Fishing Reports - Castle Beat River Deveron
The season closed with mixed news, on the positive side, the beat is stuffed with Salmon. In the last week every pool had moving and jumping fish visible, some silver and some showing they had been in the river a while. A great pick-up from last year, and bodes well for the years to come. On the frustrating side, the fish would not touch whatever I threw at them, (went through my fly box and tried big, small, heavy, light and various colours but no takers!) - silver salmon happy to jump over your line or within feet of you though! Some real (20lb+) monsters showed themselves - so good to see.
Did manage to tempt 3 salmon last Thursday though, first from kingsmill, half way down the pool in main stream, the next from the very tail of Forsyth (within 3m of the downstream croy) and the last from Hazel Craig. This fish shot up from the depths for the flying C, fairly clean and probably not been in the river that long. Pics of 2 of them below.
The Burns family Salmon fishing for their first time on Castle today proved they had got the hang of river fishing, by landing a 4lb brownie and an impressive 8lb Salmon to Claire (above) fishing Junction pool. Salmon showing in most pools, and two other fish lost to the fishing family today, so it looks like they are just getting warmed up. With plenty fish in the pools, tomorrow will be a test of their skills and if Stewart the ghillie can keep them on track - (no pressure Stewart!).
A coloured but perfectly formed salmon to Ray yesterday. Plenty of salmon showing themselves then, but in the lower water of the day tempting them was not easy. The rain came today and now the water is up 2', but very dirty (mainly from the Bogie) and full of leaves, so going from one extreme of low and clear to high and dirty didn't help the rods today as although plenty of fish showing, conditions were not right. The next few days should prove to be ideal though.
A few hours of rain in the catchment tonight should raise the water a few inches, and make all the difference over the next few days, but for today Richard Bagshaw, did well to tease a silver fish out of Aislinns pool on fly, in low clear conditions. Fresh salmon seem to have run quickly upstream and a number are certainly gathering in Castle water and showing themselves.
Richards account of the day: I'm pleased, but hopefully not too immodest, to say that I've maintained my 100% success rate on the lower beat. I can't say that about anywhere else! A thoroughly enjoyable day, again, although tarnished by the fact that the friend who was to join me couldn't as he tripped and fell into his tractor cab this morning, doing terrible things to his ankle. Not surprisingly he cancelled. That's by-the-by. The fish: 1 grilse, 5lb, very fresh, on a Blue and Silver Gledswood Shrimp, size 12, from Aislinn's at midday. The weather was cloudy at the time, cool, and the gauge was at - 1. I've entered the details into the book. Thank you for all the info. you provided, especially about Aislinn's. The fish took near the head of the pool, and there were quite a few others of comparable size in the same place. Only one taking though. I saw quite a few fish today, two moving from Boundary into Forsyth's (leaping about on the 'lip' between the two), and a fish also moved into Kingsmill from Aislinn's whilst I was fishing it. There was one, possibly two, fish of about 12lb showing in Kingsmill (at the end of the current), and several other smaller ones. Very encouraging. I was under the impression that I was seeing moving fish, none were very red, but failed to capitalise on this. Heh ho. I totally flunked Forsyth's again. I tried fishing it from above the croy today, but the current and back eddies just drowned both the fly and the line. I waded it before from the R H bank, but made too much of a mess casting into such still water. I must develop a strategy for next season! I see from the record book that most fish caught there are on some form of spinner. Is that correct? That's it for this season, sadly. I don't have a free day to return to the upper beat before stumps are drawn, so that will have to wait until next season. Thank you so much for making such wonderful beats available, I can't wait to return in 2016. If you are fishing again before the end of next week, very Tight Lines. Hoping it rains from now until February, with best wishes, Richard.
Two grilse out of 5 caught in the last 2 days, best was a salmon of 8lb, (no picture as it got out of the net!). In spite of low water, silver and coloured fish were showing a lot across the deeper pools. All fish concentrated around the white water of pools.
This fish took 1hr to land, in two pools downstream and cost me my rod and reel, but it was worth it. A 14lb Sea Trout measured in my weigh net, and safely returned. Definitely a record for the beat. Forsyth Pool, Lower Castle 5 Sep 2015.
The prolonged spate during the week brought fresh fish right up to the Castle beats, and luckily they rested in the bigger pools and especially the ones with a lot of white water at their heads. Fishing from the Wed with a bit of help from Ray and Stewart MacDonald we managed 20 decent fish that week, mostly ST around 4lb and a handful of grilse, an amazing few days where at times there was a fish on on each cast! – plenty threw the hook straight away, and some would provide acrobatics in front of you before leaving you cursing. But 20 was good in anyone’s books, so on the Saturday the fishing slowed up but it didn’t matter.
I arrived at Forsyth, and seeing the height was still around 1.5’ went to the middle of the pool where the previous action had been and sat and watched the softer water. I had earlier tried a heavy tube fly to get down to where the fish were, but with the strong flow found it tricky, so the yellow flying C came out. Second cast 30degrees upstream, I made contact, and an instinctive tug, triggered the ‘go berzerk’ button on this fish.
