Tuesday, 28 August 2012

On The Dee At Middle Drum

Myself and Charlie had a day on the lovely Middle Drum beat of the River Dee. The water was a good height at 1' 7" on the beat gauge and carrying a nice whiskey colour. Middle Drum is a nice beat and I have fished here a good few times, mostly in the Spring time around March. It was fine to fish it later on in the year when the pools were filling up and running fish were to be seen almost the whole day.

We were allocated to fish the top part of the beat in the morning and I started in the Island Run and Charlie started in the Cairnton Pool. Apart from Charlie moving a salmon to his Sunray at the tail of the Cairnton, that was to be it. We swapped pools about 11.30am and I tied on a Black and White Sunray to my usual set up of a Float/Intermediate Tip AFS and a 10ft slow sink tip. I started at the top of the pool and within a few cast my fly was hammered by a fish! It was not a salmon but a wee finnock about a pound which took a shine to my fly. Between us that was to be all the action for the morning session but we had the Lawson Pool to come in the afternoon.

After a bit of lunch and a chinwag with ghillie Shane Christie we headed back onto the water to have a go at the Lawson. During lunch time there was torrential rain and the river quickly rose about an inch or so. Charlie set off down the pool and I went in at the top. Just as I got to the end of the concrete walkway, I hooked a salmon parr but as I was taking it in something bigger had a go at it!!! It grabbed the parr and as I kept reeling in the fish let go leaving me with a rather battered looking parr. I unhooked it and it seemed to swim off fine but I've never had that happen to me before. Not sure what method that would have came under if it was hooked and landed?

As I got to a good taking part of the pool just under the power lines I made a fairly square cast and began to use the figure of eight retrieve. Just as my #9 Ghillie Fly came round to the dangle it was drawn away in I lifted into a livley fish. It was a spanking fresh grilse about 4 or 5 pounds and it was cartwheeling all over the pool! It spent more time in the air than in the water. I played the fish for a couple of minutes and it made a few tearing runs and jumps. I thought the fish must have been well hooked and Shane was ready with the net but just as it was tiring and coming in, the fish threw my fly! I have no idea how the fly came out but as Shane and I looked on in disbelief we could only assume that all the acrobatics must have worked the fly loose. Who knows but that was to be the only action myself and Charlie were to encounter for the rest of the day. We packed up at dark and headed home wondering how we didn't catch anything as the Lawson pool especially was bouncing with fresh fish all day long. We must have seen about 200 or so during our day. That's fishing I suppose and it's another fish lost for me which, this season has been quite a few!

Here are some pictures from our day.

Island Run. Always a good chance of picking up a running fish in this pool. Tilbouries hut on the other bank.

Looking upstream from the Lawson to the tail of the Cairnton pool.

Lawson Pool. Just near where I hooked the grilse. Nice pool but we could have been done with another 6" on it. Still very good to fish a fly through though.

Fishing the Lawson. Charlie's dog Bracken searches out his stick and I fish down the huge Lawson Pool.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

River Don Produces The Goods Again

I was out and about on the River Don yesterday and started off at the Manse Pool. This pool is on the ADAA beat at Lower Fintray. The water was a bit too high for this pool but I was encouraged to see a few fish moving through. After fishing down the length of the pool without a touch I headed off to fish further upstream to the Kemnay beat. This is a fantastic high water beat and will produce fish from top to bottom if conditions are right. I fished the School and Upper Chapel pools without seeing or touching anything which, given the conditions I thought I might have seen some fish moving in these pools. Whilst fishing the Upper Chapel, I received a call from my friend Charlie who was fishing a few beats below at Manar. He asked if I fancied popping down to have a cast as the beat had no day rods on. I jumped at the chance and strapped the rod to my car and set off.

I arrived at the beat around 3pm and Charlie informed me that he had landed a sea-liced Grilse about 6lb from the Chapel Pool. The fish took a 1/2" Silver Ally tube fished on a 10ft fast sink tip. The beat gauge was reading 1' 5" when I arrived and had the river had dropped from 1' 9" in the morning. During the afternoon, all the pools were basking in bright sunshine so we lightly fished a few of them more in hope than expectation. We were just waiting for 6.30pm or so when the sun moved off the Upper and Lower Wood pools. After a cold tin of beer at the hut we set off down river to fish the now shaded Upper Wood. I went in first and not long after starting there appeared to be a run of fish move into the pool. Casting to a good lie on the far bank produced a very subtle take which initially I thought was a trout or parr. The fish soon woke up and a few minutes later a very small Grilse was netted. It was about 2lb and had been the victum of an attack for a predator of some kind. The fish took a #9 Kinermony Killer fish off a Rio AFS Intermediate tip and a 10ft slow sink polyleader. We both fished through the pool without another touch and set off for the Chapel pool.

