Conditions to be Considered
Many anglers do not sufficiently study the various aspects of the subject and system of loch-fishing compared with the river-fisher, who has learned the cunning ways of approaching his quarry. On the contrary, they think it is quite easy to go to any loch that has been little fished and secure a basket of fish. Such, however, is not the case, and large trout are not easily captured unless scientific methods are employed. For instance, they use the same flies day after day, fishing exactly in the same way, in all sorts of lochs, in all states of water, wind, and weather, times of the day, and at any period of the angling season. Consequently they only succeed on favourable days.
To attain success, study and make careful observation of the different ways the fly should be worked in varying circumstances. If there is a light breeze trout generally rise well to the fly if drawn direct and slow against the ripple, just sufficiently fast to keep the flies on the surface. If the waves are large, the flies should be drawn sideways between them, or should there be a swell on it is best to sink the flies slightly below the surface and work them sideways.
When to "Strike"
As a general rule in loch-fishing, trout must not be struck too quickly; wait until the pull is "felt" before striking. There are, however, exceptions to every rule, and on a calm day, when the surface of the water is like a sheet of glass and fish are rising shyly, I believe in striking immediately the surface of the water is broken. In loch-fishing, as opposed to river-fishing, trout frequently rise to the fly as you make the first movement in lifting the flies for the backward cast. This has often occurred to the writer in using a double-handed rod and fishing from the sides, wading in. In this case, should the angler have his finger on the line, the result is disastrous, ending in lifting the fish a foot or two on the water and the hook tearing away.
There are great differences of opinion as to how and when to "strike." This I think greatly depends on how the fish are rising and on the state of the water. However, I strongly advise the angler not to be too quick in striking. Large loch trout are nearly always slow takers, thus it is very difficult to determine the correct instant to strike when fish are rising shyly.
Preference for Natural Flies
The natural flies are sweetest and best when freshly gathered, and whenever possible it will repay the angler to have them collected in the early morning for the day's fishing. This can easily be done by employing local boys, who seem quite satisfied with a shilling or two, and they are always on the alert when anglers are about, especially in the May fly and stone- fly season.
" May flies," the " Drakes " of Ireland, "stone-flies," "daddy-long-legs," and "blue- bottles" work wonders by means of the blow-line proving most deadly. Being of a very delicate nature, however, they need to be carefully and judiciously handled. The yellow drake and the grey drake seem particularly attractive, and beyond doubt account for some heavy baskets of fish.
While these flies are on the hatch it is simply a waste of time trying any other lure. Other insects may be gathered in the shallow water of lochs or out of any small rivulets flowing into the same, and are to be manipulated in a similar way. The natural flies that abound in the loch may be used successfully throughout the season.