Monthly Archives: August 2012

Great Sport at Lower Crathes & West Durris

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Here we see a delighted James Watt from Fraserburgh with a fine 22lb salmon which he landed yesterday in the Mill Pool at Lower Crathes. Mr Watt was fishing in a small party led by Lewis Gray in this productive beat which has produced quite a number of big salmon this year. I spoke to Mr Watt after hearing about his success and asked him to provide some details to share in the media.

James commented about the capture of this fine fish. ‘ The fish was caught on the beat called Lower Crathes and West Durris on the West Durris side. The depth of water was about 2 foot six. The expert Ghillie was Chas Booth. The pool I was fishing is called the Mill pool. The succesful fly was a cascade, size 6.

Lewis Gray was fishing on the opposite bank and he had just landed a salmon.   I went into the pool and immediately got a pull.  After a few more casts the fish took the hook.   I knew it was a good fish as it went away with a lot of line right over to the other side of the river. Chas Booth had just netted Lewis’s fish and he asked me if I needed any help ? As Chas had to take his jeep and go down to the bridge to cross to my side I told him I thought I could land it myself.  After about 15 minutes I knew it was a big fish and I would have problems landing it so I asked Chas to come over and help me.  I saw its tail come out of the water and I was glad I had asked Chas to come over. I had played the fish for about 25 minutes and I was dreading losing it.   Chas came into the water with me and he netted it.   I was delighted.   He took a photo and we measured it on his net.   I knew it was the biggest fish I had ever caught – the previous fish being 20 lbs.   Absolutely fantastic feeling !’

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Lower Durris Ghillie Chas Booth unhooks Mr Watts fine salmon carefully

The Lower Crathes beat has good stocks of fresh fish coming in from the tide daily and has some fabulous fly fishing pools, excellent facilities and superb Ghillie team led by Head Ghillie Robert Harper. This beat is double banked and has many good pools that can be fished by 4 rods during the late summer/autumn period. You get exclusivity and more than enough access to beautiful pools when you take fishing there and the water is by and large well rested during the day as pools are rotated by the Ghillies. Its a beat that I have enjoyed cracking sport on during the summer and autumn and can advise that there are rods available between now and the middle of October offering great opportunities for good catches. Beat info here The 4 fishermen fishing at Lower Crathes have had 12 salmon during the first 3 days this week.

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Short Film produced about Spring Fishing Holiday in Deeside

Please find a short film clip showing images from a group of visiting angers from Scandinavia who fished this spring in Deeside. Beats filmed were Upper Drum & Lower Durris and Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld followed by a week ending reception at the Glen Lui Hotel in Ballater where Jimmy Christie on the bagpipes entertained the assembled guests.

https://vimeo.com/48247409

Some interesting angling images about Cairnton, AHE Wood and Sherriff JDD Dallas

From Thomas Thore’s Hardcore Flyfishing website.

 

My good friend Ken Reid sent over a collection of amazing old photos from the River Dee

 Arthur Wood was an engineer by training and had a passionate, and developing interest in salmon fishing: in the eyes of the fishing community, he is credited with proving the value of greased line tactics. Greased-line develops the concept that, as water temperature rises, salmon prefer to rise from their rest on the bottom of the river to take flies presented on, or close to, the surface. As fishers we now relish, and the heart stops, when we see a boil on the top of the water.
 
 
 
 

Wood’s book JOCK SCOTT goes into great detail on the subject. Now we take a ‘floating line’ for granted, but until the 1960s manufacturers had not developed the line technology to produce self-efficient lines that ‘float’, ‘slowsink’, or ‘fastsink’ at a variety of speeds. Wood’s lines were of silk Kingfisher: he greased these lines with lanolin 2 or 3 times a day. Leaders were almost certainly from gut, tied to the fly with his Cairnton knot. He fished a single-handed 12ft rod, but still cast his fly a prodigious distance. While he probably cast at 45° to the bank, he also wrote in a letter to Farlows, of Pall Mall, to the effect that “I cast upstream so that the fly drifts downstream like a leaf”.

 
 
 
 

Wood’s personal fishing diaries, now held by his grand-daughter, record his exploits from the time when his fishing consisted of occasional weeks at Ballynahinch in Ireland, and at Cairnton, until his death in 1934. Cairnton provided the setting for most of his fishing from 1918; he took an annual lease of Cairnton from then until his death. The water was owned by the Burnetts of Crathes, and contained a rather small Cottage, with modest bankside accommodation. Wood stayed at Glassel while the Cottage was razed and a Mansion built in 1921; he added 2 excellent lunch huts, and 2 rain shelters on the banks. The Mansion comprised 3 suites with bath, 2 single rooms with bath, ample reception area, and a staff flat for the female servants with a separate annexe for the men!!. Later he devised a system whereby from his study he knew the water height; the drawings and parts of this system survive. It surprises his descendants that he did not develop a system to tell him the water temperature on which his fishing most depended.

