Friday 27 June 2014

Farewell to a Small Island in the Middle of Nowhere

The fishing has been excellent all week, and despite the gale for two days, very consistent. In the first four days the scores for salmon landed were 66, 63, 74 and 70 – and virtually all our ten guests have exceeded their personal best for a day’s salmon fishing. Everyone has made the most of the fishing here, all are experienced enough to realize just how good it is. Terry and I have much enjoyed watching them and helping them (I hope!) experiment with Bombers, small skaters and hitched Sunrays.

Yesterday morning was pretty chilly and it did not feel really ‘fishy’, however by lunchtime the weather had softened and we had a tremendous afternoon, with all the beats, top to bottom, fishing well – and with the added bonus of a run of fresh grilse splashing through.

Simon R repeating his lunch time trick of catching a salmon in front of us all, with Gordon B
We had our best day since 12 June and recorded 103 salmon in the book to take us over 400 for the week so far. With one day to go the total for Middle Camp this year stands at 4,814 salmon to 67 rods, beating the previous record set in 2012. We leave tomorrow and this will be the last blog post from here. Next week we will post a summary of what has been one of our best salmon fishing seasons on the quite remarkable Varzuga.

Midnight last night on Party Pool
It is not just the wonderful salmon fishing that has captivated our guests this year. We fish in a pristine wilderness in the middle of nowhere; yesterday we saw Fish Eagles, a Merlin, Waxwings and even a Little Gull (rare up here). Steen P has now recorded 48 species of birds over his years here. Last week Freddie P and I sat in the sun on the Slabs up in Yovas canyon – we drank in the silence, the fresh air, the river running by our feet. We agreed that it was a privilege to be there.

Arina, Jenna and Sonya with Zlarta
There is a great team of local Russian friends here, some behind the scenes, who make it all work. Vova on the generator, fire wood, the banya and other camp tasks. Luda, always in the kitchen, dawn to dusk. Jenna, and her daughter Arina, cleaning, washing up, making beds and running the laundry. Sonya, of course, skipping along the duck boards, collecting flowers and playing with the dogs. Zlarta, our bear dog and her two well grown pups who welcome us home in the evenings. And the guides, Misha (the camp boss), Anton, Danya, Vova, Ivan and Sasha (who we reckon has netted over 1,000 salmon in 6 weeks).

A huge thank you to them all.

Tomorrow we will drag ourselves onto the helicopter, reluctantly homeward bound to reality outside this small island in the middle of nowhere.

More next year!

Christopher Robinson