I had a day's fishing on the lower beat at Stobhall last Friday. The water had risen a few days before due to snow melt and was sitting at just over 5ft on the beat gauge when I arrived in the morning. With the river sitting at the level it was my fly rod was left in the car and I rigged up my spinning outfit. I opted to fish with the reliable Tay lure, a 30g copper Salmo. There are few better lures for tempting salmon than the salmo. Even during summer when river levels are much lower they are very effective.
I was to fish in the boat with legendary River Tay ghillie Bob Campbell for the morning session. We set off up to fish Lower Eels Brig and Tam's Corner. We fished down through Lower Eels Brig without an offer and we moved into Tam's Corner. We were just about at the end of the pool when the rod buckled over and I lifted into a solid fish. It didn't do much in terms of runs but it felt like a hefty fish. It stayed deep and only showed itself twice when it was thrashing about on the surface trying to spit the hook. Bob motored the boat into the bank and I played the fish for several more minutes before Bob slid the net under fresh springer. He quickly removed the hooks and weighed the fish in the net. It was bang on 20lb and was covered in sea lice. After a few photos it was set on it's way and took off no problem. It doesn't get much better than a fresh run 20lb springer!
In the afternoon I was fished down in the famous Linn Pool with ghillie, Ernie. The Linn Pool is an awesome bit of water where the whole of the river Tay passes through a few small gaps in the rock faces. This creates a pool believed to be 125ft deep in part with currents flowing in various directions which cause the fish to hold up until the decide which way there are to go. These numerous currents give the angler time to catch one or two of them and when the conditions are right, sport can be fantastic.
With 5ft on the gauge, the pool was sitting at a decent height. We fished from a small man made island called Bellymore and covered both sides of it.Every cast you were just waiting for the line to go tight such is the reputation of the Linn Pool and despite seeing one or two fish splashing about, they were not playing ball and nothing was tempted. At least this gives me a good excuse to return and try to catch a salmon from this famous pool.
I really enjoyed my day at Stobhall again and it was great to land such a fantastic specimen of a fish. Catching a 20lb salmon is what many anglers dream of and to get one fresh off the tide in March is as good as it gets for me. Although it was caught using a spinner, which some people turn their noses up at, you really have to fish to the conditions when out on a river as large as the Tay just to ensure you give yourself the best chance of catching fish. I would have loved to catch this fish on a fly but given the water heights, I was more than happy to do as the ghillie told me and fish the way we would have the most chance of catching something. After all, this is why I pay my money to go salmon fishing - to catch fish. The method I use to catch them matters little to me in such conditions and I left the beat with a huge grin on my face due to sheer delight of catching that fish. I am feeling very lucky this season so far as I have caught some lovely fish so far. Hopefully there are plenty more to follow during the rest of the season.
|A fresh run 20lb salmon from the River Tay.|
|Out in the boat with Bob fishing Tam's Corner.|
|Ready to be released back into the river.|
|Looking down Bellymore to the Linn Head where the Tay squeezes through narrow gaps in the rocks.|
|Looking across to the big house overlooking the Linn Pool from Bellymore.|
|Looking upstream to the Linn Head from Bellymore.|
|Looking across to the Greenbank from Bellymore.|