Sunday, 10 March 2013

River Spey - Brae Water Beat 5

This weekend saw Charlie and I out on the magnificent River Spey at Gordon Castle. We were fishing the Brae Water beat 5 which is one of the lower beats on the estate. The beat is situated about 5 miles from the sea and can produce fish through-out the season. The beat is ghillied by Blair Banks, who was a World Champion Spey caster in his younger days. Well, I say younger days but he's still only in his early twenties!!!

We met the ghillies at the usual rendezvous at The Gordon Arms Hotel in Fochabers and after a brief chat about catches etc we set off down to the hut to tackle up. As we were the only 2 rods booked on we had Blair's knowledge and expertise all day. He made us feel very welcome and did everything he could to make our day enjoyable. He set up our rods, tied on our flies, carried the rods to the pools and even waded out to make the first cast to ensure we started with a short line in the right spot. Along with all the advice and craic, it made our day thoroughly enjoyable.

We started at the top of the beat. Charlie fished the Intake pool and I fished the Grilse pool. Both these pools were lovely fly water and we expected a take every cast. As I was nearing the tail of the Grilse pool, there was several fish showed as they came up through the fast water from the run below. They all looked like good, fresh spring fish which got my adrenalin going on what was a cold, blustery day on Speyside. Just as I got to the spot where the fish showed, my 3/4inch Monkey conehead suddenly took off across the stream! I signaled to Blair who was up with Charlie and he arrived just as the fish took another storming run almost clearing out all my running line. My rod tip was bouncing all over the place. Surely this was a spring fish? After a rugged scrap for several minutes I finally got a bit of control over fish. Blair was positioned, ready with the net and as the fish showed itself for the first time, we realised it was a well mended kelt! Not one of the springers I saw coming up through the rapids. As I was drawing the fish into the waiting net, and just like last week on the Dee at Middle Drum, the hook pulled from the fishes mouth and my fly ended up over our heads and high into the trees behind! Whilst playing the fish and with some of the runs it made, I really thought this was the one we were after but not to be. Never-the-less, a fantastic battle but from one of last years models and the hunt for a springer goes on.

After lunch, Blair took us down to the Lower part of the beat. Charlie fished Lower Dipple and I fished the Bulwarks pool. The Bulwarks pool is about 850 yards long and apart from a wee bit in the middle of the pool, the whole lot fished very well. The lower part of the pool just above Fochabers Bridge, where the water channels into a lovely "V" shape midstream just screams fish. There was a springer lost there last week and I can see why a fish would stop and rest in this area. We both fished down the pool without a touch and we retired back to the hut just at the sun disappeared to reflect on another day "chasing silver".

Here are some pictures a a short video Charlie took of me playing and losing what turned out to be a very lively kelt. We're back on the Spey next weekend again so hopefully we will get some silver on the blog. Early days yet.

Grilse Pool. Looking upstream midway down the pool. A cracking pool that fishes the fly very well.
Looking downstream to the tail of the Grilse Pool where I hooked the kelt. It took just above the fast water at the side of a nice ripple caused by a stone below the surface. Blair informed us that the pool wouldn't even have been worth a cast in previous seasons as it was so shallow. Due to the nature of the area, gravel shifts are common and some of the pools change every spate.
Intake. Looking upstream at the tail of the pool.
Bulwarks. Looking downstream towards the bridge that crosses the Spey at Fochabers.

The tails of the Bulwarks Pool as it flows under the bridge.
Charlie (left) Blair the ghillie (right) and their dogs. Poppy, Brae and Bracken.

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