Memorable Summer Salmon

After a day on AST business in Edinburgh yesterday, I decided to fish just one pool in the gathering dusk of a drizzly late evening. I chose the Red Brae, where the water level was lapping the top of the wall – a perfect height for catching a salmon. Getting to the Red Brae’s north bank from the suspension bridge is much easier, and less like bashing through the Sumatra jungle, after Iain’s work clearing a wide path.  Combined with repairs to the suspension bridge access to the north bank is now fully restored. It is now an easy stroll along the bank to fish the Red Brae itself, from the Lemno confluence at the height of water last night. I should also mention the emergency repairs carried out by William Wells and The Scottish Oak team on our flood damaged suspension bridge. It is as good as new, awaiting the next massive tree rolling down the river on top of a big spate! Thanks Will.
9 lbs salmon in net
9lbs salmon from the dub of Red Brae Pool
A silvery and drizzly dusk.
I was encouraged by the sight of a neat, split fresh, little grilse rolling it’s back and flicking its tail in the way only grilse do. That fish showed just where the current changes direction at the downstream end of the wall. And then I saw a salmon boil a bit further down in the deep part of the pool – the Dub. The water was slightly peat coloured and enticingly clear, so that I could see every cobble and ripple of sand on the bed of the river.
I fished the pool down steadily, plopping the fly just short of the wall on a fast sinking leader with a size 8 Yellow Torrish double with reduced barbs. Below the wall I started lengthening line to get the fly swinging nicely across the widest part of the pool, led smoothly by bringing the rod tip across and parallel to my own bank while gently hand lining to keep up the speed and depth of the fly About ten yards down from the end of the wall, in a lovely swirly bit of water where the current starts gathering pace, I felt a long, firm draw. The rod tip bowed reverently and I tightened into a strong hen fish of about eight pounds, which after two determined runs, gradually came to the net after about ten minutes. She was a bit coloured and the hook came away in the net, so I was able to photograph her in the net and release her without touching the fish. Needless to say, she swam off strongly, with relief expressed in every movement of her fins as she slid away into the peaty depths of Red Brae.
You might be thinking to yourself, “why is Tony telling this story of one very ordinary and not very fresh salmon?” A simple answer from me: it was all about the satisfaction of ending a long and tiring day on a note of perfection. As I walked back in the deepening dusk, with a fine drizzle keeping the trees shiny and dripping, I was reminded of why I go fishing, and of those elemental emotions the hunter in me evokes!


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