Thursday, 28 May 2015

Personal bests

There have been times in the past when I have got very frustrated with the camp manager at Middle Varzuga. Every morning and evening, at an agreed time, we radio each other to ensure that everything is going well and to find out about the days fishing. Not unnaturally, one of the key points is to find out how many fish have been caught that day. Very often the manager at Middle will tell me he doesn’t know, is not sure or that he hasn’t spoken to everyone which can be quite frustrating. I now take it all back.

Paul P with one of 10 he landed yesterday
The team here are fishing every hour that they can and keeping track of where everyone is and what they have caught is almost impossible. However, after finally rounding them all up we deduced that the 10 rods had landed 124 fish in the day. Personal bests were being broken on what felt like an hourly basis but in the end Graham J was the top rod with 21, Craig C landed 20, Marc W had 19 and various others reached double figures for the first time.

Graham J - top rod with 21 fish for his day
We landed fish up and down the river but our bottom beats are still the most productive. We are now fishing with intermediate tips, half inch tubes and at times, size 6 flies. Next week will probably see us switching entirely to floating lines and fly sizes will decrease but as ever, we are in the far north and making any firm predictions about what next week will hold is not always the best policy.

John M on Moskoi Island
Kitza had another 22 fish for their day with Craig P landing a beautiful fish of around 15lbs from Sashas. They decided to explore the upper river a bit more yesterday which was a great success. They knew that there were probably more fish below the camp but were prepared to forego the extra numbers to fish in such a stunning place.

Middle Varzuga finished with 69 in the book which is without doubt a great days fishing but was a bit slower than we might expect given what we landed here. Theories abound as you can imagine and it is simply a matter of time before the main run hits that camp but in the meantime there is a certain swagger to the guides at Lower knowing that they are outfishing what is normally the most productive camp.
Stuart L on Jannaways
This morning has seen a complete change in the weather and it is currently pouring with rain. The least bothered about that is probably our 80 year old veteran, Douglas B, who found that he was awake at 5am. Deciding that he just as well fish as stare at the ceiling he landed 5 fish before breakfast and has given us all the lead for the day.

Charlie White

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Pana and Kitza

Yesterday was a busy day in the helicopter. We first took Toby and Beanie up to Pana and as ever, it was great to catch up with the team of guides and camp staff who have been there for so long.

The river looks perfect up there with Hippo Rock just showing, they had got five boats ready to go, the cabins are up and running and now we just need to add rods.

Pana from the air
Following that we took the team who had been fishing here at Lower over to Kitza and swapped over with the 10 rods who have been fishing over there. We try to do the changeover quite quickly as otherwise it can feel as if everyone is hanging around a bit but there is inevitably some delay as tactics are swapped, beats discussed and advice freely given.

Alicia, Arlena, Toby, Natasha and Beanie at Pana
There was much advice to go around as the 9 rods at Lower put a further 63 fish in the book yesterday with Stephen T having his best day of 13 from Sviats and Moskoi.

At Middle Varzuga they seemed to suffer from a mid week lull and the scores during the guided hours were not that spectacular but the home pools of Generator and Bear saved the day and the 12 rods finished with 62 recorded. Jim F, having not been out here for 7 years, remembered what he was doing and finished with 14 for his day.

Eric W with one of 28 fish he landed in 3 days at Lower
Kitza had a slightly slower day and they finished with 22 and a lot of those fish came from Reel and Spey. As soon as we had landed at Lower the team had their rods up and were fishing the home pools. It was clear that dinner was going to be delayed so we had a staggered evening as everyone came in when either tired or sated.

Marc W made the best of it and landed 10 fish from Wires whilst also losing a further 9 more. His shell shocked expression when he came back in is the kind of reaction we are all hoping to see.

Kitza last night, still quite high
This morning is bright but there is a tough upstream wind. Not that that mattered to Craig C who went out before breakfast and took 2 fish from Heli. Everyone was bang on time for breakfast and the enthusiasm levels are as high as I have seen – let’s hope for more of the same today.

Charlie White

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Up to Middle

After an extremely successful day’s fishing at Lower, I went up to Middle Varzuga to visit the team there for dinner. It takes about 45-50 minutes to get there by boat and whilst wrapped up as best I could, I was pretty cold by the time we got there and was grateful that Terry and Donna had got the fire blazing and the drinks ready.

Hayward F with one of 17 he landed yesterday
They had had a very good day and finished with 93 fish for their total. In amongst the fresh fish they landed, they had also lost roughly the same again, landed twice as many kelts, accounted for 4 decent sized pike and an endless succession of biggish grayling – it was clear that they had been very busy all day. A delicious dinner ensued which certainly kept me much warmer on the way back.

Getting back at just after midnight normally means that you return to a quiet camp but last night there were a few who were keen to celebrate their day and they were right to do so.

Snakes at Peartiha pool at Middle
103 fresh fish to 9 rods is a superb day of sport and it seemed a shame not to mark it with a few vodkas. Hayward F had comfortably the most productive day of his fishing life and accounted for 17 fish whilst Craig P put 20 more in the book.

At Kitza the team landed 32 for their day and again, the catches were spread very evenly although Jo A was the top rod with 7 fish landed from Reel and Camp pools. We will fly over there tonight for the weekly changeover and I will try and take some pictures of the water height for those of you coming later in the season.

Craig P with the perfect springer at Moskoi
Today we will take Toby and Beanie to Pana with the Russian team and set up that camp which will welcome its first guests on Saturday. Having spent time at Lower learning the ropes, Toby is raring to go and to have charge of his own camp.  Beanie was here last year which is always a massive help as it can be daunting being dropped in the middle of the tundra and being told to get on with it.  Having seen it all before makes it much easier.

Toby and Beanie - looking forward to welcoming their first guests of the season
It is a beautiful day for flying with a blazing sun and very little wind. The bright sun does not seem to affect the fishing as you might expect as there is always a peaty tint to the water. This has been proved by Craig P already landing another fish before breakfast so we seem set for another good day.

Charlie White

P.S. A very happy birthday to Braydyn Whalen from his Dad, Marc