Summer time, when the fishing is…hot!

It’s interesting speaking to various people about the weather we have had so far this yea, not least this current heat wave. Fisherman, not surprisingly, have been delighted to see us get our fair share of rain over the months. Some would of course want more, some unlucky to have been on the river before the rain and rivers on their bones, others arriving whilst the water was big and dirty and the lucky ones timing it just right as the river falls back, clears and you start to get really excited about the days ahead!

The non fisherman you speak to simply want a “decent” summer of no rain and high temperatures – they are a funny lot all those non fisherman bunch!!
My job allows me to get in a fair bit of fishing which always helps increase your chances of getting into a fish or two. Last week and this week has seen my lucky enough to be on the Dee, Spey and Tay which was great fun! I very seldom fish for full days when out and about and meeting people but the off couple of hours here and there soon adds up and actually, means you can usually pick the best times to fish if the diary permits.
Last week I had a couple of hours in the evening on Banchory beat (see photographs) on the Dee concentrating really only on the hotel pool where the Feugh comes into the Dee. There were fish showing all over the pool just waiting for the right water conditions to run the Feugh and you just felt that at every cast you would hook into a fish. My first run down saw me get a good pull but nothing held on to my fly. I decided to change my fly to a small shrimp type fly that was very light in the dressing and low and behold, a grilse of about 5lb couldn’t resist taking the fly and heading off across the pool. Great fun and a perfect way to spend an evening on a beat that is looking great now under Brian’s stewardship and catches that are doing pretty well for the season too.
Then this week a trip the Tay and a cast on Newtyle. I always have loved the beat with memories of fishing the beat going back some 30+ years when I used to fish as part of a Saturday syndicate when Bill was the ghille and he slept in the car park in his caravan during the week before heading down the road to Edinburgh on the Saturday night. What a character he was.
Andy has done some incredible work on the banks at Newtyle and the beat is looking first class. Not just the banks but the hut has had a once over, the table outside and the decking all had some work done to make sure your experience there is second to none.
The river was at a perfect height for fishing and although getting warm, there was enough cloud to make you feel you would be in with a chance of a fish. I cast well for once across the Steps pool which looked especially fishy but despite all my efforts it was not to be this time.  The sun split the skies by lunch time and it was roasting so I packed up and went on to meet some good Tay contacts and make the most of the day that remained.
Heading north, I was getting excited about the following days fishing which was on Kincardine beat on the Spey. Yes Spey not Dee and a beat that has only just become available to fish under the new management of Ali Hutchins. My good friend David Fernie, ghillie at Balmoral on the Dee was fishing the full week and I was lucky enough to be invited to join him for a cast and to explore this new beat.
The beat is near Boat of Garten and the opposite bank is Kinchurdy to give you an idea of where it is. Upper Spey has some excellent fishing and this beat in particular is renowned for some decent sea trout fishing if you can tempt them.
The morning conditions were superb, a bit of water but not too much, a cloudy sky and a feeling of realistic optimism as we set up our rods for the day ahead. I love exploring new pools and getting a feel for a new beat and I certainly enjoyed my mornings fishing with David. I hooked and played a small sea trout but it came off as it came in to the bank – ah well, these things happen!
We stopped for lunch and as we approached the river to start fishing again after being well fed and watered the river had changed completely. It was up over 3 feet and was muddy brown too – the overnight rain, thunder etc had caught up with us and meant the rest of the day was a right off. The Spey can clear really quickly and whilst I had to head off for more meeting I knew David would be in with a chance the following morning and low and behold – a photo arrived in my inbox of a very happy looking David holding an 8lb sea trout!!! Delighted for him as he had been fishing hard and was finally rewarded with a cracking fish!
Ali knows that there is much to do at Kincardine to make access to some of the pools better and other jobs identified but he will be working hard the rest of this year to make sure that everything is in order. If you saw a copy of this months Trout and Salmon  there is a good feature in it where Ali hosted my good friend Andrew Flitcroft on the beat in search of sea trout – well worth a read.
And to today, end of the week, in the office catching up on all thats been going on and trying to stay cool in this incredible heat. The Offices are close to the Tweed and Tom managed to pop down to Lower Birgham yesterday afternoon to meet the team there and managed a wee cast and was delighted to connect with a lovely wee sea trout! Well done Tom! The Tweed is falling back after the big rise and I would hope that it will fish well today before the next forecasted rain comes across the country.
And so to next week – my diary is as full as ever but in amongst all those meetings I will of course wet a line and next week it my time to be on Tweed – fingers crossed, could be good but I guess I always think like that!
Good luck to everyone out fishing – it’s all about keeping that fly in the water is not after all!

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