Saturday 9 June 2012

The Ultimate Atlantic Salmon Fishing Course

My last blog of the season seems to have come around far too quickly. I am about to depart for Murmansk and Christopher Robinson will be running the remainder of the programme from Middle Varzuga. We will have three camps running for the next fortnight and the prospects look excellent.

We have had an amazing season so far with many long standing records broken. I am conscious that big numbers of landed salmon make it sound as though catching fish on the Varzuga is easy – anyone who has fished here will dispute that with vigour. The difference is that we do have a river that has a serious run of salmon and if you put in the hours and fish well, you will be rewarded. Very rarely do people catch fish on bad casts and even rarer is someone who has landed a lot of fish for their week without substantial skill and dedication.
Terry M with another cracker for his week
Our final week here at Lower has been an enormous success. Bill Drury and Eoin Fairgrieve have both worked incredibly hard to ensure that their team have all progressed with their casting and their fishing ability. Some have landed their first ever salmon, some have cast their first ever fly and some have simply improved their casting from an already strong platform. What has been uniform has been the very high level of enjoyment and satisfaction that everyone has taken from it.
Howard E on Bear Corner
We have averaged over 30 fish per rod for the week and there is no other casting course in the world that can come even close to that. We will be running exactly the same programme next year and if you do think that you would like to improve your fishing whilst having the chance of landing a lot of fish then please do register your interest at the earliest opportunity with Bill, Eoin or myself.

All of the camps have fished beautifully this week and the river is itself looking stunning. Everything is very green and the flowers are in full bud – when the sun shines and people’s rods are bent into fish it really is hard to think of anywhere finer.

Jenny C at midnight last night with a fish on a skated fly
A personal thank you to all of the staff here who have worked so hard to make everything such a success and to our Russian partners and friends who I look forward to seeing every year and without whom none of this would be possible. Dasvedanya!

Charlie White

Friday 8 June 2012

Age proves no barrier to success

One of the great aspects of working out here and back in the office at Hungerford is that it provides an unparalleled opportunity to meet fascinating people from all walks of life and of all ages.

Many people stand out but Sir Gordon L must be in the top 10. At 92 he is not the youngest client we have ever had out here but nothing stops him and he fishes harder than most people 30 years younger than him. Yesterday morning at Pana was a case in point as he landed 12 fish for his morning session. His tally went towards an overall total of 82 for the day at Pana with fish being caught from the top to the bottom of the beat.

Bill Drury on Green Bank
At Lower Varzuga the bright conditions did not help matters hugely but it did lend itself to a superb picnic back at the lodge. We usually have lunch on the river bank but with such a nice day, we decided to get all of the kitchen staff involved and they provided us with a feast. It is extraordinary that despite a slightly later start in the morning than usual and a long lunch, we still managed to find time to land 35 fish with everyone on the score sheet. Everyone’s casting and fishing ability has been transformed and it has been excellent to see people fishing with increased confidence.

Our barbecue lunch yesterday
Kitza continues to fish very well and they had 50 fish to the 8 rods yesterday. Julian P was again top of the charts with 14 fish and George R had a cracking 12lbs fish from the Reel pool. Tom reports seeing fish all over the river which is pretty much the case for all of the camps and I will be sad to leave the river tomorrow when it is fishing like this.

Terry M on his first ever fly fishing trip
Middle Varzuga had yet another amazing day with the 10 rods landing 132 fish. Jim R had 15 in one session out of Simmons pool and Laurence L had 15 out of the prolific pool of the season which has been Party.  The fish are still pouring through and I think and hope that next week will be just as productive.

The camp at Lower last night
They caught more fish in the morning session than the afternoon which was similar to here but with a greyer day today I am hopeful that we will have one last superb day at Lower before we take the boats out of the water to put them away for the long winter.

Charlie White

Thursday 7 June 2012

A trip to Pana

I went to Pana yesterday to take some supplies and to see how the river was looking. The clients were having a picnic lunch down river but I was there long enough to see that the camp pool was alive with fish and it was hard to look at the river for any length of time without seeing one jump. The 8 rods up there had 94 for their day and they are going to break all of their records for the week. Barrie W had a 21lbs fish which is the biggest that he has had from Pana in all the years he has been coming whilst Christopher L and Keith H had a bonanza day of 16 apiece.

Hippo Rock is now almost part of the bank
After we landed back here at Lower, Christopher and I got in a boat and went up to Middle for dinner which turned out to be a very good idea as Jemima cooked us a delicious dinner and all of the clients there were in excellent spirits. The fishing has been nothing short of extraordinary all season and it shows no sign of stopping at the moment. 156 fish were landed to the 10 rods with Laurence L doing particularly well and he has already landed over 100 fish to his own rod for the week. All of the clients remarked on the size of the fish and it is clear that wherever they have been feeding they have done exceptionally well as they are all in perfect shape and fight like things possessed.

