Archive for October, 2015


Thursday, October 1st, 2015


A friend wrote to me about our Indian summer. He is coming to fish at FCW in late October and told me that he thought it might be a good time to paint some water colour pictures of the river if the current bright days and low river level continues. Here’s my reply;

Yes, idyllic. In fact I took the dogs out early this morning for their constitutional (which I have to say they take extremely seriously) and wandered down to my vantage seat at the head of Tyndals, tucked under the mature sycamore tree. As I sat there, with the dogs starting to think about breakfast (ie getting affectionate!), I saw a fresh grilse clear the water at the head of the stream, just a matter of five yards downstream of the Webcam Boulder. It was a fresh fish!

9 lbs salmon in net

Even better was an incident yesterday afternoon, with the sun blazing down and the water dead low. Iain had been ghillieing all day for a Mr Symonds to whom I had explained that there was small chance of catching a fish, but that he would have a lovely day fishing all the FCW pools (no one else fishing) in the excellent company of Iain.

Well, two things happened: first, Iain reported on huge numbers of salmon, mostly coloured, splashing about in House Pool, but none was in the slightest bit interested in his or Mr Symonds’ offerings. Then Iain told me that he had seen a veritable monster, as fresh as a spring daisy, or a Buckingham Palace freshly bulled tureen, leap clear of the water at the top of Breadalbane Pool. He was a bit coy about how big, but relented this morning when I pressed him by saying that it was in the upper twenties, or even bigger. A real South Esk Brammer!

Early autumn view in low water from the Red Brae Hut.

Early autumn view in low water from the Red Brae Hut.

Then, to cap it all on a hopeless day for fishing, our friend Mr Symonds, by this time charmed into a bucolic lethargy by the natural assets of FCW, convivial company of Iain, and warm sunshine, was fishing through the Red Brae with Iain beside him. Fishing with a Wetcel 2 and a Willie Gunn weighted cone head they fished through all the streamy bits before getting to the end of the Wall. Iain said to Mr S, “this is the dub where fish lie, but you will need to work the fly (there being no stream of any consequence)”

So Mr S took Iain’s advice and dropped the fly just short of the broken rocks under the south bank, downstream of the end of the Wall. As soon as he started to work the fly it was snatched hard by a heavy fish which turned out to be a splendid 15lbs cock salmon with full kype and glorious tartan. It gave the surprised Mr S a real struggle, as those big sexed-up, testosterone-filled male monsters do, was landed weighed and returned.

Beechesin very low water 9.13

Salmon fishing really is a mug’s game isn’t it?


PS By the way, I am sure there will be water when you are here, with the Indian Summer long gone and your water colours in their box. Leaves may be a problem. We will see.