Saturday, 18 May 2013

Cortachy Castle & Downie Park - South Esk

Early last week, I booked a day on the South Esk at Cortachy Castle and Downie Park. It turned out I was to be the only rod fishing the beat today and given the conditions, it was a bit surprising. I met the Andrew the ghillie at 8am and we set off down to the hut. The beat gauge was steady at 11" and the water was in really good order. I tackle up with my 13ft Hardy Uniqua and a Airflo Quick Spey Multi Tip Line and a 6ft 2.6ips Rio polyleader. Andrew suggested a Monkey fly would be ideal for the current conditions.
A stunning view over Glen Clova taken on my way down to the Sawmill Pool.

Andrew suggested I started my day off in the Sawmill pool and just on arrival, a fish showed near the tail which was good to see early on. It was not for the taking nor any others and I fished through the pool without a touch. A cracking pool and it fished the fly very well.
Sawmill Pool.

The next pool I was to fish was the Dairy. A lovely streamy run on the far bank but again, nothing touched so we moved on down stream to the Meetings. This pool is where the South Esk tributary, the Prosen join the main river. I fished the length of the Meeting without any offers so Andrew took me down to the next pool. I carried on down to the Laundry and although very "fishy" I didn't see or touch anything.
The Meetings. Where the Prosan meets the South Esk.
The Laundry Pool.

The Downie Stream was next to be fished and not long after starting the wind caught my fly and sent it into the trees on the far bank. I couldn't free the fly and eventually my leader snapped and my Monkey fly was gone. This was the third 3/4" Monkey fly I had lost in the trees already! I went to my fly box to tie on another one but had none left. I chose a 3/4" Dee Sheep and with-in a couple of casts it was hammered by a strong, lively fish. After some unstoppable runs and acrobatics, Andrew slipped the net under a 10lb "Bar of Silver". No sea lice present but it could have only been in a few day at most. Great start to my day.
Downie Stream.
Safely in the net!
A quick picture for the scrap book before releasing the fish.

I fished on through Beech Tree and the Drain pools with no joy but I saw a big fish jump right out of the water feet from where I was standing in the Beech Tree. We stopped for lunch as the sun was now high and bright so resting the pools was the better option.

Beech Tree.

After a good chat over lunch, Andrew took me down to fish the Kaimbridge Pools. Before we started fishing them, we looked down from the high bank and as the water was crystal clear, we could see if there were any fish present. We couldn't spot any fish moving but went down to give them a good go anyway. After fruitless runs down through Upper and Lower Kaimbridge, we headed back upstream to fish Carrity Moo.
Lower Kaimbridge. Looking down from the steps above the pool.

Carrity Moo is another lovely looking pool but not seen or touched in here so we headed back to try the Drain and Mary's as the sun had dropped enough to take the shine off the water. I changed fly to a Sunray Shadow but nothing looked at it as I stripped it across the pool. The wind had really whipped up and made cast difficult as it lifted the fly and I caught the trees a few times. There was a few fish splashing up near the gauge but they were not interested or had ran further upstream.
Carrity Moo.
Tail of the Drain Pool.

The conditions were starting to work against me and we decided to give the Beech Tree anther run through before heading home. I didn't see anything this time or touch anything as the wind really made casting dangerous so we called it a day about 7pm.

I had never fished the South Esk before and was really impressed by the fishing. I saw fish showing in several pools and to land a cracking fish was a perfect way to start my first foray on a new river to me. I will certainly be heading back to fish it more often. Andrew the ghillie is a top bloke who went out of his my to make me feel welcome and he even waded into the river to retrieve a fly for me which was snagged round a log! Being the only rod fishing was a bonus and I picked away at his knowledge of his beat and hope to use it next time I'm down fishing the South Esk.

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