Tales From The Riverbank
Favourite Angling moment from 2005
As we're awaiting the start of the new season I thought it may be nice to reflect on our favourite moments of the previous season. It would be nice to see more fishing stories on our message board.
What's under the surface?? by Alan Gordon
You never know how salmon react under the surface unless you see them. In the backend of 2004 on my small local river, a welcome rise of water at the beginning of the week gave good sport as it fell and cleared. By the Saturday the river was back to its usual low state and clear.
After several hours without a touch and as the sun was high and bright I decided to call it a day and made my way back downriver to the car. I had to pass a slow deep pool at a bend under some trees. The opposite bank was shingle deepening to my side to about five or six feet against rock ledges almost under my feet at the tail of the pool beneath the trees. Knowing you could often see fish there, I approached carefully and leaned against a tree trunk to keep out of sight.
There they were, about six or seven smallish fish lying together in perfect view where the sun had found a gap through the branches. On its own about three or four yards further out another fish lay on the shingle. Curiosity and temptation was strong. I carefully retreated back from the edge as the tip of my 11 foot rod would have stretched beyond the fish by the ledges, unclipped my 1/4 inch tube fly and let it drop into the water about a yard above the shoal.
As the fly slowly sank I jiggled it about to give it some life, not the remotest sign of interest was shown by the fish. After another attempt I gave up and carefully flicked the fly out to the fish lying by itself. The fly landed about a couple of yards ahead of it. What happened next seemed to take about five seconds. At great speed the lone fish shot forward past the sinking fly, turned full circle,and came up behind it with open jaws. It was obviously going to take - not a hope.
The salmon was literally only about twelve inches from the fly when a previously unseen fish shot past it at even greater speed from the shadows below and snatched my fly right from under the nose of the first fish. After a dour struggle in the restricted space under the trees a coloured hen was kissed on the nose and returned. You never really know what goes on under the surface.
50th Anniversary by Alan Gordon
This year on 1st Sept at 7pm will be the 50th anniversary of my first salmon!
Although at age 12 I had landed a couple of kelts and lost at a couple of fresh
fish, all on the worm (Don Board take note!!!!) this was my first fresh fish, a
5lb beauty from the Urie but on an 1 1/4 inch blue and silver metal devon. I had
been fishing for an hour or so, using a cut down split cane fly rod with a bend
which could have doubled as Robin Hood's bow and an old half bale Mitchell 300.
At the spot where I stopped to have a cast an old fence came down into the water. As I cast I suddenly remembered that the end of the fence was submerged but was too late to do much about it. The devon landed directly opposite the fence and stuck fast. *****!!! Then the water boiled, something pulled and flashed deep. I have had hundreds since but that was the thrill of them all.
"Ach laddie, ye shoulda geid it some line!"
By Alan Gordon
At the tender age of ten , in short troosers, after tagging behind my older and reluctant brother who also fished, and pestering my mother to desperation, I was finally allowed to go fishing on my own on the Urie which was within shouting and stone throwing distance of our house.
It was early May when I caught my first trout ( on the worm!!!) and the next evening a perch (on the worm) from the Keban Pot at Inverurie. About the end of the month, oh yes, my rod was a tank aerial,with an old fly reel with about twenty yards of dark brown waxed heavy thread like stuff ? and a worm hook on about nine inches of heavy gut attached to the brown stuff and a piece of lead for weight.
The line was pulled off the reel and lay in a tangled mass at your feet and hopefully the lead weight would pull it out when you cast. At any rate, at the Keban Pot on the Urie something enormous took hold of my worm. An old timer wearing a flat cap and an old knee length trench coat with an canvas army bag slung over his shoulder and a battered old rod appeared at my back to watch the commotion but never said a word.
After much heaving and threshing with neither the fish or myself giving an inch, the hook flew out of the water, almost straightened, with a chunk of fish hanging from it. At that the old guy turned away, and as he went, said "Ach laddie, ye shoulda geid it some line!"
Big brother had never passed on that bit of wisdom!!
Southpark with Kenny
When MacD told Duncan and I that he had booked a day for himself at Park South and there were other rods available we jumped at a chance, as we had discussed a day at Park for some time. Enthusiastic texts were exchanged and we finally had 3 rods on south Park booked, through the Fish Dee website. We could not wait.
River levels and recent catches were scritinised on an hourly basis during the preceding days and as our excitement rose it became clear that conditions would be fine on the day. It was agreed that I would drive and Duncan and I met the evening before our day to check tackle, and make sure we had every possible toy packed, rods, reels, nets, waders and tube boxes were all checked into the landy’s boot. We left early to beat the traffic (I could not sleep, too excited) and collected MacD then took a leisurely rush to Park.
Upon arrival we got out of the landy, made a small play of casually stretching and then ran to the river bank, to check conditions. The river was running slightly high but clear and as Kenny the Ghillie came over to meet us our silly grins made it clear that we would enjoy our day whatever happened. Kenny was really kind to us, chatting about the river and recent catches while we enjoyed a morning coffee. He remembered that many years ago we were on the same syndicate at Maryculter, a beat I still fish and we chatted about old times, fishers and fish. He also remembered the video we took of a giant salmon in the Dee and wondered if he caught it some two weeks later at Tilbouries, a monster of over 40lbs!
We signed our paperwork, GS declarations and discussed the various beats available to us, and it all sounded wonderful, with such productive waters just outside the window of the fine hut (more of a cottage really) we were buzzing with excitement. MacD would fish above the hut in a streamy run into a pool right outside the hut, Duncan had the Cellar pool and famous Durris streams and I had Bakebare, where yesterday a 20lb fish was taken. I was encouraged to wade as deep as possible and cast as far as I could.
