As I sit down to write my blog I look back at my last words of wisdom which was headed up “just add rain”! Hard to believe we have nearly gone a month and still waiting for rain on those rivers still open.
Much has happened during the last month with seasons coming to an end on many rivers and time to reflect on the season. The good news is that overall we have had a decent season on most rivers, although as ever some have found it tougher than most, with a lack of water not helping back end fishing.
It has been a busy month since I last wrote with meetings with owners, guides and still managing to have a cast here and there as I travel the country. One of the first things I attended since my last note was the Glasgow Angling Open Weekend, this is now a regular date in my diary and what a busy weekend it is for all who attended. The store feels like a fishing fair with anglers keen to make the most of the deals on offer during the weekend.
For me personally its good to be able to catch up with so many people under one roof. Experts from all corners of the country turn up to support the weekend and many an angler takes the opportunity to ask that all important question they have about rods, reels, lines, flies, where to fish, etc etc etc. I am already looking forward to returning to the next open weekend in March – watch this space for the date of your diary.
I managed a trip to the Dee at the end of September to fish Upper Blackhall and meet local anglers and owners. The season was closing on this particular part of the river and conditions were tough – wall to wall bright sunshine and a low river. I arrived the day after a coloured 22b salmon had been caught by Mrs Mitchell (joint beat owner), a coloured fish but a first salmon and in those conditions, what a feat! Numerous fish were showing up and down the beat, many of them clean silver fish that seemed to be disturbing the resident fish which can sometimes mean for some pretty aggressive takes! A lovely beat and good company and plans already to get back there next season.
Anglers have asked me the question “Will I fish the Dee next season on the back of a disappointing 2015 season”. It’s an easy question to answer. “YES, I will definitely be fishing the Dee next year and already making plans for spring and the start of the season in February”. The Dee is a cracking river and I am sure it will come good again with help from the various initiatives currently in place.
The Spey season has come to an end and what a good season the river has had with salmon and sea trout catches well up on 2014. Even with a lack of water in September fish were caught throughout the system, though the majority to rods fishing lower beats. How nice to be able to report such a good season!
It has been noticeable just how many stories of lost fish on the Spey, I guess we lose fish from time to time, but the number of stories of fish hooked and lost has stood out for me from all rivers this year. The reasons? That in itself would take forever to explain with so many different theories talked about.
I am looking forward to my yearly February trip to the Spey and hopefully get in amongst the fish, “an early springer” – now that’s a thought getting excited about!
Keeping the good news stories going and turning to the might River Tay – what a fantastic season overall, even with the lack of water which doesn’t seem to effect the mighty Tay in the way other rivers are affected. A river that has produced fish from opening day through to the very last hour of the season (I even managed a wee fish myself on the last day of the season on Dunkeld House water with a Red Francis). Many beats on the river have Tay recorded exceptional yearly catches.
The Tay will again be a popular destination next season. You will find 2016 availability on the FishTay site. I always look forward to opening day on the 15th of January. I like to use opening day on the Tay as my first fishing venture of the new year, although weather permitting, I might just be on the Helmsdale where they open the entire river on their first week of the season from the 11th of January for free. This is a nice touch from the Helmsdale proprietors and you genuinely have a chance of a springer if the river is fishable.
Other success stories from around the country include the Thurso, Helmsdale, Navar, Ness, Findhorn who have had a good amount of water through the summer months at various times which has helped bring fish into their rivers. Many rivers suffered from the lack of water. We know we need a good supply of rain to get things going and incredible that we can have such differing fortunes across the UK with plenty of rain at times in England and virtually bone dry across Scotland – who would believed this given what we have been used to in the past.
I had a productive trip to the Annan to meet Tony Donnely their new river director and Michael Fearns. We discussed the river in some detail and plans for the rest of this season, including some new ideas and events which will help keep the Annan as one of the premier places to fish in 2016. The details of these weekends will be available soon via the FishAnnan web site and the new FishAnnan Facebook page. We even managed a brief cast on Hoddom beat which is a lovely beat to fish, although once again it was wall to wall sun shine that greeted us and a river with fish.
Tweed anglers are praying for rain to liven things up. The lower beats have continued to fished well in the low water and in amongst the coloured fish caught there have been reports of fresh fish too. The river as recently as this week is fishing well, including a few fish being taken on Upper beats. It never fails to amaze me that a salmon on a mission to run the river will do just that no matter how low the river is. I heard of an angler catching 2 fish on Sunderland Hall, one coloured and one silver and this was the anglers first ever fish – well done indeed that man!
The River Tyne might not have surrendered huge numbers of fish, what has caught my attention is the fish counter showing record numbers of fish, it just goes to show catching them is a completely different challenge! If you haven’t yet managed to organise a trip to fish the Tyne, give Tom a ring in the office 01573 470612 and with Kielder releasing water on a regular basis the Tyne rarely is without water.
With the hope of a few days on rivers still open anglers are discussing weather patterns and there could be a few good days with the right amount of rain. Booking November fishing is always a bit of a gamble but please do remember you can now insure your fishing (either already booked or still to be booked) against being flooded of with our exclusive FishPal Insurance Policy – the finer details can be found here.
I will have a new exciting announcement to make on the FishPal Insurance Policy side of things soon which I hope to be able to bring to you all over the next few weeks – stay tuned on that one! Indeed the FishPal team are already turning our heads towards new and exciting additional features we hope to bring to you all for the new season and I can’t wait to share some of these new ideas with you just as soon as they are ready to be released.
One final plea from me – if you have been lucky enough to catch a cracking fish this year then you might want to think about entering the most prestigious competition in the salmon fishing world – the FishPal Malloch Trophy awarded to the “best” not necessarily the “biggest” fly caught salmon on a Scottish river that was safely released back to the river. It is easy to enter and the details can be found HERE. Not just the prestigious trophy to be won but also a Mckenzie DTX rod and £250 worth of FishPal vouchers that can be spent on fishing on any of the available fishing we have across our sites. Oh and if you are lucky enough to be under 17, there is the Junior Malloch competition to enter which has been launched this year. So please, get your entries in to us now!
Quite enough for now so all that is left to say is tight lines for those of you who are still looking forward to a day on the river and for those who fish rivers now closed, I hope you had a memorable 2015 season with many a story to recall over the winter months. A good friend of mine once said to me that going fishing is not all about catching fish. I know what he means, many a lovely day spent on rivers across the country with no fish to report but just now and then, that “icing on the cake moment” when you are successful in landing a fish that lifts your sprits and enthusiasm and keeps you coming back year after year to doit all over again – thats fishing!
Mark (01573 470612)