Philip W with one of 13 he had for his day
We got back to Lower at about midnight to find a serious party in full swing. Everyone here was celebrating yet another amazing day as they had finished with 69 fish for their group. Steve W and Jenny C had a day to remember with 13 and 10 respectively whilst Howard E landed 6 out of the Larder pool for his morning session. With fish being landed across all the beats it was great to see everyone swapping stories and laughing and joking long into the night.

The midnight light at Middle
Kitza is also fishing incredibly well and the 8 rods had 57 for their day with Malcolm K and Julian P leading the charge with 12 fish each . It was a bit of a struggle to hear Tom this morning as he tried to tell me the full story of almost every fish that was landed but suffice to say that I gathered that they were having an excellent time.

Greg K with one safely in the net
It seems entirely wrong that we should be closing this camp tomorrow evening as the fish are still running through here in huge numbers but it does bode very well for the rest of the season in the other camps. However, it is very bright today which might not be the best for the fishing but at least it almost certainly explains why most of the clients felt the need for sunglasses at breakfast this morning…

Charlie White

Wednesday 6 June 2012

More personal milestones

The weather yesterday was exactly what you would hope for on any fishing day – overcast, a light drizzle and very little wind. A day to improve your casting for sure but it also proved to be a day for catching a lot of fish.

Jenny C with one of 8 she landed yesterday
At Lower Varzuga, Jenny C landed 8 fish for her day which is the most she has ever landed. Andy B continues to impress and had 11 to his rod whilst Terry H went from landing his first ever salmon on Sunday to landing his biggest fish of around 12lbs. Eoin and Bill also picked up a rod yesterday for an hour or so and showed all of us how it should be done within a short space of time and we finished the day with 60 fish in the book. Dinner was delicious and great fun with smiles all around the table.

Eoin Fairgrieve during a rare "off duty" moment
At Pana they did have another record day as we had hoped they might. Jack M had 26 for his day whilst Dick B landed a further 19 to go towards a total of 106 fish to the 8 rods. Phenomenal fishing which is as we had dared to hope for given the amount of fish we have seen all season in the lower beats.

Terry H with a good fish from the boat
The team at Middle Varzuga continues to land a staggering amount of fish and the 10 rods had 167 silver bullets for their day. Hugo M and Rob M were fishing Party pool in the morning and Beach pool in the afternoon which sounded promising in the morning but no one would have dared predicted that they would land 27 and 26 fish respectively for their day. I am going up there for lunch today and it will be very good to catch up with them all.

Kitza is fishing beautifully and the 8 rods there had 58 fish for their day. David P and Julian P were the days top rods with 14 and 13 fish but everyone had several fish during the morning and afternoon sessions.

Andy B and one of his 11 for the day
Stephen W and Henry G went out this morning before breakfast and had 2 fish apiece whilst seeing a lot of fish showing all the way down the home pool here and there is every chance that today will be as good as yesterday as we have similar weather and an increasingly able team.

Charlie White

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Another day in paradise

When the weather is good, our daily routine is to take Maryke and the lunch out to the river and set it up before the clients arrive. At 1pm yesterday, all of the boats converged near our picnic spot and before I could ask how their morning had been, Eoin simply beamed at me and said “another day in paradise”

Terry M with a fish from Moscoi Rapids
It transpired that he had been with Terry M for the morning session and he had landed another fish to add to his growing total. The encouraging aspect was that they were at the bottom of our beat and reported seeing masses of fresh fish entering the system which indicates that the run of fish continues in its strength. We finished the day with 43 fish and it was great to see the casting and fishing confidence improve in all the rods as Bill and Eoin rotated around the beat.

Jenny C with one from Bear Corner
At Kitza they are dealing in round numbers and the 8 rods had 50 fish for their day. Bill O-Y was the top rod with 14 for his day but otherwise the catches were evenly spread. Their water temperature is now 10 degrees and it is dropping all the while which will help open up yet more of the beat.

At Middle the fishing continues to amaze and the 10 rods had 126 fish for their day. Laurence L had a superb afternoon on Party pool (which has fished incredibly well all year) and he landed 18 fish in about 4 hours. Many of the rods are repeat guests and they have all commented on the sheer strength of the fish this year.

Sam B who landed 8 yesterday
It is raining heavily this morning which sometimes affects the clarity of reception on our radios. As a result I could not totally hear Mungo but from what I could gather, the team of 8 rods at Pana had an excellent day. They landed 80 fish with Dick B leading the way with 22 to his own rod.  This is the highest number of fish this very experienced group have ever had in a day and it is the best day of the season at Pana so far but that is unlikely to remain the case for too long.

