Friday 5 June 2015

Power cut

Yesterday was a really good day over all of the camps. Middle had their best day of the week and finished on 108 fish to their 12 rods. I asked Terry who had stood out from the crowd in terms of bigger catches etc and he simply replied "everybody" which was a nice sentiment but doesn’t help much!
William P-S on the Wires
Kitza also had their best day of the week and put 55 in the book. Tom M and Jamie K went all the way up to the top of the beat and fished their way down. Tom had a staggering day and finished with 18 to his rod.

Terry Malin, the Middle Varzuga manager
Pana is currently the model of consistency and they ended on 50 for their 8 rods. Ian S was the top rod with 15 fish in the day but with fish landed from Poachers Pines to Ponzoi, it looks very well set for the rest of the season.

Igor and Tolik ready for action this morning
Here at Lower we finished with 44 recorded. Bruce B and Brendan G continue to lead the way and furthermore have been out before breakfast and have already landed 6 between them. It has rained almost solidly for the past 24 hours but that has not a chance of dampening the spirits here and everyone has gone out with a real determination to make the most of the last day of the week.

Lucy M in a rare moment of sunshine yesterday
We are in the middle of a 36 hour power cut at Lower Varzuga at the moment. We have dusted off long forgotten generators and are all crowding around the one socket which has enough power to charge phones and computers. Radios are down and communication is by text so the fishing reports are a bit lighter than usual.

Our old generator - not something I expected us to be needing this season
That might also be the case over the weekend as on Saturday I am flying to Pana to spend some time in that camp. Bill Drury will be giving the fishing reports to Christopher Robinson who is currently in the UK and he will update the blog. I will be back on Tuesday when normal service should resume.

Charlie White

Thursday 4 June 2015

To Middle

Yesterday was a really changeable day in terms of the weather. Heavy showers were followed by blue skies which were then followed with monsoon like conditions. I managed to pick the key monsoon period to boat up to Middle to have dinner there. Over an inch fell in that hour and it is fair to say that I was quite pleased to get off the boat and into the warm dining room.

Lucy M with a lovely fish from Beach
The 12 rods there were in great spirits and we had a really good evening. They landed 96 for the day with David C the top rod on 15 fish. Donna’s theme was the 80’s with prawn cocktail as the starter, followed by roast pork and apple pie, all delicious and it was great to see everyone enjoying their week so much.

A full moon at 1am this morning
I got back at around 1am to find that most of our clients had gone to bed as a combination of wind and rain had meant a tiring day. We finished our day at Lower with 48 fish to the 9 rods.  John G-H is much missed and we look forward to seeing him next year. As predicted, Bruce B and Brendan G were our top rods but fish were caught from the top to the bottom of the beat.

Brendan G on the Wires last night
Kitza totalled 28 fish which was a bit slower than we might have expected. However, it sounds from the radio call this morning as if they got over that fact pretty quickly and a party in the kitchen went on into the very small hours of this morning. I could blame the radio reception but I think that the quiet voices that came through over the radio were more to do with a late night rather than atmospherics.

Kitza on Tuesday night - looks perfect
Pana carries on apace and they had a further 51 fish to their 8 rods. Benjamin B seems to be the man this week for the bigger fish and he took a cracking 16lber from Home pool. They have not started the float trip yet but Toby is seriously considering doing that either today or tomorrow as he boated up above camp yesterday and there are obviously fish all the way up there.

Michael G just before he flew to Kitza
This morning is grey and cold but Joe and Lucy M have been out early and landed a fish apiece before a slip and an exploded lifejacket put an end to that. Rearming took place during breakfast and everyone was at the boats on the dot of 9 o’clock, conscious that the week is flying by.

Charlie White

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Kitza changeover

We run two weeks of the season where the rods at Lower Varzuga and Kitza swap over after 3 days of fishing. Everyone comments that it feels more like two trips as after the changeover it seems as if you have started a new holiday. The same was true last night. After the mandatory "how did you get on" between the rods changing camps, we flew back to Lower and everyone was raring to try the new water.

Not a bad idea as it turns out as Bruce B and Brendan G have managed to land 16 fish between them before they have set eyes on their guide this morning.

Lucy M on Kitza
Yesterday was a good day across all of the camps but the wind in the afternoon made life much harder than we would have preferred.

The 12 rods at Middle Varzuga finished their day with 75 fish in the book. Alan S and Jeremy H had 8 fish apiece to be the top rods which probably demonstrates how evenly the catches were spread.

Jamie K with his guide at Lower, Sergei
Pana continues to impress and the 8 rods there finished with an even 50 fish recorded. Benjamin B landed the biggest fish of the season so far from Choppy. 21lbs of silver was the perfect way to start the day but in a continuing theme, they lost lots of fish and the action was fast and furious.

The 10 rods who flew to Kitza last night finished with 32 for their last day at Lower. Tom M and Jamie K were the top rods with 7 and 6 fish respectively. We had a really productive morning but struggled with the upstream wind after lunch.

Tudor D on Jannaways
 "Every day was better than the last which is quite something given that the first day was the best day of my fishing life" was one of the comments from the rods we picked up at Kitza. They had ended with 38 in the book with William P-S landing 7 of them. They landed fish all the way up to Rackmans and it is simply stunning up there at the moment.

Tolik in a familiar pose
This morning is not so stunning with very heavy rain. Lunch will be back at camp as opposed to our normal picnic on the bank which can mean a later start to the afternoon than normal but with Brendan and Bruce determined to make the most of it, it seems unlikely that we will be delayed for too long.

