Back in November I booked a day on the Stobhall beat and this including fishing the famous Linn Pool. Conditions on the day were good despite the water a bit on the low side for the Linn Pool to fish well but I couldn't wait to get stuck in. I set up both fly and spinning rods and various tactics and lures were utilised on the day.
I was to fish the Linn Pool first with Ernie the ghillie and fellow rod Steve. Ernie took us across in the boat to Bellymore which is a man made spit situated pretty much in the middle of the pool. It certainly makes fishing the pool much easier. I started off spinning with a Toby Salmo at the end of the island and worked my way down as Ernie suggested fishing in a clock like fashion. This worked well and it allowed me to fish cover large areas of the pool. There were one or two fish splashing around in the pool and Steve had an offer on a Salmo which didn't stick unfortunately but I didn't get a touch. Ernie suggested giving the Major's Cast a harl so it was back into the boat and off upstream.
I sadly never got any photos of the Major's Cast as I was in the boat but Ernie took me up to the neck of the pool and we harled it down it's length. I changed tactics for this pool and put on a Vision 110 Kinkuro and cast it out the side of the boat. Ernie also had a couple of rods out and the lures were all fishing different depths. Harling is all down to the boatman's skill and ability to get the lures all working at the same time and it is good to watch how it's done. It really is an art and it's a very effective way to cover such a large river like the Tay when fishing from the bank just isn't going to be enough. About half way down the pool and my rod buckled over and I lifted the rod out of the holder ready to set the hook but as I lifted the rod, the fish let go and the opportunity was gone. Still, it was good to know that the lure was fishing as it should be and it instilled a bit of confidence going into the afternoon session after lunch.
I spent lunch time talking with Trout and Salmon writer and expert angler, Jim Coates and his pal Iain Wood of Atholl Sporting. It was good to share thoughts and ideas about salmon fishing and it was also good listening to their stories of fishing rivers that I haven't had the pleasure of fishing before. The hour passed in no time so it was back to the fishing and what pools to concentrate on.
I was to start my afternoon off in the Finford Head and then have a run through Tam's Corner. This was a lovely stretch for fly fishing so I decided to put the spinning rod away for a while and give the pool a good going over with the fly. A Willie Gunn was my choice of fly and I fished on on a F/H/S1 shooting head with a 10ft 4ips tip. My first run down the pool was fruitless but I felt the fly was fishing nice enough to give it another run through before trying the spinning gear again. I changed flies and put on a 1" Monkey and decided to give the fly a bit of extra movement this time by slowly retrieving it as it swung round in the current. Again, this seemed to be fishing well but the fish remained elusive and I fished down the pool twice without seeing a splash.
I went back up to the top of Tam's Corner and fished it down through into Finford Stream for the last half hour with a Vision 110 in the hope of covering a fish which didn't fancy taking the fly. I could cover a good bit more water with he spinning gear too but try as I might, the fish just weren't interested in my offerings and I called it a day a 5pm without a touch for the afternoon.
It was great to fish on one of the best and most famous beats on the River Tay. The Linn Pool is something else and it was quite daunting at first to be honest. It's deep and unpredictable with currents going upsream and down which seems to make the fish stop off in it for that wee while longer giving anglers the chance to land one of them. The Major's Cast was another fine pool and it was good to get some excitement during the morning whilst out haling. The rest of the beat that I saw fished the fly really well and you were just waiting in anticipation for that line to go tight and all hell breaking loose! The ghillies Bob and Ernie were most welcoming and they knew the beat inside out. Their knowledge and skill with the boats is great and they do their utmost to put you onto a fish and I will look forward to returning again next Spring when hopefully the
conditions are a bit more favorable and the fish are in the mood for getting their photograph taken!
|The mighty Linn Pool. This was my first glimpse of the beat as I made my way down to the hut. Not bad!|
|About to get aboard the boat and head across to Bellymore.|
|Looking towards the Linn Head from the point of Bellymore.|
|One in a million snap! A nice springer jumps out the water just as I was taking this photo of the pool.|
|Looking across to Taymount House from Bellymore.|
|Looking up Bellymore in the Linn Pool. Was a few fish showing here.|
|A lovely fishing hut over looking the River Tay.|
|The interior of the well equipped fishing hut.|
|Looking upstream in the Finford Stream.|
|A lovely view looking over the Finford Stream.|
|First run down the pool with the fly rod and a 1.5" Gold Willie Gunn.|
|Looking upstream form Finford Head in Tam's Corner.|
|Second run down Finford Stream with the spinner this time.|
|Head ghillie, Bob does a bit of harling with one of the guests.|