Fishing is a great way to see biology in action. Over on my regular beats the average trout probably pushes 8 or 9oz, with a good number of fish towards a pound and even the odd monster. Last week I nipped out of town one evening with the intention of hitting one of those regular spots. I’d left things rather late, however, so I decided to stop by one of the tiny wee burns I always skip past on my usual travels. A quick saunter down behind some bushes revealed a pretty little ribbon of brackish looking water cutting its way through the commercial forestry. Within two minutes a couple of rings emerged on the surface, and I bolted up to the car for the gear.
Fishing on wee burns like this is a pretty straightforward task. Hide, use a light line, a small dry fly and don’t bugger up the casting. The fish will eat nearly anything, and this evening a small deer hair sedge formed the main course. With a long leader, maybe 12-14′, only a few extra feet of fly line are ever required to cover the water.
I soon started catching fish. Ultra, ultra small they were too. The first, apparently a fully grown adult with no sign of parr markings, must have been all of 4 and a half inches. I love the scrap these wee trout put up. Call it small-man’s syndrome, but they really do make a spectacle. Half an hour and several fish later I caught a monster. He must have been pushing 6 or 7 inches. Beautifully formed with red and black spots, he was a lovely way to round off the evening.
Sometimes it’s great to fish on burns like this one. It’s a pure and simple kind of pursuit where nobody cares about the size of the fish but everyone cares about their pretty colours. The thought of them holed up in such unkind water, struggling away and reaching adulthood at 4 inches brings a kind of pleasant relief that life isn’t so bad after all.
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