Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tulchan C - River Spey

Last Saturday saw me fishing on the River Spey with good friends on the majestic Tulchan estate. This is a day we take annually and it's one we look forward to. There is some special about fishing on such a prestigious stretch of water and we have did fairly well here over the years with some lovely fish landed. None more so that a couple of 17lbers caught by Philip Black last year.
Good fishing to be had which ever direction you travel on Speyside.
The run up up this trip is always filled with excitement and this year was no different. The forum pages and messenger group chats were red hot at times as the trip grew closer and the excitement built. It's always good to catch up with the lads and enjoy the banter that coincides with the fishing.
Philip, Myself and Charlie outside at the "hut" on Tulchan C.
My good pal Charlie and I travelled up together and we arrived at the beat to be greeted by ghillie, Lawrence De Rosa as well as Some of the other lads who had arrived before us.Talk quickly turned to the fishing as the river had been rising over night due to snow melt and we were all eager to check the gauge and see what was happening. Lawrence was confident we would be fine in terms of the river conditions. The gauge was reading 9" on arrival but would end up at 1ft 5in by the end of the day.
Advie Bridge across the River Spey.
After a good catch up in the car park it was time to get fishing. I set up with my old favourite 15ft Vision GT4 Catapult and my line of choice was my I/S1/S2 with a 4ips tip on the end. My fly of choice was my new favourite - a 1" Chartreuse Monkey.
The Bridge Pool looking in fine fettle.
I was allocated the Bridge Pool and the Upper Tulchan Pool for the first part of the morning and then I was to swap with Charlie and fish the Tulchan Pool itself. The Bridge Pool is right up there with one of my favourite pools as it is where I landed my first ever River Spey salmon which was a belter of around 16lb which devoured one of my Kitchen Sink Shrimp flies. Despite the Bridge Pool fishing very well I didn't get an touch so it was off to fish the Upper Tulchan pool on the opposite side of the river.
Looking upstream towards the Bridge Pool from Upper Tulchan
Looking downstream from the Upper Tulchan pool.
The Upper Tulchan pool is another lovely cast. It's another pool I've had success in in the past but this time, it was not to be and my run through the pool proved fruitless. I felt my set up was fishing pretty well and it was just a case of persevering and trying to find a fish resting up in one of Tulchan C's lovely pools.
Looking upstream from the tail of the Tulchan Pool.
Next up for me me was Tulchan Pool. It is a cracking stretch of water and the run below were the Tulchan Burn enters the Spey is a joy to fish. Charlie was 50 or 60 yards below me and he managed to get hold of a fish on the Sunray Shadow. Unfortunately, it spat the hook not long after taking his fly but at eat he was doing something right and there were fish there to be caught. I eager fished down the pool with an extra bit of confidence but to no avail. I felt like I had at least been covering fish and just needed a bit of luck and something to take my offerings.
The fishing "hut" at Tulchan C.
Like most lunchtimes on the river, we spent ours putting the salmon fishing world to rights and enjoying hearing stories past and present about salmon caught or lost. Drams were off the cards as there were plenty sunk the night before by one or two and they were felling a little worse for ware!

Fishing down the Speenoch.
After lunch Charlie and I were to fish the Speenoch. This is another cracking pool on C beat and one that Charlie has fond memories of. This was where he landed a fresh fish a couple of years ago and we were looking forward to giving it another go. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts the fish were playing hard to get. Charlie did have an offer in the tail of the pool whilst fishing from the left bank but it didn't connect. It was just one of those days when you felt everything was good and you were just waiting for the line to tighten but when the fish have other ideas then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it but keep at it.
Charlie and I fishing the left bank of the Speenoch.
 Although we blanked this time round, it was still a pleasure to be fishing at Tulchan again. There are worse places to spend a day and we will all be eager to return again next year. Sdaly, fishing there any other time of the year is out of my price range so I'll have to be content with a day in April again in 2019.

Cargill - River Tay

On the 30th March I had a day on the River Tay at the Cargill beat. Cargill is a famous beat on the lower Tay in is well known for some great catches later on in the season. It certain ticked all the boxes as I pondered over where to go. In the end, it was a fairly straight forward choice to pick Cargill over what else was available at the time. I was to fish the lower beat and as I hadn't fished any of the beat before I was really looking forward to it.

Looking upstream from the front of the hut on the Lower Beat at Cargill.
The water had risen at the beginning of the week but was dropping away nicely in time for my visit on the Friday. Unfortunately, there was a very strong Easterly wind blowing right upstream which was less than ideal and it was pretty relentless through out the entire day. This made casting even a heavy Toby a bit of a challenge due to the wind forming a large belly of slack line which needed reeled in quickly just to get in contact with the lure again.

The fishing hut on the Lower Beat which is shared with Ballathie.
Looking downstream from the front of the fishing hut.
 I arrived at the beat round 8.30am to be greeted by head ghille, David Godfrey. The river level was hovering around the 3ft mark on the Ballathie gauge which wasn't too bad given the water earlier in the week. After a quick discussion over a coffee about tactics for the day, I decided, given the conditions to spin although I did set up my fly rod too just in case the wind subsided. My lure of choice was the 30g Toby Salmo. I opted for the silver and gold combo. I set up my fly rod with a I/S1/S2 shooting head with a 7ips tip and a 1" Monkey.
Out in the boat fishing with head ghillie, David Godfrey.
Looking upstream from the bank of the Sands.
 I was to spend my morning out in the boat with David spinning over the likely lies on the pools on the top part of the beat. David tried his best to put us over the fish but they just weren't playing ball on the day. The wind, I'm fairly certain, making the fishing extra difficult as it was bringing a very cold breeze and lowering the river temperature as it blew up the valley.

Looking downstream from the bank of Grey Stones.
The afternoon was spent fishing the Sauch Bush pool from the bank. I covered the pool several time with various lures but again, the fish remained elusive and covering the water effectively due to the wind was proving to be a right nuisance.

Fishing the Sauch Bush from the bank in the afternoon. The new fishing hut on the Cargill under construction.
I headed home at 5pm feeling like the overhead conditions hadn't done the beat justice as neither of the 6 rods fishing on the day had any luck with springers or even kelts. It's not often I feel like the conditions got the better of me but sadly this was one of those days. On the positive side, I'll just have to make a point in returning again in the near future to see what the beat can really do in better conditions.

For more info about the fishing available on the Tay at Cargill follow this link to their website.
Tay Salmon Fishing - Cargill