Well what a hard week that was on the river Tay in Scotland, never have I ever fished a river so fast and wide and dangerous. The flow of water going through there was just beyond belief! Well where do I start really.
Dunkeld Bridge below
I was lucky enough to be reserve for the Welsh rivers team for the international held on the river tay in Scotland and god what an eye opener it was. We headed out on the 23rd of June in advance of the comp so we would get a whole week of practice in for the international that was going to be held on the 29th. Conditions were not great with rain most days and an up and down stream wind. At points in the day, there were waves going down river and it was just bonkers to say the least. Kieron Jenkins, Captain of the team assigned everyone a different method to fish that day and would swap everyone the next day. Great tactics to covering all the water and seeing where the fish were and what depth they would be feeding at certain times in the day, Dries would go first then wets then the bugs would come in on the French leader and stimmy behind. Many fish come to all methods through the week but it was far from easy.
The fly life wasn’t the best throughout the week but the odd day the fly life would be fantastic but you wouldn’t see a fish rise. This was so confusing and I just couldn’t believe that nothing was picking off these wee beasties, frustrated wasn’t the word for it. Most nights after a hard day searching out the water we would all be called in for a meeting by Kieron and Paul to discuss the day’s fishing as a team and lay the flies on the table for all to see. Then as a team we would decide on the best method to cover the water that we tackled that day. After the meetings we would all have a few hours tying and then to the bar for a little banter with the other teams. All in good fun. I met some cracking chaps and I do hope I get the chance to be there again some time.
It was a nice and early start, double checking the gear over and then a quick breakfast and off we set to meet the controllers for the day’s fishing ahead. Around this time reports started coming in that the river had risen around 3ft over night and this was quite concerning for the fishing ahead. The plan was that i would run for Kieron in the morning and then in the second session I would run for Mark Willows, this was a great opportunity for me to see other anglers on the water in focus mode and to see their styles in action. Kieron, me and his controller got to our peg and what we knew about the water just went straight out of the window. River was up,coloured and the wind was making a quite a nuisance of itself. The time come for kieron to step in for his first session and he started off in a lovely run screaming fish but it wasnt to be. Everything was working against him and he left the first session with a blank but made up in the second session. fishing was out and out hard going.
After the morning session were over we all had to go back and meet up and have a bite to eat before leaving for the last sessions of the day. This was a tense time waiting on the boys to come in and say how they done in the sessions. I think the all round smiles said it all when we all finally met up that we were doing well. Food was done and handshakes all round and it was back out for the second round, eager and confident. This time I was out with Mark willows for the final sessions of the day, we got to the peg nice and early checking that water out and just hoping that we didn’t have to run out looking for something that was fishable. Mark set the one rod up on wets and the other on the heavy bugs. Before we knew it, it was time for Mark to get in and fish his heart out. As I said before nothing looked familiar and we were all back to a blank canvas. As Mark fished the wets and covered a fair bit of water, I spotted a few fish on the other side rising, this was our opportunity to give them hell, the information was passed over to Mark and he instantly changed methods and made his way straight to the spot with plenty of time to spare in the first session. I had my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t blank in the first, with only minutes to spare Mark had a measure in the net. Big smiles all round. Mark moved out of the spot where the fish were rising and left them alone till the next session started, he changed over at this time doing a little bit of heavy bugging but with no success. The second session kicked in so he moved back into the spot where the fish were, after a few casts, Mark was into a fine trout and no blanks, that’s all we wanted to do. The last session ended with 2 fish and god what a relief it was. Mark done so well and I was proud to be there with him. After a big handshake we moved out to go back to the hotel to find out the final scores. We all waited in the car park after putting in the score cards. You could feel the tension in the air. As we all moved on down the car park I could see paul with his hand in the air and with the biggest smile i’ve ever seen. You could see how proud he was with the team. We went into the club and straight away the handshakes kicked off with everyone saying well done boys 🙂 We did it! Wales takes the gold, what a feeling and I was so proud of all the boys for pulling out all the stops and bringing home the gold for Wales. I don’t really remember much after that but here are the photos of the team and the captain Kieron Jenkins and Alun Hughes for taking top rod.
I’m a proud Welshman and im so proud of the boys for doing so well in the condition. Well done to all.