Sunday, 3 August 2014

Headinch and Cambus O May - River Dee 01-08-2014

I was kindly invited up to fish the scenic beat of the Dee at Cambus O May on Friday by ghillie Craig MacDonald. The water had risen to 1ft 2in on the beat gauge over night due to the heavy rain and although it was carrying a bit of colour, the river looked in good ply. Craig is only just into his second season as a ghillie on Cambus O May but he knows the beat very well and took the time to point out all the likely parts of the pools where we might encounter a fish. As the beat is 5.6 miles double bank, a ghillie is almost essential to point you in the right direction because it would take several days to cover all the water if you didn't know where to start.

Craig suggested we head to the Long Pool and Tassachd as these pools were good holding pools and they had a population of resident fish in them. Not long after arriving at the Long Pool a small fished showed just off the current on the inside of the bend which was encouraging. As the water was a bit coloured bigger flies and sink tips were the order of the day. I opted for a fast sink tip and a #8 Kinermony Killer. The first run down the pool proved fruitless so I changed over to a H/S1 line and a Black Bear Flamethrower fly. This also produced nothing so we headed off down stream to Tassachd. Craig pointed out all the best taking points and I went down the pool with the H/S1 first as this pool was carrying a bit of speed in it's flow. Again, I couldn't temp anything so Craig suggested a run through with a Sunray might stir things up a bit. The top half of the pool was a bit fast so I started mid way down where we saw a few fish showing first run down. Craig went off for lunch and he was only gone 5 minutes when I had a thumping take on my Sunray! Several minutes later I landed a coloured sea trout between 2-2.5lbs. I didn't touch anything else so headed upstream to fish the Mill Pool.

A few years back and also in August, I landed a 14lb hen fish from this pool when the water height was also sitting at 1ft 2in. Conditions were very simialr to Friday so confidence was high. I started right up at the neck where I landed the fish last time but I didn't touch anything except a stunning wee brown trout about 8oz. Not a big fish by any stretch of the imagination but I don't think I've ever caught a trout as golden as this one. Craig suggested we try the Glashan pool from the Headinch bank so we made our way round through Ballater and down to the hut which looks onto the pool. Craig said that this pool was jumping with fish just a few days prior to the rise in levels so I was looking forward to giving it a run through. Although we did see several coloured fish show, I didn't connect with any of them so Craig took me up to the top of the beat to show the the pools up there. I decided to just take the one rod and fish the Sunray all the way back down to the hut. I did move a coloured fish at the tail of Kate's and another couple during my second run down through Galshan but nothing stuck so I called it a day around 7pm.

I really enjoy fish Headinch and Cambus O May. It's such a quiet and secluded part of Royal Deeside with some truely fantasic pools for fly fishing. It must be great to fish the in May time when the Spring run is in full swing. Craig's knowledge of the pools and his advice really made the day more enjoyable. Unlike my last visit here, I didn't have to try out all the pools to find the best ones to fish for the conditions etc. He made sure I was in the best possible spots and took a lot of time to point out lies and show me all the pools of the beat which was much appreciated.

Here are a few pictures of the beat.

Fishing down the Long Pool. A few fish showed just inside the bend.
The tail of the Long Pool. There is a good lie over by the huge boulder mid stream.
Tassachd. A lovely pool which also held several fish. I landed my sea trout from here.
I took a quick picture as I was playing the sea trout.
A lively sea trout poses for a picture before being returned.
Looking downstream from the high bank above Tassachd.
Looking upstream from the same positions as above picture.
Think this is a Slow Worm? nestled down in the grass on the bank of the Mill Pool
Looking upstream in the Mill Pool.
Glashan. A stunning pool and very secluded. Moved a couple of fish in here with a Sunray Shadow but didn't hook up.
Kate's. Another cracking pool and had another fish have a go at the Sunray in here too. Same result as the other ones though.
Lochnagar in the background of the photo. A majestic part of Deeside steeped in Royal history.

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