Monday, 13 October 2014

Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo - River Dee

On Friday, I was delighted to accept a last minute invite from ghillie, Terry Paton to fish the Inchmarlo beat of the River Dee near Banchory on Saturday. With the water a good height and sitting around 2ft 2in on the Woodend gauge, Terry was confident that there was a great chance of getting a fish or two. We discussed tactics for the day over a cup of coffee in the hut and decided that getting down in front of the fish using sinking lines and tubes would be our best bet. I tackled up with my 14' 9" Guideline rod and my intermediate Scott MacKenzie shooting head. I attached a 6ft 5.6ips tip and to that, a Red Francis before changing to a pink Franc N Snaelda not long after starting.
The fishing hut on the Inchmarlo bank.
Terry suggest giving the top part of the beat a quick run through before concentrating on the area opposite the gauge on the Little Blackhall side slightly further downstream which I did without getting an offer so I changed fly over to a pink Franc N Snaelda to fish the next pool.

Ice House. The upper most pool on the Inchmarlo beat.
I moved on down to the next pools which were Holly Bush and Sandy Bay. These were where Terry had suggested I concentrate my efforts as they were at a good height and would give a good chance of getting a fish. I fished the first 20 yards or so without an offer but there was a few fish showing about mid stream just off a likely looking lie. Terry advised to cast as long a line as possible just to allow the fly to get down deeper as it came into the lie, which I did. As my fly swung round I began to fish it sink and draw and just as it past the lie, I had a thumping take. I lifted into, what was, a very strong and lively fish. After a few minutes and some acrobatics, I managed to beach a small cock fish which weighed roughly 5lbs. After a quick photo it was released to carry on his journey to the spawning grounds. I checked my fly and recast over the same lie as where I picked up the grilse minutes earlier. I must have only had 2 or 3 casts when I had another solid take. I lifted into a much strong fish this time and it felt a good bit heavier than the last one. It made several cracking runs off the reel and just when I thought I had it under control, it threw the hook. It felt like a good fish and I was disappointed to lose it, especially after keeping in good contact with it whilst it motored up and down the pool. Still, at least I knew my set up was doing the trick, so I dusted myself down and carried on through the pool but apart from a small brown trout, I didn't get another offer.

Holly Bush. Just expecting a pull on every cast at this height.
Sandy Bay. I got the fish (pictured below) in here and lost another. Excellent bit of water.
A cock fish around 5lbs taken on a pink Franc N Snaelda fished deep.

The next pool down was the Floating Bank. Terry also thought this would give a good chance of a fish but i fished through the pool without a touch and headed off back to the hut for some lunch.

Floating bank. Another lovely pool at this height of water.
After an extended lunch, I headed down to fish the famous Roe Pot pool and Terry went to fish the upper part. Terry said to start 50 yards or so above the wall as the top part of the pool was a bit heavy at this height. We'd seen a few fish show in here throughout the day so we knew they were there and confidence was high after a decent morning in the upper part of the beat.

The Roe Pot. I started in here after lunch. A good few fish about in here during the day.
A small Sea Trout which took a liking to the pink Franc N Snaelda too.
About 10 minutes after starting, as I was just below the wall, I had a very subtle take just off a boil about 20 yards or so out. I lifted into, what was a small fish which turned out to be a sea trout about 1lb. I quickly released it and cast over the same lie again. My fly was swinging round nicely when I had a cracking take. I lifted into a hefty fish which took off downstream like a steam train. It made some long, powerful runs and thrashed about on the surface a few times before it calmed down. I thought I had it beat and began to draw it into a gap in the bank but she had other ideas and was off on another long run down river. I followed her down this time and after a few more minutes, I manged to get in the water and tail the fish about 100 yards below where I hook it! I  removed the hook and quickly took a photo of the fish which I to be around the 14lb mark before slipping it back into the Dee. She swam off strongly and off to do the business on the redds in these next few weeks. The pink Franc N Snaelda was certainly doing the trick today.

The Roe Pot just above the wall which you can see on the left of the picture.

A hen fish about 14lb which also took the pink Franc N Snaelda.

Looking upstream in the Roe Pot. Very enjoyable pool to fish.
I fished on down through the rest of the Roe Pot without an offer but I did see a few fishing showing. It was around 4.30 by this time so I headed off back upstream to see how Terry had got on. Whilst standing chatting, head had a swirl at his Monkey fly as he pulled it across the pool which was encouraging so I went off up to the Holly Bush to give it another run through along with Sandy Bay. I had been fishing for 20 minutes or so when I saw Terry was into fish down in the Floating Bank. I wound in and grabbed my net out my car and headed off to help him out. After a few minutes I slid the net under a lively fish around 7lb which took a big, heavy Red Francis conehead. It was swiftly photographed and returned so I headed off back up to fish again.
Terry with his first fish which was around 7lb. Taken on a Red Francis tube.
I was not long back up to Sandy Bay when I noticed Terry was bent into another fish. I reeled in again and went down to assist. A short while later I netted his second fish in quick succession. This time a cleaner looking hen fish about 5lbs.
Terry's second fish of the afternoon. Also taken on the Red Francis.
That was to be the last action of the day but what a day! 4 Salmon, 2 sea trout and a lost fish with a few other offers and pulls in between. It's not often I am in the right place at the right time so I was very grateful to Terry for the last minute invite over to fish. A memorable final day on the Dee for 2014 which has been a season many won't be sorry to see the back of. I can't complain as I've done pretty well considering but roll on 2015. Fingers crossed it's a better one.

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