Sunday, 4 October 2015

Commonty - River Dee

I was kindly offered the chance of having a cast on the Commonty beat of the River Dee yesterday courtesy of my friend Patrick Taylor and his good lady, Joanna who had taken the week's fishing there. It was good to see them again and have a catch up on the river bank.
A cock fish around the 4lb mark but very welcome in the low water conditions yesterday. It took a large 1 1/2" Red Frances.
Once again, conditions on Deeside more more akin to mid summer rather than Autumn but at least there was some cloud cover which helped. The river was still low but despite this, there were one or two resident fish splashing about to keep the interest going.
Looking across to the fishing hut at Commonty from the Garden Pool.
I arrived at the beat about 9.30am and immediately got the wood burner going in the hut as it was quite cold as there had been an overnight frost. There was finally some cloud cover as well which was more than welcome because we have been experiencing an Indian Summer here in Scotland of late. My tactic for the day were more that of summer fishing than October so I opted for my 13ft hardy Uniqua rod, floating Rio Scandi shooting head and a 6ft 1.5ips. I decided on a long leader and a size 14 Red Frances to begin with and this changed once or twice through out the day.
The Garden Pool at around 10am.
Looking upstream from the Garden Pool.
As the Garden Pool is opposite the hut, I decided to give that a go first of all so I started up in the white water above a well known lie and began to fish my way into it. A couple of resident fish were splashing about in the lie so I covered it and varied my retrieve switching between a slow figure of 8, a long, slow pull and the Scandi style sink and draw tactic. None of these methods produced a reaction so I decided to have a square cast and mend the line down stream. I also pointed the rod downstream too and this made the fly come quickly across the lie but side on to the fish. My first cast  immediately produce a reaction from a cock fish which was probably around the 7lb mark and it lept out of the water after my fly. Unfortunately it didn't connect but it gave me confidence that there was a possibility of tempting these usually, stale and reluctant fish. I covered the lie a few more times without a touch so I fished the pool out but only with the same result.

Woodend House which over looks the Blue Chair. Not a bad place to live!
The big stone shaped like a chair hence the name of the pool Blue Chair.
By the time I had fished the pool out, Patrick and Joanna had arrived at the beat and after a good chat it was back down to the business of catching a salmon. Patrick fancied a go in the Garden Pool and he suggested I give the Blue Chair a go as there was also a few resident fish holed up in there so I made my down and as soon as I arrived at the pool I was greeted by a coloured fish which was lying in the faster water mid stream. As I had rose a fish with the size 14 Red Frances I kept it on and worked my way through the pool. Despite seeing a good few fish I didn't get a sniff so I decided to try an different approach. I had tied up several large Red Frances tubes the night before and one stood out. It was tied on an 1 1/2" aluminium tube and looked more like a small carrot than a fly! I made my first cast with the fly and began rocking it back and forth through the pool. As it straightened out about mid river, it was grabbed by a fish and I lifted into it. It was just a small grilse around the 4lb mark but it was certainly more than welcome. It was quickly played out and after a photo it was safely returned without ever leaving the water. I fished out the rest of the pool with out an offer so I made my way back to the hut shortly after 12 noon. Not a bad start to the morning.
A prize worth pursuing even in these challenging low water conditions.
After telling Patrick and ghillie, Ian the news about my fish over a beer back at the hut, our attention soon turned to where to fish next. We decided to head downstream to have a go in the Loop and Bend pools. The Loop and Bend are in a real secluded part of the beat and Patrick fished through the pool first and I was to follow him down. We both worked our way through the pool without success so it we headed off for a bite to eat before having one last crack at the Blue Chair and Garden Pools.
Decisions, Decisions. Patrick and I contemplating our next move in the Loop.
Patrick fishing the secluded Loop Pool at Commonty.
My turn for a go in the Loop. Nice photo Joanna!
After a quick sandwich it was back to the river with Partick and down to have a go in Blue Chair as there seemed to be a few fish willing to give away their positions in the pool. We both fished through the pool with managing to annoy one of the resident fish enough into taking our flies so we headed back up for one last go in the Garden Pool before close of play.
Patrick trying his luck in Blue Chair.
Sitting in the stone which the pool takes it's name.
Patrick decide to give the Garden Pool the once over with a big Sunray and not long after starting he rose a fish but it wasn't really interested in taking the fly, we thought it was more trying to drown it than anything else. We both worked our way down the pool without any other action so I decided to call time on my day and packed up around 5pm.
Fishing the tail of the Garden Pool before packing up for the day.
Below are a couple of photos of how the Suicide Pool looks at Commonty now that the croys have been removed from the pool. Sluie on the opposite bank also had their croys removed as part of the Pearls in Peril (PIP) which is aimed at restoring the river habitat to be more Pearl Mussel friendly. The mussels share the same habitat as salmon so the improvements will hopefully benefit the salmon in future too and we see an increase in numbers of both species as a result.
Before. Suicide with the croys.
After. Suicide without the croys.
It was great to be back on Commonty with Patrick and Joanna and it was nice to get a fish too. It's set in a really quiet part of Deeside and has some nice pools, even in low water. Patrick and Joanna made me feel as welcome as ever and getting the opportunity of a cast was much appreciated and thank you for the photos too. Much better than the ones I'd taken! Will look forward to catching up again in the Spring. Tight Lines

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