 
 
 
 

Wood’s personal fishing diaries, now held by his grand-daughter, record his exploits from the time when his fishing consisted of occasional weeks at Ballynahinch in Ireland, and at Cairnton, until his death in 1934. Cairnton provided the setting for most of his fishing from 1918; he took an annual lease of Cairnton from then until his death. The water was owned by the Burnetts of Crathes, and contained a rather small Cottage, with modest bankside accommodation. Wood stayed at Glassel while the Cottage was razed and a Mansion built in 1921; he added 2 excellent lunch huts, and 2 rain shelters on the banks. The Mansion comprised 3 suites with bath, 2 single rooms with bath, ample reception area, and a staff flat for the female servants with a separate annexe for the men!!. Later he devised a system whereby from his study he knew the water height; the drawings and parts of this system survive. It surprises his descendants that he did not develop a system to tell him the water temperature on which his fishing most depended.

 
 
 
 

By possibly apocryphal reports, Wood was a stickler for effort; but had lunch delivered to the 2 huts by the chef and chauffeur: He kept a record of the times of day when fish were caught; though the obvious conclusions can be drawn, there was no slacking of effort around lunch-time. Indeed, this analysis shows little bias in favour of morning, afternoon, or evening to the pattern we see today.

Even by todays standards, the engineering design that was used to erect the lunch huts was superlative and can be matched in his design of the ‘Rodroom’; here he provided racks and reels for drying lines, for both left- and right-handed tackle; a cool room for cleaning fish in preparation for marketing after weighing and measuring – he kept a skin-scale from almost every fish for ‘dating’. His dislike of wading led him to design and set up jetties to help in reaching the lies; modern man needs the help of JCBs to replace the stones that have been displaced over time. How he managed, we can only guess, but like the Pharoes, he managed without.

In his search for the perfect fly, Wood used only a ‘March brown’ for a whole year, and a ‘Blue Charm’ for another, to find the best pattern; his success with either was hardly different, but he went for the Blue Charm with a little help from the Jock Scott and the March Brown, and the Silver Blue in high or very clear waters. This search for facts led him to record for each day his ‘contacts’, classified as ‘Caught’, ‘Kelts’, ‘Lost’, ‘Pulled’, or ‘Rises’; as often as not, the contacts added up to 20 incidents a day. Oh that we could claim the same activity over recent years: The Dee was full of fish in his day, and one can only imagine what today’s fisher, with today’s equipment, and Wood’s skill might have achieved.

His death in 1934 saw the end of an era: The estate reverted to the Burnetts. In 1949 the property was bought by Mr W.N.Mitchell, who fished Cairnton to his death in 1996, with great effect and without resort to paying tenants. For many years he gave the fishing from early June to the Royal British Legion of Scotland, on the basis that each fisher kept 1 fish per day, and gave any others to him. His Nephews now run the fishing on a commercial basis, trying to maintain the standards set by these illustrious forebears.

 
 
 

River Dee Weekly Fishing Report

River Dee weekly fishing report with images.
http://www.riverdee.org.uk/blog&news/newsevents.asp?article0=114&srch0=#0

Fun at Birse

I managed to secure a rod with a fishing friend Stuart Buchan on Saturday at Birse where we were well looked after by Birse Ghillie Doug Murray. Its one of my personal favourites as it offers a good variety of fly fishing water and provides opportunities at times for big fish. I fished a little in the morning in  Lummels and had a few casts in Irrigation with no success other than a pull to a Monkey fly fished at the tail of the Lummels pool. Lunchtime saw all the rods gather at the hut for a chat and a refreshment.

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Ken Reid with Birse Ghillie Doug Murray-at 83 years of age a wonderful character

Stuart and I were allocated the bottom half of the beat in the afternoon and went downriver seeking some action. I must confess that I took 40 winks beside Belwade and woke an hour later ready to have a cast. I waded into the neck of the pool and checked my set-up. I was using a Guideline Le Cie Rod with a Rio AFS shooting head with a ten foot intermediate tip;on the business end a lovely size 13 Maggies shrimp tied by Ross Macdonald-a lovely fly. I had a feeling of Deja vu when my first cast saw a beautiful silver ten pound salmon nail the fly. I had a similar experience in Belwade in April when a fish took first cast. I was thrilled to catch such a lovely fresh fish which gave a good scrap before being landed and returned to the river safely. My friend Stuart was also successful in Red Brae with a 5 lb cock fish that was starting to colour up. We retired to the Potarch Hotel to toast our success before making the short drive back to Banchory. Birse is a long beat that many fishermen would enjoy, offering a great variety of holding pools with quite a bit of seclusion and tranquility. All in all a really nice day out.

