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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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UK bound

My employer (the Cdn Navy) has seen fit to send me to the UK for the next couple of years (London). We'll have a few weeks off while we wait for the arrival of our stuff from Canada and I've convinced my wife that our time should be spent near some rivers such as the Spey, Tay, and Dee. We'll have a good portion of September to send up there taking in the sights. There have been a couple of good threads this year on fishing in that area. I've seen the fishpal sight and there appear to be some opportunities to fish. I'm guessing that if they are free this late in the game I won't be on prime water but I can live with that as there is always next fall.

I would like to see the larger rivers. What gear should I be bringing? Will there be a chance to fish floating lines or do most fish sinking lines? Any general recommendations on flies? My guess is that it depends heavily on what mother nature does. I suspect my normal steelhead flies should cover most situations. I have Meisers in the 14-16 foot range that should work. I don't have any full sinking lines. I normally like longer lines and seldom use Skagit heads so I'll be interested in seeing full sinking lines in action. Thanks for any help that can be provided. I'm excited about the whole experience but a little sad to be leaving BC!

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 03:41 AM
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Those rods should be ideal and during September, unless the water levels are high, then a floating line with possibly the addition of a selection of sinking polyleaders will cover most situations. In higher water a full sinking or multi-tip line is often required. You could try your steelhead flies, but generally over here in low to medium water I would have a selection of shrimp type flies, such as the Ally's, Cascade or Flamethrower in sizes 6 to 12 and for high water some tube flies on 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch tubes of various densities.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll get to work on the shrimp patterns!
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 08:22 PM
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As Graham said above, but I would also add that if you get lowish clear water & warm September weather you may need to go right down to a size 14 to get the best results, but under 'normal' conditions at this time of year larger sizes would be standard.
Unless you get a big spate full sinkers are unlikely to be required in September on most rivers but a multi-tip or full intermediate [which can have fast sinking poly tips added to go a bit deeper if required] may well be needed if you get decent water levels.
I would advise a wading stick with plenty of weight as these are big rivers & pretty quick flowing in many stretches.
Keep an eye on fish pal availability as some fishings get re-offered at short notice If people find [for whatever reason] they can't take their week, 3 days or even an individual day of their week because their daughter is [very inconsiderately] getting married in the middle of their annual week on the Tweed etc.
At this time look to the bottom/ lower & some of the middle river Tweed beats, the bottom/ lower Dee beats [& selected middle beats], & the Spey & Tay should both fish given reasonable conditions with some very fresh fish being caught on the lower Tay beats at this time - but be aware it is a huge river down here & often best covered with a boatman & boat which is [a] quite expensive & [b] not to everyones taste [I myself much prefer to wade & try & choose beats where this is a realistic option].
Your rods will be fine, your smaller steelhead flies may well be OK [I'd leave the 4 inch intruders at home though - although they'd work in late November or February/ March] but would recommend you tie up on doubles in the sizes Graham indicated + a few smaller ones in case of a late hot spell & low flows.
Good luck & I hope you are successful & have an enjoyable trip.

Regards, Tyke.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Here is an update on our three week Scottish adventure.
Our first week was spent in the Royal Deeside. The Dee is one of the loveliest rivers Iíve ever seen! There was an endless amount of perfect fly water. We toured around and looked at several beats and they all looked amazing. I was able to get two days on the Culter beat which is on the lower river. The Ghillie is a young dane who has lots of salmon fishing experience from Russia and Iceland. He spent lots of time teaching me about atlantics. The water on the beat was very nice and perfectly suited to the long rod and longbelly. I had a great time fish my 16í Meiser with an 85í Carron long belly. There was a large number of fresh fish going through each day. Despite the large numbers of fish the fishing was tough. I solidly hooked up five fish and landed three. I did blow several other fish as I was too quick to set the hook and the takes were slower than I am used to. The spey flies I brought from BC did just fine and a size 3 Autumn Bronze fooled a fish on the third cast of the first day. The recommended Cascade was very effective as well. The fish were all very bright and two of the three I caught had sealice.

In addition to the fishing the castles and whisky have been great too. We were able to see the Queen open the Braemar Gathering and enjoyed fresh lobster in the small coastal town of Johnshaven. Today we toured the wonderful Tulibardine distillery.

So far the only negative thing is the lack of long lines. Every angler Iíve seen has been using shooting heads with sinking poly leaders. I thought I was in the homeland of the long rod and longbelly????? I was shocked to find nothing but shooting heads in the fly shop in Banchory....not a single longbelly.

Tomorrow I fish the Tay and then we head for the Spey!

Attached is a pic of one of my first atlantics and a shot of baby Brooke supervising my casting....

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 01:17 PM
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The top picture is a pure classic! The things we do to go fishing! Enjoy the rest of your trip.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 02:02 PM
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Water looks to be more than knee deep there superdad. I'm telling your wife!
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 03:16 PM
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Totally jealous Dan! Glad you got into some fish. The beauty of fishing in the UK and Ireland is that there's so many other side attractions to keep you occupied.

The steelhead are starting to run in the Beaver and out West....but it's hard to beat double hand casting in the home of spey casting!

Have fun 'working' in the UK...

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 03:23 PM
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Welcome to UK

Hi Stamps ,welcome to the Uk, started off well with fish, looked a nice beat
gentle wading fair pace of water. All the things the Spey & Tay are not.

