Last week several of us namely Chairman Pete, Ken the money, Stuart ‘Jimmy’ Nicol and yours truly ventured north, passports at the ready in to the land of Scotland to do battle with Salmo the Leaper.
We were to fish in the river Girvan in Ayrshire, a small but charming spate river on the Bargany estate . Pete had arranged accomodation close by and with a well stocked food larder we set off full of hope and with so much tackle we could have equipped a small army of anglers.
On arrival the river was quite low and salmon appeared to be thin on the ground with those that were there, confined to the deeper holding pools. However, we were nothing if not determined and gave it our fullest attention after a useful briefing and tour from our ghillie Colin Maclean. Despite using the finest crafted flies presented with superb casting and impeccable watercraft the silver tourists eluded us although a few showed themselves occasionally just to add insult to injury. Here you can see us on Day 1 with our palatial lunch ‘bothy’ in the background.
Whilst the river continued to fall away we flogged on without success save for the constant attention of many wild brown trout who were punching above their weight by grabbing salm0n flies with great gusto and causing momentary excitement. Eventually the ghillie decided to relax the spinning rule and allow it in certain deeper areas which resulted in a couple of ‘firsts’. Stu ( who after all was on home turf) was first to strike with a very clean cock fish which grabbed his fast moving Flying ‘C’ with a bang and almost gave him a heart attack. See the happy man below.
Stuart went on to catch a smaller fish the next day so took all the honours fair and square.
Within a few minutes and in the same pool it was the turn of ‘Ken the Money’ who tempted a clean hen Salmon which he duly returned to allow it to perform its duties on the spawning grounds – well done Ken. It took several sucked lemons to wipe the smile of his wife as I recall. Ken also took the prize for the ‘one that got away’ story when a leviathan bent the hooks on his lure and made its escape.
Chairman Pete stuck manfully to the fly. Did you not know he was a purist? He had a very close shave when a fish followed his fly all the way to the bank but failed to take. There were rumours of a change of underwear being needed after this event!! Me? Well I also failed to trouble the scorer but we all had a good time. Plenty of haggis consumed in Roxy’s bar during the week washed down with various liquids – some legal and some not.
All too soon we were heading South again, quite tired and with a precious cargo of fish on board which we could not allow to thaw.
Given better water conditions we would have had more of a chance I am certain, but, that’s Salmon fishing for you – a total lottery as far as weather goes. But all in all a memorable visit although Pete never did quite get the hang of the Scottish accent despite lots of practising and coaching from Stuart.