Posts Tagged ‘Tay’

New River, New Rod and Line

Friday, September 21st, 2012

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.

Looking upstream to the top of the beat. Suspension bridge that links to the east bank.

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.

Meiser Jungle Cock

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!

Black and white pools

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.

My host Ian in the Cow Pool

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.

Red Francis

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.

Tay Salmon approximately 17lb


I am told that the black francis will also work a treat but that might well be a step to far.


Monday, February 27th, 2012

The year is now two months long and I have not given much thought to posts or indeed fishing.  Life seems to have been to busy to fish and certainly not blog. Yes I have been fishing in fact on two occasions on the Tay chasing salmon at Glendelvine, I have been fly tying and doing some casting.

Lets start with the casting first.  GAIA has been taking up a lot of time, much more than I had imagined when I took on the role of  Chairman which I have now been doing for fifteen months. We have just completeda casting day at Stirling for the Scottish guys which was very enjoyable Tony Quinn drove all the way from Lancashire to join us which was dedication on his part.  Our next meeting is on the 25th March and if you want to join us let me know.

Brian McGlashan and Ken Oliver

The weekend of the 10th and 11th March is when GAIA holds its spring meeting this time in Llangollen which should also be good a day of assessments followed by a day of workshops this time from a group of Italian fly fisherman from SIM.  I know that I will come back enthused and with the lighter evenings coming maybe I can get back to casting practice.

Chasing salmon what can I say for the last few years now I have booked a number of days on Glendelvine a prime middle beat of the Tay.  These days cover the whole season so the early days can be fish less and cold.  I do not like harling so always fly fish from the bank and with few fish in the river and snow in the air its a difficult time to be out.

I like to commit to days in advance for my salmon fishing as opposed to being part of a syndicate as I feel obliged to go no matter what the weather as they are booked and paid for.  From here on in the fishing is going to get better March, April and May are prime months.


Harling, not normally this fast but they were cold and lunch was beckoning

Murthly Hut










Fly tying, I have been tying a few for the salmon and the opening of the Trout season at the end of the month.  The success this year has been the Milngavie Fly Dressers, this little club which we formed about four years ago has been growing.  We have a good turn out and regular speakers this week Paul Procter is about to descend on us, he is always good craic and great flies so I am looking forward to the evening.

Autumn Spey Casting Course

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Ken Muter APGAI a Hardy Academy member and I run an annual spey casting course.  This years course is on the Tay at Newtyle.  We always have a great time and this year if we get rain we should get some great fishing.  Details are to be found here .  I am never sure why we do these days as we will never get rich doing them, I guess that we do them because we enjoy the instructing and especially when things go right and it is an excuse to be on the river bank.

Photos I hate

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I went to the Tay for a day at the salmon, Glendelvine was the beat and weather was good air temperature of around 12 degrees and water a surprising 5 degrees.  Surprising because the weather has been superb all week with temperatures in the teens and yet the river level was 2ft 6 inches above normal summer level and steady.  The water has come from snow melt so I thought it might have been a bit colder.   The Tay amazes me in how clear it runs you can see every stone in 6 ft of water.  Anyway to high for fly and I do not posses a spinning rod my son Matthew has nicked them.   I saw fish but did not connect to any it was a great day by the river practicing my casting.  Lots of signs of spring arriving with birds pairing, oyster catchers and mallard, even watched a bumble bee enjoying the sun a buff tailed bumblebee and a queen at that.

Now for the photos I have been to a couple of GAIA casting days recently the last was last weekend on the Welsh Dee at Llangollen.  Someone always manages a few photos ( John Symonds was the photographer) and like most people I do not think that  I photograph well, I even dislike the sound of my recorded voice.

Trying to balance on a shooting stick!

I'm sure that they were taking the piss!

Ok loop rubbish anchor they said obvious I need to practice

So I am looking forward to the Lake of Menteith opening day tomorrow we normally manage a few fish  so here’s hoping.

In the steps of Georgina Ballantine

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I was back on the Tay again last Saturday 11th September fishing the very pool that Georgina Ballantine on the 7th October 1922 caught her British record salmon weighing 64lb I wish I could have made the same boast.

Georgina Ballantine

Hers took 2 hours to land with the help of her ghillie father mine took all of 2 minutes.  Nevertheless it was a salmon in miniature, mine was struggling to reach 2lb hers was 32 times larger.  Mine was perfect, it was a salmon in miniature and if I had taken a photo and posted it on this site I could have passed it off as a 10lb fish.

Mine was like this but 1/32 nd the size

I had missed a couple of offers in the morning, line being taken off the reel but when I tightened they were off as quickly.

This was my last day of the season on the Tay, I will be back next year hopefully with bigger results.  Steve the ghillie  as I left said that this was the smallest fish they had entered in the Glendelvine log book at least I can list my name alongside Georgina Ballantine and the Boat Pool .