Charlie White

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Surface action

In a place that is all about salmon fishing it is not unsurprising that quite a lot of time is dedicated to discussing the best tactics, terminal tackle, the argument of nylon against fluorocarbon and many others. What is for sure though is that as our season goes on, we will move away from sinking and intermediate tips to full floaters. We are certainly approaching that time now.

Virginia W on Upper Sviats
Tom M had 8 fish for his morning, all of which took on the surface and as I watched him fish the Wires yesterday afternoon, he had any amount of fish come at his fly. A lot missed as they slashed at it too hard but it barely mattered as the end result was not so much about numbers in the book as it was the sheer enjoyment of seeing such aggressive takes.

In the end he finished the day on 14 fish, helping us toward 48 for our day. Virginia W is doing her best to keep her guide busy and was rewarded with 9 to her rod.

Feorder and Misha - lynchpins of Lower Varzuga
Kitza continues its upward curve and the 9 rods there finished on a tally of 45. Joe M, who has fished this river so many times, showed his knowledge of the beat and was the top rod with 12. They went down to the White Sea last night and whilst it was pretty cold, a few vodka toasts to the extraordinary environment down there certainly took the edge off.

Middle Varzuga continues to be ultra consistent. 76 fish were landed yesterday with Paul C the top rod on 11 fish. He also had a cracking fish of around 15-16lbs from the tail of Birthday. Otherwise their scores were very even across all of the rods and all of the beats are producing fish.

Rhodri D on 39 Steps
Pana has started with a bang. 54 was their total for the day with Doug U the top rod on 14. He landed 10 in his morning session at Ponzoi and his fishing partner Ian S was not far behind. Toby, the camp manager, can barely contain his enthusiasm over the radio and it is great to see them getting off to such a flyer.

It is a mixed today with plenty of blue sky but a cold wind. That has not put off our team who have already shared quite a few fish before breakfast and they are determined to make the most of it. Tonight we go to Kitza for the mid week changeover and I will try to bring some pictures from there.

Charlie White

Monday 1 June 2015

All camps up and running

Our season on the Varzuga is a very short one. Lower is only open for 4 weeks, Pana the same whilst Kitza fishes for 5 weeks and Middle is open for 7 weeks. The reason for this is that we try to put rods on the river only when we believe that each camp will be at its best.

Therefore, when you have all 4 camps open at the same time as we have now, it is the moment for the river to come up trumps – it did yesterday.

Tudor D just before trying to swim the river rather than wade it
Pana opened their season with 31 fresh fish to the 8 rods. Often in the opening week the main head of fish haven’t quite got to camp and you need to boat down river to intercept them but yesterday they landed fish in and around camp as well as down at Ponzoi which is very encouraging. Domingo P was the top rod with 6 fish but it was a close run thing as to whether he was happier about that or about his beloved Barcelona’s football result!

Virginia W managing to look glamorous whatever the circumstances
Kitza has started to kick in as we would hope having been a bit stubborn so far. The 9 rods over there put 34 in the book with the greatest celebration being saved for Simon H who landed his first ever salmon. Bruce B was also quietly celebrating his own day having landed 9 to his rod.

Here at Lower Varzuga our team recorded 62 fish for the day. Catches were noticeably even across the board but the top rod was Michael S-D with 13 closely followed by Jamie K and Tom M who each landed 8.
Bob M with one of 5 he landed in the afternoon
Middle continues to do very well if not, by its own stellar standards, as well as we unfairly expect it to. 75 fish to 12 rods can only be described as a great day but there was a sense that the rods were having to work harder for their fish than they have in seasons past. Nothing wrong with that as, despite the numbers, no one who has fished here will tell you that it is easy fishing.

The team during dinner last night
Today is grey with a cold wind and for the first time our water temperature, 13 degrees, is warmer than the air (around 9 at the moment) Common wisdom dictates that this does not help the fishing but that did not stop Virginia W landing 2 fish this morning in about 20 minutes or Tom M and Patrick F also landing fish before breakfast. All the camps are up and running and it is all systems go.

Charlie White

Sunday 31 May 2015

A new week

Yesterday was a pretty busy day in Murmansk. We left camp at 7am and took our outgoing guests back to catch the charter flight back to Helsinki. Stories of fish landed, rods broken, sights that had been seen and a general catch up are a great way to start the day.

Lower Varzuga in the sun on Friday
The teams had a lot to talk about. The 12 rods at Middle Varzuga finished with 464 for their week. It sounds ridiculous but in some ways we all felt that the figure was a bit smaller than we might have expected. The 9 rods who fished Lower Varzuga before Kitza finished with 341 in the book whilst the "opposing" team of 10 rods recorded 407, remarkably consistent fishing.

Swans flying over us yesterday
Having waved goodbye to them, we awaited the incoming clients. It quickly became apparent that some had lost their bags. Not a good situation in anyone’s eyes and the team needed to think quickly on their feet. Several texts and phone calls later and everyone was kitted out and on the river. New waders, rods and jackets were sourced from our base camp and some remarked that they were going fishing looking a lot smarter than they had anticipated.

Maryke and Bill setting up lunch
As ever, a few fish under your belt makes most situations feel rather better and Michael S-D proved the point by going up to Wires last night and landing 5 before dinner.

Jamie K has also landed 5 fish before he meets his guide and with reports of fish landed from Kitza, Middle and Pana, the week has started as we would hope and I look forward to bringing you more news from here tomorrow.

Charlie White