Hi Jambo..I use a Diawa SL30SH multiplier ..affectionately known to sea anglers as the Diawa Slosh. Its highly recommended. The rod is a Penn Squadron 7.5ft boat rod..and Im very happy with that outfit.
I followed the fishfinder to a location I knew often had thornback rays ..and dropped my line.. bait ..and weight... bait being lumps of last years mackerel.
Then I sat back and relaxed in the flat calm of the morning. It was around 9am as I watched the line of cars head along the A82 road.. on their way to work. I didn’t envy them..but suspect one or two envied my morning.
There was still a nip in the air..so I supped hot coffee from my flask.. waiting my first thornback to bite. An hour later..it was fairly obvious they were not hungry..and it was very obvious that I was getting bored.
So I thought of another.. not so boring game to play. I knew it was spring tides ..and I knew it was two hours since the tide turned ..so reckoned the flow of water through narrows..under the Ballachulish bridge.. would be around 6-7 knots. I knew the Guppy could do 5-6 knots at displacement speed. Yup..that sounded like a fun way to pass the next hour.
I followed a large Canada goose towards the bridge.. but as we drew closer to the narrows..it chickened out and did a U turn.
Perhaps Im dafter than a duck.. but I kept on a steady course and let the increasing current carry me forward ... towards the bridge..and the open sea of Loch Linnhe beyond.
It felt like the Guppy had wings as she flew under the bridge at 5 knots worth of displacement speed plus 6 knots of flow speed. Moments later I was in Loch Linnie and passing the Hotel at South Creagan. I swung the Guppy hard round and faced into the tide flow. The game began. If I won.. I got to fish Loch Leven..if I lost..I had to stay in Loch Linnie for another four hours ..until slack tide slowed the flow.
Staring the full force of the flow in the Guppy’s face.. it was obvious that I was not going to make any headway whatsoever. However.. I have learned from my kayak mates .. about seeking out eddies and slacker water..and ferry gliding across the flows.
The left hand edge under the bridge seemed to offer less resistance ..so I managed to edge up under the bridge..but was then stopped by the full force of the tide as it swept round a bend. I crossed the main flow at 45 degrees ..which meant I lossed a little ground in mid stream..but it also meant I met a back eddy on the right hand bank ..which allowed further progress.
I crossed the main flow twice in this fashion.. slowly gaining ground after each ferry glide. The Glencoe Tours boat sat watching my progress..no doubt the skipper telling tourists the dangers of small boats in such a fast flow.
However I got a big cheery wave from everyone as they flew under the bridge on tidal power only. I just hoped that if my wee internal fuel tank ran out of fuel..they would be long gone...as I would need to start the game all over again. However the tank of fuel got me through..no problem.
I started to get my displacement wake back .. and pick up land speed as the flow’s grip lessened. I had just beaten mother nature’s flow with my little egg whisk of an outboard.
I decided to leave the thornbacks to their stringent diet.. and head for the far end of the loch.. at Kinlochleven.. in search of Conger eels instead. I could think of nothing more exciting or dangerous.. than wrestle with a monster eel in the back of the Guppy ... to be continued.