Thursday, 28 April 2016

Murthly 2 - River Tay

I was invited down by ghillie, Tony Black, to fish on the famous Murthly 2 stretch of the River Tay as part of a group of like minded anglers who call ourselves the Salmon Nutters. Conditions were as close to ideal as we good have asked and there were good numbers of fish caught in the lead up to our day. Murthly is blessed with some of the best fly water on the Tay so fly fishing was first choice tactics for most. I chose to fish the pools first with the fly then again with the spinner afterwards. This is a method I often use on the Tay as I like to maximise my chances of landing a fish.

Team photo at Murthly 2.
We arrived at the beat around 8.30am and we were all treated to a sausage roll for breakfast kindly bought by Philip. This was accompanied by a good dram for some but I was happy to wash mine down with a coffee as I was driving. This was the first time most of us had met in the flesh after years of chatting on various Forums etc so it was good to finally put faces to the names and enjoy a bit of craic with, what have turned out to be good pals. After the rolls and drams it was down to business and Tony allocated us to our pools for the morning. I was to fish the upper part of the top beat under the stewardship of Tony's brother Philip. Philip is a fine angler himself and he made sure we all knew exactly where we were likely to pick up a fish.
Discussing tactics for the day ahead with Stuart, Gavin Kenny and Paul.
The top pool on the beat we were to fish was called the Tronach. This was a lovely looking pool and ideal for fly fishing. Philip started Colin in at the top with Kenny half way down the pool and myself in near the tail. The tail of the pool fished brilliantly but I didn't connect with anything so Philip suggested I headed down for a cast in the Greenbank with the spinner.
Looking up the Tronach from the seat on the South bank.
Looking downstream half way down the Tronach.
Good craic just before heading off for lunch.
The Greenbank was another nice bit of water but due to the high bank on the south side it wasn't the easiest place to fish the fly so it was to be covered with a Vision 110 to begin with. On arrival to the pool there were one or two fish showing which looked as though they were running so Philip suggested changing to a copper Salmo. I tied on the Salmo and made my first cast. I had no sooner started to wind when the line went tight and I lifted into a strong fish. First cast with the Salmo. We couldn't believe it! The fish stayed deep and pulled hard and but I managed to keep it under some sort of control. Just as I was gaining a bit of line back from the fish it somehow dropped off! I really thought I had it well hooked and there was still a good bend in the rod as I was playing it. Sadly, this tends to happen when fishing with tobys and there was nothing I would do differently if I had the time again. That's just part in parcel of fishing sometimes. Not long after I lost my fish, Philip's phone rang and it Paul, who was fishing further down stream, and he told us that he'd also just lost a fish. He was probably playing it the same time I had my fish on. I fished on down the rest of the pool but couldn't temp another springer to take the Salmo so I made my way back up to the top of the Tronach to have another run down it before lunch but unfortunately that proved fruitless as well.

Looking upstream into the Tronach from Greenbank.
Looking down the Greenbank into the Burn.
Lunchtime in the well equipped top hut at Murthly was once again provided for the lads by Philip and we munched our way through loads of sandwiches, crisps and cakes etc. Not to mention a large volume of drams as well! Paul was lucky enough to land an fresh run 10lber on a Salmo just before lunch to everyone was delighted for him. We sat and laughed our way through the lunch hour and had great time chatting about the forums and various pages we all know each other from. The company really does add to a good day's fishing and this was no exception but it was time to head back out onto the water and try again to land a mighty Tay springer.
The hut on the Top Water at Murthly 2.
After lunch I was to fish the Girnal pool along with Kenny, again with Philip as our ghillie. This was another good pool for the fly and there were also fish showing in it and they seemed to by lying in the pool which was encouraging. By this time though, are strong wind had built up which made deep wading and long casts difficult so I opted to persevere with the Toby. Kenny had an offer on the fly not long after starting which sadly didn't stick but it was a good sign that the fish were still keen. I followed him down the pool with the Salmon but neither of us could temp another fish into taking our offerings.

Kenny fishes the fly in the Girnal.

Fishing down the Girnal with a Toby Salmo.

Daffies out on the banks of the Girnal.
Stuart Norris spinning the Girnal.
After fishing the Girnal I decided to head back upstream for a crack in the pool opposite the hut. this was where Paul caught his fish in the morning and it certainly looked a great bit of water. I had first run down with the Toby before finishing off the pool with a Sunray Shadow. Neither method fooled the salmon though and it was time to call it a day and head back to the hut for a blether with the lads before heading home.