You will need wading stick, back support as they will be more physically challenging , they have larger fall from head to mouth so the bed is of more of a steep slope.

Sad about the lack of long lines, sign of the times, less effort less practice required.
Have a look on line at John Norris or Sportfish they have loads to pick from.
How long before you need to be back in the SMOKE ( LONDON )
There are plenty of quality waters between you and London and if you have time you should take a look.
PM me I will give you some contacts for fishing and accommodations

Having been to US and Canada , been looked after by locals very well, this is the least I can and should do for a fellow angler.

Have fun speying
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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don't you worry, momma bear was watching very closely....

thanks. I'll drop you a line. I'm very excited to have a look at the Tay tomorrow and have my wading staff ready to go.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 07:00 PM
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Great pictures a truely awesome experience! momma bear!

Tom Gribble
Ohio, Cincinnati
Former Marine 86-92
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Scotland Trip wrap-up

So I'm back in London after three amazing weeks touring around Scotland. The trip exceeded all expectations. I was really excited to see the rivers and didn't have high hopes of getting access to good water and even less hope of finding fish. As it turns out I was able to fish great water and I even caught fish! We explored numerous castles, visited several distilleries, and consumed haggis in many different forms.

River 1 - the Dee

The Dee is one of the finest rivers I've ever laid eyes on. There is so much fly water that it boggles the mind. The gradient is so much different than the rivers back home. There was fishing available on several beats through Fishpal and I ended booking on a great beat with an exceptional ghillie. I learned a ton during the two days and hooked several fish which were all in great shape and most where chromers with lice. The water was crystal clear and lower so small flies were used on floating lines.

River 2 - the Tay

This big river reminded me of heading north to Skeena country due to the huge size of the water. I had one day on the Kercock beat on the middle river. Again I had a great ghillie who taught me a great deal and the other rods that day were a great bunch who helped me out. The river was up due to some recent rain but there was still lots of great fly water. There were some really nice fish going through and the best of the day was a 16lb chromer taken on spinning gear. I fished a fly tied by the ghillie in the recommended spot and landed a beautiful female of approx 8lbs. She put up a good scrap and was out of the water several times during the fight. Due to the coloured high water if fished a type 6 tip with flies in the 4-6 size range.

River 3 - the Ness

I had no clue that September is a great time to fish the Ness and I did't know that the association water right in town is very reasonably priced. After visiting the shop I convinced my wife for another fishing day and I hit the river. I was only able to fish one afternoon but it was really wonderful. The water was exceptional and the local anglers were very interesting to speak with. It was a very social affair with everyone knowing each other. I ran into several decent casters using long lines. Fishing was not easy but there were some large bright fish brought to hand on both spinning and fly. Like the Tay the runs were very large and you could cast as far as possible! I wish I could have spent more time on this river!

River 4 - the Spey

I purchased a week ticket for the association water in Grantown on Spey. I had been warned that I would not be there at the best time of the year. There were lots of coloured fish around but they were not eager to eat flies. In addition to uncooperative fish, we received lots of rain and the river was high all week. Despite the higher water the river never blew out and a few runs fished very well all week. I spent lots of time on the benches along the pools speaking with the experienced locals learning about the river and its fish. I did have a great grab to a low water glitter bear fished on a floating line in the tail of long pool. I thought I had a solid grilse and it put up a good fight. As it turned out I caught my first decent seatrout that was approx 4lbs.

So for those steelheaders who are interested in seeing where it all started, don't think that fishing in Scotland is out of reach. You can come over to the UK and fish quality water. I did spend some money to do so but each day was cheaper that spending a full day with a guide on a steelhead river in BC. Ghillies are split between several rods and you can't expect the same level of attention. Also the number of people is limited on each beat so I was fishing huge runs by myself every day. The Ness was the most crowded river and compared to the Cowichan in the winter it was very light pressure. Also everything is done in such a civilized manner where both spin fishermen and fly anglers rotate the water. The Spey and Ness water where I fished had each run indicated buy numbered posts on the banks. It all worked like clockwork.

The fishing was only one aspect to the trip and the history and people were excellent as well. We stayed mainly in Bed and Breakfasts which were superb.

I sampled several single malts over the three weeks. The highlights were the tours of Tullibardine and Royal Lochnagar. The small distilleries have superior tours compared to the whisky factories. My London whisky collection has started off right with a spectacular bottle of 16yr old Mortlach and a special reserve bottle of Royal Lochnagar. The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul was awesome. We didn't get to the west coast and will save the peat for a future trip!

For those who enjoy hunting wild mushrooms there was a diverse array of fungi out in the woods. We did several forays and found lots of interesting boletes, amanitas, chantrelles, hedgehogs, shaggy manes, shaggy parasoles and many more. We kept sampling to a minimum as I had no interest in eating the wrong mushroom in the case of confusion between PNW and UK mushrooms. At the end of the trip I did some research and collected a lovely bunch of hedgehogs that went very well with a full scotish breakfast. Hydnum and haggis are a perfect match.

When I get a chance to go through the photos I put up a couple of more pics. I can't wait to get back to Scotland next year!

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 07:40 PM
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nice report. i enjoyed it and look forward to your pictures when you have time.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 06:22 AM
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I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Scotland.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Trip Photos

Some more shots from the trip:
The Wallace Monument near Stirling (one of the highlights of the entire trip)
Battling a fish on the Tay
One to hand
Baby Brooke in the Heather
Crathes Castle on the Dee
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