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An ANGLING post from the weekend. Sorry, no poaching here!!!

Discussion in 'North East Fresh Water Fishing' started by rupert, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    This was my third trip to the river Annan this Autumn. I hadn’t fished there since my last trip with Sam Baxter three weeks earlier, but the local grapevine told me it had been pretty hard going recently, with only a handful of fish being taken.

    My guest was John Hudson. During the summer, John often asks me to join him aboard his boat, an Orkney 5.2 called “Cape Cod” so this was a way of returning the fishing favour.

    At 8.45 a.m. just before we arrived, I put a call through to Ross, who is one of the local rods. Ross had just landed himself and had already checked the level gauge, which read 1’ 9” - so we would have to stick to the fly all day.

    The beat can only be fished by the twenty season ticket holders, but it’s a bit of a lottery as to how many of them might be fishing. With the end of the season in sight, and it being a Saturday, I thought there may be a few more rods out, but as it happened there were just the four of us, including Kevin, who had driven down from Glasgow.

    The temperature was just off freezing, with the residue of a light frost evident as we walked across the grass field to the river. It looked like it would get out to be a nice day, with little or no wind to trouble us. The river was running clear, with only very odd leaf in the water. Providing the wind didn’t get up, the leaves shouldn’t present a problem.

    John and I were both using double handed 15’ Bruce and Walker rods with Rio windcutter multi tip lines. We both opted for the same tip, the 6” per second sinker, to which we added 5’ of 15lb mono. John likes his maxima, whereas I use JRC stiff fluorocarbon, the stuff that the carp boys use for tying rigs. This stiff fluorocarbon turns a tube fly over better in my opinion.

    Fly wise, John selected a 1 ¼” black and yellow brass tube. I went for a bright purple pot bellied pig shrimp pattern, which when combined with a blood red treble hook, really looked the business! These are completely different to the Alley shrimp or Willie Gunn variants that every man and his dog seems to use, and have given me some success over the past two seasons.

    Kevin had just climbed out of river from the “under the wire” pool. This is normally as good a place as anywhere at this height of water, but Kevin was fishless. I suggested to John that we give it half an hour then try again. John fished it through, but with no joy. Perhaps things might improve as the air temperature rose?


    One of the ‘opposition’ rods on the far side of the river hooked into a salmon around 11.00 a.m. which was encouraging. There were a good few fish showing in most of the pools and the height of water made the fly fish round really nicely. The morning was flying past and it was one of those days when you could have expected a pull at any moment.

    Kevin was fishing the Home pool and I walked down to see how he was getting on. He’d had one good pull on the fly in the fast water leading into the pool, but that had been it. I said that I would go onto the next section round the corner.

    John fishing the run to the Home Pool


    The Home Pool itself always holds fish, but the dead water on the inside bend of the pool makes it hard to fly fish. The steep bank behind makes overhead casting impossible and the dead water makes spey casting ineffective, as the line doesn’t fish round to the dangle. With more water at spinning height, you can fish the pool thoroughly, but with the fly rod, it’s all rather frustrating.

    The tail of the Home Pool leads into a long straight run, with a fishy looking crease down the far bank edge. I’d never caught from this section before, but I knew Ross had nailed a salmon here, on my first visit this year. My opening cast plopped the purple shrimp a yard from the far bank and it had swum only a matter of feet, before it was intercepted.

    The line moved steadily off as I tightened down and lifted into the salmon. Those opening seconds can be make or break, but a fully bent rod suggested a decent hook hold. The fish just hung out in the current, with occasional ‘jag’ if I increased the pressure. I had first hooked the fish at 11.45 a.m. and for the next ten minutes it stayed out of sight near the far bank. By this time it had moved upstream and round the corner and into the Home Pool itself. A shout to Kevin and he was on standby with his net!

    And this was the fish, a really short and deep hen salmon of 15lb 8oz. It was a belting fish, which clearly hadn’t been in the river all that long. Most of the fish are pretty coloured at this time of the year, but every now and again you can be lucky enough to get a spanker like this.




    I rang Ross to see how he was doing. Interestingly he’s had one at exactly the same time as me, so was this coincidence, or had they ‘come on’? To rub salt into John’s wound, Ross had taken his fish from water that John had fished only half an hour earlier! That’s salmon fishing for you.

    Kevin had to be away in the middle of the afternoon, so that left the three of us concentrating on the top half of the beat, where the best fly water is to be found. The Cow Drink pool is another good pool at this height of river and so Ross and I encouraged John to fish that through. Despite giving it a good try, John failed to get any interest from the fish, which regularly showed through the run he was fishing.


    The light started to fail just before 5pm when we saw Ross re-appear to show us the pictures of a coloured cock salmon he had just landed from the under the wire pool, in the gloaming. So that was two fish for him that day.

    The season on the Annan normally finishes on the 15th November, but it has now been extended for a fortnight to the 30th November, on a trial basis, but with compulsory catch and release. The reason is that there are an increasing number of clean fish being caught at the end of the season – possibly early spring fish, who knows? Anyway, it looks like there might now be time to fit in another visit before the months out?

    It’s a five hour round trip for me and I sometimes envy these locals who have such fine fishing on their doorstep. There’s a popular misconception that good salmon fishing costs a fortune. It doesn’t have to. Day tickets can still be had on other Annan beats in November for £20/day.


