I wistfully turned around at the end of 3 days on the Nith last week. I had barely seen a fish with the river at summer low (well, I’d seen 5 or 6 actually). Then, on the last morning, we negotiated some tricky potholes and tracking down to Beat 1 and I did some casting with Pippa. She’s getting better and she’s only nine: she’s learning about the rod as spring, the line and the kinetic forces that govern its motion.
Time for a last cast. I had up my SH ten-footer. What I call my trout rod but I’ve caught 3 or 4 salmon on it, not to mention an 8 pound arctic char that went like a 15lb salmon with it. I put on a pukka little dark Templedog. A largish plastic tube and maybe because of this size in the clear water I put on just a single hook. One that I had clamped the barb shut on with a pair of pliers.
I cast, and three casts into the main neck of the pool the fly stopped and a decent proper salmon grabbed it. The fish gyrated in the flow for ten seconds, then all went slack.
Barbless? You decide but the experience was interesting.
I had some nice comments though:
‘Congrats the hook-up is the crema, the rest is down to the water elves!’
[I so like use of ‘crema’ – reminds me of a coffee advert somehow with a yellowy creamy swirl in a cup of ground sumatran . .]
And Mr Rouse:
‘I’ve got into the habit of using barbless for all my fishing now. Not sure one way or the other if it makes much difference. At least that’s what I try to believe when one comes off.’
I so like both those comments – so understanding and the thoughts of real fishermen – sensitive to a fellow fishing soul.
To cast off – I post here today’s river levels from FishPal on the Nith. If you look at the monthly, middle, chart you can see the incredibly low water when the above incident happened, and then the huge douche of water that came in in the last 24 hours. What a difference! But you know I feel this, that I told to Paul earlier:
There was something so purist about hooking the fish, in super low water, feeling it gyrating in the flow for those long seconds then nothing: fish gone. Something special.
And to know the fish were there after all and this one unharmed to spawn for the future of course – now swimming through four feet of flood water . .
And this to Neil before:
That’s kind of you to say so: if catch and release is an art form and barbless hooks the ‘ black tie’ method then hell it’s okay!
Thanks for cheering me up!
Tight lines everyone and may Paul’s right shoulder heal so he can fish the Alness next week and get some photographs to put up here in due course. (He’s gonna go, and fish with his left arm I think. Respect.)