Why is the Nith so hard?

For me that is but not for my father who for the second July week in 2 years caught one of the Nith’s sought-after summer salmon with this 11-pounder (a very solid fresh-run hen fish in great nick, right), his second-ever salmon.

Dad caught it on an ‘X-Rap’ Rapala in high and coloured water (+2ft) on the first day. It followed hard on the heels of an 8lb sea-trout caught 100 yards further up the left bank of Craig’s pool by the third rod in our group, a little earlier.

Dad plays his fish, which was hooked in the tail of Lower Craigs at 6pm.

Actually what happened was that we had gone over to Thornybank pool on our Closeburn Castle right bank after lunch, heard from river keeper Howard that our fellow CCF rod had extracted ‘a 7-8lber’ from left-bank Craigs after we left and that we might be up against it in the low-water paradise that is Thornybank in these spate conditions and might like to re-cross the river. We beetled back and an hour later I heard a splash to see dad downstream with a Solway silver beast heaving away on the end of his line.

View from inside our Beat 1 hut. Lovely place to be and I was so happy the grass is growing back outside after, in 2009 two tons of hardcore had to be dumped there because the cows kept getting in..

An exciting fight ended in the fish in the net and we took it as it was bleeding from the gills. I was thrilled for dad who took it all in his stride and it made our four-day visit. For sadly that was to prove it in terms of fish action as not a sausage more was caught. Just two salmon the next day (Tues 19th) to Howard’s rods (one of whom was Nith maverick about whom I wrote a feature for T&S – Roddy ‘that man knows more about spinning for salmon than any man alive’ Dickson). Fishpal meanwhile reported a nice salmon on Drumlanrig on the Wednesday but apart from no doubt some fish caught down Dumfries way (but you try getting reliable reports out of those chaps) we could manage no more and came home early on the Friday.

The ‘new’ pool, looking upstream to Thornhill. Nice, eh?

What was wrong? No grilse (they run later and later now) and no sea-trout to speak of (apart from the magnificent 8lber). But positives positives: one, mother nature has created a new fast-maturing pool in the upper bit of our Beat 1 which I picture here, where the whole of the Nith is constricted into about 20 yards across. A 15lber was caught here 3 weeks ago, ’nuff said. (Nothing for me but there were 3 earth movers reinforcing the banks as I fished which didn’t help).

And there were other positives too such as the excellent work by our river keeper and including new fencing on the Beat 2 hut which should stand proud of the floodwater hitting the floodbank now. Etc.

Great result: Dad's fresh-run 11lb Nith salmon.

Oh and finally, my trip to Birgham Dub on the Tweed? Well it just wasn’t possible, very sadly to keep that one in last week’s adventure for various reasons about which my friend Andrew N was very decent and luckily our Friday rods were re-let by gillie Wattie Burns. Of course water was good and the sport steady if not reaching the heights of last year’s visit so in case you thought it was no Dub, no comment: here are some SMS notes Andrew kindly relayed to me to show me what I was missing:

With water running 1ft 10in on the Thursday and A fishing ‘more in hope than expectation’ he still managed a 6lb sea-trout. Good start. The next day Andrew went one better and hooked a salmon which he played for ten minutes but lost near the bank after a good look put his estimate at 15lb. To add insult A hooked and lost 3 sea-trout but finally turned the tables with three s-t to 6lb on the Friday. Last day Andrew struck silver with a cracking 10lb sea-liced salmon and a few more big sea-trout. So well done to him and next year I hope to join him (got that Andrew?).

And finally: a few casts on Caulbeck on the Nith on the Friday morning before dad and I drove south. A vision of loveliness but no fish action at least for me this time. I can't wait for my 4 days up there in October..

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About henrygiles

Born to fish forced to work and fish
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