Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Dreamy Deveron Salmon Fishing

I guess while I am trying to decide which platform & designer to commission to redevelop my blog I may as well being using this one. Especially when the fishing has been great recently! I have been busy as usual guiding throughout the year and managing the shop, but also made time to enjoy a bit more fishing myself this year. It is an occupational hazard .... become a guide .... go fishing less! But I would not have it any other way, especially when fantastic opportunities to visit venues such as the River Deveron arise. 45 minutes fishing and this fresh little beauty had snaffled a Red Flamethrower.

Salmon anglers often head for well known Rivers in the North East of Scotland such as the Dee and the Spey. But the reality is that the Deveron is a very well kept secret. Checking out the hut (which was closer to a small cottage..... complete with wood burning stove, tables, chairs, magazines and refreshments!) provided by the Marnoch Lodge Fishings my eye was drawn to a large map of the river and the best fish caught during the last few seasons. 30lbs, 25lb 8oz .... my eyes were out on stalks! A few days into the trip and fishing the last hour of light I was hit by the most powerful fish I have ever hooked in UK waters. It literally tore me to pieces, screaming off down stream, before unleashing a turn that Michael Jackson would have been proud of. Stripping line like a mad man, I got back in touch with the fish for seconds. But its plan had worked a treat, the line fell limp and I was left to dribble on the bank. I did not stop shaking for an hour. Seriously.

The weird thing is that although I would have given away a reasonable amount of flies, line, rods and quite possibly blood to see that fish, I was so in awe that I couldn't be upset. I felt privileged to have hooked it. It always helps when "the one that got away" is witnessed too and I could sense that both Alasdare & Stuart wanted me to land that fish, just as much, so they could take a look too. But alas, it was not to be and I will need to return. In the meantime we still managed some awesome fish. Add to this some great laughs (in fact we rarely were not laughing), stunning scenery, some obliging weather and the hospitality offered to us by the Marnoch staff (in particular, Shaun) and this ranks alongside one of my top 10 trips of all time. And how easy is it? Jump on a plane from Exeter, get off at Aberdeen and why bother heaving bags? We sent our gear up by courier. Talk about easy fishing and it does not get better than hunting down big wild fish with the fly.

This was my best fish of the week tipping the scales at 15lb. Coloured yes, but a magnificent specimen of a Cock Salmon in spawning colours. It too fell for the Red Flamethrower on a pool which produced the majority of our sport, Lower Hummies.

Great company is so important during a fishing trip and it doesn't come much better than Alasdare Lambert. Laid back, ready for a giggle and a fishing nutter. He also likes a glass or two (make that a bottle!) of red wine and its just lucky that this fantastic 14lb specimen took when it did ... yes you have guessed it .... a Flamethrower but this time Orange. Poor old Al was looking a little worse for wear after an evening of cheap red wine and stories of giant man eating Lamprey. Its a long story and not relevant right now! Needless to say that Al's hangover suddenly disappeared as the adrenalin kicked in and he realised he was hooked up to a decent sized fish. I don't think he fished for an hour afterwards. Scottish Salmon (in fact all Salmon) are very special and I can quite understand anyone who sits back to relax and savour the moment. Especially as this was Al's personal best Salmon.
However, if you wish to live the moment all over again ... get the fly back in the water. After a full week on the water it was very noticeable how the fish would suddenly start taking and then switch off. Also very apparent were the movements in barometric pressure. Every fish we caught was on a rise or a level Barometer and I have to say that after a few years using my Casio Protrek watch with a built in atmospheric pressure gauge I am sold on the theory that Salmon rarely take when there is a pressure drop.

Enough technical waffle. Stu, who lives in Aberdeen will no doubt be heading back to the Deveron soon. After a couple of quiet days he cracked it on the Lower Hummies pool, with the Red Flamethrower and an Intermediate line to land this, his largest Salmon to date at 10lbs. What a week, we all landed our best Salmon during the trip. Most important of all, each and every one went back safely. There were more, but these were the best fish. The very best fish .... well ... they all got away of course!

More about the Deveron soon. Right now I need to get back home and start putting together my gear for a trip to Ireland next week. And tonight when I close my eyes I will relive that moment when an unseen monster chewed me up and spat me out. Speaking with the owner of the fishery today he tells me that Shaun is reporting a fish resting in a pool (Falconers) that is in excess of 35lbs. Did I hook it? Who knows .... all I know is that the Deveron is the stuff of dreams.

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