Sunday 12 May 2019

Off and running

I say this every year but it is great to be back.  The Varzuga is a very special place to call work and it is impossible not to get excited by the prospect of flying into camp for the first week of the season.

Arrival into Murmansk in bright sunshine
A late night in Helsinki followed by a very early start is perhaps not the best way to kick off a fishing trip but it didn’t seem to do anyone any harm and we were all present and correct for the charter yesterday morning.  We raced through Murmansk and by 2pm we were all in camp and raring to go.

First heli of the season
The weather is very mild for this time of the year (writing this just after breakfast it is 13 degrees C) and as a result the river is rising rapidly.  At Middle Varzuga there are large ice walls lining the banks of Generator and Bear pools but with this rise they should shortly be washed away and access will become easier and easier.

Snow on the tundra
At Lower Varzuga the river literally rose in front of our eyes and it has probably risen 4 or 5 feet since we got here, a vast volume of water when the river is this wide.

The water temperature is 3-4 degrees and we are fishing with heavy sink tips (T-10 to T-14) and 2 inch tubes in various shades of yellow, orange and red.

Robin M last night. Hooked about 5 feet outside of the bushes
When the river is this big, it is not so much allocating beats as it is allocating parts of the beats that will hold fish.  With a massive river in front of you it is easy to become daunted but the truth is that the fish are just creeping along the edges and long casts are a waste of time and energy.

The most important bit of news is that the fish are here.  Whilst any fishing on Saturday afternoon is a bonus and a chance to exercise shoulders, it always helps when that is accompanied by people landing fish.
Jonathan B with ice coming down behind behind him
Such was the case yesterday with Jonathan B landing two and Robin M landing the first fish of the season.  Robin went out this morning and landed another one before breakfast and so we are set fair.

After an interminable wait, the season is upon us and we look forward to bringing you more news.

Charlie White