Monday, 25 March 2013

River Tay At Newtyle

I took my first ever trip down to the mighty River Tay on Saturday as part of a group of rods from "The Salmon Fishing Forum". I travelled down with fellow Aberdeen & District Angling Association member and expert fisherman, Bill Cook. We set of around 6am to avoid getting caught up in the drifting snow conditions which the area was hit with for the past 2 days or so.

We arrived at the beat hut in good time about 8am and after introductions with fellow rods and ghillie we all sat down to a cup of coffee in the hut to warm up before starting. The water was sitting at 6 inches on the beat gauge. There were 8 of us wrapped up and ready to battle the elemnts but several rods had to cancel due to the atrocious driving/weather conditions around the Dumfries area. The wind was blowing strongly upstream from the East and the driving snow and hail added to the Siberian weather conditions. Not the best for fishing the fly but, we gave it a good go anyway. A low punchy cast was required to get the fly out under the wind and it had to be made between the gusts as it was near impossible to do so otherwise.

I was drawn to fish the top part of the beat in the morning along with Bill and the organiser Kenny. The ghillie Andy took us over to the left bank on the boat and showed us up to our pools for the morning. Bill and Kenny headed to fish St Mary's and Dean's whilst I started off in the Trap. I carried on downstream fishing the Cotter which was a very cold wade to say the least. Apart from Bill briefly connecting with a fish in Dean's the morning proved fruitless for us all and we looked forward to a warming buffet and seat by the fire in the hut at lunch time.

After a fantastic spread  which consisted of hot soup, pies, sausage rolls, chicken drumsticks, cake, fruit, bread and coffee provided by a local hotel, we shared some good craic, reminiscing about fishing stories from days of old and some fairly new ones too. Andy the ghille was keen for us to get going again and we were allocated our pools for the afternoon. Bill and I were to fish the Cotter but from the right bank. This involved fishing from the bank and just a shortish cast which was ideal for the conditions as it felt a lot colder during the afternoon session the the morning one. We both had a blank run down the pool but we did see a fish show about 4pm and Bill covered it several times but it was not in the mood to take his fly. About 5pm Andy assembled all the rods back to the hut from his boat and we sat down to a warming cup of coffee and polished off the remnants of the buffet. Kenny, who did a fantastic job of organising the event had all our names in a hat for a raffle and I was lucky enough to win a £25 voucher. Bill won a bottle of malt whiskey in the raffle too so we both did alright.

As first time fishing the mighty Tay goes, weather wise, it was awful but with good company, a good ghillie and always a chance of connecting with a Tay springer, it was a great day out. One which I will remember. Andy the ghille made me feel very welcome and was keen to see that I enjoyed my first ever experience of the Tay. I will be returning to fish the Tay again later on this year when the weather will hopefully be a bit kinder but never-the-less it was good to see the famous Newtyle beat first hand and it was a pleasure to cast a fly on such a hallowed river.

Here are some pictures from my day on the Tay.

The 8 hardy souls ready to brave the elements. Picture courtesy of Kenny Carr.
Looking over at the colourful Newtyle hut from the Cotter pool.
The Trap. I started my day off in this pool. A cracking pieace of water and easily covered even in a howling gale.
Looking downstream from the Trap.
Cotter Stream. Wading down this pool was very very cold. It took a couple of hours to fish and it was all done whilst wading. My toes were frozen by the end of it!
Looking upstream in the Cotter. i was glad to be out of the water at this point to warm my toes up. I had 3 pairs of thick socks on too!
Inside the Newtyle hut. The remains of the buffet on the table and the rogues gallery on the wall. Some cracking pictures of salmon from last year.
Looking upstream in the Cotter from the right bank after lunch.

Fishing down the Cotter on the right bank. With the wind, it was much easier to cover the water from this bank as only a shortish cast was required.

The Boils. A good spot to pick up a fish but from the opposite bank. The water was too low to fish from this bank.
Looking downstream from the Boils to the Steps pool. These pools have been producing plenty springers so far fro Newtyle this season. Never fished them but they werre well covered by some of the other rods.

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