I had caught enough fish over the previous days to be conditioned to the size of the catch within 2 seconds of hooking. This fish was in another league I knew straight away it was a record breaker for me at least, the line screemed off the reel and just kept going, I tightened the drag and put more bend in the rod but it made no difference, seconds later it was over the downstream croys in the bottom pool of the beat. I had to land this fish!
Dashing down the bank trying to wind line and run, I came to a sprawling beech tree about 8m tall, I stood trying to decide what to do whilst the rod was yanking and more line was pulled out, I could see too much backing. I was wearing waders but could not wade round there, (black dark depths even in low water) so I climbed the tree as high as I could and threw the whole rod over the top branches onto the downstream bank. Amazingly after clamber down time the rod was still there, and holding the rod up the line pointed at the downstream pool. The dash downstream continued and feeling pleased as I could still feel faint tugging contact and more line was covering the backing.
The line was stuck on an underwater rock in the middle of Boundary pool in 6’ of water, but the fish was still on though I sensed a rubbing action taking place of this rock on my line. I walked up and down the pool flicking the rod here and there but no good. I could not wade across, as this is a deep pool and with the extra water wading was really not an option. Earlier in the week I had checked out the beat boat, a bit battered but it floated, was that solution? And why did it have to be moored 300m upstream.
I set the rod handle into a gap in the rocks, slightly loosened the tension on the reel and stepped back. The line pointed to the centre of the pool and stopped moving. I wimped out on the quick option of shooting the rapids taking the boat downstream, and dragging it along the waters edge didn’t work, so I pulled it slowly along the path to a launch point at the head of Boundary pool. The rod still had a bend in it. Good! Rod in 1 hand and oar in another I paddled out to the middle of the pool, pausing now and then to wind in line. The reel was filling up again double good, the line freed from beneath and back in direct contact with this monster I had still not seen. In either case and with less gusto it began to tow me downstream. I could not fight the flow and this fish, so tried to paddle an arc round and behind it. By this time we were in the next beat and heading towards unfamiliar water and a new set of rapids.
This was going to be the end of the journey, so tension upped I wound in until the big tail fanned the surface water, the net was under it, I hoped it fitted, I had to see what had put up this battle. Two hands were needed to bring in the net, there was a tangle, I cut my line I wanted proof from a photo, no time to untangle. At last in the boat in my net I hit the first rocks of the rapids, no time to lose, the fastest hook removal and photo shoot. It was weighing the fish that lost me my rod and reel. You have to partially stand up to weigh and after a wobbly effort saw it touch 14lb, but the wobble saw my rod and reel clatter out of the boat and poke up here and there as it disappeared down the rapids. Fish went back into the water with a flick, and I cautiously climbed out of the boat, only up to my waist – good. I pulled the boat off the rocks, and found a way back to the bank. A fish of a lifetime for me, and a story I hope not to repeat, but will never forget. Note to Ghillie, cut down that beech tree, and put a bigger boat on my Christmas list!
One of a few silver grilse caught by Andrew Higgins, from Black Duncan, Upper Castle 4 Sep 2015.
Not be be outdone, and one of a few to Ray a Sea liced 4lb grilse again from Black Duncan caught by Ray MacDonald, Upper Castle 7 Sep 2015.
Possibly a record Brownie of 4.5lb for the beat caught by Stewart MacDonald, from Ringstone, Lower Castle 2 Sep 2015.
Golden well fed 2lb trout caught by Stewart MacDonald, from Ringstone, Lower Castle 4 Sep 2015.
Cracking plump silver sea trout caught by Chris Clarke, from Junction Pool, Lower Castle 30 July 2015.
A lot of Sea Trout and 1lb+ brownies have been caught to date so no excuse for not having something to write about until now. We have also caught salmon, but numbers down along with other beats, though each new spate promises to make up of salmon numbers.. I have faith. Salmon are around, as testified by recent rods who hooked a silver 20lb silver salmon in Forsyth, the fish took off up to the head of the pool, jumped clean out and threw the fly. Am sure that image will live with you for a long time eh Mike!
In the meantime Ray aka the 'magician', 'popped' down to the river yesterday and as Lower was booked went onto Upper and landed a 4lb from the top single bank stretch, not bad as it's quite overgrown there (but rarely fished). Ray has had a string of good catches for mainly ST, so to massage his ego here are pics of some recent ones he has landed, typically around the 4lb mark.
Two fine examples of sea trout caught by Ray MacDonald, from various pools July 2015.
Rod on Lower yesterday got a 4lb St from Junction in coffee coloured water of 10", and Stewart advised him to stay on until later as that's normally when the river comes alive if slower in the day, we have yet to hear.
Rain over the coming week will keep the river and prospects up, I know ray will be back down proving fish are there and catchable, ..if you have the touch.