Well where to start.
We had three days fishing booked on the River Tay at Kercock from Tuesday 18th April to Thursday the 20th April. Seven rods had been booked of the eight available on the beat and we all drove up on the Monday and met at the A9 Travelodge just outside Perth. A meal had been booked for 7.30 pm at the Glover Arms next door to the Lodge and we met in the bar for a pre-meal drink. The group consisted of friends from around the country who had fished together on many occasions. Geoff who lives down south and had booked the fishing, Dave a Yorkshire man and Chris who had joined our ranks a couple of seasons ago, Phil now residing on the Isle of Skye, Jim from Worsley near Manchester. Ian from Wilmslow and ME from Altrincham had traveled up together in my Land Rover Freelander and made up the seven. Amazing the range of occupations that meet on the river bank and our group are no exception with a retired GP, two retired industrial chemists, two retired quantity surveyors, one ladies hair stylist and a refrigeration engineer.
Tuesday morning we arranged to meet at a cafe off the A9 at Bankfoot on the way to the beat and would be our breakfast stop for the next three days. We arrived at the Kercock beat at around 8.45 am and where met by the two gillies, Garry and Finley, who introduced themselves and made tea and coffee while sorting out the beat rotation. I set up my Guideline LXi 10/11 four piece rod and fitted a Danielsson H5D 9thirteen reel with a Rio AFS floating line with a 3.5ips 10ft sink tip and 10ft of 15.4 lb Seaguar tippet. Over the morning session I tried a selection of flies from Gold Body Willie Gunns to Sunray Shadow’s to small flies like Cascades with no luck and only two fish spotted. We all met back at the hut for lunch and all of us had the same story to tell with no salmon landed or touched. The afternoon was much the same and tried a lighter set up of 14ft Vision GT4 Catapult 9/10 with a Lamson Guru reel fitted with a Rio AFS floating line with a 9ft tapered leader and 13.6 lb Seaguar tippet, again with small flies down to size 16 double. Meeting back at the hotel for dinner it was the same story from everyone with not even a pull from a salmon.
This is where I have to think about what to say about the Wednesday and Thursday sessions with only one take on the Thursdays, for Jim, which lasted all of 10 seconds. The catch for the whole river was not good with 16 on Tuesday, 14 on Wednesday and 14 on Thursday. Ian had purchased a 16 ft Bruce and Walker 9/10 Norway Speycaster for a song and wanted to try it out with various lines and we decided that due to the slow fishing this was as good a time as any. A Carron 65 ft head 10/11 was deemed to suite the rod best as the 9/10 seemed not to load the rod fully but that could be our casting ability. I always seem to do better with a line size up from the recommended. We also had some fun with Ian’s Bruce and Walker 18 ft 10/11 and used a full 75 ft head and lots of running line. I videoed Ian and was able to show him a few pointers as to improving his technique, and mine.
The Thursday afternoon session was coming to a close and most of the guys had decided to travel back that evening. Ian and I stayed that evening and traveled back on the Friday morning, leaving the hotel at 6.30 am and arrived back in time for Ian’s first appointment at 12.00 noon.
Highlights of the trip was watching an Osprey circling and then closing its wings and diving into the river. This was a first for me. The other highlight was watching a display of acrobatics over the river, by a pilot in a bi plane, that lasted for half an hour.
This is a link to a video of the Kercock beat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IroojQx1ZMI
The next trip is to the Tummel for three days, travelling up on Sunday 30th April and fishing Mon/Wed. The fishing is on Lower Tummel, which is a 4 rod beat, and I will be fishing with Phil, Geoff and Ian with Dave, Jim and friend and Chris taking the second half of the week. Lets hope for a better outcome.