It has been a busy month for everyone at FishPal. For me personally I’ve been out of the office visiting clients, hosting meetings and promoted FishPal at shows and events within the UK. Thankfully on my travels I have had the opportunity to cast a line – all in a day’s and month’s work!!
With anglers across the country waiting on a good old downpour of rain to stir up those hard to catch ‘resident’ fish and move the back end run waiting in estuaries and lower rivers to continue the journey to their spawning grounds. When this rain finally arrives it might wipe out one or two day’s fishing.
At the end of August I caught up with owner Claire Mercer Nairne and her fishing department on the Tay at the Meikleour and Upper Islamouth beat, coach Tom Brown and head boatman Callum. What a fantastic fishery she has created in glorious surroundings. Lots to discuss, ideas to bounce around as thoughts turn to the 2016 season. Their 2016 Spring availability is now live which you can find here.
I am sure those lucky enough to have fished the beat this year will already be booking their dates for next season and for those who have yet to try their fishing – I would recommend you add this to one of your places to fish in 2016.
The Tay itself continues to enjoy an incredible months fishing with catches on some days of over 200 fish being recorded on the FishTay catches page, and some of these big back end Tay salmon are now starting to arrive. What a fantastic season the Tay is having with many beats recording record catches. Still time to fit the odd day on the Tay before the season ends and well worth the trip if you can squeeze a few extra days in – here is the link to show you just what is still available – FIND FISHING.
I enjoyed a weeks holiday with my wife towards the end of August on Skye which was great fun. I packed my fishing gear with the hope that I might get a days fishing – always the eternal optimist! As it happened on the day we left for Skye the rain came and fell continuously for 3 days, so by the Monday the rivers were at bursting point. I was hopeful of getting a good days fishing as the river was starting to drop. Thursday I managed to get a day ticket for the River Snizort, a beautiful highland river near its perfect height and also stuffed full of fish. Thinking about my many years of fishing, I can honestly say that this is probably the first time I have fished a spate river at its best. Normally I arrive a week too early or late! I had a fantastic days fishing and landed/returned 3 salmon of around the 7-9lb category and lost so many more. Enclosed is a photo of one of the wee crackers that I am unlikely to forget for some time. I did try my luck with my wife for a second day’s fishing – enough said about that!!
The first of our Summer events was the CLA Game Fair at Harewood House, just outside Leeds. A lovely venue and as ever, many people to catch up with. The CLA didn’t have their usual casting competition this year which I thought was a real shame as it always draws the crowds. Fishermans row was disappointing, again overshadowed by gun makers row. Glasgow Angling were there for the first time and their tent when I visited was busy. The Pure Fishing’s tent was a beacon of excellence at the show with some of the best pro-team staff in the industry on hand to advise visiting customers. Crowds gathered when Hardy pro-team members Ian Gordon, Stevie Munn and Howard Croston gave their usual passionate, entertaining and informative demonstrations in the casting pool located in the centre of Fishermans village. Scott MacKenzie and his team were demonstrating and selling their excellent Mackenzie dtx range of single and double handed rods and lines.
I caught up with Ian Gordon after the CLA game fair on the Spey at Lower Pitcroy. Ian’s knowledge of the beat and river Spey is second to none having enjoyed a lengthy “apprenticeship” of 22 years. Lower Pitcroy is a beautiful beat with some cracking pools which were stuffed with fish in all shapes and sizes. The highlight for me during my two days on the beat was not the fish I caught, which I was lucky enough to do, but to share two anglers experience of catching their first ever salmon on the beat. A question I have asked many salmon anglers over the years which always gets a 100% positive responsive, you remember where you caught your first first? No matter how many you have caught it would appear that we all remember that first salmon – I must pen an article or write a book capturing the tales of the first salmon.
The Spey itself is having a fantastic season this year with catches on most beats better than previous year’s. It’s a pleasure to chat with Spey anglers about fish caught, lost and how many they have seen. It is not long now until the end of the season, but, you can still just about find some fishing by following this link – FIND FISHING – I am currently plotting how I can get back to the Spey this month as it seems an awful long time until things kick off again in February 2016.
Tom squeezed a days fishing on Tweed at Ladykirk before heading off for his Summer holidays and he reported seeing a lot of fish but alas, none were interested in his fly selection. The Tweed continues to tick away with some decent catches being reported albeit these have predominately been for the lower river given the lack of rain. Local rods have advised me that the Tweed estuary is stuffed with fish now waiting to run the river, we need some rain soon to liven things up. The river has good numbers of fish, but this is again proving difficult to catch, fresh fish entering the pools should improve catches.
