Sunday 24 May 2015

Old friends

As ever, it is great to be back on the Varzuga. We are only here for a short period of the year but we have been doing it a long time and firm friendships have been made.

After too long counting down the days, it is always a real pleasure to walk into the Helsinki Hilton and see so many familiar and friendly faces at the bar. Aware that it is a very early start in the morning, we do all try to make a token effort to be sensible but it never seems to work out that way.

Ken L with a chunky fish landed on Friday
Flying into camp is another moment to catch up with all of the guides and staff who we know so well. The Russians have a reputation for being dour but no one who steps off the helicopter, to be greeted by bear hugs and huge smiles, could ever go along with that.

We landed in brilliant sunshine and it was not long before the first rods were out on the river. Whilst Saturday is really only a bonus day, there are always the home pools to fish and most, if not all, want to take advantage of that.

Midnight last night
 At Lower Varzuga we landed 21 fish before dinner which was a fantastic start. Everyone is normally pretty tired on the first night as it is a long day of travel but the energising effect of a river full of salmon certainly worked its magic and it was not the earliest night we have ever had.

Up at Middle, the extremely experienced team were pretty much in their waders before I had taken off in the helicopter to come back to Lower. They too had over 20 by the time they came in for supper and knowing the rods who fish this week, I suspect they would have had some more after that and some before breakfast this morning.

Rods raring to go this morning
Kitza opens this week and it looks great. It is still quite high but is dropping in really nicely. The rods landed 4 fish in and around camp last night and Ollie reported more being landed early this morning. The new showers and refurbishment of the camp has made it look much smarter but it retains all of its charm.
Craig P with his own design hat. Russian writing to spell Varzuga
We start this morning in bright sunshine and having already landed quite a few fish before breakfast; everyone has gone out with a real sense of hope and excitement.

Charlie White