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Stories from the Castle

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On Thursday my father caught his 3rd Nith summer salmon in three years – a cock fish weighing a shade under 10lb straight up from the Solway on the recent rains. Sore from recent heart surgery, he had no option but to spin. On Thursday my father caught his 3rd Nith summer salmon in three years – a cock fish weighing a shade under 10lb straight up from the Solway on the recent rains. Sore from recent heart surgery, he had no option but to spin.

Closeburn Castle, that is, where a timeshare rod gives me fishing for weeks in late April, July and October. The proper salmon week is October but no one told my father this: he's caught fresh summer salmon of 13lb, 11lb, and now, pictured here, this 9 3/4-pounder he caught three days ago, in each of the last three Julys. The fish took a Rapala in high but clearing water (plus 2ft) after I'd been down the pool with the fly-rod.

Now back in Cambridgeshire I can reflect on another restful/infuriating/brilliant five high summer days on Dumfriesshire's River Nith.
The result in fish terms was a sea trout and a 9 3/4 lb salmon but as always there was much more to it than that.
For starters I nearly joined Dad on the salmon bandwagon (or at least grilse or decent seatrout) myself on our final day yesterday:
The water looked perfect for Friday, at 10am as I fished down Wee Porters. Half-an-hour later I was in the main Porters pool and had a really strong take and pull as I retrieved with firm pulls my Silver stoat Waddington into my near, left half of the river. The fish (5lb? It’s just so hard to say) was patient as I sorted getting in touch – then went ballistic, head shaking and zagging in the river downstream as I lowered the rod somewhat until.. The hook pulled out.
I’ve never got on with those Waddington mounts – too much leverage but the fact is that in my box it was the perfect fly to choose and it did get the all important reaction at least. I get a lot of satisfaction that I've brought a fish to take - even if the blighter doesn't stick.
And it was only 10.30 am, plenty of time I thought for more action but with another splashy take from a sea-trout ten minutes later, in the end that was that.
The afternoon hours slipped past and we saw salmon and grilse jumping (two up in our top pool, Hedge End) but all was meaningful fishing and casting and the last cast was hard to make. Only on my tenth ‘last cast’ did I reel in regretfully and we drove back to get our steak-and-kidney pie, chips & curry sauce reeking in vinegar (Yess!) From Thornhill.
The bond to this beautiful stretch of salmon fishing is strong and remains so.
Back for more in October when I hope to get that Porters salmon in to the bank. Then release her certainly. Or him probably.

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Salmon, Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish salmon fishing, Rapala, Nith blog, Blog from the Nith

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