The start of September saw me travel to Inverness and attend the first event of its kind the Scotland Salmon Festival. The event held over several days included seminars with guest speakers involved in all aspects of salmon. During the weekend the prestigious Alexander Grant Memorial casting competition was held. Organiser of the competition Scott McKenzie was a very busy man and a huge thank you to him for all his time and energy making this a really great event. Scott was supported by the local Inverness Angling Club who put a power of work in to make the event such a success. I have to say, watching both the mens and ladies event was a real eye opener for me – what a distance these guys can cast! Fantastic to see and a delight to be a part of it!
The Ness itself is fishing well this season along with many of our Northern rivers. There are many a new angler travelling to Inverness and beyond to join in the fun. I have always liked the Ness, it’s a river full of character and has some good runs of fish – not a bad combination! There is still some limited availability left and with reports of fresh fish coming in to the river it wont be around for very long – FIND FISHING
My next visit was to the Outer Hebrides, meeting owners, angling clubs and the local team of experts who promote the wonderful fishing that the Islands have to offer. Whether your passion is to fish for trout, sea trout or salmon there is so much to choose from on these islands, a visit that takes your breath away. Lochs, rivers and much more is available and thankfully the FishHebrides site has people across all the islands to help you organise a trip to some of the most incredible fishing spots you are ever likely to fish. A huge thanks to Donnie for looking after me so well and showing me around – if you need expert local advice then Donnie’s knowledge is second to none, please let me know if you need his contact details to help you plan your fishing trip. Equally, a huge thank you FishPal’s very own Gail Tunnah who has in-depth knowledge of fishing and accommodation available on Harris to help you shape your trip. Thank you for the splendid recommendation of accommodation Gail, a cracking spot, beautifully furnished holiday accommodation, perfect for visitors wishing to stay on Harris. Speak to Gail in the office for more information on where to fish and stay. Harris and the Hebrides are a must for the 2016 season.
Heading back home to the Scottish Borders I met up with the Peake Twins on the River Lochy. The river was in need of some water, a timely reminder that when you hit a river right it is great and when it is on its bear bones you know you are in for a long day, but I still had a cracking day in good company with a backdrop of Ben Nevis, and what’s not to like about that?
After a meeting with Bauer Media marketing team last week it was good to relax and cast a line with Andrew Flitcroft on the North Tyne at Chollerton. A cracking beat with some really interesting pools and with a Kielder release the beat had a lot of fish – I lost count the number I saw. Alas, they were not in taking mood for me, but, as the day was coming to a close Andrew hooked, caught and released a sea trout of around 7lb, well done Andrew, I told you that fly would do the trick!!
The River Tyne is a success story and it is good to see the river is on course for another record number of fish passing through the fish counter. It is great to see the river in good condition and I think it is a shame that many anglers drive past the Tyne, Wear and Tees on their fishing journeys north & south. I am delighted that more and more of you are now fishing them – with lots of good fishing to be had and at very reasonable prices and availability on Sundays it really is worth adding these hidden gems into your fishing trips.
Elsewhere the good news from the rivers is just that, good news indeed. On the Dee after such a tough time of it in recent months catches are starting to improve and some decent weeks of catches are being reported which is very welcome. The season is fast coming to a close, lets hope the river has a bit more rain as this will liven up the many pools with resident fish and bring fresh fish in from the estuary. There are some great beats to try with still some limited availability which can be found here – FIND FISHING.
The river Nith is starting to pick up with reports of pools with good numbers of fish in them. If you have not yet tried the Nith, give Tom a ring in the office on 01573 470612 – you will not be disappointed fishing the Nith, its a lovely river with many “fishy” pools that will keep your attention!
The Findhorn has sprung back into life in recent weeks with good numbers of fish caught and many a happy angler! The Findhorn is truly a stunning river set against a backdrop of beautiful scenery with gorges along with open shingled banked pools. When you see a photo of a fresh Findhorn fish you are only ever totally impressed with the pure beauty of these marvellously shaped fish. The Findhorn can book up fast so if you do think you might try a few days on the Findhorn at some point then do let us know as soon as you can so we can put you in touch with the local experts – well worth a trip, although as you will gather by now, my own list of where I would like to fish next year is already getting pretty long!
So great to be able to report so much positively out there and long may that continue. The season is marching on at a pace and the good news is that you can still get in amongst the action – something I for one most certainly want to do before the dark nights finally set in. Oh and yes, some more rain please across the country to give everywhere a freshening up and then the fun will really start!
P.S. don’t forget to insure the fishing you have booked or looking to book, the link is here BOOK INSURANCE it tells you all you need to know. We want rain, but, if the river is in flood it is great to be able to insure your fishing.
Tight lines everybody!
Keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to hook into a big “back end” fish then you can still enter the FishPal Malloch Trophy.