I had an invite a couple of months ago to go and fish the Findhorn we booked and agreed the 13th September. The day before arrived and I began to doubt the sense of driving 3 hours there and back. Nevertheless my host had taken the time and trouble to book the fishing and invite me so off I went leaving home at 5.30am.
My host Ian met me at Dulsie Bridge the gorge section of the river, turns out we were going to fish at the top of this section on the Cawdor Castle, Banchor beat. This gorge on the Findhorn stretches from here down almost to Forres some 20 miles.
I new that the river would not be very wide so I was delighted to have taken my new Bob Meiser 13 ft which I had bought primarily for skagit casting from their Highlander Classic series. Whilst I have no great opportunity to fish skagit as a game angling instructor I needed to know about it and have the kit. It does however give me the opportunity to have a set up which will enable me to fish in tight locations. Instead of a skagit I have been linking this rod with a Rio, Scandi Short Versi Tip shooting head. The rod is rate #6/7/8 with a grain window of 450 to 750 and this is a #8 weight line what can I say the versatility this outfit gives is amazing.
The rod itself is 4 piece with a through action it bends right down into the butt when using skagit lines. It is not as light as some but extremely well put together and finished off. At first I was not keen on the look of the part cork/composite handle but with time have grown accustomed to this finish. The very distinctive jungle cock feather varnished into the butt section makes the rod easily recognisable as a Meiser.
Now for the scandi short line, it weighs in at 485 grains and is a #8 and it does exactly what it says in the packed and more. Developed by Rio as a shooting head for smaller rivers and tight casting situations. To be used with shorter double handed rods It comes as a kit and includes 4 interchangeable 10ft tips (Floating, Clear Intermediate, Type 3 Sink, Type 6 Sink). The more, to me is that I have since used it on the Tay a big river and did not feel under gunned. Ok you have to strip in a lot of running line but it works a treat. I have tended to use the skagit where I have had clients who need to get spey casting in quick time. This line is even better for this and I used it recently with a client planning a weeks fishing and he asked to keep it for the week, so I hope to get it back!
Now back to the fishing. The river was running off after a little rain and looked as though it could maybe have done with a little more water. Ian was quickly into a fish in the Buck pool which was quickly on and off. He later told me that he has never managed to land a fish on this beat! We fished on down the entire beat hoping from rock to rock. If you are infirm in anyway this is not the beat for you. Lunch was taken in the splendid hut available on the water and my host had made a superb lunch including wine which I resisted as I knew I had a long drive home.
The afternoon was time for a fly change and I put a red francis tied on a size 10 long shank treble. I had never used this fly before everyone said it was good but for some reason I resisted it, the limited colour I think put me off, being all red.
I could not understand why though as I had in the distant passed used natural dyed shrimps and GP’s. As you might imagine it worked as I entered the big rock pool not the biggest fish in the world I would guess about 7lb but a nice clean fish for this time of year.
So there it is my first fish on this fly, on this river , on the line and on this rod always a joy.
As a post script I was on the Tay a couple of days later and the red francis worked again this time on a fish that was approximately 17lb coloured as you can see, on my Scott MacKenzie 15 ft partnered with another great line from Rio the AFS.
I am told that the black francis will also work a treat but that might well be a step to far.