Charlie went into the Chapel pool first and fished it through with a Cascade and I followed him down with the same set up as before. I was nearly finished the pool when there was an almighty thump on my fly. A good fish took off like a steam train taking about 10 yards of line in the process before I even realised it was hooked!!! I lifted into the fish and felt the weight. Fish on! This was a good fish but a few seconds later, in a burst of surface splashing, the fish came off! Nothing I could have done but always a sickner when one comes off. I covered the lie with several more casts but it was not to be. Charlie, who was fishing down the pool again covered the lie and something grabbed his fly but didn't hook itself. Pity because I think it would have been a good fish if either of us had landed it. We packed up around 8.45pm and headed home to refect on another good day on the Don at Manar. Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Charlie's 6lb sea liced Grilse from the Chapel Pool at Manar around 11.30am.

Upper Wood Pool. Charlie took this picture of me a few minutes before I landed a Grilse just above the fast water.

A skinny wee Grilse which took a #9 Kinermony Killer. Notice the damage to the fish. It also had a hole in it's back possibly caused by a Heron or diving bird of some kind. It looked to be still quite raw but hopefully it won't cause it too much harm.
You can see the wound on te fish to the left of the picture. It had been in the wars and deserved to be given the chance to spawn and preserve the stocks for the River Don. This hardy fish is a fighter and hopefully it will go and reach the spawning grounds.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Day On The Dee At Park

I've just had my annual August day on the famous Park beat on the River Dee. I had been keeping a close eye on the water heights because apart from this trip, every other time I've been to Park the Dee has been in spate! I was to be lucky today though as the water height was only 9" on the beat gauge. The catches for the beat this week have been really good so I was full of anticipation and was eager to get going.

I arrived at the hut about 8.30am and after the usual cup of coffee and meet and greets I tackled up with the same tactics which were successful last week at Kincardine. This set up was a RIO AFS intermediate tip shooting head, a 10ft slow sink polyleader and a #13 Cascade. I was allocated Beat 3 in the morning and Beat 6 in the afternoon. I set off up to Beat 3 and was to start in the Greenbanks. The Greenbanks is a cracking pool with a really nice streamy run coming off the faster water at the neck. There were plenty fish showing just off the run and most of them looked fresh. After 45 minutes or so, the rod fishing in the same pool but on the South bank landed a nice fresh grilse so that was encouraging to see that they were at least catchable today. Keith Cromar the ghillie arrived with the owner of the beat to inspect some eroding banks and just as they made their way back to the cars my line was drawn away and I lifted into a lively fish. After 5 minutes or so of storming runs and a cartwheels, Keith slid the net under a 6-7lb bar of silver covered in sea-lice. Nice way to start my morning. And to land it in front of the future Laird of the estate too. I fished on through the Greenbanks and the top part of Castleton without another touch but the South Park rod did manage anothe small grilse from the neck of the House Pool.

At lunch time, after exchanging stories of catches etc, it turned out that all the fish were caught in the space of an hour or so which was to end up, apart from a 10lber from the Celler Pool caught late in the afternoon, to be the only time the fish were really in a taking mood all day.

I headed down to Beat 6 after lunch to fish the Bridge Pool and Keith's Pot. The Bridge pool is a fantastic cast and I was just waiting for the line to go tight every time my fly swung through the pool. Although there were plenty fish showing I didn't connect to any which was frustrating but that's fishing for you. This is why we anglers keep coming back and trying to catch these wonderful creatures.

About 6pm I headed up to fish Beat 1 to fish all the way down to the hut before heading home. Again there were plenty fish in evidence especially in the Park Inn but they were running quickly upstream and were not in the mood to stop and take my fly.

I always enjoy fishing at Park and will return early next year to try and land the most prized catch of all, a Dee Springer. Here are some pictures from my day yesterday.

Greenbanks Pool. A lovely cast and a pleasure to fish.

Good start to the day. A sea-liced Salmon from the Greenbanks landed about 10.15am. Always good to get a fish early on.
The Bridge Pool named obviously due to the Park Bridge in the background. First time I have fished on Beat 6 but I really liked it so hopefully next time the water will be in my favour again because it only fishes in lower water.

Keith's Pot. This is the pool belwo the Park Bridge and always has fish splashing in it when I pass over the bridge. Today was no differant but they were not interested in my flies unfortunately.

A nice view looking downstream from Cooper's into the Long Pool then furthest away, Upper Kirks.

Some Salmon From The Don This Week

The River Don is fishing really well at the moment and my friend Charlie Robertson has been landing a few this week. He caught this sea-liced fish on Tuesday evening at the Manar beat. The fish took a #12 Boar Bristle Cascade.