Spring has sprung on the banks of the Tay at Murthly.
Ghillie, Tony Black and Gavin Hunter doing some harling in the afternoon.
I really enjoyed my day on the Tay at Murthly. It was great to meet new pals and enjoy the banter in person just like we do when we are on line. I have met some cracking lads through various forms of social media and forum and I can honestly say I have made some good friends because of this and our passion for all things salmon fishing. I will really look forward to the next meet where ever or when ever that may be.
 In the mean time, why not check out the Facebook page  "Salmon Nutter Flies" and say hello or post a few photos of your tying. Maybe see you there?

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Tulchan C - River Spey

After fishing Tulchan back in February as part of Ian Gordon's group I was keen to return and organised a day with some pals, Bill Cook and Andy MacLennan. We managed to book 8 rods on beats B and C. These rods were taken by some more good friends and we made a day of it. The anticipation began with numerous messages and texts during the run up to or day on the 9th April and we were all really excited about the prospect of fishing the water at Tulchan during a good time in the Spring.
Charlie with his first ever River Spey springer.
Charlie with his second springer of the day.
We arrived at the magnificent hut on beat C to be greeted by ghillie, Lawrence de Rosa. After a chat about tactics and previous catches etc if was time to get the gear set up and out on the river. The river was sitting at 1ft on the gauge and was running off after a rise earlier on in the week. The colour was ideal and fish were caught in steady numbers from all beat during the week. 

The magnificent fishing hut at Tulchan C
The interior of the main hut on Tulchan C.
Charlie and I raring to go. 
I was to fish with my good pal Charlie and we were allocated the pool at the top of the beat called Speanoch. Speanoch is shared in rotation with B beat and it was a fantastic looking pool. Lawrence suggested we fish it off the north bank first then cross the river and have another run through from the opposite side. This is what we did and the pool was a delight to fish at the height we had. Charlie and I both fished through the pool but we couldn't believe we never had a touch as it looked so fishy.
Charlie putting out a nice long line in Speanoch.
Looking down onto Speanoch from the high bank on the South side of the river.
We made our way across the river and started again at the top of the pool from the south bank. I opted to start at the top of the pool this time and Charlie went in 30 yards below me. Just about half way down the pool a good fish showed mid stream which spurred us on. No sooner had we got to the area where the fish showed, Charlie had a lovely take from a fish and lifted into it. The fish was dogged and tried to stay deep. Chalrie soon had the fish under his control though and I was delighted to do the honours of slipping the net underneath it to land Charlie's first ever Spey springer. A cracking fish of around 7lb was unable to resist Charlie's home time Cascade variant.l. The sea lice wasn't long off the fish either. After a few photos it was sent on it's way to carry on it's journey up river to where ever it may be heading. It was great to see a fish in the net and it gave us hope there would be one or two more around. We fished on through the rest of the pool without a touch but we did see a couple of fish head and tail in the pool but it looked as though they were running hard. It was now time for lunch so we made our way back to the hut and with the good news of landing a fish.
Charlie and I fishing down the Speanoch shortly before Charlie struck "silver".

