Allan Liddle: After All These Years

I’d be telling a lie if I said it feels like yesterday when I first ventured out in search of my first Scotland cap, I can certainly remember the experience but I also recognise it was quite a while ago. 1994 to be exact, a Scottish National Prelim on what is now regarded as Scotland’s Premier Rainbow fishery, the Lake of Menteith.

How fitting then that the scene of my first experience of finally making the Scotland Fly Fishing Team should include this water as part of the four venues fished during the recent inaugural Five Nations Championships ran early this August during the Stirling Angling Festival.

Fished over two days on both loch and river the Five Nations threw up some interesting venues and interesting results. Loch heats were on Carron Valley Reservoir and Lake of Menteith, rivers on locally placed Rivers Carron and Devon, as the remit was to keep all waters within the Stirling vicinity.

It was always going to be tough and the rivers proved to be exactly that and sadly for me my undoing. I started well enough on Menteith before a semi decent showing on Carron (how many fish can one angler loose?), but sadly on my second day, on very shrunken spate streams already battered the previous day, i couldn’t get anything to stick.  Bad luck, bad angling, bad karma call it what you like, but loosing fish on both my river sections cost me dear, if only one had stuck. If only, the lament of almost everyone who fished the event so close was the final results.

In the end England teams triumphed with a Scottish quartet hitting the bronze slot.  I suppose in the end we were all kind of winners in this, the friendliest and open of International events and not to forget Stirling Council and the Fishing Festival. An amazing experience for me and yet another steep rise in the learning curve.  Hopefully it’ll not be the only time i gain a full cap, but something i’ll never forget and will always be thankful for, especially after all this time and to be honest, thinking i’d missed my chance.

Lesson to all there, never ever give up.

Despite not scoring on the rivers i still managed to catch a good number in practice and was continually frustrated with fish just under the magic mark during the event. Therefore i’ve listed a couple of wee nymphs that worked ok rather than note standard rainbow Boobies (my top Menteith fly) of Claret Hogs (Carron, but something you’ve all seen on my Partridge ramblings before).


Wee Green Nymph:

Hook: Partridge Patriot Barbless Jig size 12 - 16
Bead: 2.8 or 3.3mm slotted tungsten gold bead (Veniards)
Thread: Black Uni 8/0 (Veniards)
Tail: Small bunch grizzle cock fibres
Rib: Fine or medium green copper wire run close but still allowing under body (thread) to show through. (Veniards)
Thorax: Olive hares fur and olive Glister mix (Veniards)



Wee Copper Nymph:

Hook: Partridge Patriot Barbless Wet Supreme size 12 - 16
Bead: 2.8 or 3.3mm tungsten gold bead (Veniards)
Thread: Black Uni 8/0 (Veniards)
Tail: Sparse bunch pheasant tail fibres
Tag: Fine red holographic tinsel
Rib: Fine or medium copper wire run close but still allowing under body (thread) to show through. (Veniards)
Thorax: Brown hares fur and brown Glister mix (Veniards)





Based in Moray in Scotland's North East, Allan has specialised on the wild trout from the rivers and burns, lochs and lochans throughout Mainland Scotland and the Isles. A strong passion for fishing simple dries he feels there's nothing better than to see the fish take off the top, but isn't slow to fish a range of different styles when mood or conditions dictate.