MacD wondered off up stream whilst Duncan and I were driven by Kenny to our beats. Duncan was dropped off first, onto a bit of water that on the opening day I saw an angler catch 10 fish in two hours, all kelts but this bit of water really holds fish, and to support this as we got out of the Jeep a fish splashed below us, now this place just keeps getting better.
Kenny skillfully described the pools, taking points, lies and suggested a suitable fly for Duncan, and agreed to return as soon as I was dropped off.
We then drove to my pool, the famous Bakebare. This is a long pool, with a strong run at the top and a long glide before a very long rush, fast water that would surely tire out a fish on the way upstream. Kenny pointed out the various taking points, and described in some detail where I should wade and cast to. I waded in, bungled a cast or two (well, Kenny was watching!) and proceeded on my way.
Now this was a tough wade, deep water and although the bottom was firm and uniform where I was wading it had a great flow, and fairly pushed me down the pool. A good few fish were splashing about, and then the chap on the other bank bent into a fish, which lead him on a merry dance through the fast water. He skillfully reached down when it was played out and unhooked it in the water, and as he walked back up the bank I waved my congratulations, “Big kelt” he replied.
I fished down the pool, happily enjoying the experience, and atmosphere of this famous Dee beat. But I did not have a pull.
Cold feet and the bottom of the pool forced me to trudge back up the beat, my feet warming and the sun giving me the encouragement to have another go. It was 1120, and Kenny told me that yesterday at 1030 a run of fish came through. Suddenly he appeared, and quickly told me that the ghillie on the beat below had seen a pod of fish moving quickly upstream. He checked I was ok, and then told me Duncan had lost one just upstream in the Durris streams. I was ok I replied, and masterfully bungled another cast (well, he was watching again!)
Kenny dashed off back upstream, to check on the others and I got back into the water, 1125 and mindful that the tide moves forward an hour every day I shot a single spey across the pool, the line rocketing out now that Kenny was gone, now that deserves one I thought. It swung around perfectly but nothing, so I cast again, again a rocketer that even tugged a little line off the reel. The line swung across Bakebare and then suddenly the line tightened, and a firm tug and head shake signaled a fish had taken the gold Willie Gunn brass tube. Now in the last 2 weeks or so I had had some 10 -12 kelts and this fish just sat there, shook its head and kited away from me. Kelt I thought so I really bent the 15ft rod into it, and it did not like that! It shot upstream, through the current off across the pool, and it was now evident that this was no kelt. I won some line before it rocketed off again, and now the worries started, what if I loose it, will they believe me (no way) will I get it, why did I not buy new leader line, who’s idea was it to use barbless doubles, what madness is that.
A swirl in the current in the stream and an iridescent flash below the surface further increased my worries, what a fantastic fish, I NEEED a photo of it, why wont it come in, please fight longer, where is Kenny, and Duncan……….and MacD. A strong run away from me, cascapedia screaming soon dispelled these thoughts, and I remember thinking that I could not think of a place I would rather be at that moment in time, where was the Ghillie, my wife, et al.
The fish moved across the pool towards me and I got a good look at it, a clean fish and no doubt, fat as a barrel and not best pleased that the gold Willie Gunn was so strong!
The fight slowed and we got into that nasty tug of war and splashy bit under the rod point, with me wanting to get up the bank away from the fish to allow some line between us as a shock absorber and the fish thrashing about just 15 ft away, where was Duncan when you need him. I glance at my watch and it is now 1144, and the fish is within netting distance, the Gye net gets him and a Dee springer is now resting in the net, on the surface of Bakebare and I am shaking trying to get my electronic priest out (camera) to record the moment/ proof.
The fish complies and I get a couple of poor shots off, but don’t care, I am delighted.
I flick out the hook, right the fish and gently push it out of the net. It rockets off, right upstream and heads for Braemar.
I wave to the chap on the far bank, shout 12lbs and text Duncan/Kenny/MacD/Stuart/Webmaster/Janine/Colin from Somers/Chris. I could not phone as the shake in my voice would have been noticeable (19 years in the emergency services, nothing shocks me but a big fish has me shaking, thank goodness my watch are not here to see this)
I am now a very happy chap and on top of the world, so I have another cast while I await the congratulations/insults/disbelief from the guy’s texts, and then the line stops again!
It tightens and a fish is felt shaking is head, the rod bends and the chap on the other bank kindly waves that friendly “I hope you fall in” kind of wave that these moments bring. My phone starts to make that Hardy perfect buzz ring tone that Colin from Somers gave me and the chap on the other bank waves again “hope you fall in and drown” he smiles through gritted teeth.
This fish is not another glorious springer, It may have been 11 months ago but now it is a well mended kelt, tinny shine and a mouth full of teeth it gives a good kick or two but the fight is more controllable, the runs only pull the rod tip down and the reel keeps its line. The fight is shorter and in the net it fights me again, thrashing about an even trying to bite me. It again goes back easily and the chap on the far bank waves a happy “fall in get bitten by a kelt then drown you jammy*********”.
I settle down to answering my texts when Kenny’s Jeep comes bouncing around the corner.
He has a grin slightly smaller than mine, but only just, as he strides proudly towards me with hand outstretched and says “Welcome to Park Sir”
The time was exactly 1200.
Now where do I book for my next day!