Right at the end of last season I briefly (10 seconds) shook hands with a Nith salmon. The reel I was using that day was the one pictured right in this picture, a Bouglé 4in, attached to a ten foot SH rod. It’s actually the Lightweight, but the one on the left is the Bouglé proper, a fab present from my parents on the occasion of a rather big birthday I celebrated with family in Suffolk last month (epic weekend!).
This latest has the authentic Hardy Perfect sound, the enclosed spool acting like a sound-box. How much do I yearn to hear that sing to a Nith, Gaula, Miramichi salmon this year? A lot. So I now have the pair and they really are wonderful bits of engineering and will look very fine on the rod racks and up at the head of Langøy – I hope – this season.
Flicking through the March issue of Trout and Salmon last night I turned straight to the Nith report as I usually do, still expertly edited by one Sandy L, to find confirmation that 2016 was one of the poorest fishing seasons on the Nith on record. My own Closeburn Castle Fishings managed catches of only 24 salmon, 3 grilse and 13 sea-trout through the whole of the 2016 season. (Loyal readers of these pages will know I should have added 2 or 3 salmon to this tally, but didn’t.)
A boon in the otherwise downbeat data were the 50 sea-trout caught at our ‘opposition’ beat on Beat 2, Barjarg. That tallies with good reports of sea-trout throughout the river and there has been a good resurgence of these fish in the last 3 or 4 years which I am really encouraged by. Barjarg had 25 salmon and 12 grilse.
Finally, also in the T&S report, was news that a 3lb 8oz “plus” grayling was caught on the Nith in the low water in early January. It was amid a big bag of these fish and the angler was unaware the Scottish grayling record stands at just four ounces more than this (3lb 12oz). He returned it unwitnessed.
I once hooked a grayling in summer on a light floating-line set-up at the tail of the Nith’s Caulbeck pool, and I thought it a grilse! In fact that has happened a couple of times. But on this occasion the grayling was easily 2lb, if not bigger. Which is basically grilse sized and it got my heart thumping.
Tight lines to you all, literally and metaphorically.
As a footnote, also in the March issue of T&S is a wonderful piece by T&S legend Laurence Catlow. I was so moved by his description of trying for a March trout on the Wharfe and Eden this month that I wrote a letter to the editor. If he publishes it I’ll try and swing it up on this esoteric portal. But either way, I urge you to read it: the article is ‘Called by the river’ – it’s beautiful and reminded me of why I fish, or perhaps how I started to fish – for trout, up north in Yorkshire.