Tackle & What to Bring





What to bring:

The equipment required for brown trout or sea trout fishing is very similar (assume whatever is recommended for sea trout is also suitable for salmon). The main difference is that one should bring slightly heavier rods, lines and leaders for Sea Trout rather than Brown trout – there is a fair chance of hooking into a 5lb to 10lb sea trout – you need the tackle to handle it.


Would ideally be a minimum of 10ft. but a 9ft. 6ins rod is quite adequate - 5 to 7 weight for brown trout – maybe 8 weight as a maximum for sea trout but no heavier.

I tend to fish a variation of the traditional Scottish loch style system – regarding the “dibbled” fly as a key part of every cast. (And I do mean every cast). In the old days many fishers fished a very short cast before lifting the flies to create a wake on the surface – we tend to fish rather longer lines today before lifting up for the final dibble.

This is where a longer, and I mean up to 11 foot 3 ins. rather than shorter rod comes into its own; a 10ft 6ins 7 weight would be regarded as a good average for sea trout.  For the last few years I have tended to use a long rod for bank fishing as well as from the boat, the extra length again allows me to dibble, and can be useful if fishing over a heather clad bank. Having said that I recently started to use a 10ft rod for bank fishing for browns and I must say I find its action preferable to the rather floppy 11ft 3ins rods.

A dapping rod can make an “amusing” change – and can even work!


I use floating lines exclusively, but you might want to try intermediates, slow sinkers etc. remember most of the lochs we are fishing are very shallow – usually fishing over less than 6 foot of water – with a bottom covered in rocks and weed.
Somewhere between 5 weight and 7 is ideal. Most of the time a double taper allows for better presentation than a weight forward, but a WF can be useful in big wind


We usually fish with 2, or more usually 3, flies so be confident that whatever tippet you use ties a “good dropper”. I am very traditional and tend to use Maxima all the time. Using a 3-turn water knot for droppers I very rarely get a break – that is not true of some of the other tippet material I have used and seen. If you have a fluorocarbon in which you have absolute confidence then it is up to you. We use 4lb BS or 5lb leader most of the time for browns and 8lb or 10lb for sea trout. Perhaps we should go lighter in gentle winds or flat calms. Do remember you might just get in contact with a 3lb+ wild brown so don’t go too light. (Best brown last year was a 5lb 4oz fish off West Ollay). There were 3 sea trout of over 10lb caught in 2004 and a fish of 13lb 8oz in 2002. An increasing number of people are using various poly leaders – feel free.


We cannot guarantee the weather whatever time of year you choose to come. Bring clothes for the worst in terms of wind and rain. I have a drying room at home so at least you can begin each day in dry clothes.


A key part of the kit if you are happy doing some bank fishing – and I would strongly urge you to do so. Even if spending most of the day drifting in the boat it can be very effective to take a break and do some bank fishing, often involving shallow wading on the sand bottom. It also means that you can fish shores that cannot be covered satisfactorily from the boat. Ideally bring lightweight chest waders, rather than heavy neoprene (plus long johns, for early and late in the season, when it is likely to be cold) – they also keep you dry in the boat.

Bits & pieces:

  Landing net: If acting as a ghillie I have all the necessary nets – I can also possibly lend you a suitable net if you are fishing on your own. Don’t assume you can beach your fish – often you can’t.
  Polaroids: essential.
  Flotant: If you are proposing to use a dry fly.
  Leader sink / “mud”: Essential in my opinion.


How adventurous are you?

Again, I tend to take a fairly traditional view – but that should not hold you back.
The other evening at a local angling club evening I asked all those present for their list of favourite brown trout flies – for what it is worth here are the results.

Soldier Palmer was the clear leader with 5 votes, closely followed by Claret Bumble and Black Pennell; and then the Blue Zulu with 3 votes. With 2 votes each were the Green Peter (one of my standbys), Teal Blue and Silver, & Bibio.

Finally a whole range of flies with one vote each:

Clan Chief (again one of my favourites), Mrs. Simpson, Olive Bumble, Klinkhammer, Alexandra, Diawl Bach, Stimulator, Grenadier, Black & Peacock spider (note: In many lochs snails represent a high % of the fishes diet), Black Zulu, Bruiser and Loch Ordie.

The list could go on.

One of my regular guests fishes exclusively with a fixed team of Soldier Palmer (top), Claret Bumble (middle) and a Black Pennell on the point, and has been very successful with this.

For sea trout, many of same patterns are effective – they are after all is said and done, in many ways, the “same fish”.

A revised order might suggest:

Clan Chief, Claret Bumble, Bruiser, Green French Partridge, Kate Maclaren, Blue Zulu as top droppers.

Teal Blue & Silver, Alexandra, Goats Toe, Reverend Mother, Camasunary Killer, Black Pennell further down the cast.

I do think size is very important and you need a good selection of sizes 10, 12 and 14 as the predominant sizes – plus at least a selection of 8s for the bigger waves. I think historically we have tended to use rather large flies – BUT note that some of the biggest fish have been taken on the smallest flies. That comment applies as much to sea trout as browns.

Finally feel free to experiment, there are lots of opportunities for dry fly fishing, given the relative shallowness of the lochs, even when there is no obvious sign of surface feeding. Brown trout are pretty opportunistic feeders.

On quiet evenings when the browns are on the top, I have had some good success fishing with small cul de canard dries and also a team of buzzers, and caught one of my best browns last season fishing a Red Tag tied “Tasmanian style” directly to the bend of a G&H sedge pattern.

For salmon or sea trout perhaps think about muddlers, small micro tubes, small doubles etc. Again, feel free to experiment but note that the vast majority of fish are caught on the tried and tested methods and patterns – so don’t blame the ghillie if you tie on the fly that has never caught a fish before – and still refuses to do so!


If you just go ahead and order these patterns from a supplier of cheap flies do not be surprised if we "scoff" when we see them.

Ian Kennedy (son of John Kennedy) is a very fine fly tyer and will tie you flies to match our own exacting requirements. Ian also has a range of original patterns, some based on the latest Irish patterns - all very successful!

Ian can be contacted though myself or by phone on 01878 710 366