Weekly fishing report
I have received some correspondence which I would like to share with you. Firstly Miranda McHardy wrote about an exciting encounter her son Andrew had at Woodend commenting ‘Last night Andrew (our son) went down to Woodend to fish with my brother George Forbes-Leith. Andrew hooked a fish, in the dark, and played it for an hour, George said there was no way it was coming in and he did not want to beach it for fear of damaging or losing it, and they had no net at this point. It got darker, George got hold of me when he found a signal and we went down with the net. It was impossible to see anything, it was pitch black and whenever we shone a torch for George to see where the fish was to net it, the fish scarpered off up the pool again away from the light. Finally George took a chance and tried to scoop it into the net as we were getting nowhere. Torch ran out of battery! And we only had a mobile. The fish fell back out as it was bigger than the diameter of the net. He had another go and tried to lift it, the handle of the net bent and tipped the net, and the fish fell back over the side free. It was Andrew’s first ever fish at Woodend and he is devastated! It was the worst feeling in the world he said when the line went slack and he realised the fish had fallen back into the river before he even saw it. It’s hard to tell how big it was as neither of them really saw it, the diameter of the net is 32″. George said it had a huge tail and that was about all he could see apart from the flashes of bright silver every now and again.’ Oh my! What a disappointment-to lose a big fish creates a wound that never seems to heal and these fish are always the ones that stay in your memory forever. Salmon angling can be the school of hard knocks and anglers have to accept these desperately sad moments when they come along.
I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Rob Fuller who writes to me annually about the Hawkins parties fishing week on a number of fishing beats. Rob advised ‘Dear Ken, the Hawkins Week Team have had another highly enjoyable week ending on Sat 15th. Thirteen of us fished on 5 beats notably Birse, Carlogie, Ballogie, Inchmarlo and Park South. Conditions were difficult with low water, high water temperatures, and strong winds on 2 days with bright sunshine yesterday. However we persevered and caught 26 salmon and grilse up to 13lbs and 4 sea trout for the week. Our biggest problem was trying to catch decent sized cocks. The River seems to be full of girls this year with very few male planks showing! This made it very difficult for us in finding suitable entries in our annual contest for the largest cock fish! The trophy was awarded to Richard Taylor for a 10lb fish which is rather less than what we were all hoping. Top rod was fortunately me, with 7 fish and 2 sea trout. We all rated Ballogie as the best beat which is verified by the fact that it is taken for a week by its own ghillie, notably the maestro himself Sean Stanton! With all good wishes for the rest of the season. Rob Fuller.’ As always please let me know how you get on during your visit to the river by dropping me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences.
Alec Coutts returns an autumn cock fish carefully
As has been reported to me by visiting anglers, the Ghillies are best placed to offer advice on where and how to fish on your chosen beat. Whilst water levels are quite low it will pay you to heed their counsel and follow their direction. If the Ghillie advises to fish deep, then make sure you get your fly well down. You may lose the odd fly as a result of fishing deep, but it is a small sacrifice to make in pursuit of sublime sport. I know of one talented angler who did very well last week by fishing a plain black snaelda tube slow and deep. Fly choice is as always a matter of suggestion, choice and experiment. You may wish to fish with a Dee Monkey, Black Frances or Black Snaelda, Flamethrower, Park shrimp, Calvin’s shrimp or a Red Allies shrimp. If you need to top up your supplies during the week please drop into Countrywear in Ballater, Orvis in Banchory, George Strachan’s store in Aboyne or perhaps your Ghillie may be able to provide suitable flies. Be aware that there are big fish throughout the river, some of which may have been in the river a while and are well rested. You would be wise to fish with a strong leader in case you encounter a big fish. Perhaps we may see a really big fish captured this week where I will be able to report about an exciting encounter. There are more visitors coming back to Deeside from Scandinavia as a result of a lot of rivers being closed for the season. There are still a good amount of rods available to fish the well stocked beats of the River Dee, so please make every effort to come and fish if you can before the fishing season draws to a close.