Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Success At Manar For Charlie

I was pleased to recieve some pictures from my pal Charlie from his outing at Manar yesterday evening. He landed a nice fresh grilse and also lost a couple too. He was telling me on the phone yesterday that there is a lot of fish being caught in the area just now with a few big fish coming off Inverurie Fishings. Manar is fishing really well just now and along with their opposite bank, catching a fair few fish between them. Long may it continue. Always good to hear that the River Don is fishing well as it is often overlooked due to it's famous neighbour, the Dee.

I was out for a couple of hours tonight on the lower Don at the Parkhill beat of the ADAA. I didn't see any fish apart from one big coloured fish showing in the Manse Pool at Lower Fintray. I was talking to a couple of well know faces on the lower Don, who were telling me of some good runs of fish coming in with every tide and how Saturday was a good day catches wise on the ADAA waters.

Here are the pictures Charlie sent to me last night.

A fresh run grilse from the Lower Wood pool at Manar. The fish was the first to fall to Charlie's Boar Bristle Cascades. Plenty fresh fish around at the moment.
Quick photo before release. Some net marks visable along the flank of the fish.
Charlie's Boar Bristle Cascades tied on size 10 Partridge doubles.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

River Don At Breda

After a good lift in water earlier on in the week, I booked a day on the Breda beat near Alford. The water height was 1' 1" this morning which is almost ideal for the beat. The water was a nice colour with just a wee hint of peat stain. Weather wise too, it was perfect. I couldn't have asked for better conditions today.

I arrived at the beat about 8.15am and tackled up with a floating Mackenzie DTX shooting head and a 6ft intermediate tip with a #11 Kinermony Killer.I started in a pool called Laird's Pot. A nice wee pool with the current all mostly down the far bank and a couple of good looking lies. I fished it right to the tail but didn't see or touch anything.
Laird's Pot. A lovely wee pool where the tail fishes best.

Next pool I fished was Smith's Brae. Again, another lovely looking pool but this time the flow is right down the centre. I started at the neck of the pool and within a couple of casts I lifted into a strong fish. The chrome bright grilse about 6 or 7lbs splashed on the surface and begun bombing upstream. I got the tension back in the rod and just as the fish was slightly below me "PING"!!! The fly came undone and the fish was off! I composed myself and took a few steps back upstream to cover it again but no joy. Although a fresh fish did show where I hooked the one I lost. Might have been the same fish, who knows? I fished on down the pool but only a couple of parr for my efforts.
Smith's Brae. I hooked the fish just off the fallen bank on the far side about 2/3rds over.
I was met by Martin Webster the River Don bailiff who is looking after the beat for the owner at the next pool which is called The Rock. Martin kindly stayed with me for most of the day showing me all the pools and where to fish. This info was much appreciated as it is alot of water to cover without knowing it. Martin said that the best taking spots in this pool is 20 yards either side of the sun house situated on the opposite bank. I fished all the way down without a touch but it was another nice pool for the fly.
Rock Pool. Below the sun house up on the far bank is a good taking lie for salmon.
On our way back up, Martin suggested having a cast in a little run below some willow trees. The old ghillie had said it was a good lie for taking salmon. It is only about half a dozen casts but on my second cast I had a thumping take! I lifted into the fish but nothing! Again, a #11 Kinermony Killer was the fly.
Ghillie's Run. The lie is about half way across the river opposite the willows.

After a bite to eat Martin showed me the to the top of the beat. The drive is a bit rough and only suitable for a 4x4. The top pool is called Flaskie and looking down from the high bank, you can see a couple of good lies dotted down the pool. I started fishing down the pool and about half way down I had a good pull of my fly. This time I was using a #13 Mhari's Shrimp. That was the only action I had in this pool but I really like it here. A cracking pool and it holds fish from April onwards.
Flaskie's Pool from the high bank. You can see the bits which are likely lies to hold salmon, especially the tail in higher water.
I fished on down through Whin Brae, Tree Hole and Brown's without a touch and head to the next pool Martin suggested which was the Tub Pool. Another nice deep, streamy pool ideal for fishing the fly. Martin called it a day and I thanked him for all his help which was much appreciated as I would have been fishing blind without him. I changed back to the #11 Kinermony Killer but didn't see or touch anything. The only action I saw in here was a mink swimming up the river with a huge rat in it's mouth. I got a cracking photo before it scurried over to the other side to eat its supper in peace.
The Tub Pool. Like the rest of the beat at this height of water, perfect for fly fishing.
A mink with a big rat in it's mouth looking for some peace and quiet to eat it's supper.
I carried on making my downstream through Ash Tree and Beech Avenue but no luck.
Middle Pond Ash. Looks like it might hold a fish or two in cold Spring conditons.
Lower Pond Ash. Nothing touched or seen in here but worth fish none-the-less.

