A great day on the River Earn at ‘Drummond Castle’ beat. A first for me on this part of the river but I was in safe hands with my good friend Kevin who has many years experience of fishing this beat, including the halcyon days when Salmon and Sea Trout catches were beyond prolific.
This is truly a lovely beat with some really interesting deep pools and some great looking runs Whilst many pools were fishable many were sadly overgrown with trees and bushes. Alas the water was just too high for the fly so the ‘cheating stick’ was the order of the day.
Albeit high the water was a lovely ‘tea’ colour and pretty clear as we worked our way upstream. Kevin managed to hook several nice wee brown trout and I could hear cries of frustration above me as Kevin had several takes or follows from some sizable fish! This pattern continued for most of the day with some lovely small finnock and brown trout accounting for most of the catches. Between the squalls of rain sand martins appeared and provided a stunning display of aerial acrobatics as they fed on the wing amidst the backdrop of Spring colours and new greenery bursting into life. Video below is a snapshot of a very enjoyable day on this lovely part of The Earn
For myself I was delighted to hook and land a beautiful Sea Trout of around 4lb! Towards the end of the day as we worked our way back downstream Kevin turned a large fish in one of the deeper pools on a Vision 110 which unfortunately failed to connect! I opted to have a smoke and wait before I followed him down the same pool ten minutes later covering the high banked pool.
Half way down I got a real shock on looking below me as a very large salmon appeared from at my feet following the vision lure right to the bank!! It came alongside the lure at the very end of the retrieve and turned below my feet before disappearing back into the depths of the pool! Being only feet above I was close enough to see the eyes of what was a lovely fish of at least 15lb – on my scale at least
A great end to a good day out and a beat well worth a return to and hopefully cast a fly.
Undaunted by the lack of water and a very cold easterly wind five of us tackled up at Kinkell Fishings on Friday 30th April. My setup was the Loop SX 13’3″ 8wt paired with the Evotec G4 and a Loop Tactical SDS line and a range of tips. Some of our team opting immediately for the trout rod others like myself determined to persevere with some light salmon setups. Despite conditions being against us I could not help but be impressed by the absolute beauty of the surroundings and stretches of water in the heart of Strathearn. The beat comprises 32 named pools, providing an exceptional variety of fly water but at certain heights of water, spinning is allowed.
The beat is split into the Upper and Lower sections, with 16 pools on each. These are fished by 8 rods on a rotational basis with 4 rods on each beat. The Ghillie Sandy freely shared his 20 years of knowledge and experience of this beat at every chance and could not have been more helpful and at time appeared almost ‘apologetic’ for the low water conditions.
Having split into two ‘teams’ we fished the upper and lower beats respectfully before switching at lunchtime when experiences, stories and ‘moans’ were shared. I think that the overriding common comments were that this was a stunning beat and held many great pools and runs – if ONLY we had about 12-14″ more water!
Conditions throughout the day ranged from blazing sunshine to hailstones and a freezing north east wind and despite this we gave it everything. Some switched to trout setups at lunchtime with some success whilst die hards like myself persisted with the salmon gear plumbing the depths of any of the deeper pools with a range of flies. and tips to no avail. Some of the pools and runs on the far bank just screamed that they would produce a ‘tug’ despite the low water.
Packing up and admiring all of the flies, photos and malts in the fishing hut I could not help reflecting on the challenging but thoroughly enjoyable day I had experienced, noting that this was a beat that definitely warranted further visits when conditions improved. Thank you to Michael, Pat, Kevin, John and of course Sandy (Ghillie) for making this a fabulous day . “I’ll be back…”
What to do in the close season has always been a source of frustration and boredom for me. So in my attempts to find a way to continue fly fishing when the Salmon and Trout seasons ends I have finally decided to “start” to get to grips with chasing a new prey – ” Grayling” or “Thymallus thymallus” a fully fledged member of the salmon family “Salmonidae“.
First stop was to try to understand the “basics” in terms of equipment for nymph fly fishing for these beautiful looking Game fish. Having sought some advice and read many reviews I finally opted for a setup from Snowbee. Whilst not having tried it on the water yet my first impressions of this beautiful little 10ft 3wt Fly rod from Snowbee (“new style handle”) are good. It looks well made and finished to a high standard and weighs in at practically nothing at an amazing 82g!! Speaking of weight I can’t wait to give it a swing. The reel – a Snowbee Spectre 2/3wt is also a tiny lightweight, especially when compared to my more familiar salmon fly reels.
I never fail to be amazed at the availability and quality of freely given generous help and advice by fellow anglers, many of whom I have never met in person and have only conversed via Facebook. Help offered even extended to an invite to join them on the water in the coming days chasing Grayling. Next step was to understand how to setup this rod in terms of line, leaders etc. My thanks to all who patiently explained the basics here, in particular thanks to Albert Davyboy Tatlock and John Bell (The Lomond Angler) for their patience in responding to my repeated and frequent naive questions.
From all of the valuable help and advice then my aim is to load the reel with backing then Ikon Tactical Nymph Line then 2x or 3x Dohiku Fly DK French Nymph Tapered Leaders – Dark Olive / 15m or 10m depending on conditions, to which I will attach 2x Stroft LS New Low Stretch Tippet – 0.12mm / 50m using 2x Stroft Rig Rings – O.D. 2mm – yes 2mm rings !! These will be fun to deal with given my eyesight.
For choice of nymphs or bugs in terms of pattern, size and colours then this is still a complete black hole. As is understanding the required technique as to how to fish them. To assist I have gathered some books, some courtesy of Santa from which I will hopefully pick up some further information during the next few weeks. Of course no amount of reading or asking is a substitute for learning by doing or trying so the first chance I get I will be on the water to “learn by doing!” and also to “learn by failing too ” no doubt!
Watch this space!
A light hearted account of my Angling exploits, successes, failures and learnings amidst Scotland's beautiful Rivers and Lochs