I always look forward with anticipation to the first week in September, now a fishing ritual in the calendar when I join US friends Barrie Hesp and Amos Smith on the Thurso River in Caithness.For the weeks ahead, the weather forecast is anxiously studied, hoping for sufficient rain to give a good flow in the river ensuring that fresh fish will be migrating up through the beats. While the river has fished well over the summer, catches have been declining in the continuing absence of a good spate of water. Nevertheless we've seen the river much lower so the overall situation was not without hope.
On day 4 I had beat 10. I soon hooked a large fish in the Dalemore stream. It was as black as the ace of spades and very strong. After ten minutes it got off and I retrieved my orange cone-head with considerably straightened hooks. The loss wasn't a big deal. It would have been returned anyway. In the afternoon I went down to the bottom of the beat to fish the delighfully named Horse Pools. The Upper pool has a weir with a gap in the middle through which the water rushes. I saw a fish rise there and cast over it with the same orange cascade fly that had been successful in the Island Stream on day 1. I got no interest so changed fly to a tiny Stoat's Tail, a very simple concoction made traditionally from black Labrador hair. That did the trick and I landed a nice 7lb fresh run bar of silver.
Final day 6 was spent on beat 6 where I finished the week with a very small 3lb fish taken on the orange cascade in the Chapel stream.
Overall a satisfactory week with a total of seven fish, a record for me on the Thurso. Roll on next year!
The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. eBook and paperback from all Amazon sites. Reviews at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005BJ3GNI