Thursday, 21 May 2015

Manar - River Don

I was back on the lovely Manar beat of the River Don with my good pal Charlie last Saturday. The water was sitting around 4.5" on the beat gauge and crystal clear. My set up for the day was my 13ft Hardy Uniqua, floating AFS Shooting head and a 6ft intermediate tip.

The cracking new hut at Manar on the River Don.
This was my first trip to Manar this season and it was good to be back there again. It has to be one of the best kept beats on the entire river and it would grace any of the famous river is Scotland in terms of upkeep. It was also good to see the new hut as I hadn't been down since October last year when the old hut was accidentally burnt down. Charlie and the Manar regulars have been very busy over the close season and have done a fantastic job with the new hut and area outside.

Fishing down the Chapel pool in the morning.
As Charlie and I were the only rods on the beat, we had the pick of the pools so decided to give the Chapel a go first of all before the sun was on it. We made our way down and fished through the pool but neither of us had a touch so we made our way back up river to have a go in the Sheep pool.

The Corner Pool.
I went round to have a run through the Corner Pool and Charlie followed me down fishing the Sunray Shadow. I had finished the pool and fished through the Sheep Pool too without a touch. There were plenty trout rising so I made my way back to the hut to get my trout rod. I had just arrived at the hut when I heard a shout from Charlie. His rod was bent into a lively fish! I ran up the bank to assist him with the net and after a very hard fought battle I slipped the net under a chrome bright springer of around 12lb.

Charlie fishing the Sheep Pool.
Charlie fighting hard with a fresh run River Don springer.
Safely in the net!
What we are all after. Charlie with his cracking 12lb River Don springer.
Horseshoe Haugh. Nothing doing in here but a nice cast regardless.
We decided to go for lunch after Charlie returned his fish and we sat in the new hut reflecting on whats was a pristine specimen of a Don salmon. It just goes to show, you don't have to spend a fortune fishing expensive beats on the Dee or Spey when you have fish this good right on your doorstep. It is great to see the Don picking up the odd fish in what has been a lean season for most rivers. There is just something special about a River Don springer and you can see why.
After lunch we decided to head upstream to fish the Horseshoe Haugh and then into the Long Pool. Charlie let me have first run through the Horseshoe but it proved fruitless so we made our way down to the Long Pool. The Long Pool is a nice bit of water but we could see nearly every stone in the pool. Despite this, Charlie thought there might just be a fish lying in the channel which runs down the far bank. By this time, I had changed fly and was now fishing the Sunray Shadow and Charlie let me have first run down again. I must have had about a dozen casts when there was an almighty swirl at my fly. A fish had followed it right across the river and hammered it just as I was about to lift my rod to recast. I felt the weight of the fish and lifted into it but no sooner was the fish on, it was off again! It took me completely by surprise and if I had been expecting a take so close to the bank I might have been able to set the hook better. Sadly though, it was another fish lost for me this Spring which brought the tally to 4 having lost fish on my last 3 outings on the Don previous to this one. I was really miffed and I fished the rest of the pool but couldn't temp another fish to have a go.

Yours truly fishing down the Long Pool shortly before losing a good fish further down the pool.
We decided to call it day around 6.30pm but it was great to see the Don producing the good again when very few rods would have been out in such low water conditions. The fish are running hard just now and if you're in the right place at the right time when they stop, there is a good chance of connecting with one. I'll be back at Manar again very soon and I will look forward to it. Hopefully next time there is a springer with my name on it waiting for me in one of the beat's pools.

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