A truly extraordinary feat

This news of Paul (still out on a rapidly warming Varzuga) from Jack Selby via Roxtons’ Varzuga blog has captured my imagination in a rather big way:

Last night Paul R decided that enough was enough. Inspired by the Bear and at one with nature and the animals, he stalked and caught a fish with his bare (Bear) hands. Quite why it let him do this, I am not sure, but he was jolly pleased. I have not heard what the salmon thought of the thing.

I can’t wait to hear the full monty on this one but salmon caught with bear [sic] hands is awesome. I wonder if Paul is truly merging into the taiga of the Arctic circle now.

On second thoughts don’t mention taigas, it might give Paul [more, he already has enough] ideas. But seriously there are the makings of a wonderful tale here and I hope to tell it in full in a future post, Continue reading

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Hats off to Paul

20170621_191803He’s out there on the Kitza, he’s catching fish, he’s posting amusing daily reports on pre-breakfast conditions on the camp board – and he even wore his colourful tea cosy, er hat, yesterday (above).

Thanks to Roxtons’ Varzuga blog for the photos


Two days ago it rained in Russia. A lot


Fish on. And ‘Paul in a normal hat’ shock

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He’s done it again

IMG_20170612_142032Super fisher Paul Rouse has done it again with two very decent salmon of 14lb (pictured) and 11lb from the River Usk today. It couldn’t happen to a more Continue reading

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Ready, steady . . gone!

I have been playing around with this date of June 1.

Obviously I have to post on ‘the Adventure’ on this day. Not only do the meteorologists flag it as the start of summer, but it is also the start of the Norwegian salmon fishing season. If that is not enough, it now emerges from the Varzuga blog out on the (currently) frozen wastes of the Kola peninsula of Russia, that it is the day the salmon of the White Sea decided to turn up, at least in the lower camp. Hurrah!

But first Norway: courtesy of Jouni Rauha and Facebook, comes news of fish for the Gaula Flyfishing lodge rods including a fine salmon of 94cm caught and released by Jouni himself at Evjen pool. A rod rejoicing in the name of Teemu caught “a massive salmon of 117cm at Röskaft pool and Ville caught and released a 97 cm salmon at Evjen pool.”

The Teemu leviathan is pictured here. A big male, so cool to see fish like this fresh and that is what spring fishing on the Gaula is all about.

Back to Russia and 112 fish came to the 12 rods at Middle Varzuga one day this week, while Charlie White wrote on the blog today they had 90 odd fish yesterday (including the typical Varzuga seven-pounder pictured, top, here, by David C). The interesting Continue reading

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El verano pasado (Last summer)

Is it not wonderful that a phrase, even a phrase in Spanish (Pippa, 10, and I are currently learning that language via the entertaining Duolingo app) or perhaps especially a phrase in a parallel but related sphere, can jolt you into another dimension?

Perhaps it is not that surprising because it speaks about the way the human brain works. Brain cells, connected by electric impulses of thoughts, lead via impossibly wonderful (yes) connections into the subconscious mind. Memory, emotional understanding (I know, reference ‘current buzz’ emotional intelligence: checked) and meaning (and power) coalesce and form and reform in an infinitely precious stream of id, ego and superego.

Where does that leave you in fishing terms – dreaming of last summer?

To some extent, yes. Yes it does, but increasingly now looking forward to this one, especially if we can get a bit of rainfall.

Stop press: The very much needed rain last week brought some action on the Tweed with 45 salmon caught on the beats below Kelso (don’t know if that includes Junction) and over a hundred though the whole system. The catch being, as you’d expect, river fish but also some sea-liced ones. And it moved fish up the river a bit and through Boleside, where they caught five salmon. Some nice sea-trout about too, posted (Martin at) Tay Salmon Fly on Facebook.


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It was a big thrill to see my article on Max von dem Borne published in the spring issue of Medlar Press’s Waterlog magazine today. Von dem Borne was the 19th century Prussian chamberlain who founded fish farming on his 240-acre Continue reading

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It’s hard being frozen

Upstream+to+the+village+8+May.jpgSo it’s open. Varzuga river on Russia’s Kola. Except it’s not, it’s frozen. For frustrated Roxtons early rods this isn’t a Disney princess story. This is a delay to their Russian salmon season opener that will set them back 51 weeks.

Charlie White and his Roxtons team have without hesitation transferred rods to the 2018 slot, or offered a refund. But to Bill Drury and the team out there in the Murmansk hinterland it’s ice, snowmobiles and night time temperatures of minus 6. But daytime ‘highs’ of seven degrees so with luck the river will break open soon.

And while team Bill can avail themselves of first-class log cabin facilities, we all wait for the fireworks to begin.

Stop press: reading the blog again today (Sat 13th) I see Bill hasn’t been up this week, he arrives shortly. It’s been the energetic Jack Selby blogging. (Nice job Jack.) I do like the igloo they’ve built at Sabacchi camp to welcome Bill. It’s just so Roxtons/Varzuga. .


When it warms up. Middle Varzuga in June 2014, on a hectic final afternoon’s sport when four salmon, within 90 minutes, took a liking to a big Phatakorva tube-fly fished off an intermediate shooting-head. This, I believe, is the rock at Clarke’s. I think that’s right, Brian Fratel told me when I showed him the photo once.

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