Glenn, on the left, with his first ever salmon
Christopher Robinson took a boat up to Middle Varzuga yesterday with Glenn, our mechanic. They were there to fix an engine but it soon became clear from the grin on Glenn’s face that they had spent the return journey having much more fun and his first ever salmon has been celebrated in style.

Maryke at 11pm last night
Not content with guiding Glenn to his first ever salmon, Christopher took Maryke out for an hours fishing after dinner and she also landed her first fish. Breakfast this morning was a quieter affair but there is a definite sense of achievement in the air from clients and staff alike.

Charlie White

Monday 4 June 2012

First fish and many more

As we had slightly hoped and expected, having Bill and Eoin with us here at Lower has already paid dividends. The strong upstream wind of the morning remained a feature of the day but with expert tuition, the clients were soon casting beautifully.

Terry M was the first story of the day as he went with Bill to Bear Island and after a few pointers, landed his first ever salmon. He went on to land 2 more to give him a dream start to his fishing career. Not all of our rods are beginners and this was amply demonstrated by Stephen W who has already landed 17 fish to his rod. We finished with 67 to our 9 rods and the week could not have started in a stronger fashion.

Stephen W with a nice fish from the Larder pool
Kitza is really fishing very well now and the 8 rods there had 46 for their day with David P the top rod having landed 15 fish. They had a couple of good sized fish of around the 13-14lbs mark from Beaver Pit and Sasha’s pool and it appears as though there are fish all through the beat.

Jenny C in to one on Bear Island
Middle Varzuga shows no sign of slowing down and the 10 rods have had 156 bars of silver already. Phillip W and Nick M had the day of their lives on Clarkes and Party pools and landed 54 fish between them during the guided hours.  They have caught fish all along their stretch of river and with water levels remaining at an excellent level, all of the pools are in the rotation which gives them a huge area to cover and being only 10 rods gives them even more flexibility which they are making the most of.

A dangerously good pudding last night
At Pana the 8 rods had a great start to their week with 48 fish in the book. Dick B and Jack M were the top rods with 10 apiece and Mungo reported seeing more and more fish in all of their beats. As ever at Pana, they are catching some bigger fish and a 15lber was the best that they had yesterday.
Summer is definitely here now and floating lines are the favoured choice. Christopher Robinson took 2 of our rods out in the boat last night and they raised 10 fish to a skated fly in about an hour and the Sunray Shadow is beginning to find its way to the top of everyone’s fly boxes. 

Barry H with a fresh fish from Duck pool
A new day has bought no change to the weather as it is very bright and the strong upstream wind will put the odds in the fish's favour but we have everything else going our way and the team here are determined to make the best of it.

Charlie White

Sunday 3 June 2012

The records continue to tumble

Yesterday was a busy day in Murmansk as most of the Kola rivers are now open and as we all share the same charter from Helsinki the immigration hall was packed but within a couple of hours we were on the helicopter and ready to start a new week.

We can only hope that this week starts in the same way that last week finished. We had superb fishing across all of the camps and Kitza is now dropping in perfectly for the new group. The departing team had their best day of 45 fish from the river on Friday and David P went out last night to land 2 before dinner and they should have an excellent week over there.

Henry P on Moscoi Rapids
At Lower we had one of our best days on Friday with 52 fish landed to the 10 rods. We welcomed Eoin Fairgrieve and Bill Drury with their very keen team of rods and supper last night was a quick affair as everyone was keen to get on the river. Stephen W was the one to get off to a flyer with 6 fish in a couple of hours from Wires but everyone who went out managed to land fish and the enthusiasm levels this morning are great to see.

Pana fished beautifully by the end of the week and the team of 6 finished with exactly 150 fish for their 6 days fishing. There is no doubt that their fishing got better and better each day and with a few fish already in the book from our new team, we hope that this trend continues.

Howard E last night
At Middle the unthinkable happened. I did not believe that it was possible to catch more fish than the previous group had done as that was a record for the river in itself. I was wrong. The 12 rods finished their week with 1,377 bars of silver and amazingly, 8 different clients landed over 100 fish to their own rods. It was great to catch up with them all in Murmansk and it was clear that they all recognised that they had been part of something very special. “We will never see it like that again” was the overriding comment and I think that they have a point but I rather hope that they are wrong!

Bill Drury and Stephen W ready for action this morning
The 10 rods who are there this week have already landed several before breakfast and there seems no sign of the run slowing down. However, we have a very strong and cold upstream wind this morning which is going to make life tougher for everyone but it will give Bill and Eoin ample opportunity to put their tuition skills to good use.

Charlie White