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.
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.
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.
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.
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.