    The locals who fish the Dryfeholm beat with me, probably fish once a week throughout the season as the river has some superb brown trout, grayling and sea trout as well as the salmon. For them, each day works out at less than a tenner. I would say that’s pretty good value in anyone’s book.
  2. mattylamb

    mattylamb Rockling

    superb report and a lovely fish Rupert :yes:
  3. dan the pollock

    dan the pollock Rockling

    cracking fishing again rupert, that hens a beauty
  4. Sambo

    Sambo To the MAX!

    Excellent report rupert and not a bad days fishing all round. That Salmon is a beauty :yes:

    Love the Annan reports, mainly because I know exactly where you are talking about when explaining a section of the stretch :embarrass:
  5. foo

    foo You've gotta be in it to win it.

    Cracking report and a lovely looking Hen fish even if the title was slightly patronising lol. Looks a lovelly stretch of river too. I was under the impression, possible falselly, that bright sunshine spelt the kiss of death when fly fishing ? so very well done. Belting pics as well.
  6. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Foo - I hoped that title to the post might get a rise! :yes: Wasn't expecting one quite so quick though! :laugh:

    The sun did get out when my fish was photographed, but generally it was just a pleasant autumnal day and not too bright. You're quite right though, an overcast sky is generally far more productive than very bright sunlight.

    One thing I've noticed though is at this time of year with a frost about, there's not a lot of point rushing to fish. Salmon seem to react when the air temperature increases, so it seems to be mid morning onwards that your chances improve.
  7. Davo

    Davo Rockling

    Great report Rupert and thanks for sharing. Dont know about you, but i always feel that fishing for salmon so late in the year has its own feeling that surpasses anything thats gone on throughout the rest of the season?
  8. foo

    foo You've gotta be in it to win it.

    Very informative Rupert thanks you, do you think it may be the air pressure rising as the day warms up that encourage the fish a little more rather than just the temperature ? The air temperature will not increase or alter such a large expanse of moving water so much or will it ? Fascinating this game fishing but I am afraid I must try and master the joys of trout on the fly rod before I even consider the mighty salmon.
  9. bucko

    bucko New Member

    Superb report and well done on your fish.
    I really like the look of the fly too- the red treble finishes it off nicely.
  10. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Davo - Yea, I know exactly were you're coming from with that viewpoint. For me it's also the anticipation and a chance of a really big autumn fish too.

    Last Saturday was a very special day- water at a nice height, no wind, and plenty of salmon showing in the river. It's a real privaledge fishing in these conditions, particularly when everything comes right.

    I've been really spawny with my salmon fishing this autumn - five day's fishing with six salmon landed over those days. Somehow I smell a blank approaching - I can't believe this level of luck can last much longer!

    I hate these dark nights with an avegance, but day's like this feel like a true bonus. :yes: :yes:
  11. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    I've never really thought about the science of temperature/pressure. Physics was never my strong point at school. All I know is that on a frosty morning, you rarely seem to catch any salmon first thing!

    Cutting your teeth on trout will put you in good stead for fishing for salmon with a single handed rod, but I found learning to cast a double handed salmon rod is a bit like learning a completely new language!
  12. brian carragher

    brian carragher Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    What a superb fish made even better by catching it in not perfect conditions either, used to pass over the Annan regulary to fish Loch Ken and its always looked like a nice bit of water, I know its one of only a handful of Scottish rivers that hold chub too, do you ever catch any when you're salmoning
  13. Dav

    Dav Rockling

    Absoloutly great report and top fishing as usual rupert . keeps us all motivated ....fingers crossed your luck doesnt run out any time soon ...
    Regarding your line how did you find out the densities of your sinking tips ? i got a windcutter 2 but there was no indication of which tip is which . i do know the yellow is the floater , clear inter but the other ones im not sure ?
    Im really looking forward to giving the double hander a good go next year guna be starting as early as poss to get some practice in :cheesy:
  14. lochbois

    lochbois Guest

    Smashing fishing report again rupert ,and i know what you mean about these dark nights. Thats why reports like your are all the better.
    Do you need a certain type of camera to take pictures like yours?.
    I dont have a camera at all. This computor lark is brand new to me.
  15. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    I didn't use a camera for these pictures Peter, all the photos were taken on my phone.
  16. lochbois

    lochbois Guest

    I have got two phones given of my friend Rupert. I didnt realise you could take pictures like that on a mobile.Very good.
    I get all my mates cast offs but no instructions.
    The last cast off was a little Shnauzer puppy dog which has kept me away from my fishing, but thats not a problem because she has cheered me up 100% .and i am looking foreward to next season where she should be more settled.
    I will need the cables for these phones ,thanks for the advice. :wink:
  17. peter catchpole

    peter catchpole Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    supeb pics & report rupert ,i noticed you fish the fly round with a loop to release are you in favour of that way or do you ever fish off the reel i wonder who favours which way ?
  18. Dav

    Dav Rockling

    I prefare a loop in the line just to give the fish enough time to take and turn ....then get them on the reel ..
  19. coasty

    coasty New Member

    A splendid report. with a lovely fish , I think all Autumn fish are great, I love catching Grayling late on in the year it definately makes the season last longer and keeps the winter depression at bay..

  20. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    The beat I fish does hold chub. I know that, because the friend of mine, Alex, who owns the beat, 'caught' one. It has to be one of the flukiest catches ever. Alex's wife was fishing the pool below him and yelled for help, when she hooked a salmon. Alex was fishing a double handed fly rod at the time, and just flung it up on the bank, and ran to help his wife. When he got back to the rod, it was banging away, with a big chub that had taken the tube fly, which had been left in the river!

    It's the only chub I've heard of on this beat, but I suspect bait fishing might reveal otherwise.

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