6.45 on a bright Wednesday morning and I'm still on leave. It feels like I've been off for ever and a day but I'm not complaining; I know I'm getting horsed when I get back so, I'm making the most of my time away from the organised chaos that is work. I'm on the A9 heading for Perth, Broxburn Roundabout to be more precise, where I have a pre arranged rendezvous with the Major and a sausage and egg Macmuffin.Though he doesn't know yet, he's paying - compensation for the hour or so I spent the night before tying up a batch of Kates which I have put in a neat little fly box for him.
Understanding the importance of punctuality, I arrive a couple of minutes early. Not so the Major and as ever he turns up late. I'm not caring though. It's been a while since we fished and it's good to see him. He looks well- trim and fit; the consequence of taking regular exercise and consuming all things in moderation. The major greets me with a warm handshake and after exchanging sincere pleasantries the banter starts. He gives my new runaround the once over and under his breath mutters something about it being hairdressers car. Him and Broon share the same sense of humour.
I hand the Major the box of Kates which he's pleased with and immediately offers to pay for breakfast. Ha, plan worked! Over breakfast we catch up and I learn that the Major and his wife Sally (not her real name but its too embarrassing for me to explain) are planning a move back down to the central belt from Inverness next year, something I'm really looking forward to.
|Compact and bijou|
The Major's on a 2 fish ticket and I go a sporting. We both survey the loch. Its calm but there is a nip in the air, we are quite high up in the hills above Dundee. Fish are moving on the surface but past experience tells us to discard floating lines in favour of intermediates. George agrees and we both attach lures The Major a coral dancer with a rainbow warrior while I'm more conservative and just go a small yellow dancer.
|The east shore|
The Major already has his flies swimming and as I'm chatting to George the Major's line straightens. Fish on! The Major's beaming. After a long hard winter happy days are back. Savouring every moment the Major plays the fish like it's his last, until eventually the fish is all played out and is gently brought to the net. It's a rainbow of about 4lb and would be the best of the day. It had taken the coral dancer, one which the Major is at pains to tell George is the one which yours truly tied!!! The fish is quickly and humanly dispatched before the major poses for his glory shot.
|The Major opens his season's account with a 4lber|
We fished on but it was hard going. Plenty of movement and the odd bump but nothing was connecting. Much of the movement was just beyond our reach. Oh how we wished for a 40+ or a shooting head. The Major did manage another before lunch, a rainbow again had taken the coral dancer. A fish of about 2 1/2lbs it too was dispatched efficiently. I was still blanking royally; dummies and toys would be well and truly thrown out the pram if things didn't improve after lunch.
|The bridge at Ledyatt|
|The first of my brace of rainbows|
During lunch that never was (the Major had linadvertently left it in his car back at Perth) I sought George's advice about what to do next. He suggested a floating line, short leader and single black buzzer, cross the bridge and fish the east side of the loch where the wind would be behind us. I followed his advice to the letter and soon after I landed 2 rainbows in quick succession. Both were confident takes, hooked in the upper lip, which made removal of the barbless hooks easy. Both fish were around the 3lb mark and in pristine condition and provided me with excellent sport. But time was moving on and with a strengthening wind and the Major facing 120 mile drive, we reluctantly drew our lines in and returned to the lodge where the wood burner and a hot cup of tea lifted our spirits before the long drive home.
We arrived back at Perth decanted the hairdressers motor into the Majors before wishing each other well and safe drive home. Later that evening I received a text from the Major. "You got my fish in the back of that hairdressers motor?" Fearful my car is stinking of fish, I dash out and check every nook and crannie. Mercifully the fish are nowhere to be seen. "No" I reply. After a few texts back and forth we conclude that like the lunches, the Major had left his catch in the car park at Perth to. Oh well I'm sure the local wild life appreciates The Major's senior moment and are gorging themselves as I type. Thanks for a good day John, here's to many more to come.