Friday 13 June 2014

Managing Great Expectations

Gradually the sky clouded over yesterday and the afternoon session proved far more productive than it had the two previous days under the bright sun. We lunched again at Snake Pit, Olivier D skipped out of his boat whooping with joy, he had had a remarkable morning wading the mid river bar in Snake Pit and Bomber Ally landing 14 salmon including a wonderfully deep cock fish of 13lbs.

The fly of the week - a Percy Special tied by Ian S
Across the whole river it was another remarkable day; at Middle Camp we landed 154 salmon. Pana had 126 with Michael C landing an 18lber in the Camp Pool. Over at Kitza Arthur J also had an 18lber, from Beaver Pit and the team there put a further 58 in the book.

We have a nice cloudy morning today, the team at Middle Camp set off early to make the most of their last 24 hours here in salmon heaven. I suspect some might get onto the departing helicopter tomorrow in their waders. The forecast indicates rain this evening, but I suspect not a great deal, and into next week it looks like it should remain reasonably cool.

Olivier with his 13lber from Snake Pit
We have been recording some extraordinary numbers of salmon in the past few weeks and inevitably the expectations of each new group are high – very high. We chatted again last night over drinks on the veranda about the consistency of some fishers’ scores and why that should be. How experience counts, how some fishers have a six sense, and above all how some fish unnervingly well in all conditions. Hugo M and Ian S stand out for me this week, each fishes a different style, Hugo with a single handed and Ian with a 15’ double handed. Ian wades boldly, but Hugo is an extraordinary wader – he took on Eagle Rock this week, in quite high water, and lived to tell the tale. But what sets them apart is not just that they cast long, but each cast lands straight and the fly fishes immediately. Combined with an innate sixth sense as to where in the pool to concentrate their efforts they top the leader board almost every day.

Rob McK - a study in concentration
What has been also notable this week is the lack of competition and indeed the congratulations for those who have done well. Everyone has had a less productive session or two and rather than blame the beat or the guide there has been a shrug of the shoulders and the odd mutter about ‘not having fished well’. The Varzuga is unique in that takes the luck out of fishing, it is not the salmon lottery that it can be elsewhere; it really is not a numbers game - you have to consider Varzuga a salmon river where you can, if you want to, improve your skills and be rewarded as you do so.

Middle Camp
Next week we have 26 fishers in three camps, Pana, Kitza and Middle – all have fished the river before and we look forward to seeing them in Murmansk tomorrow. We should be onto true summer fishing conditions, floating lines and small flies, and a chance to try fishing Bombers and skated flies. However many salmon we land next week I know it will be great fun and highly rewarding fishing as we approach mid-summers night on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

I go to Murmansk tomorrow to meet the new arrivals, so I will update you on Sunday morning.

Christopher Robinson