Thursday, 31 July 2014

Carlogie - River Dee 28-30th July 2014

This week saw me fishing one of my favourite beats on the River Dee at Carlogie. I had looked forward to it for months, especially after the bumper spring this part of the Dee had enjoyed but as the spring turned to summer, the catches tailed off dramatically. Although we got a slight rise in water on Monday morning, this dropped away within a matter of hours and was back down to summer lows as quick as it came. The gauge at Potarch bridge was reading about 3" for a majority of the trip with water temps in the high 60s which is not ideal if you are in pursuit of salmon. Still, I can think of a lot worse places to spend a few days.

I had the pleasure of fishing with a great bunch of lads who I have met through the Salmon Fishing Forum. Many people can't stand the forums, and I can understand why at times, but when you meet the people behind the screen names there are some really good lads in these places. During my 3 days the craic was great and the drams flowed from morning until night most days! The fishing was tough going to say the least, but when you are in company of like minded people, it makes you realise that there is far more to fishing than just catching fish. Good company is important too.

On Monday morning we started bright and early 7am and not long after starting, party leader Ade Warburton landed the first salmon of the trip. A coloured fish of around 8lb from the Pitslug pool on a size 14 Crathie. This was a good start considering the conditions. Philip Black was not far behind and landed a 2.5lb sea trout from the Boat Pool. Paul McIntyre lost a lively sea trout in the Mill pool and I had an offer in the Calm pool which came to nothing. I did land a nice wee brown trout about 1.25lbs which nailed a tiny Crathie fly from the same pool. On a brighter note, I don't think I have ever seen so much parr and juvenile fish in the river before. If you let the fly come too far round and into shallow water a parr was hammering your fly on almost ever cast. It was really pleasing to see the river was in good health in regard to immature fish. Having said that, it's not really what you want to see occupying the salmon lies because, to me anyway, it signaled a lack of salmon around which would usually fill these lies, instead they were hosting parr.

Tuesday produced nothing however, Phil Black lost fish in the Calm pool which took a size 20 Stoat's tail. We saw very few fish in the pools and the ones we did see looked to be resident fish. The Calm pool and the Mill pool seemed to be where these fish decided to camp in until spawning time. They showed sporadically through out the day but were proving almost impossible to temp.

Wednesday saw the arrival of Neill Sproull and Dave MacDonald to fish the beat. Fresh looking fish were spotted in the Mill pool and the Calm pool during the morning which was encouraging. It wasn't until after lunch that a fish was caught with Ade landing a fresh grilse from the Rossachs which took a size 10 Jeannie. Just goes to show that trying something bigger than the normal 12s and 14s we had been using, can produce results. This was the last action of the days as the fresh fish came and went.
We certainly gave it a good go and fished hard. We must have covered almost every inch of the beat in the process! That's just the way it goes sometimes.

I had a great time at Carlogie and can't wait to return again in February next year. Here are some of the Carlogie pools from the top of the beat to bottom.

Alan's Pool. The upper most pool on the beat.
Long Haugh.
Pitslug. Ade got a coloured fish from here on Monday morning.
Sean Stanton did tell me the name of this run but I've forgotten it. Was Henry's Pot or something along that lines.
Rossachs. Ade got a nice fresh grilse from here on Wednesday.
Mill Pool. A famous pool on the River Dee.
Jock Rae.
River Dee Board member, Dave MacDonald fishing a Hitch fly in Jock Rae.
March Pool. A rod on the Kincardine side got a small grilse from here on Tuesday.
Calm Pool. Seemed to be holding one or two resident fish but not many.
Ade Warburton throws out a good line in the Calm pool.
Clay Pot.
Boat Pool. I saw a cracking fish in here on Monday. 20lb plus at least and fresh looking too.
Village Pool.
Fraser's Pool. I got a nice 8lb fish from here back in February.
Dram of the Day: The Balvenie.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

GWCT Scottish Game Fair

Last Sunday I was at the 2014 Scottish Game Fair on the banks of the River Tay at Scone Palace. The event runs from Friday to Sunday and it was fairly busy again this year. Apart from the odd heavy rain shower it was very warm and sunny for most of the weekend which helps the attendance.

I really enjoy visiting the Game Fair but sadly, this year, Fisherman's Row consisted of only a handful of stalls. It is getting smaller and smaller every year. There used to be rows of excellent stalls along with most of the big angling conservation groups there as well. Sadly, a majority have decided not to bother anymore which is a real shame, not only for the event as a whole but also for the punters who pay £18 entry and £2 parking just to set foot in the door. Many bargains were there to be had as companies competed to for your business.

On a more positive note, Somers of Aberdeen had a good stall this year and I picked up a few things including a new pair of neoprene waders which will come in handy for the cold Spring months. Cookshill Fly Tying is a stall I always go to and restock my box with their bucktails and feathers. The gun dog displays, clay pigeon shooting and casting demos are also well worth going along to. So too is the Food Hall where I always make a point of buying something. All in all, it was a good day out.

Here are a few pictures from last Sunday.

3 time World Spey Casting Champion, Scott Mackenzie demonstrates his casting abilities on the banks of the River Tay.
Another excellent Dog Training display. It's amazing how well these animals respond to the slightest commands.
A good crowd enjoying the sun.
The renowned "Arbroath Smokies" being smoked on site. They taste delicious.
A working Pony competition. These animals are used to take deer etc off the hill during shoots.
Well known shooting and game photographer, Linda Mellor snaps the ponies in the Main Ring.
A Chainsaw demo where the guys were carving animals out of chunks of wood.