Monday, 29 July 2013

Scotland trip - River Tay at Murthly

July 7th saw myself, Ronan and James make our way North to Scotland for our booked days on the River Tay at Murthly 2. The lads had been to the River Towy in Wales to try for Sewin with no luck and I met up with them after flying to Newcastle. The trip was enjoyable and took in sights like the angel of the north and the impressive drive over the bridge at the River Forth estuary. We were soon passing Perth and making our way to Dunkeld where we would be pitching up our tent for the next few days.

Campsite at Dunkeld, great setup here facilities were excellent and a nice wee river through it to boot. Midgies were out in force the first night though!

Hugging the smoke around the campfire!

Do you like it very well done or very well done?

Next morning we made our way to Murthly 2 and met our Ghillie Tony Black. It was a nice overcast morning and hopes were high. The river was low but it did not matter for running grilse, the main obstacle was the bright sunshine which was prevalent for our stay and also the high water temperatures which neared 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the evening. Tony made us a cuppa and checked our gear and flies. We all had 14ft rods and float lines and opted for small flies the likes of a Willie Gunn, Executioner and Ghillie fly. Tony showed us the stretches to fish, where salmon would lie and tactics for fishing the pools. Ronan and James got stuck into the pools below the hut and Tony brought me up to the Island pool. Its a cracking pool and one I really like the look of, nice fast water at the far bank which tapers into slack water at your feet.
    I was using my LeCie 14ft 8 #9/10 with an Airflo rage line and inty poly leader. Casting off my bad side took some time to get into and a salmon slashed at my fly as it scraped across the surface after a dud cast. That got the pulse racing! As I made my way down the pool I connected with one fish which didn't stay on and I lost another. Confidence was high though and we could see Ronan into a fish down the river. The sun was now starting to burn up the cloud cover and after a few more runs down I had nothing to show yet. As the shadows got shorter I gave it one last go down the pool, I put on 8lb Fluoro leader (wasn't forgiven for that) and a small Willie Gunn treble. At the very tail of the pool a fish nailed the fly and showed on the surface. Fish on! Whether it was the change of setup, increasing confidence in casting or just the fact that a fish moved into the pool, I didn't care as I had a fish on. Now just had to land it! Ronan came to my aid as he had finished fishing his stretch and as I told him I had the 8lb breaking strain on with the 14ft rod he had a good laugh at me!

My first fish from Scottish waters, 6/7 pound fresh Grilse from the Tay.

Some photo's of the Beat.

 You can just about make out James

Some of Ronan's Flies for the trip.
The mode of transport, racked up 1800km.

Women drivers!

Guideline LeCie 14'8 #9/10 MF and the LXi switch.

The hut at Murthly 2

Low and lethargic in the evening.

BBQ and some bankside tying on the first evening.

We literally only fished 8-10hrs or so over the two days as strong sun and high water temperatures were off-putting. We might have snook out a fish or two if we stuck at it but we were happy enough to enjoy the sunshine and do some exploring. We checked out the Tummel dam and its fish counter and also got to see a fish in its observation room. Also was refreshing to see a counter with a live reading that is openly displayed! Picked up a dram up there too, lagavulin, 6 quid a go! Like drinking hot turf! Have to admit it was worth the money. James dampened his down by accident with a misplaced milk jug.
 The next morning James made up for his bad luck with whiskey and got a cracking fish around the 10 mark and we all had a fish to our name. The rest of the trip consisted of a few beers, more BBQ's and meeting up with forum member Doon-rod and a few other avid fishermen. Very memorable trip and we will be back.
Good park job Ronnie!

Finn - June 22nd

I jumped at the chance to fish with the LXi so headed for the Finn first chance I got, water was clearing but around 3ft so I drove for the Reelin as I love to get fishing on it.

First pool was quiet and as I made my way downriver I though my luck was down. I then came to the garden pool and it just looked in superb order. Second cast in this fish leaped from the water, fly in tow!

A well Coloured fish but around the 10 pound mark. Made my way downstream as did the rain clouds and it was not long before the river was unfishable again.
 I had plans to fish the next day and I was up for sunrise but there was no drop in height due to steady rain. Drove up and down the river fishing here and there but only managed to lose a fish that took directly below me or on the dangle, a common occurrence when fishing in high water as the fish can sit in slacker water near the banks.
Josie's Bridge
Tube of choice
So with still rising water and waning confidence I called it a day late morning. Ferocious river when its in flood and a sight to behold. 

Ya Pikey ya!

Out Piking with Conor, not the best days fishing ever!

Casting the Guideline LXi Switch

Guideline LXi Switch Spey casting. from Liam Woods on Vimeo.

Made this Video a while back even before we got our drought conditions and you can really see the low height of the river where I normally cast. The LXi switch is a rod that is very easy to pick up and get on with. I am using a DDC shooting head cut to 21grams and a TSL running line. My casting stroke has changed a lot and continues to change and I now favour the lighter heads. Good breeze this day so you can see the benefit of a V loop into the wind. The LXi has a blank with a fast recovery that flexes further down the blank. I really did find that I needed less effort to achieve the same distance and also I did not need to really accentuate the forward stroke for distance. The finish and cork is of a high standard, a rod that offers a lot for its price tag.