I always like to visit new beats and bits of river. The other day I had the pleasure of going to Upper Murthly a middle beat on the Tay. I just took the notion and booked it on Fishtay.co.uk a couple of days before. That’s the great think about the internet being able to book fishing’s at very short notice when you see fish being caught or the height looks right. I got it slightly wrong and the river was 3ft up but running very clear and cold at 42 degrees.
I was met by Tony Black the ghillie and his 4 beautiful dogs, it turns out that I was the only rod on the beat that day so I got personal attention. It has been a long time since I fished a beat where the ghillie called me sir, wore tweed and a tie and offered to carry my rod, the last occasion was Birkhall on the Dee, the Queen Mother’s beat. As ever Tony being a ghillie was optimistic he had caught a fish the day before so they were around and if there should take a fly. I was relaxed and simply wanted to enjoy the day and surroundings if I had an encounter with a fish then that was a bonus.
Using a Loomis Stinger shooting head S3 and a Willie Gunn and off we went to fish the Tronach pool which was at the top of the beat. Shooting heads I prefer in high water or if you want to fish a sinking line, they are easier to control and lift out of the water, pull in the running line when you have fished the cast out, role cast to lift the head to the service then straight into a cast in this case a single spey. I fished the pool down several times before lunch changing fly on several occasion but no fish was encountered.
It did get me thinking about my casting though, on the pond at the Glasgow Casting club it’s comparatively easy but on the river all sorts of faults creep in this case “crashed anchors”. I am going to have to consult some of my mates within GAIA although I suspect I am dipping the rod.
Lunch was a relaxed affair in a warm hut with Tony talking about the flies he ties always good to hear someone else’s views. He has had a write up in the T & S for a few of his flies the Ghillie, a Murthly Marauder and a Stenton Shrimp. Always interested in new patterns especially local ones I committed to looking them up in past copies of the magazine.
I wish I could now say that we went onto catch several fish in the afternoon but of course that was not the case. I did walk the beat and checked it out for future occasions crossing the river in the boat whilst Tony harled. It was a good day I enjoyed it and hopefully I will fish the beat again.