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Concerning the wind page 2

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There is one point on which we should expect to find universal agreement, viz. that the trout in Loch Leven rise and take with very much greater freedom, when the sky is overcast, than they do under bright sunshine. Whenever a cloud passes over the sun, the boatmen are almost, sure to tell the angler to work hard, for during the " dull blink," as their curious expression is, there is a good chance of capturing a trout. Wonderfully often the advice, if acted upon, produces the desired result. Why the fish of that loch should differ so much from others, which seem to rejoice exceedingly in sunshine, we really do not know, though we might hazard an opinion; but that it is one of their chief characteristics to be most active on a dull day, or when the sun is obscured, there can be no question.

A cloudy sky is very often the accompaniment of an East wind on or near the East coast. Meteorological records prove that on that coast of Scotland the greater part of the annual rainfall comes with easterly winds. So often do the always welcome cloud and the East wind occur together that a steady breeze from that quarter has become the favourite condition with Loch Leven anglers, but we think that it is to the diminished light that their increased success is due.

The only day we ever spent on Loch Lyon was, curiously enough, a day of East wind, very light certainly, but still a true wind, not a mere draught diverted by the heights, and the basket of sixty- seven trout to two rods just failed to be the record catch for the year. It was, moreover, a very short day, as the breeze in the afternoon died to an absolute calm undisturbed by a, single rise. Our best baskets on Loch Ard have been made under an easterly breeze; Loch Dochart has given us many good takes as well as our heaviest trout from it, lb., a very good fish for that water, when the wind was from the same unpopular direction.

We know a small private loch on the West where, the boatman tells us, the same conditions are desired as on Loch Leven; on Loch Lubnaig, a breeze which drifts the boat into the mouth of the Balvaig makes fishing very good, and several fine specimens we have taken there on the dry-fly when the wind was so favourable; on Loch Lomond the East wind is said to be the best that blows over the Endrick bank. To Loch Leven it brings the cloud, which, for some reason or other, is there required; to the lochs farther inland it brings the requisite sunshine, and we welcome it wherever we find it.

East wind is the prevailing wind of the Scottish spring. If the angler seeks the loch or the river in April and the earlier half of May, he is more likely to have it helping or hindering him than any other. Since that i< the case, it is probable that trout, as well as the various creatures that form their food, have become accustomed to the general conditions of temperature. Unless the wind is unseasonably cold, fishing should be good. Many fly-fishers consider the month of April the happiest period of the year, and the largest trout got on the fly in a season fall before the end of May. It would appear, there fore, that, if the East wind is not actively beneficial, neither is it harmful.

The livers on the East coast are classed with Loch Leven, and similarly declared to give of their best when the pools are ruffled by an easterly breeze, the reasons being, of course, those already mentioned. We are also of the same opinion, but we go much farther and say that for long stretches of Clyde and for all its tributaries entering on the left bank, the same wind will prove exceedingly good. On these waters an East wind is an upstream wind, and that, we think, is the sole reason why the angler finds it good; it helps him to cast fine and far off, and keeps him concealed from the trout, that is, of course, assuming that he does not persist in casting against it.

We know practically every corner of the Clyde, from Thankerton to the source, and we have had great sport all over that stretch in winds from all directions; t is usually the wind that decides for us which reach we select, and we are perfectly satisfied that it does not matter from what quarter of the compass it comes, provided that it blows against the current. Many anglers, no doubt, will disagree. We have heard their complaints against the East wind on both Clyde and Tweed; we could not sympathise with them, for our own basket was satisfactory - we have never had a poor day under an East wind on these rivers - but we could and did advise them to fish upstream and with the floating fly.

In spring the East wind is comparatively warm, let us grant, at Tweedmouth, and will become slightly colder as it blows up the many miles of Tweed to Biggar Water, while in summer it will undergo a small rise in temperature as it performs the same journey. Consequently, if it is always good on Tweed, as it is commonly said to be, and as we find it to be, its goodness cannot be due to its temperature; that is due, we think, only to the fact that it assists the angler by its direction. Any wind that blows against the stream at any particular part is a good wind for that part.

Some anglers have formed the opinion that warm winds are necessary for successful dry-fly fishing. In April there is, on all but the coldest days, a hatch of flies, plentiful or scanty as the case may be, but the March Brown may appear whenever there is a touch of sunshine, even though the; temperature be low; in average weather Dark Olives and Iron- Blues will also arrive to keep the trout and the rod busy. In May, olives of a lighter shade are due if conditions are those generally prevailing; the Gravel-bed fly will come forth if the sun's rays are powerful; the Iron-Blue will reappear if the day is unseasonably cold. During the next three months, it is on the coldest days that we make the best baskets, best, that is, in weight and numbers; but warm weather provides by far the most interesting fishing. September resembles May.

Therefore, throughout the season, be the day warm or cold, there is sport to be had on the river to the floating fly and, however unpromising the weather, there is one condition which will help very much to bring about the desired end, a condition that the angler can in many cases, by a study of the cloud-carry and a sufficient knowledge of the river, arrange for himself, viz. an upstream breeze. If the wind changes for the worse during the day, he should cast against ii, not with it, and he will lure trout though the welcome help is withdrawn.

We need not discuss winds from North, South, or West, because we would arrive at the same conclusions. The angler should gaze upon the sky, not in order that he may decide whether lie shall fish or stay at home, but only that he may be enabled to make a wise selection of the scene of his victories. After that all that is required, on the great majority of days, is a floating fly.

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