Friday, 23 October 2015

Ballogie - River Dee

Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to pick up a spare rod on the Ballogie beat of the River Dee as someone had cancelled at short notice. This was an offer I couldn't refuse and I was grateful to head ghillie, Sean Stanton for asking me. The water was sitting at 1ft 2in on the Potarch Bridge gauge and was just slightly peat stained. As I had been successful the previous day on the River Don using my 13ft Hardy Uniqua, a floating line, slow sink tip and a #9 Kitchen Sink Shrimp I decided to use that combo again.

A nice fresh grilse around the 5lb marks taken on a Junction Snaelda. It always good to get a fresh fish this time of year.

I arrived at the beat around 8.30 and was greeted at the hut by Sean. I was to fish the bottom half of the beat in the morning and fellow rod Peter the top half. Sean suggested just starting at the top and working my way through the pools so that's just what I did. First up was the famous Bridge Pool. It's not a large pool by any means but casting a line in such an iconic place makes it special. I started up under the arch and made a few casts with a short line and let it hang off the rocky shelf. I could only have had a dozen casts when I had a sharp tug on the fly. Unfortunately, it didn't hook up but it was a great confidence booster that my tactics, which had worked so well on the Don was working on the Dee too. As I was roughly half way down the pool a group of around 7 kayaks entered the river just yards below where I was fishing and with a lot of splashing and disturbance to the pool left a bitter taste in my mouth. There was no conversation asking if they could come in below me or an offer to wait until I fished the pool so I was a bit annoyed that having had a good offer that there could have been a fish in there for me. I wound in and headed off downstream. I have nothing against kayaks and canoes using the river but when someone is fishing a pool these people have to show a bit of respect to fishers who are paying a lot of money to fish the water. It doesn't cost anything and it's little wonder there is conflict between river users and fishermen when they behave like they did.
Looking upstream towards Potarch Bridge whilst fishing the Bridge Pool.
The pool below the bridge pool is called Burn of Angels. This is another relatively short pool but it's another lovely cast. On arrival to the pool a small, coloured fish showed just below me and at least I knew my fly would be covering fish. I fished the whole length of the pool without an offer so I headed downstream to try another pool.

Burn of Angles just as the mist was lifting off the water in the morning.
Next up was Upper and Lower Inchbare. Both these pool are nice casts but the latter is seemed to be holding more fish as there were a good few showing whilst I fished through the pool. The fish were playing hard to get in the bright sun and although I managed to winkle out a nice clean fish in similar conditions from Lower Inchbare last September but try as I might, there was to be no repeat this year so it was off down to have a go in Kelpie.

Fishing down Lower Inchbare.
The Kelpie Pool always holds fish just off the big rock near the top of the pool and it was no different this time. I change fly over to a Junction Snaelda just to get down a bit deeper and to put more action in the fly by rocking it through the pool. The Kelpie fishes nicely from the Ballogie bank as you are casting into the deeper part and swinging the fly into the shallow giving the fish a "take it or leave it" choice to make rather than hanging it in their face. Despite the presence of quite a few fish in the pool I couldn't tempt any so it was down for a cast in Bulwarks before heading back upstream to the Bridge Pool.
Kelpie. A nice cast in a lovely setting.
I just had a quick run through the Bulwarks as it had just been fished by a rod on tne Sluie bank. There was one or two fish showing in the pool but none were tempted by the Junction Snaelda so I made the long walk back up to have a proper run through the bridge pool before lunch.

Fishing the Bulwarks.
I started the Bridge Pool under the arch again and not long after making my first cast there was a nice fish showed mid way down the pool. I fished down the pool rocking the Snaelda back and forth as I went and as I reached the boil mid way down the pool I had a thumping take and I lifted into a lively fish. It was just a small fish and it tried to stay deep but I soon had it under control and I beached the fish on the shingle. It was fresh as paint and would have been around the 5lb mark. After a quick photo I sent it on it's way again so I headed up to the Gannets hut for lunch delighted to have landed a fish. As it transpired it was the 100th fish caught from Ballogie this season. Not a great score as the beat should be catching 3 or 4 times that amount but given the poor salmon runs the North East of Scotland has experienced this year it was a welcome milestone.

A nice fresh grilse from the Bridge Pool. A perfect way to close my 2015 River Dee season.

Top Gannet. Plenty fish splashing about but none willing to take my fly.

After lunch I was to fish the upper part of the beat and first up was another famous pool on the beat, the Top Gannets. I was fortunate enough to catch a lovely wee sea liced fish from the pool back in September and there were plenty showing in the pool this time round. I started up in the neck with a short line and fished down the top half of the pool then head back up to go through the pool again but with a long line as instructed on my previous visit. Neither run down produced any offers so I fished out the rest of the pool and depite several fish splashing about I just couldn't temp any. 
Mid Gannents with a Borrowston hut on the other bank.
After fishing Top Gannets I carried on downstream for a crack at Mid Gannets. I had never fished this pool the last time time I was on the beat so I made a point of giving it the once over. The pool looked fairly deep and with a nice peaty colour to the river I was sure there would be a few lying in it. I swung the Junction Snaelda through the pool but without an offer and there was nothing giving away their locations either so it was back to the car and off downstream to fish the Sands, Slips and Flats.
Fishing down the Sands
On arrival to the Sands it was quite clear that there were plenty fish hanging around in the pool so I started right at the top and worked my way down. Just as I reached a point near the tail of the pool I had a good pull on my fly. I have no idea how it didn't hook itself but I somehow failed to connect with it. It was a small reminder that my tactics were working well though and that gave me confidence in what I was are doing. I fished out the rest of the pool and despite the amount of fish in showing I just couldn't temp another one to take my fly so it was off on down to the Slips.

Looking downstream at the top of Slips.
The Slips was another pool harbouring plenty fish but covering them wasn't easy as the wading is pretty ropey in this pool. Huge boulders followed by big troughs then some more large rocks and so on and so on. As the day was drawing in a sharp breeze had kicked up and it started to make casting a bit more tricky whilst wading deep but I persevered and carried on through the pool but unfortunately no fish showed any interest and as I wanted a run through the Flats before dark it was off to try there.

The Flats. This is a cracking piece of water and Sean's favourite pool on the beat.
The Flats was up next but time was against me and I didn't really do the pool justice as I just had a really quick run through before I had to head home. It was the first pool on the beat today that I didn't actually see a fish in which was strange given how nice a pool it is. The air temperature had dropped sharply which would probably explain why the fish were reluctant but it was good to fish the pool again regardless. I packed up around 6.30pm and headed home quite pleased with how my day had went. Peter, who was also fishing the beat had a coloured fish from the Bridge Pool after lunch and he was delighted.

I'd just like to thank ghillies, Ian and Sean for their help this season. A couple of top lads and it's always a pleasure to fish in their company. Will look forward to meeting up with them again in February when I'm back at Carlogie for another season. Until then, all the best.

No comments:

Post a comment