In search of a January Springer
In search of a January Springer
Sunday 23rd January.
We arrived at the Borgie Lodge Hotel in the early evening having stopped for a quick refreshment at the Crask Inn local tradition suggests that it is bad luck to pass by.
The food and drink in the Borgie Lodge is superb.
Monday 24th January.
The Borgie is a short fairly narrow north flowing river entering the sea not far from its near more famous neighbour the Naver.
The weather forecast was for rain dawn arrived dry and clear. We were shown the river by the river bailiff he told us the river was a bit too low but there should be a fresh one somewhere. There are three beats so we decided to fish a beat each, the Jacks fishing together. I started at the falls which work as a temperature block in the spring. I was using a Carron 65ft floater with a 10 fast sink polyleader to take the fly down. On the third pull down I had a gentle take but nothing more when I recast I had a better pull but no connection.
In the afternoon, after an excellent lunch washed down with a nice red wine. I moved down to the middle beat and in the Sparrow hawk pool. I had decided that the floater and tip was just not getting down enough in the cold conditions. I changed to the Partridge medium sinker with a Willie Gunn on an aluminium tube. I had a good take which quickly became apparent was a kelt. Towards the tail of the pool I managed another kelt. Not a bad beginning. We had a special bottle of wine an í82 to celebrate Alanís birthday.
Tuesday 25th January
The morning was frosty and I was on the lowest of the three beats, I was full of confidence as the bailiff reckons that the Tank pool on the lower beat often produces the first fish of the season. I had seen the pool the previous evening and had marked a fish heading and tailing three quarters of the way down the pool. I covered the whole pool with the Willie Gunn and medium sinker without a touch. I decided there had to be a fish there so went back through the pool with a Collie Dog within one cast a fish rose and grabbed the fly but failed to stay connected. Further down the pool another fish slashed at the fly. The sun came out and being low in the sky I noticed that my shadow was being thrown across the pool. I decided to try somewhere else and moved downstream. In a fast run I soon had a small well mended kelt. In the afternoon I was back up by the falls, and I decided to use both rods alternatively. On the third pool below the falls I landed yet another kelt on the Collie Dog. That was it for the Borgie.
Wednesday 26th January
The Naver, we were on Beat 2 just to confuse me the Naver numbers from the Loch down where as the close neighbour the Helmsdale numbers from the sea up.
We met the gillie, Hamish, at the famous Syre pool one glance and the pool just shouts fish. I elected to start at the run whilst Alan started at the middle, the hot spot. I was using the I G Partridge medium sinker and Alan the Carron 65ft Intermediate. I had barely started to cover the indicated area when I had a good pull. Alan was soon into a kelt but it fell off to save landing it. When I reached the middle part of the pool I had two kelts in quick succession, I felt sorry for young Hamish who insisted on unhooking the fish whilst keeping them in the net in the water. The air temperature was well below freezing with the line commonly freezing in the guides. How he managed to warm his hands I do not know, they breed hardy souls up there. I then when down the pool again stripping a Collie Dog on an Intermediate Loop shooting head I had eight or nine kelts in quick succession some of the takes were quite impressive with the fish showing as they hit the fly. A couple of these gave a good struggle and for a minute or so I thought I had beaten the jinx but no luck.
We then moved down to the bridge pool and Hamish said that there would be fewer kelts but a good chance of a Springer. I fished carefully down and at a likely looking spot the fly stopped then started again the stopped again. Then the line tightened and the reel click clicked I slowly tightened then everything went slack **** ****, was it the long awaited springer? After another excellent lunch with Jimmy and Gwyneth who were amongst the kelts on beat 6. We fished other parts of the beat but returned to the Syre pool for the darkening, 1600 hours in these short cold days. I had another kelt on the Collie but the pool seemed quiet after the morning fun and games.
So another glorious failure. Lessons learnt the Borgie probably is not the easiest of places to catch a springer, a great river if conditions are right but how often will that occur. The Naver is probably the one to go for. We certainly got the accommodation right, great food great drink and lots of lovely roaring open wood fires to sit discussing the ay past and the one to come.
Next year it will happen next year.
I feel your pain down here in the 70 degree Florida weather, just waiting anxiously another 5 months for my first chance for a springer.
It's clear the results were not for lack of trying and from what I read I would have liked to be in your wading shoes instead of you no matter the outcome!
Guess you'll have to settle for 11 months of the year :)
A little something to warm the cockles on the road home
The trees now naked groaning,
Shall soon wi' leaves be hinging,
The birdies, dowie moaning,
Shall a' be blythely singing,
And every flower be springing:
Sae I,ll rejoice the lee-lang day,
When, by his mighty warden,
My youth's return'd to fair Strathspey,
And bonnie Castle-Gordon.
P.S. Perhaps a wee toast to the bard may hav helped on the 25th;)
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