Safely in the net. Charlie with his first ever Spey springer.
Not only did Charlie catch 2 fish for his day, he also landed a fresh water pearl mussel!
Lunch time was a good laugh and it was great to catch up with the other lads Philip Black, Andy Pelc, Alan Mowat, Mel McDonald. The conversation never strays far for fishing when we get together but that's how we like it. Charlie's fish was toasted with a nice dram of 12 year old Aberlour and we all hoped we would be toasting a few more fish in the afternoon too.
Looking downstream at the top of the Tulchan Pool.
Looking upstream in the Tulchan Pool where the Tulchan burn enters the Spey.
Charlie and I were to fish the Tulchan pool and the pool below, Dunbar. This was another lovely stretch of water and Philip and Bill had seen a few fish showing in here during the morning session. The pool was ideal for the Sunray Shadow but with the water still on the cold side we were unsure whether the fish would move to a stripped fly. We stuck with it though and about half way down the pool I looked up to see a good fish rising clean out the water just opposite where Charlie was standing. It turned out to be attached to his fly and he was bent into a strong fighting fish. I quickly wound in and grabbed the net from the bank and made my way down to assist. The fish was boring deep and trying hard to shake the hook but Charlie played it well and I slid the net under the lightly hooked fish much to our relief. It was another spit fresh fish of around 6lb and again, the lice couldn't have been long off it. Charlie was delighted and not only had he caught his first Spey springer in the morning, he had doubled his tally and now had his second! After posing for a quick photo we released the fish to continue it's journey. I went back up to finish fishing the pool but as I got myself into the area where Charlie landed his fish earlier on, there was an almighty bang and my rod had snapped just above the joint on the middle section! My trusty old Vision GT4 Catapult had given up the ghost after a good innings of around 9 years. I was eager to see if another fish was around to a quickly set up my other rod and finished fishing the pool. Sadly it was all in vain as I never had an offer but you were just waiting for the line to go tight at every cast. 
Looking down the Tulchan Pool into Dunbar..
Charlie playing his second fish of the day.
Looking up Tulchan Pool just before calling it a day at 5pm.
Fishing finishes at 5pm on a Saturday at Tulchan Estate so we all made our way back to the hut to reflect on what was a great day in great company. Charlie finished top rod with 2 fish and we were surprised to hear he was the only one who managed to land a salmon. There was a sea trout caught by Mel and Andy MacLennan lost a good fish on B beat and also landed 2 kelts. All in all it was a good day given it was still early in the season for Tulchan to produce good numbers of fish.We all went our separate ways and we headed off down the road satisfied with the fact we covered the water well and managed to get 2 fish in the book to add to their weekly tally.

Roll on next season! 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo - River Dee

My good pal Charlie Robertson and I found ourselves on the Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo beat of the River Dee the other week courtesy of an invite from beat ghillie, Martin Robson. Conditions on the day were good and the river level was sitting around 1ft 8in on the Woodend gauge. Fish were running the river most days and the beat manged to land a nice, clean fish on the Friday before we arrived. My set up for the day was my old 15ft Vision GT4 Catapult with a F/H/S1 shooting head and a 4ips tip. Fly of choice to begin with was a Willie Gunn tube.
Looking upstream from the Fawn.
Fishing down through Sandy Bay and the Otter Stone.

Covering the Roe Pot from both banks.
We were to be fishing with local angler, John Fyfe who is an expert in most disciplines of game fishing. He has certainly been in about the springers this year on the Dee and anyone who can catch fish like John can is a real asset to the river during these lean times.It's great to see the success he is having and long may it continue.Charlie and I were to start off fishing the upper part of the beat. This is where the fish was caught the previous day and we we encouraged by that. We started up opposite the gauge on the far side and fished right on down to the Floating Bank. Unfortunately neither of us touched anything for the morning and we saw nothing either. The water was in really good shape and we were both surprised not to have at least seen a fish moving.
Looking upstream from the Floating Bank.
Lunch time was spent chatting away in the hut to John about his fishing this season and how and why he has been getting the success he has. I'm never shy in asking good anglers about tactics and successful methods as you're always learning in this sport. Advice and tips from an angler of John Fyfe's caliber can be extremely valuable. We took on board all the John was telling us and after lunch we headed across the river for a crack at the Roe Pot from the South bank.
Looking upstream towards the hut from the Little Blackhall side.
I hadn't fished the Roe Pot from the South bank since February 2009 and was really looking forward to it. back then the pool was renowned for producing early spring fish and even today, it's still one of the more famous holding pools on the river. On arrival to the pool we were greeted with the welcome sight of a fish showing out from the hut. This really spurred Charlie and I on and we eagerly began fishing down the pool. I had changed tactics slightly and opted to get down a wee bit deeper. I started up the top of the pool and Charlie went in mid way down. We both covered the pool well as did John form the opposite bank but despite seeing six or seven fish thorough-out the afternoon neither of us could temp these running fish.
Charlie and I working our way down the Roe Pot.
Charlie and I decided to give the New Fawn a cast so we made our way up to this cracking bit of water for a final chuck before calling it a day. Again, it fished really well at this height of water but try as we might, we just couldn't temp any salmon with our offerings so we decided to call it a day about 6pm.
Looking downstream in the Roe Pot from the Inchmarlo bank.
Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo is always a pleasure to fish and it was no exception on this day. The water is perfect for fly fishing at anytime of year but especially in the Spring month where it excels. If you are looking to fish the Dee anytime and you could do a lot worse than fish here. It's all off the bank fishing and a pair of wellies is all you need. Check out their page on the FishDee website by following this link Little Blackhall And Inchmarlo. Maybe see you there some time!