Tuesday 2nd May, Lower Tummel.

After breakfast we drove to the beat and had decided to fish on the opposite bank of the river because of the strong wind. To reach the pools we wanted to fish meant driving over the bridge off the A9 road and down a narrow road to a parking place in the woods. We tackled up the rod of choice and made a quick departure for the river as the midges had realised we where there. The path to the river was a bit of a trek through a wooded area and at one point we lost the track and had to do a bit of orienteering before coming out onto the pebble banks of the the river across from Greenbank  and the fishing hut. We spent the morning on this side of the river with no fish spotted until about 11.40 am when a number on salmon began to show. This spurred us on and we fished through the long Greenbank pool but with no contact with the salmon. At 1.30 pm we decided to break for lunch and drove back round to the hut on the opposite bank. Ian had purchased a very handy sandwich toaster that you can heat up over a camping stove and we had cheese, ham and tomato toasted sandwiches washed down with a nice cup of tea. Delicious.

After a long lunch Geoff and I walked up to the top of Killiechangie Run, pool 3 on the beat, and Phil went to Moulinearn, the top pool, leaving Ian to fish the Rock Pool and the top of Greenbank. I had decided to switch to my LXi 10/11 rod and a Rio long head spey line for a bit of practice and to save on all the line stripping. I really enjoy using this line as it casts effortlessly and saves a lot of work which can be a bonus on a long and hard days fishing. After fishing down this pool we moved on to the Rock and then Greenbank pool, the top end down to the hut was a very nice fly water at this height. Late afternoon fresh fish where showing in the area above and below the hut and we saw about 16 fish but they did not want to take what we where presenting to them. At 7.00 pm we decided to retire to the restaurant for dinner and I had a nice glass of red wine with my meal of chicken breast stuffed with haggis and a nice sauce. After dinner we went back to the hotel and had a nightcap or two before retiring for a well earned rest.

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Monday 1st May, Lower Tummel.

We met in the breakfast room of the hotel at 8.15 am and ordered a hearty breakfast to stoke up the energy levels for the day ahead. After breakfast we left the hotel and called in at the Spa garage for supplies for lunchtime and then drove the short distance to the Lower Tummel beat. After negotiating the level crossing and the track leading to the beat hut we began tackling up our chosen rods for the day ahead. I set up my Vision GT4 Catapult 14ft 9/10# rod with a Danielsson H5D reel loaded with a Rio Short head Spa line of 50 ft and a 9ft tapered leader and 6 ft of 15lb tippet material. I have started using Seaguar for its strength in a lower diameter of line and it has been excellent in use.

The beat has changed dramatically after the recent floods and many of the pools have a totally different look to last year with large amounts of stone and gravel  in areas that it has not been before. The water level was very low at 2″ on the Pitlochry gauge and the water temperature was 10 deg c and running very clear. The weather in the morning was overcast will outbreaks of sunshine and a moderate to strong easterly wind making it feel cold. The wind was blowing upstream and across for most of the day and made casting a bit of a chore but manageable. The morning session highlights was a pull for Geoff on the top pool and the sighting of a number of fish which built up our hopes for the afternoon.

We retired to the small hut for lunch and to rethink tactics for the afternoon. Ian and I had spotted a couple of fish in the pool by the hut in the morning and so Phil decided to have a go after lunch. More fish where spotted lower down the beat and almost immediately Phil had a fish on but after a short fight it came off. Later in the afternoon Ian made contact with a fish lower down Green Bank pool and I made my way to help land the fish but again this one came off. Later in the afternoon the wind became stronger and the air temperature dropped and by 6.30 pm we decided to call it a day and left the beat by 7.00 pm. We called in to a restaurant on the way back to the hotel for a meal and then had a couple of nightcaps in the hotel bar. A few pluses on the fishing front and a plan hatched for the next day.

Low water on the Tummel.

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The River Tummel, Lower Tummel beat.

