Fishing friends Phil Jones & Bill Chard have fished with me on the Gaula and my bit of the middle Nith (well Bill has) over the past 2 years but have enjoyed their most notable salmon success thousands of miles away from me, on the river Varzuga last month.
Mind you, it was I who persuaded them to go there for a trip of a lifetime and if you don’t believe me consider Bill’s words to me in an email just before their departure: “Henry, we hold you 100% responsible for us going out to fish in Russia!”
Anyway, to cut a long story short they are a brilliant duo, really excellent company and Phil (for many years a teacher and housemaster at Sherborne school) had just sent me these photos of Roxtons Middle Varzuga camp in the week around the early teens of May, including pictures of Phil playing and landing one of the 62 (yes 62) springers he landed from that venerable beat.
Phil wrote: “It was a fabulous experience. Organisation impeccable. Only a few ice floes going down and huge numbers of fish coming up, tho’ not yet the main run apparently. Eight of us got c 350. ( I thought 340, Bill 380). I caught 62fresh fish, c 30 kelts, c 20 grayling and a pike of about 6lb, which made me a hero of the Gulag when delivering it to the back door of the kitchen!
“I followed instructions and waded as deep as comfortable and cast as far as poss. Bill had some casting probs and caught a few fewer, but he came up to the Spey last week and the ghillies put him right. We had dramas with a bear, saw a wolverine amongst other wildlife and I came home physically trashed! Our ghillie [Russian guide] and I are pals for life….I insisted he have a cast and he caught a fish; WHAT a smile. I have sent him the photo.”
So there it is, trip of a lifetime?
What do you think?
If any readers would like to fish Varzuga this September or in 2014 I can arrange a trip for you with Roxtons so drop me a line.
Also if you’d like to fish the Gaula with me at Norwegian Flyfishers in the week August 4-11, ditto.
I drive north to the Spey on Sunday and will report here.
Tight lines, Henry.