Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
Local Experts Gordon Scott from Lilliesleaf, a little village on the outskirts of Selkirk, and Paul Rae from Hawick have fished the water at least once a week for the past 12 years. They like to get out early before the crowds arrive and are often the first there. We meet up with the two experts in the car park.
Gordon has set up two rods exactly the same, except for the lines; one has a floater and the other an intermediate.
Paul’s using just one rod and a floating line because he feels that he can fish the flies better with the floater. After a brief chat both men make their way to the top end of Markle Loch.
Markle Loch The water is cloudy and also quite shallow but there are fish moving on the surface out
TOTAL FLYFISHER 18
in front of them, which is a good sign.
Paul gets off to a good start with an offer on only his second cast. During the retrieve a fish snatches at his Nomad fly, but unfortunately Paul fails to connect. He tells me of his favourite areas to fish and about his fail-safe tactic when things get tough.
The manager’s dog, Bruce, is a trained ‘fish dog’ rather than gun dog.
“Well I would say that the hole in the wall area, where we are just now, and around the dam wall at the far end are best. Both are good holding areas for the trout and make for easy casting. My banker flies would be a Yellow Dancer and two Skinny Buzzers fished slowly.
“If fish are in a chasing mood I have good sport on sedge patterns – Wickham’s and Suspender Wickham’s.”
Paul soon changes to an intermediate line and switches to a single fly, an Orange Rabbit, fished deep and slow. Gordon, on the far bank, takes a good fish as we watch him; it looks to be around 4lb so we make our way around and I ask Gordon what his normal approach would be.
“I don’t have one. I usually phone Jack Hay to glean some information, because he is never off the water, and take it from there. Failing that, I would see the fishery staff for any useful information.”
I ask him about his favourite fishing areas.
“My favourite bits to fish are under the crags, where it goes from deep water to shallows; the back cast can be a pain, though, due the bank. The burn mouth holds plenty of trout too.
“If I had to give you a ‘banker’ fly it would be a Black Rabbit. Black and silver skinny buzzers work too. I normally fish them deep with jerky movements to instil some life into them. My best fish to date was a buzzer-caught rainbow at 17lb.
“Just now I am letting the flies go down two or three feet before retrieving,” he continues. “Normally the water is clear and you can V ENUE
All manner of lures, Buzzers, nymphs and flies are successful throughout the year at Markle.
Paul Rae piles on the pressure to net this rainbow,
hooked in shallow water.
watch the fish turn and follow the flies, which is heartstopping at times.”
Paul decides to move closer into the stones and fan casts the area, feeling for offers. He’s rewarded with several good pulls; his line straightens then goes slack several times.
“The trick is not to strike but to keep retrieving before lifting into the fish. One of these will lock up eventually,” he states confidently.
Meanwhile, Gordon has switched to a Grizzle Cat on the point and is rewarded with a fine rainbow of nearly 5lb. “The fish took on the drop, before you ask,” he shouts over to Paul.
Double Trouble Paul heads to the lodge and Gordon, after releasing his trout, nips around and gets on the long platform next to Paul,
which has become available. Within a few casts the water erupts 20 feet in front of him and his line shoots through the rod rings. It looks like he’s into a substantial trout. The thing goes berserk, taking line several times and boring deep. It takes a while before we catch a glimpse of it but when we do we can tell that it’s a bit special. It looks like it could be one of the resident brown trout! After several attempts to get it close we manage to net and weigh it.
It is a monster, a doublefigure brownie tipping the scales at 13lb 3oz. What a fish!
After watching Gordon and his epic fight with his monstrous fish, Paul switches to a cone-head fly in a similar colouring to the Grizzle Cat. He also ups sticks and heads over to the crags.
After casting out, Paul takes up the slack line and lets his fly sink for a few seconds. Giving his line two quick tugs it is virtually ripped from his hand. It’s another big fish.
“This is another cracker,” says Paul.
He puts plenty of strain on his rod as it bears the brunt of the force from this powerful trout. It’s a huge rainbow and we see its back break the surface. This could well be a double too.
After a few more runs and plenty of thrashing close in it’s finally netted. This one weighs 12lb 1oz. It’s plainly stating the obvious to say that the lads are both really happy.
“That’s the thing with Markle,” says a very satisfied Gordon, “every time we visit someone gets a big fish. It’s that and the fact that the fishing is so good that keeps anglers coming back – their next fish could be a personal best!”
Season’s Selection Paul suggests a Green and White Nomad, a Yellow Dancer or Buzzer. If the fish are active or chasing sedges, then use a Wickham’s or a Suspender Wickham’s.
Gordon prefers a Jungle Cock Cruncher, Olive Rabbit or a Grizzle Cat when pulling. On the floater I
would use a Bloodworm or a Hydrofoil Buzzer.
Another double! This time Paul gets in on the action with this 12lb 1oz rainbow.