4lb sea liced Grilse about to be returned to the Don.

Yesterday, Charlie was out at Manar again and manged to land these two beauties.The first one was about 7lb and was caught from the Horseshoe Haugh on a Sunray Shadow fished on the surface. What a chunky looking fish! Feeding must have been good at sea for this fish. The second fish is about 5lbs and was also taken on a Sunray Shadow. Well Done Charlie!

7lb sea-liced fish poses for a photo before being released. Cracking fish!

A quick photo before release of a 5lb Grilse which was also nice and plump looking.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A Week On The Dee At Kincardine

I am just back from fishing a week on the River Dee at Kincardine. This was a beat I had always wanted to fish and when the opportunity arose back in October, I decided to bite the bullet and book up.

On Monday, I arrived at the beat about 8.30am and was met by the very knowledgable and entertaining ghillie, John McGinley. I was to be fishing the week with 37 year beat veteran Dr Dai Jones. Good company and good craic certainley make the experience much more enjoyable. Dai was a pleasure to fish along side and his stories of years gone by made lunch times something to look forward to. Also fishing on the opposite bank were some well known guys from the Salmon Fishing Forum. I met them in the Potarch for a pint on a couple of occasions and also had my lunch with them on Wednesday. It was also a pleasure to meet them and good to put faces to the names. By all accounts, they had a really good week and sunk a few drams to go along with it!

On the Monday afternoon, I hooked a good fish in the Calm Pool. After playing it for a few minutes the line went solid. The fish had taken me round a rock and the line was stuck! I walked up and down the bank to try and release the line but it didn't budge. I give it slack line and still nothing. Eventually my leader gave way and the fish was gone! On inspection it had been rubbed against the rock and had freyed until it broke. Pity, because it was a nice looking fish and would have been a good start to the week. Little did I know that this would be the only action I would get until Thursday afternoon.

On the Thursday after a rise of 8" from the night before, I was fishing down the Village pool behind legendary Tay ghillie Tony Black. I looked on as he landed a couple of grilse and a sea trout in quick succession. I followed him down the pool but the only action I got was a brief encounter with a fish which was off as quick as it was on. The rise was finning off by evening and conditions would be good for the Friday. Their beat finished with 12 salmon and 2 sea trout.

I started my day in the Village pool on Friday morning and due to the bright sun I tackled up with a Rio AFS intermediate tip shooting head and attached was a 10ft slow sink polyleader. My friend Charlie had given me some flies for  my trip and I opted for the now named  Crathcade #10. As the name suggests, it's a cross between a Crathie and a Cascade. I fished my way down the pool and just as I got the the wall I hooked into a lively wee grilse. John arrived just in time to net a 4lb fish which had been in the river for a week or two. Bouyed by this I was feeling confident and was casting really well and suddenly the line went tight again! I lifted into a much stronger fish and it took off downstream like a train. As I kept the tension up, the fish managed to get rid of my fly and it was gone. I fished the rest of the day without and offer but at last I had something for the book. I have been hit hard by the sun and where my sunglasses have been, I'm now sporting a couple of panda eyes and a scorched head! It was worth it though.

On Saturday, which was my final day, again the conditions were bright and sunny. The water had dropped a good bit but was still slightly whiskey coloured. I stated in the Village pool again before the sun was faced downstream about 1pm. I went in where I stated yesterday and stuck with the same line set up but changed my fly to a #13 Cascade. At about 9.30am I lifted into a very strong fish. It lead me a merry dance around the pool and due to the high wall behind me, I had to hold my ground and try to bully the fish into my waiting net. After a very dogged fight I slid my net under a sparkling fresh fish about 10/11lbs. This made up for the blank start to the week and put a huge grin on my face. After a quick photo the fish went back to it's lie. I continued down the pool and almost where I lost the fish yesterday, I had another take. I lifted into a fish but like on Thursday, it was off as quick as it was on. I fished hard for my fish this week and when I called it a day about 7.30pm I headed off to the Potarch Hotel for a well earned shandy and burger with chips!

Here are some pictures from my week.
A view looking upstream into the Calm pool from the old Kincardine hut.
The Village Pool. A fish splashes in the centre of the picture. This is where I landed both my fish and lost two others.
Ghillie John McGinley releases my first fish of the week. A 4lb grilse which had been in the river a couple of weeks.

The fly now named the "Crathcade" which was tied my friend Charlie Robertson. The grlise was taken on this fly.

A spanking fresh fish about 10/11lbs comes to the net. This beauty was straight out the wrapper and took a #13 Cascade. A great way to end my week on the Dee at Kincardine. A lovely area of Royal Deeside.