In the 2004 series Trout ’n About, Paul Campion and Gregory Rankine head for Argyll in Iris the car. They leave Glasgow, drive over the Rest and Be Thankful, and arrive in the pretty town of Lochgilphead. Here they visit Archie MacGilp in the Fyne Tackle shop, and buy some sea trout flies: a silver invictor, along with other “sparklers” that “work well in the brackish water”.
Archie recommends that Paul visits Bellanoch Bridge and fishes the tidal reach of the River Add, where he meets former poacher Kenny MacInnes. They fish upstream, as the tide is running that way. The high rainfall tempts the sea trout into the mouths of rivers such as this.
As there are also brown trout in the hill lochs, which provide peaty waters and tricky fish.
Loch Barnluashgan is Archie’s favourite early-season. “It’s lower down than a lot of our hill lochs,” he says, “and tends to come on earlier. You need a bit of heat before the high lochs will fish.”
There are over 100 lochs in the area – owned by a mix of Forestry Commission, private estates and local angling clubs. For Loch Barnluashgan, the fee payable to the local angling association was £16: £10 for the boat, £3 per rod.
Both Archie and Gregory recall having caught bats, which pick up the fly before spitting it out when they realise it’s not real.