Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Commonty - River Dee

Last Friday, I was kindly invited to fish the Commonty beat on the River Dee by Patrick Taylor who had the fishing there last week. The river was sitting at around 4" on the gauge and was on the low side for the beat but there were fish showing in most of the likely pools but tempting them proved difficult. The water temp was sill relatively high around the 10c mark so finding the correct tactics was just a case of ringing the changes until something worked. I tackled up with my 13ft Hardy Uniqua, Floating AFS Shooting Head and a 6ft 1.5ips tip. My fly of choice was a 1/4" Red Francis tube.
The well equipped hut on the Commonty beat.
The wood burner came in handy on what was a chilly day.
I met Patrick, his fiance Joanne and ghillie, Ian Fraser at the hut around 8.30am where we discussed tactics for the day ahead whilst enjoying a dram. Due to the water conditions, fishing hard and ringing the changes seemed to be the general consensus for the day. Ian informed us that Red Francis flies were doing well on Ballogie and Carlogie so that's what I used to begin with. Ian suggested I start off in Suicide and work my way down to fish Benson's and the Garden pool whilst Patrick and Joanne fished the lower pools on the beat.

Suicide is a productive pool but as the name suggests, can be tricky to fish, especially in a bigger water. The wading was hard enough with just 4" on the gauge but with a few fish showing in the stream, it was worth the effort. Unfortunately, I couldn't interest any of them with my offerings so I headed off down river to the next pool.

I started my day off in Suicide which is named due to the treacherous wading. Quite a few fish were showing in the streamy water.
Fishing down Suicide with the Sluie hut opposite.
Looking upstream towards Suicide from the Otter Trap.
The next pool Ian suggested I fish was Benson's. This required a wade across the stream at the top of the Island pool but as the water was fairly shallow, it was easily negotiated. Benson's was a lovely cast but didn't produce any offers nor did I see any fish showing. Another pool that was well worth a go at this height though.
Benson's Pool. A nice little pool on the other side of the island.
Just a wee pot at the tail of Benson's. Patrick got his fish from here in the afternoon. The fallen tree creates a lovely run which would hold a running fish in low water.
As I fished down through Benson's, I stumbled a likely looking pot which, due to a fallen tree had a nice run coming off it at the neck. I was encouraged to see a small but coloured grilse show in here and covered it's lie. Trying to land the fly under the trees was tricky but I managed to cover the fish effectively but sadly couldn't temp it. Patrick did however land a grilse about 5lb from here about 4pm on a wee Red Francis cone head. Possibly the same fish I saw in the pool.

Island Pool. Ian pointed out a good lie beside the Fir tree on the bank.
After I had finished fishing Benson's, I headed back up stream to get off the island and to fish the Island Pool. Ian had shown me the water in the morning and suggested giving it a go as under the tree is on the far bank can be a good lie. Unfortunately, my run through the pool provided no offers so I made my way downstream to fish the Garden Pool which I had seen several fish in first thing that morning.

A nice bit of white water just above the Garden pool. Was a couple of fish showing in here during the morning.

Fishing down the Garden Pool. Was plenty fish showing here, especially up in the neck of the pool.
The Garden pool was holding several resident fish in it and they readily splashing around up near the neck of the pool. Catching one of them was a different matter altogether. I think they had probably seen quite a number of flies these past few weeks but it didn't hurt to put my offerings past them too. Two runs through the pool proved fruitless as I couldn't tempt any fish with my small, Red Francis nor large Franc N Snaelda.

Blue Chair. Never seen a splash in here but a nice pool which looked like it might have a fish or two holding up in the faster water.
Looking over to Woodend House which is part of the Woodend Estate.

The next pool I fished was the Blue Chair. I never asked Ian, but I'm guessing the pool is named after the big rock (pictured above) which the river has eroded to what looks like a chair. The neck of the pool has a nice fast run which looked like a probable lie at these levels but I didn't see any fish show in here whilst fishing it down.
The Bend. Also plenty fish showing in here but difficult to fish the fly due to the low water and several different flows in the current. The lower part of the pool fished very well though.
I carried on down river and came to the Bend. This pool had a nice deep channel running down the far bank under the big rocks and there were a good number of fish sitting in here. They were showing all the way down but fishing the pool was difficult due to the shallow water mid way across which made the fly line stick. Even lifting the rod and mending the line only slightly helped matters. The further down the pool you went, the easier it was to fish but I didn't get an offers. I fished it through 3 times with the same result.
Fishing down through the Bend and into Loop. Was a few fish in here too down near the big boulders at the tail of the pool.
A few years ago I fished this beat in September and although the gauge was sitting about 4ft then, the Loop pool was stuffed with fish. This time and probably due to the low water levels there were only a few fish showing in here. The first part of the pool fished well enough but as I went on, the water got really slow and didn't carry the fly too well. As like some of the other pools at this height, it was still worth a go even in really low water.
Looking downstream from Points. Saw a couple of fish show in here just out from the rocks.
Looking downstream to the bottom pool on the beat (The Wires) from Points.
The bottom couple of pools on there beat were the Points and Wires. I didn't fish these pools due to the low water but did go down to take a few photos. I didn't see any fish showing whilst I was down but given a couple more feet on the gauge, these pools looked like they would fish really well.

Although I didn't get so much as a pull for my day at Commonty, it was still a pleasure to fish and I am very grateful to Patrick for inviting me over. It's always enjoy fishing with Ian Fraser, the ghillie as he is good craic and knows his beat inside out. He took time to show me all the pools and likely spots in low water conditions and we had a good chat about the pools on his beat and their best heights etc. That info is all noted for future reference! In a way though, it was nice to see the beat on it's bones just to see where the fish would be when there was more water in the river because the two previous visits I've had here, the water has been 3ft plus on the gauge and the beat is totally different. I will certainly look forward to my next visit to Commonty.


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