Michael Mackenzie, captor of 9lb 6oz brown trout from Loch Leven. Heaviest fish in 100yrs!
I have fished Loch Leven for about 30yrs, gaining alot of great memories from good days afloat on the loch and the usual bad days, but still, it’s always nice to be out. I am a club member of The West Lothian Fly Dressers Angling Club and we have two outings club a year on Leven.
The loch has been improving over the last 3 or 4 years, dispite some of it’s bad publicity, the fly fishing on the lake is improving with some cracking fish being produced.
On 4th September 2011 I was fishing with two companions from the club, one of whom was running late, Tony and Myself decided to head out, tackle up our fishing gear and get into action fishing the ‘Thrapple hole’, which is near to the Harbour where we would later meet Matthew.
When we were motoring out past the weed beds at the Point I saw two terns hovering over a large fish chasing fry
in between the weed beds, as we got closer it went down and I never saw it again. We carried on to the Thrapple Hole and started to fish, as we approached the Point I hit a fish about 2lb which threw the fly in mid air and was gone. Three or four casts later I hooked another fish which I landed, tipping the scales at 3lb 8oz. At this moment we both looked at each other and thought we were in for a good day.
I spooned the fish and it was full of snails, this prompted me to put on a black deer hair imitation snail. We fished for another half hour then Matthew called to say he was at the Pier. We picked him up and headed back to the point where we fished for about three hours. Many large fish where leaping and leaving the water but we were having no such luck.
The sun came out and the wind dropped so we decided to try the East Buoy. I was still fishing with the flies I had on in the morning which were 3 wet snatchers and the black deer hair snail imitation on the point., I fished them about 4ft apart on Reverge Grand Max 9.5lb breaking strain.
My fishing tackle consisted of an Airflo Sixth Sence Fly line and a 10ft two piece G Lommis GLX distance fly rod, my favourite and of which I have had for about 5years and my recently purchased Airflo Comfort Zone Delux Boat Seat.
I was fishing the flies very slowly with a figure of eight retrieve when a slight but heavy weight lingered on the fly line, more like weed than a take. I guess the fish had just been moseying around mopping up the slow moving snails, if this fish was moving at speed to take the fly, I guess it would have snapped me!
I raised the rod and set the hook. I thought it seemed like a good’un and played it for about 10 minutes, the three of us were waiting anxiously for the fish to come to the surface to see how big it was. It rolled on the surface and it was big, then it turned and went down again, it started a slow but determined run behind the boat, pulling the line from my fingers, I was concerned it was not going to stop, but as it got to just passed the main fly line onto the backing I managed to turn the fish and got back in control of the fight. About 10 minutes later I managed to pull it over the net.
What a beauty I said, my biggest brown trout to date, I had no idea it was the biggest caught on the Loch in 100yrs, I just thought of it as the biggest this year for the club.
When we got back to the harbour and weighed it the Ghillie said he thought it was the biggest in 100years. I was stunned, and then left the fish with Willie the Ghillie so that he can get it cast for the Lodge. I will be getting a cast for my own wall of fame.