High drama and a first for ghillie

Reid Hagelin with his 35lb cock salmon
Reid Hagelin with his 35lb cock salmon

Autumn chills are very noticeable in Deeside with water temperatures really starting to fall significantly.

This hasn’t meant salmon angling has ground to a halt - far from it - with some lucky anglers enjoying some moments of high drama with big River Dee salmon.

In accordance with the River Dee Conservation Code fishing is now restricted for beats below Aboyne Bridge.

FishDee beats have reported as I write, 237 salmon to 35 lbs and 14 sea trout.

Undoubtedly higher catches would have been made if we didn’t have a dirty rise in river levels during the week.

Park reported 44 salmon; Lower Crathes had 37 to 4 fishermen, Carlogie 29, Ballogie 20 and Crathes 18.

I met visiting angler Tono Puicercus, a very fine artist who specialises in fishing commissions. I had commissioned him to produce a painting for me and he travelled from Spain to bring the finished artwork -it’s a super painting. As a result of this planned meeting we agreed to do some fishing and were able to secure some rods at Lower Crathes.

Tono manages the Lax-A fishing business in Spain for Arni Baldursson and is a keen salmon angler and regular visitor to the River Dee. The fishing was really excellent with ghillies Robert Harper and Charles Booth doing a great job in looking after the visiting anglers from Spain and Norway.

Reid Hagelin who was over from Norway hooked into a huge fish, first cast at the top of the Mill Pool and had a real battle with a big strong male fish which took him hundreds of yards downstream. Charles Booth waited patiently providing great advice for the angler and Charles eventually managed to get the great fish into the MacLean landing net after it got stuck in some Ranunculus weed in the pool tail.

The angler and ghillie were delighted to see the scale drop to over 35 lbs and agreed that they would settle at 35 lbs and swiftly took some images for the angler and beat and returned the fish safely back to the river.

The angler would never have landed this great fish without the ghillie who waded out to secure the capture of this great specimen.

The visiting anglers had some great sport with Frances tubes fished deeply on fast sink tip lines. Head ghillie Robert Harper was absolutely thrilled to write up the capture of this big fish into the catch log; his first entry of over 30lbs in 36 years of being a top ghillie.