Category Archives: Tay System

Dalmarnock on The Tay

2nd February, 2022

Undaunted by a blank first ever visit to the River Tay the previous week I was keen to try it once more if only to get out and cast a line. One of our group the previous week had landed a beautiful wee Springer of 8lb and I was keen to try and follow his example. After carefully trying to predict a weather ‘slot’ between the gales and heavy rain of the week I opted for the Wednesday which appeared to be more favourable. My good friend and passionate salmon angler Pat had agreed to join me for another day on the beautiful Dalmarnock beat.

The Stepp’s Pool

Car packed with both fly and spinning gear, although neither of us were particularly keen to spin, we headed off.

Upon arrival we were warmly greeted once more by Ghillie Colin McFadyen and his young colleague Andrew. We had the beat to ourselves and decided to fish the top end of the beat in the morning and the lower pools after lunch. After some of Colin’s most welcome coffee and ever helpful guidance and advice we headed to the top of the beat.

The upper part of Dalmarnock we both really like as it has some great fly water, easy wading and absolutely beautiful surroundings with the hills and forest to the East. The weather was decent with temperature around 8-9 deg c and dry overcast conditions. It was hard to fail to notice the extent of tree damage and felling on the bank by Beavers whose works (damage) appeared to have accelerated even since our last visit the week before.

Video

The previous week I had struggled to get a decent line out blaming this that and the other including the sinking shooting and heavy tip and fly followed by my poor casting ability which never was in the ‘great’ category.

Following this frustrating first day out of the new season then, in despair I had ditched the sinking shooting head and S5 tip, taken some casting tuition and armed myself with a new Carron 65′ intermediate line.

Not all of these ideas proved to be successful however as I really struggled with the new sunk Carron spey line in the morning thinking perhaps I had been too ambitious and changed too many ‘variables’ at the same time!

Using a mix of flies including Dee Monkeys, Gold Bodied Willie Guns, Haugur we fished the upper part of the beat at “Dalmarnock Bank Pool” before moving downstream to fish “The Stepp’s Pool” without either rods contacting anything.

By lunchtime back at the lodge we were certainly ready for a break, food, coffee and a recharge. Personally I was certainly in need of a rest having ‘struggled’ all morning to get to grips with the new Carron intermediate line with mixed success. In order to avoid further frustration and shoulder damage I decided to change setup and reverted to my old standby of the Rio Scandi Versitip line with the 15ft sink tips.

Fed and rested then after lunch we headed downstream stopping firstly to fish “Sowerby Pool“, which proved to be an interesting pool even if fishable section was short at current levels.

Sowerby

We then headed for the “Ram’s Horn Pool” above and the “Oak Tree Pool” below the road bridge with myself opting for the “Ram’s Horn Pool” above the bridge firstly. I really like this pool with its easy shingle wading and good flow.

I could see Pat below me just beyond the bridge as I carefully covered the water enjoying surroundings and the welcome ease of casting with the scandi setup.

Dalmarnock Beat courtesy of Dalmarnock Fishings

By around four fifteen with a distinct chill in the air and with light and energy fading we decided to call it a day and headed to the car.

Despite our best efforts we had not connected with anything neither Springer or Kelt but this had not dampened our enthusiasm as we agreed that it had been a good, enjoyable day and great to get out once more.

Thank you once more to Colin McFadyen for his warmest of welcomes and for sharing his knowledge and advice.

We will certainly be back for another day and hopefully some silver.

Loch Tay firsts

19th April 2021

My first and very memorable introduction to Loch Tay on Monday 19th April. As it happened it was a day of ‘triple’ firsts!

A kind invite by friend and experienced angler John Bell saw us loading the boat and slowly nosing down the river and into the Loch. As we made our way we caught sight of a beaver going about its business and evidence of their ‘woodworking skills’ were clear to see. Our spirits were high despite the decidedly cold conditions and little sign of the forecast light winds.

Entering the loch it was hard not to be impressed by the stunning beauty of the mountains and hills rising along the its banks.

Fishing the morning in all but flat calm conditions the only noteworthy interruptions were several nice brown trout, not our intended prey however.

Relying on John’s knowledge of the loch’s likely holding areas we fished on through lunch without stopping or fish aside from the occasional trout. Shortly after lunchtime a noticeable wind appeared which lifted our spirits and hopes.

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Video summary

As if in response to the change of conditions we were suddenly jolted into action when the striker weight on the inside rod clattered to the floor and the rod buckled. Based upon a prearranged ‘agreement’ I took the rod whilst John attended to the other two rods. My initial thought that the lure was hung up on the bottom was instantly dispelled as the rod bent and a lump of silver leaped clear of the water just off the shore! This was a strong fish which certainly made its presence known with some strong runs and leaps and its complete refusal to comply. I of course in an adrenaline fuelled state had this fish down as 20lbs. After some further runs and some scary thrashing below our feet and initial refusals to come near the net John skilfully and deftly netted the fish of around 15-16lbs (unweighed). An absolutely beautiful piece of silver with that stunning bluish purple hue. After a brief photo and a few minutes to recover, this beautiful fish bolted once more back into the depths.

With congratulations, hand shakes and me grinning from ear to ear we reset the rods and set off again circling once more over the same lie. Literally minutes later the ‘poker’ rod buckled and with roles reversed this time John lifted this rod as I attended to the others. Alas as John lifted into the fish the rod almost immediately went limp signalling a missed opportunity sadly.

We continued to fish in earnest for the remaining few hours with no further action aside from the occasional brownie. Heading back into the river I still had that smug grin and the feeling of appreciation having had such a great (first) day on the Tay, actually three firsts in one day – first Tay salmon and my first springer of the year and a PB salmon!

A huge thank you to John Bell for sharing his experience, knowledge and company.

I found out later that in our drawing of straws to decide who would have first rod chance that both straws were in fact the same length! John had graciously ensured that I would definitely get the first rod chance, thank you John for a truly memorable day of firsts.

Thank you also to Grant Tigwell at Loch Tay Fish ‘n’ Trips for your excellent boat hire and assistance – see link below http://www.lochtayfishntrips.co.uk/index.php