I drove up to the River Ribble at Mitton on Friday 24th March to meet up with Jim Fearn for my Spey Casting Lesson. The lesson was booked for 2 hours from 11.00 am so I left home in Altrincham at 9.30 am and arrived at the Aspinall Arms on the banks of the River Ribble at 10.40 am. I put on my waders and boots and a lightweight fleece as it was a really nice day and the temperature was around +15c. Jim arrived and I told him that I wanted to use a full size Spey line on my new 14ft 9″ GUIDELINE LXi 10/11# 4 piece double handed salmon rod. We took 4 rods down to the river and Jim’s Vision reel case with a selection of reels and lines. Along with my 14ft 9″ I also took a 13ft 9″ Guideline LXi Tpack 6 piece 9/10# and Jim took the Vision Tool 15ft 10/11# and the new 14ft 9/10# with the cork handle.
We set up both the of 10/11# rods with Rio Intouch Long Head Spey lines so as to make a comparison between the two makes, https://www.rioproducts.com/products/lines/intouch-long-head-spey , the 10/11# is a 70ft head weighing 840 grains. We started the lesson with some warm up casts to shake off the cobwebs of the winter hibernation with Jim giving his usual guidance as to improving my technique. We went through the various sections of the cast to iron out problems that seem to arrive after a season on the rivers and after about half a hour things started to improve and I could work out what was wrong after a poor cast. I then lengthened the amount of running line to the cast to improve the distance and finished the afternoon shooting a line of approx. 120 ft. This was made up of 15 ft of leader, with a piece of sheep’s wool on the end, the 70 ft head and 35 ft of running line.
We alternated between the two rods and both performed very well with little to choose between them other than the retail price. I was pleased as the LXi had been purchased, new, for just less than half price from a raffle winner who only fished for trout. Jim took a few videos on my mobile phone to show me where I was going wrong and then later on the better casts I was achieving.
Thanks to Jim Fearn for a great lesson and I’m now more confident for the coming salmon season. Roll on the 2nd April and my trip to the Aberdeenshire Dee.
I have had a couple of fly tying sessions to stock up on flies I think will be needed on the Dee trip and the trips to the Tay at Kircock later in April and the Tummel the first week of May. The Tay is a new trip for our group and I am looking forward to fishing a new water for me. The Tummel has been a regular trip for a number of years now and the last two years we have had good fishing and last year my best fresh salmon to date, a fish of 17 pound in weight.
As its the first trip of the season I have decided to brush up on my Spey casting with my double handed salmon rods. So I rang my mate Jim Fearn, a renowned casting instructor, and booked a two hour lesson with him on the River Ribble at Mitton on Friday 24th March. I have done this for the last three years and it really makes a difference to my casting and irons out any bad habits that have crept in over the previous season.
Contacted my Swedish friend, Anders, via Whatsapp today and will have a Skype contact with him on Friday or Saturday to finalise plans for our meet up at the Lodge in Deeside in 13 days time.
This is my first salmon fishing trip of the season to fish the river Dee in Aberdeenshire. The trip is becoming a annual event and started in 2014 when I answered a email message sent by Mattias Helde who organizes fishing trips through his company in Sweden. He had two spare places for a week fishing the Dee and had circulated the email to people who had an interest in the Dee. I answered the request and after a few emails the trip was booked. That year we met at Ballogie House, http://www.ballogie-estate.co.uk/stay/ballogie-house on a self catering basis and I met up with 12 Swedish salmon fishermen who all spoke English.I need to mention a few names here of people who have become very good friends and who I have fished with since. First are Mattias and Jonas who organise the trips, Hakan who was my first fishing and cooking partner ( more on the cooking later ), Anders, Goran and Claes who I have become best of friends and others who I still have contact with. The group was split into teams of four anglers and each angler had a partner for the week who, between them, had to cook one evening meal and a breakfast the next morning. The meals range from good to gourmet standard and would not have gone amiss in a high class restaurant. The following year we again stayed at Ballogie House and last year at the, then new, Potarch Lodge at Potarch bridge, http://www.ballogie-estate.co.uk/stay/potarch-lodge and used the same method of fishing and catering.
This trip to the Dee starts on Sunday 2nd April with a drive from Altrincham, Cheshire to a new accommodation venue at Mill of Dess Lodge. http://lowerdessestate.com/mill-of-dess-lodge/ This will be a bit of luxury as the lodge is let on a catered basis and we are served with a cooked breakfast and evening meal each day. We will be fishing two days on each of the three beats we have booked at Birse, Dess and Crathes Castle.