Choice of Tackle
Fishing here on South Uist is Fly only so tackle choice / requirements are pretty straight forward.
When fishing from a boat or fishing from the bank, the fly rods most commonly used are single handed rods – anything from 9ft to 11ft 6’ in length, with floating or intermediate lines of 7-8 AFTM and the lighter 9’ to 10’ rods 5 -7 AFTM. More importantly you must ensure that you have a healthy amount of backing on your reel as this will avoid one of the reasons for maybe losing a prized fish!
These types of rods will cover all the freshwater fishing we have on South Uist, including hill loch fishing for Brown Trout, machair loch fishing for Brown Trout, and all the lochs for Salmon and Sea Trout. Choosing tackle can be so important if you’re not familiar with the waters.
When fishing the hill lochs, where brown trout are a little smaller but more plentiful, sizes can range from 8oz to 1lb 8oz. Lighter tackle can be used here with single handed, 9ft / 10ft rods 5-7 AFTM lines with 4-6lbs breaking strain leaders. Flies which do best here are size 12’s – Clan Chief, Black Pennel, Grouse and Claret, Blue Zulu, Silver Butcher, Claret Bumble, Loch Ordie and many other traditional patterns.
Two flies on a cast is usually the norm, although many anglers prefer three flies when weather allows and is productive! But when the the wind blows, too many tangles get the better of us all and its back to two flies.
Our machair lochs provide some of the finest brown trout fishing in the world, owing to the unique shell sand alkaline lochs which are an ideal feeding environment for Trout. Their sizes can range from 1lb to over 5lbs and can fight very hard for their size. Again, single handed rods of 10’ and 11’6’ in length and 7-8 AFTM, and 6-8lbs breaking strain leaders, flies size 8-12, but most used are 10-12. Best flies are Bibio, Gorgeous George, Black Pennel, Soldier Palmer, Clan Chief, Kate McLaren, Red Cardinal, Zulu’s, Machair Claret, Silver Invicta, Butcher, Green Peter, Claret Bumble and Fiery Brown.
Advice and tackle is available from staff at Oifis Stòras and from the Fishery Manager. Ghillies are also on hand for advice on tackle detail and weather/fishing conditions whether you are bank fishing or using a boat. Ghillies are very useful to enhance your fishing experience here on South Uist.
Salmon and Sea Trout can be caught with similar tackle to what we use for fishing for Brown Trout with exception being, breaking strain leaders up to 8-10lbs, fly sizes 8-12. Best flies include Kate McLaren, Goats Toe, Claret Bumble, Teal Blue and Silver, Black Pennel, Peter Ross, Rev-Mother, Clan Chief and Donegal Blue – the list can go on, but fear not, advice will always be at hand as to which flies are currently working well.
Weather will always influence anglers on fly sizes, strengths of leaders etc, but when weather is more unsettled chances of catching a Salmon are better; Sea Trout can take at anytime.
Landing nets are very much up to what the angler is comfortable with, gye-nets are very popular and handy for both boat and bank fishing, and knotless mesh is recommended nowadays for fish being returned.