Survey Feedback

Thanks to those that have responded to the FishDee survey. One of the requests was for more photo’s. Whilst we do have a lot of imagery hosted on Facebook I have set up a Flickr album for those who do not use Facebook. You can access uploaded images here

FishDee website survey

Can you help us monitor the effectiveness and useage of the www.fishdee.co.uk website ? We have a quick survey and would be grateful if you could take a minute or so to fill it in if you have the time. The survey can be accessed here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/295CZXY

The survey has now closed and provided very helpful feedback with our ongoing efforts to provide a world class website-thanks to all respondents

Many thanks

Ken Reid

FishDee

Royal Deeside during the time of Queen Victoria

 

You can get an insight into Royal Deeside at the time Queen Victoria lived at Balmoral at this super informative website provide by the Deeside DMO.
http://www.discoverroyaldeeside.com/vht/

Knut Syrstad-A friend of the River Dee

The world knows about the legendary pioneering spirit of the Viking, and two identical brothers Knut and Trond Syrstad embody these characteristics. They have a unique and powerful bond between them that has seen them achieve so many great things during their lives. They ironically have battled Testicular Cancer; Trond was perhaps fortunate that his treatment has been successful and he is in remission. Alas for Knut, the hoped for cure has not materialised for him yet, and he has battled with his indomitable spirit through a number of deadly encounters with the spread of metastases through his body. He has endured numerous hazardous surgeries and countless treatments of body wrecking chemotherapy. What he has been through would have finished any normal mortal man; but not Knut as he truly is no ordinary man. He embodies the true Viking spirit and is not ready for Valhalla as he battles stoically with humour, dignity and compassion for his wife, children, family and dear friends.

Knut has the opportunity to try new pioneering medicine and needs further surgery to provide a lung transplant. This will give him the chance to live significantly longer and fulfil his dreams to see his children grow up and his LTS tackle company receive the recognition it rightly deserves. For many people to have a dream to pursue, this is enough to provide a direction in life. Knut has that dream, but needs to remove the deadly shackles of cancer that have hung remorselessly to him for the last dozen years. I have complete admiration for the Syrstad family and their fight to give Knut every opportunity to pursue his dreams. I would humbly ask that if you can make a donation of support, you are helping in no small way a giant of a man, who in this time of need, deserves and is truly worthy of our support. The human race needs true champions and iconic figures. Knut Syrstad is respected and loved the world over as an embodiment of all that is good in humanity.

Ken Reid

 

Knut is a River Dee angler, world casting champion and pioneer in the development of fishing tackle with LTS (Loop Team Syrstad). Donations can be made via PayPal through Thomas Thore’s website http://www.hardcoreflyfishing.se/se/knut-syrstad-relief-fund-11212453

Cairngorm Lodges

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Cairngorm Lodges are the ideal self catering location for a fishing holiday or short break on the River Dee. The lodges are a a brand new development of 5 luxury self catering forest lodges set in their own individual Scots Pine woodland plots in the heart of Royal Deeside. The forest lodges are architect designed and generously spaced apart so that each lodge enjoys its own interaction with the local wildlife – your nearest neighbour is likely to be a red squirrel.

There still remains a good amount of super quality fishing available until the middle of October on the River Dee and and there every reason to suspect that runs of salmon will continue to build through to the end of season. There have been excellent salmon catches recently.

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The lodges are located 4 miles north of the village of Dinnet in the heart of Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park. They are a 10 minute drive from the river bank and ideally located for the Upper and Middle beats of the River Dee. Dogs are welcome. Each sleeps 4 in two bedrooms and are available for short breaks for anglers. All are pet friendly and designed by a local architect. All are equipped with a wood burning stove which functionally powers the central heating system, but equally provides an inviting and cosy environment.

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 The only immediate neighbours you will have will be the local wildlife – red squirrels are a daily sighting by the lodges! The forest lodges come with your own pine forest, crystal clear spawning stream and walks in the woodland estate of Blelack. September and October are a perfect time for a fishing break on the River Dee. Autumn paints our landscape with an intoxicating profusion of colours, so activate your senses against the panoramic backdrop of some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery and salmon fishing! Click here to find out more about Cairngorm Lodges

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