Well it’s Sunday 30th April and I am being picked up by Ian at 11.30 am, he will probably be late, for a drive up to Pitlochry for three days salmon fishing on the River Tummel. We will be staying at the Birchwood Hotel in Pitlochry,  along with our other two party members Phil and Geoff for 3 nights bed and breakfast and will travel home on Wednesday evening the 3rd May. We book the beat for a week and the second half of the week, Thur/Sat, will be fished by Dave, John, Jim and his mate, from Crieff, just down the road. We have arranged to meet up at the hotel in time to go into Pitlochry for our annual Indian Curry washed down with a few IPA’s. Breakfast is served from 7.30 am and will give us time to get to the beat in time for a 9.00 am start.

The access to the beat is over an unmanned railway level crossing and this year permission has to be obtained to cross the track. A telephone at the barrier lets you contact the relevant authority who tell you when it is safe to cross. The barrier is self operated and when you have crossed you have to close the barrier and phone to tell the authority that you have crossed safely.     Health and Safety !!.

The River Tay at Kercock

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.

Tight lines

 

Day 6, Saturday 8th April 2017.

This will be the last days fishing for the group and the A Team where to fish the Birse beat.

We all met in the dinning room for breakfast of fruit juice, toast and a main of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushroom and beans all washed down with strong coffee. After a few discussions on tactics we all changed into waders and boots and headed off for the chosen beat.

We arrived at Birse and Graham, the gillie, made us a cup of coffee and we decided who was fishing on what part of the beat. Claes and I had the lower halve and I fished three pools before lunch finishing on the Big Jetty. Claes fished Lower Island and Tree’s and like me had no success. The weather was glorious with bright sunshine and a temperature of 21 deg c unfortunately not very conducive with the catching of Salmon.

We retired to the Boat Inn across the river at Aboyne for a lunch of the pubs fare. I managed a Pulled Pork sandwich with chilli sauce, side salad and crisps as I am trying to develop a six pack and lose this one pack.

The afternoon session panned out much like the morning and that elusive Springer had managed to evade me this week. We returned to the Mill of Dess lodge and as the others returned news came that Jean Charles, our Swiss angler had managed a Springer. The salmon was caught on the Dess beat stripping a 5″ Sunray Shadow very fast across the flow of the river. Jean Charles told us that he had lost a fish in the morning stripping the same fly. We celebrated his catch with a wee dram and then went into the dinning room for our last dinner together. Coffee and a few drinks, or was it more, where taken in the lounge and tails where told of the weeks events. Not sure what time we all went to bed.

Breakfast was at 7.30 am and afterwards farewells where said as the guys left for the airport and I looked forward to a 6 hour drive back home to Altrincham. Mattias and Jonas where then driving over to the River Spey for some more salmon fishing. Some people are gluttons for punishment. You can keep up with their adventures and more of this trip by visiting Mattias on his blog at   http://fiskebloggen.com/  . When the site comes up press the Blog link at the top of the page and then scroll down till you see the language selector and choose English or Right Click and press Translate. Its a very professional site and well worth a look.

Salmon for the week. Claes 2, Anders 1, Nichlas 1, Robin 1 and Jean Charles 1 = Total 6.     I am posting a few more pictures and Mattias has lots more on his site.

Thanks to all the guys for a great trip.

Magnus, Niklas, Stellan, Thrond, Nichlas, Jean-Charles, Anders, Goran, Claes, Mattias, Jonas and Robin, yours truly Alan.

river-dee-3 - Copy Group photo over dinner.

DSC06233 Drinks and coffee in the lounge after dinner.

river-dee-1 The mill on the Dess beat, River Dee.

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Lower Dess beat looking up river to the Mill

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Claes deadly salmon fly tied on a size 6 single hook that caught two Springer’s. The picture was take by Mattias so he could tie a copy ready for the next day.

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Nichlas with a Springer from Jetty on the Birse beat.

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Throng’s box of Sunray Shadows given to Mattias.

