Photo 01 - Les with a 3lbs Sea Trout.
An autumn day Salmon fishing on Tweed and some tree hugging!
You may remember a while back we held our inaugural Wild Trout Competition with the winner turning out to be none other than our own club member Les Robson, winning along with his gold cup, and copies of The Tartan Trout/Trout from the Tapwaters an autumn day on the Upper Pavilion on Tweed. Well on Thursday Les and I met up on the Tweed to fish at will over the entire beat.
Conditions weather wise were good, a slight breeze and only light rain forecast in the afternoon. The water level was probably a little high for all practical intents and purposes ruling out any wading, but the water still being fishable from the bank and rather encouragingly plenty fish were showing.
We chose the north bank of Purdies Hole as this had been recommended by the Ghillie, and the previous Ghillie used to have some very productive days on this stretch. The only problem as far as I was concerned was that a lack of clear area behind meant that roll casting was the best option, not my strong point!
Photo 02 - Les playing a 12lbs Salmon.
Anyway the day was about Les and he is an excellent all round caster so off we went. Les started at the top of the stretch and worked his way down as dictated by proper Salmon angling etiquette, and halfway down the stretch I noted looking through some branches as I tried to unhook my fly from some trees, his line shooting forward, the rod hooped and it was game on! After a spectacular and valiant struggle a 3lbs Sea Trout came to the bank and she was safely unhooked and held in the water until she had recovered and with a splash of her tail she was off back into the deep.
Around half an hour later I heard a loud splash and on looking to Les saw once again the line pulling forth and the rod bent, I temporarily gave up trying to free my fly from some overhanging trees and went to investigate. This time after a more prolonged battle a 12lbs Salmon came to the bank, after quickly unhooking the fish he (he had a pronounced kype) was photographed and quickly returned to the water and after a brief period of recovery he rapidly sped off to resume the important business of spawning. A most worthy opponent!
Photo 03- A delighted Les with his 12lbs Cock Salmon.
Almost unbelievably after what must have been less than 10minutes, Les uttered the now familiar cry of "fish" and again he was in battle with a fine specimen which was holding mid stream, and as such proved to be a much more resilient combatant! However experience prevailed and the redoubtable Les once more had a fish to the bank for me to tail out of the water, (once I had unhooked my fly from some trees!), and so it was a 14lbs beauty was unhooked, photographed and safely returned.
Photo 04 - Les clearly delighted with his 14lbs Salmon..
Meantime taking a break from constantly unhooking my fly from various species of tree, I was into a most welcome fish, this time a silvery 3lbs Salmon which was duly photographed and safely returned. Have a look at photo 05 of me with my wee beauty and you will see that Les still hadn't got over the excitement of landing the 14 pounder!
Photo 05 - Yes its a somewhat blurred me with my 3lbs Salmon.
Just before lunch whilst grubbing around in some low tree branches trying to unhook my fly, Les gave a shout and yet again the rod was bent double, but no sooner than it had done this the rod reverted to a rather disappointing vertical profile and the line went slack – a lost fish, but given the mornings work, not a disaster.
We got stuck into some scran and had a good blether, thoroughly exploring all manner of salmon fishing scenarios and actually talking some degree of sense, which was a bit of a novelty we both agreed!
And so it was off to battle again. Whilst trying to unhook my fly from a particularly high branch on the trees I felt my trousers falling to my ankles and the cool air on the back of my legs suggested that this was an emergency requiring immediate investigation and action. Fastener had burst and I had no belt so back to the van to look for a bit of rope or similar. Rather surprisingly I couldn't find any rope (I usually have all manner of junk lying around!) but using my Pike unhooking forceps (I just knew they had a use!) I managed to clamp them up, score zero for street cred, and make a very effective temporary repair!
Photo 06 - Les shows how a gentleman plays his Salmon.
When I returned, Les looked a bit red about the gills and appeared to have lost the power of speech, he did however manage to convey to me in sign language that he had just landed a 16lbs Salmon and had a devil of a job trying to land it as the wrist of its tail was so wide. After some relaxation exercises (drawing on a much needed fag!) his speech returned and the whole story was relayed to me. Just typical that what was to be the best fish of the day went unphotographed!
After gathering ourselves we proceeded to wet the lines again, and whilst I marvelled yet again, just how it was possible for a fly to become entangled in so many branches, a cry came from below "another fish"! Leaving my tangled mass of quick sinking fly line and branches I rushed down to see Les reeling in a Brown Trout which was all of 6 inches long wriggling violently, and before we could land it and take photographs it was off, quite the most voracious hunters these Brown Trout, not in the least deterred by a one inch tube and a 20lbs mono leader! Respect!
A period of relative quiet ensued fishing wise, which allowed us to recover from our various aches and pains, Les getting his from battling the mighty Salmon, and me from engaging in tug o war with many different species of tree!
A late lunchtime was declared and we chomped, drank and spoke of a myriad of subjects as the light began to fade. Time enough for another cast before light stopped play. Through the twilight mist I spotted Les tailing a 4 pounder, and me? I was once again somewhat tied up (pun intended) with my unplanned but nevertheless intensive study of dendrology!
Photo 07 - Les putting the pressure on the 14pounder.
All in all, it turned out to be a superb day for Les our competition winner with 4 Salmon, a Sea Trout, a Trout and a lost fish. Les couldn't have been more pleased with his day. He thanked me profusely, and I in turn thanked the Ghillie and the proprietor for the privilege of fishing.
Yet another one of our members who knows the true meaning of the word angler!An absolute pleasure to fish with you Les, as in the manner of old Izaak and Piscator, a truly memorable and enjoyable day, oh and I will be practising the roll casting techniques you taught me today, I really have had enough of hugging trees!
For aficionados of Salmon fishing, all fish were caught on a one inch tubes tied to the Willie Gunn pattern and either quick sinking line or floating line with a quick sink tip. Incidentally the flys were all made by Les himself (he is a professional Salmon Fly dresser of some repute and supplies many top outlets) and they really are works of art, as well as being highly effective catching patterns. If you are on the lookout for any pattern of Salmon fly or some to your own specification (small or large numbers) mail me on the g mail address and I will put you in touch with Les.
Our special thanks must go to Major Sir Neil Westbrook the proprietor of the Upper Pavilion beat who very kindly donated the superb first prize of a day's Salmon fishing on his water.
Club Membership/Season tickets.
Everyone should be aware that the cut off date for renewals is the 31st of December 2010. Please renew your membership before this date. You can do this by sending a cheque made payable to St Mary's Angling Club (£30.00 – members, £50.00 - Season Tickets) to the club treasurer - John Wright 8 Castle Place Dunbar EH42 1JD.
Anglers seeking to obtain a season permit for the coming 2011 season should write in with their intentions and if and when places become available we will notify you. Unfortunately there is a substantial waiting list.
The cafe has now reopened under new management and we are delighted that they wish to continue selling our permits. Les Henderson and I were invited to have coffee with Cath this morning and after the customary pleasantries proceeded to sort out the necessary formalities. Anglers seeking fishing permits in the locality are once again served by 3 outlets - our loch keeper Peter, The Glen Cafe, and the Tibbie Shiels Inn.
We look forward to establishing an excellent working relationship with Bill & Cath and hope to do an article on the cafe in the near future.