On the River
Date: 29/30th November
We booked our annual
We had booked the
You never know unless you go! The sun did come out for a very short while!
On Monday morning we were greeted with over a foot of fresh snow in Walkerburn and almost blizzard conditions. Undeterred we headed out onto the river and hoped conditions would improve. Although we all saw fish moving in the morning no one in our group of six touched a fish. After lunch the conditions deteriorated and everyone except myself and Pascal headed back to the hotel and the bar. We stuck it out for a few more hours but once our line started freezing in the rod rings and we couldn’t feel our fingers or toes decided enough was enough! Talk in pub revolved around the worsening conditions and also tactics.
Shakespeare Trion Rod and Reel
Myself and Pascal had fished with Intermediate lines on our 15ft Trion rods. After discussion with our Shakespeare consultant Gary Scott and also some locals we realised that even in the low conditions our fly was probably not fishing deep enough. The salmon must have been lying very deep and due to the cold water temperatures probably rather lethargic! So we followed the advice and agreed we would switch to fast sinking lines on the following day and also concentrate on the deeper areas of the pools.
Wading was not much fun!
It had snowed through the night and we now had over 2 feet of fresh snow to contend with on Tuesday morning. Due to worries about dangerous driving conditions all of the group apart from myself and Pascal decided not to fish and head for home….a sensible decision!
Pascal however had travelled from
So after a great breakfast we headed back to the river dressed like arctic explorers and where ready to do battle with the elements. To be honest any thoughts of catching a salmon in these conditions were out of my mind but it was a challenge and also I liked Pascal’s positive attitude. In fact his determined actions the day before and also on other trips has given him the nickname of ‘the heron’!
Pascal ‘Le Heron’
Pascal ‘Le Heron’
Our fast sinking 10/11 lines where definitely fishing deeper and we started to hook the bottom more often especially on the ‘dangle’. So although we lost a few flies, we felt confident that our flies where spending more time in the catching zone.
Although we had again seen some nice salmon moving, by midday we were starting to think about heading home and agreed to give it another 30 mins before we stopped. I tried the top of a deep pool above Pascal and the unthinkable happened! I had a steady take that took me totally by surprise and a fish was hooked.
Our salmon just about beaten at the edge.
It fought very well and I had to move downstream about 40 meters in order to land the fish in some shallower water, not easy in 3ft of snow and during a snowstorm. The fish was about 8lb and although coloured probably the most hard earned fish I’ve ever caught!
The hard won prize!
Returning the fish to fight again – I think that qualifies as ‘Extreme Fishing’ Mr Green?
Now let me get warm!