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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Charlie with his first ever River Spey springer.|
|Charlie with his second springer of the day.|
|The interior of the main hut on Tulchan C.|
|Charlie and I raring to go.|
|Charlie putting out a nice long line in Speanoch.|
|Looking down onto Speanoch from the high bank on the South side of the river.|
|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!|
|Looking downstream at the top of the Tulchan Pool.|
|Looking upstream in the Tulchan Pool where the Tulchan burn enters the Spey.|
|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.|
Roll on next season!