I fished on until 7pm and apart from a pull at my fly at the tail of Laird's Pool that was it. All in all a good day out and finished up with 3 pulls and a lost fish so at least they were there. Not much showing so it was encouraging to at least get a reaction to the fly. I will look forward to heading back to Breda to give it a go very soon.

If interested in fishing this lovely beat, please click on the link and have a look.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Franc N Snaelda

After reading about the success of Ballogie ghillie, Sean Stanton's Franc N Snaelda fly, I have tied up a couple to give a swim on the Don this weekend. I also have a weeks fishing on the Dee coming up at the end of the month so they will get a proper soaking then.

Sean has an on-line shop which sells flies that have been proven catchers of fish on his beats of the Dee. His flies can be bought here.

I really like the profile of Snaelda flies and often use them during the season. I have tied these up on 3/4" plastic tubes with small cone heads. With the water still running at a good height they might just be ideal for this weekend. I hope so anyway.

I took the dressing from local angler and fly tyer Ross MacDonald's article in the Trout and Salmon magazine. Ross himself is a very innovative fly tyer and his Park Shrimp is now found in almost every fly box.
The blue and yellow versions of the Franc N Snaelda.
The dressing from the Trout and Salmon is as follows:

Thread: Black
Tail: Black Bucktail/Four Strands Silver Krystal Flash/Four Blue or Yellow Feelers 
Rear Hackle: Black Cock Hackle
Body: Medium Chenille (I've used black wool)
Rib: Oval Silver (I used gold for the yellow version)
Front Hackle: Blue or Yellow
Head: Silver or Gold Cone

Chartreuse and Wiliie Gunn Franc N Snaeldas tied on Sean Stanton Signature tubes.

My favourite. Pink Franc N Snaeldas. Deadly in the Autumn. Also tied on Sean Stanton Signature tubes.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Early Start On The Don Pays Off

I was up early this morning and headed down to the River Don. It was running at about 1' 6" on the Parkhill gauge and a good colour. The river has been in great condition these last few weeks with good water and, apart from a few days, running quite clear.

I started off in the Manse about 6.30am. The water was just how I like it for this pool, lapping over a big stone off the bank so I was quietly confident. Apart from a few coloured fish showing nothing much was happening so after a fruitless run down through the pool with a #9 Flamethrower, I changed fly to a sunray shadow. I headed back to the top of the pool and just off the stone I spoke about earlier, my fly was grabbed! After a short but spirited fight, I landed a nice, fresh sea trout about 3lb. No sea lice present but it could have not been in much more than a few days. That was all I touched in the Manse so I strapped the rod on the car and headed across the river to fish the Streams from the South bank.

I arrived at the Streams car park about 10.30am after taking the long way round via Kintore. I kept the same set up that did the business in the Manse Pool, which consisted of a Mackenzie DTX G2 9/10 Floating Shooting Head, a 10ft slow sink tip, 6ft of 10lb Yo-zuri Hybrid and a plastic Sunray Shadow tube. About 5 minutes after starting just opposite the concrete hut, my sunray was hammered by a lively fish. After another short scrap, I netted a sea trout about 2lbs. Again, not sea liced, but it hadn't been in the river that long. After a quick photo I returned the fish and carried on down the pool but nothing doing.

I moved on downstream to fish the Cothal pool, which, at this height of water is a good holding pool when the fish have negociated the fast, streamy water from Fae-Me-Well. There is also a good lie off the North bank where I landed a coloured wee grilse last season. I concentrated the lower half of the pool and with-in a few cast my rod was about pulled out my hand! I couldn't believe it when a chunky wee brown trout about 1 3/4lbs broke the surface. What a hit it gave the sunray as it swung round past the lie. I quickly returned it back to the river and had another cast in the same place. Almost identical to the first fish, my sunray was taken by another greedy brown trout about the same weight as the last one. I fished on down to Fae-Me-Well but it is not really suited for fly fishng as the current comes back on itself and drags the fly down. I called it a day about 12.30 and headed home.

Here are some pictures from today.

A fresh run sea trout from the Manse Pool taken on a Sunray Shadow.
Another nice Sea-Trout from the Streams. Again taken on a Sunray Shadow.
The second of two Brown Trout also taken on Sunrays from the Cothal Pool.
The fly that served me well today. After buying this Guideline AWM 14' 9" 2 years ago, I have used it maybe twice, so today I gave it an outing. Matched up with a 9/10 42g Mackenzie G2 Shooting head, it cast with ease and was very impressive.  I'm going to be using this set up more often from now on!