Best week’s catch to end the season

Andy Crawford with a sea liced salmon at Park
Andy Crawford with a sea liced salmon at Park

The final week of the 2012 fishing season saw the best catches reported for the entire season.

FishDee beats have reported 414 salmon for the week with some really dramatic catches being made on some beats. Birse reported 76 salmon, Ballogie 59, Park 45 with Lower Crathes and Carlogie both reporting 32. The heaviest fish reported was landed by Thomas Torpe at 33lbs, which was measured at 43 inches, part of a catch of 11 he made for his day at Birse, on a size 14 fly. Heughhead beat on the Feugh had a catch of 14 in one day following the big spate that occurred during the latter half of the week. There were quite a number of significant individual catches made and large salmon caught and released during the week, which for the first part of the week saw excellent conditions tailor made for anglers to do well.

The latter half of the week saw a big spate descend through the valley from all the tributaries which slowed catches significantly on Friday and Saturday

Lars Terkildsen had a crack team of 18 experienced salmon anglers fishing Birse, Ballogie, Carlogie, Kincardine and Commonty beats during the week where their final tally for the week was 195 salmon, heaviest fish was Thomas 33 pounder from Birse.

I had dinner with a dozen of the anglers on Saturday at Ballogie House where I was able to discuss what they were doing, why their catches were so great and how the beats differed. I can advise that the anglers rotated beats every day so they had a minimum of 1 day on each beat. They fished from 8.00 am until dark every day and fished very hard and methodically.

They stressed they would not be using one tactic but employed different methods from fishing fast sink tips with Red Frances tubes to full floaters and size 14 flies, and virtually every combination in between. This ensured that anglers would find taking fish using differing methods. It’s interesting to see how anglers could take a huge amount on one beat and a more modest amount on another beat using exactly the same methods. I guess one can speculate that there were more taking fish on some beats than others.

Top angler was Mawill Lüdenbach with 24 salmon and the lowest return from Tor was 4 salmon for his week (6-12-14 and 18lbs). They showed me images of some fresh salmon and some large coloured cock fish.

Ian Neale, who operates the Speycaster.net guide business was back at Park for a few days and advised: “I had a party of five rods fishing on Park South from Monday-Wednesday and they caught 27 fish between them with a best fish of 23lbs, which was reasonably fresh. I went over to join them on Wednesday and they had all had a great time and had hooked and lost as many more, I believe, although North Bank wasn’t fairing quite as well!” Ian had asked me to visit the delightful Eliane Schleiffer during her week on the river and I visited her at Dess on Thursday. It was quite a thrill to see a gorgeous red Alvis sports car on the river bank. Eliane has a super blog about her fishing adventures in her Alvis TA21 1954, 6 cylinder car at http://www.salmonalvis.com/about/

I was pleased to receive feedback about the catch of 14 in a day at Heughhead on the Feugh with Alex and Kath Brown e-mailing to advise: “I had a call on Wednesday from Jules Evans who was looking to fish the beat at the end of the week. I advised him that the level was very low (3” above normal summer level, despite this Kevin Stirton had a 6lb salmon that day!) but with the rain forecast Saturday might be quite good. He took two rods but with all the rain on Friday I sent him a text that evening advising him he would be wasting his time as the river would, in all likelihood be too high. Despite that he took a trip up to the beat at 7.30 and decided conditions were fine, got his tickets at the Orvis shop and commenced fishing at 9.30am. When I arrived at the lodge at 2.30pm I was surprised his car was still there. I was in for an even bigger surprise when Jules announced that he had already caught 3 salmon and a 3lb sea trout! Not only that, his friend Paris had caught another two salmon and another customer, Douglas Cameron, had caught four salmon to 8lb!

Jules added that he had also lost a salmon of approx 17lb and Paris had his rod broken by another double figure fish! This was by far the best day we have had since we took over managing the beat and all the more satisfying as Kath and I had considered not staying open for the extension after not getting many customers last year! What a memorable day to finish off the 2012 season on the Feugh.”

It was nice to read the praise offered by Chris Adams to Shane Christie, the experienced Middle Drum beat ghillie, who commented: “Shane’s help with landing my 25lber was exceptional. He could see the fish was a good one and went over waist deep (no waders-just trousers and wellies) and when the moment was right, in with the net. Thank you Shane - my biggest fish to date.”

Chris also had a most enjoyable day at Crathes where he landed a 15lb salmon.

The 2012 season finished on Monday this week and I shall write a season review in the next few weeks once all the catches and correspondence are in.

To finish on a positive note though I am pleased to report that the current FishDee beat total for the entire season exceeds the five year average once again. Congratulations to all the anglers and beat ghillies for achieving this milestone following two exceptional fishing seasons in 2010 and 2011.