Well that’s all for this trip and I will hopefully post again on the 17th May at the start of my trip to the River Tay at Kercock with friends from the UK.

Day 5

The A Team where to fish Crathes Castle today, Friday, and where expecting great things after the previous visit on Tuesday. All the guys had a hearty breakfast and discussed tactics for the day ahead. We had a 20 minute drive to the the beat so left just before 8.30 am and met Brian, the gillie, and took a quick coffee before starting to fish. Anders and Goran fished the top of the beat and Claes and I fished the bottom half. The river level had fallen to just under a foot and was having an effect on the salmon. None of us had any interest from the fish in the morning session and retired to the pub in Banchory for lunch about 13.30. We met up with Mattias who was fishing Park at the invitation of the owner as he had won the Park Trophy for the best recorded salmon of the season, a fish of 23 lb that was caught on our visit to the Dee last year. The salmon was caught at Birse and weighed in at 23 lb.17814633_413570599023391_565888530381499498_o  Mattias with Park owner William Foster receiving a nice bottle of Whiskey and the Park Trophy for 2016.17814633_413570599023391_565888530381499498_o

After lunch we returned to Crathes Castle  to resume fishing, this afternoon on the upper section of the beat but our luck was not with us and none of us had contact with a fish. We returned to the lodge and I had hot bath to sooth a few aches and pains of a weeks hard fishing. I met Claes in the lounge as he had purchased a bottle of single malt to celebrate his 2 salmon caught earlier in the week. This is a bit of a tradition in salmon fishing circles and as the rest of the guys returned they where offered a shot from the bottle of fine single malt. News came that  Nicholas had caught a Springer from the Jetty pool on Birse beat.

Just before lunch we had a visitor, William Peake the gillie on the Aboyne Castle beat. I had met William in person in 2016 in Norway. He and his twin brother Alistair and girlfriend and a friend of theirs , Stewart where fishing the river Laerdal and joined our group for a few days fishing at the end of the trip. Our group consisted of myself, Mattias, Anders, Claes, Fredrik and Stewart. William was telling us all about his latest fishing trip with his brother to Chile which I had kept up with on his Blog. We all moved to the dinning room for Dinner and later a few drinks in the lounge. We all drifted off to bed by 23.15 pm to recharge the batteries for our last day of our Dee trip.

The A Team would be fishing the Birse beat.

Day 4

After a hearty breakfast the A Team saddled up and made its way to the Dess beat with Anders and Goran driving to the top of the beat and Claes and I meeting the gillie, Eoin, (Ian) at the Mill. Claes decided to fish the bottom of the beat and I started at the middle hut pool.

Around 12.45 am I went back to the Mill to pick up Claes and on arriving I could see him way down at the bottom of the beat and made out that something was going on. Claes started to make his way back and on meeting he informed me, with a huge smile on his face, that he had landed his second Springer of the trip. He showed me the photograph and told me the length of the fish was 35 inches long and when compared to the Dee length to weight chart was a very nice 17 lb in weight. We drove to the Boat Inn at Aboyne for lunch and met Anders, Goran and one of the other groups who where fishing at Birse. After congratulations from the other anglers Mattias informed us that Robin, Jonas’s son, had landed a Springer from the Crathes Castle beat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A nice 17 lb Springer from Dess.

We returned to the beat but although the weather conditions had improved and the wind had become more tolerable the fishing became a bit of a slog and no more Springer’s where reported from the other teams. A large Kelt was caught on Crathes Castle measuring 105 cm. but this does not could in the quest for the illusive Springer.

DSC08797 Robins Springer caught on Crathes Castle beat.

We all met up back at the Lodge and after a celebratory whiskey for Claes and Robin we went to the dinning room for a meal of Cod with a pesto sauce and a risotto with Prawns and vegetables and washed down with a nice wine. We retired to the lounge for coffee and this was fortified with a nice single malt whiskey. Time for bed I think and just enough time to finish the blog.

The A Team will be fishing Crathes Castle tomorrow and I anticipate a late finish.