on the ATV to the road where their vehicle was parked up. To enable such a full day a special booking was made of the Jura ferry and the team had to be back at Feolin to make this rendezvous. At the end of the day the team reckoned they had caught and returned just over 90 brown trout on tried and tested flies such as Blue Zula, Kate McLaren, Clan Chief and Doobry. On the way home time was had to have a quick pint in the Jura Hotel which on a lovely May evening was bustling with walkers, whisky lovers and contented fishermen. A selection of photos have been put together which hopefully give a flavour of the day on Youtube
On the Tuesday they were back on Loch Gorm on Islay but this time the breeze was a little more challenging and although a full day was had on the loch the number of trout landed was about half of sundays catch of 95. The Islay Estates lochs at Cam, Drolsay and Leathan were the target on day 4 and after the drive to the shore of Loch Cam, Brian and Jimmy set off for Drolsay and Keith and Charles made for Leathan. The latter proved to be the best choice as on a windy and cooler day Drolsay had the better of Brian and Jimmy who drew a blank! The other lads had more luck taking 23 nice wee trout on Leathan up to 12oz. The four rods then met at the north shore of Loch Cam where a token 4 fish were landed.
The weather on Thurday whilst bright was cold and very windy and was to be a non fishing day (the first unfishable day for many years). A walk from Ballygrant through the bluebell strewn woods to Port Askaig and back was a welcome distraction from the fishing and in the afternoon a visit to Kilchoman was very much enjoyed – both food and whisky!
Luckily on the following day the weather had improved and on this their final day the waters of Port Ellen Angling Club were visited. It was a bright sunny day although still a little cool. Splitting up again Jim and Keith were dropped off at Glenastle whilst Brian and Charles drove round to Kinnabus, parked up and walked over to Ghillie Loch for their first cast. The Ghillie Loch like Drolsay earlier in the week was to prove fishless however on moving over to the School Loch the fortunes changes and a fantastic 2 or 3 hours brought 48 trout to the net for returning. Keith and Jim walked over to Ghillie Loch and did manage to take a brace of fish. Finally to close off their week all four rods had a last cast on Loch Kinnabus where 28 trout were landed. The aforementioned flies and Jim’s own “Blackbird Fly” seemed to be best. At the end of the day the lads met up with Tam Dunn from Port Ellen Angling Club who told them about the work, competitions and committee changes in place this year.
All in all a great week again on Islay and Jura with a final tally of 372 mainly small trout taken and released to fight another day”