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By Ramcatt
#515609
after seeing few of those pictures... i hate you
and will not be checking this thread again...today
User avatar
By Lurgee
#515610
[report]




Right before New Year’s I was happy to learn that a piece of business I had been competing for in North Africa had been awarded to my team. This is in a pretty sketchy part of the world but we’d be working with the good guys on the National team and can set-it up remotely. This enables us to keep our people safe as Nationals aren’t typically very valuable as hostage material. Part of this award would entail several start-up planning sessions with the locals, EH&S and Supply Chain at our Headquarters in Europe…which just so happens to be located in Aberdeen, Scotland.



I’d travelled here before last year but it was in January and the fishing opportunities are quite limited at that time. I knew this was my chance. Like many others this has been a dream for a long time and I wanted to make sure I did it right. My spray pole abilities are quite limited. I have had one day on a river in Western New York with some excellent instruction by SLSS and a bit of time on an Erie Trib with Nemeth, D-Nymph, Steelhound and 4EG…but I was nowhere near competent, capable or ready.



This is timely and 100% accurate! From MTGrayling’s Steel Balls TR



quote="MTgrayling"

"… I set out to learn the secrets of the fancy cast. The real secret is it ain't fucking easy let me tell you. Not easy, not natural, not working dammit! Best advice I can give is to take a class or course, I wish I had. I really wish I had. Teaching yourself 2 hand casting can be frustrating, entertaining, frightening and even painful in its own peculiar high speed way. After pulling a hook a friend buried deep in a his scalp/scull early on I developed a strange lobbing cast to keep the fly away from my face. Another friend gave on river tips for proper casting and I settled on a hybrid franken cast that is sometimes bad and sometimes not so good. What did I say again? Take a class."



So that was my plan. I was going to spend the money and get a day on the water that would give me the ultimate experience.



The way it works here is interesting, all rivers are owned by the King/Queen/Pope?? and they are opened to the public using a “beat” system. This allows for a set number of rods per day working the section being managed by a Ghillie. GhiIlie’s then assign beats, recommend flies and areas to fish and help as possible. They also track and record the number and size of all of the fish that are caught and report this. This is how the cost per “beat” is managed. Those beats with the highest numbers of fish landed typically cost more and get reserved far out in advance.



Aside...It is said that each Atlantic Salmon caught is worth $2500 to the local economy if you consider all of the expenses that go into the typical anglers modus operandi.



I was lucky enough to get in on one of the best beats in all of Scotland for the Spring Run of Atlantic Salmon…the North Bank of the Park Beat on the River Dee. Leading up to my day on the water I was regularly checking the Scotland websites where catches are recorded and quite excited to see that “my beat” was getting the best numbers of fish consistently…best numbers being 1 or 2 a day. I knew my chances of actually getting a fish were slim, but at the very least I’d be in a beautiful setting, getting a traditional experience with the beat system, good food, whisky and some serious instruction using the 2 hander. It was a hell of a lot more money than I have spent on a fishing excursion before but hey, it was my one shot….and I’d been saving. If anybody is thinking about heading over this way give me a shout and I’ll fill you in.



What made this special is that prior to heading over to the UK I got a box of classic atlantic salmon flies tied by PBRStreetgang that were well-suited for the section I was on.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1922_zps78ff9c2b.jpg[/img]



So here we go.



Heading off to the airport last Saturday was a bit tricky as we had significant winter event happening.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1924_zps699472da.jpg[/img]

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But we took off, only 90 minutes late. It’s good to be in the front of the plane.

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Got to watch a couple of movies that I hadn’t had a chance to see, read a book and found myself in the UK about 10 hours later. Hello Engerlund.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1999_zps565f2d28.jpg[/img]



Wow, this has seen better days. Kind of sad I think.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2001_zps6eed610b.jpg[/img]



Got to Aberdeen about 5PM on Sunday, and quickly learned that Elvis is indeed everywhere.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1930_zpsc3947a2e.jpg[/img]



Part Two to come…in which we learn about Aberdeen, my focused/dedicated approach to drinking and some scenery.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2014_zpsf72372d9.jpg[/img][/report]
Last edited by Lurgee on Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#515612
This is so cool.
#515615
[report]




I really like this city. It has been experiencing quite an economic boost with Oil & Gas activity in the North Sea the last few years. People are extremely friendly, lots of good food to be had and much to do…provided the weather allows. You’ll see 4 seasons worth of weather in any given day…blizzards, rain, strong sun and wind. Such is life in the high latitudes along the North Sea.



Some pretty good surf can be found here but you’ll need 2 wetsuits to stay warm.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6737_zps8282f721.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6735_zps98681d20.jpg[/img]



It’s a surreal deserted carnival type set-up on the boardwalk not far from the hotel where I stayed. The sun hangs very low in the horizon here over the course of the day in the winter/early spring. If I knew what I was doing with a camera I could've taken some pretty cool pictures.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6740_zpsbdf93e8d.jpg[/img]

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It’s also known as the Granite City. On the gray rainy days its quite bleak, but when the sun comes up the city sparkles with the mica reflecting the light like millions of tiny mirrors..



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6741_zps14619aca.jpg[/img]

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I did get finished up early one afternoon and did some touristy stuff. Really glad I did as this was truly amazing. Makes we wish I had more time to wander around and get the feel of it.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1982_zps47727ddc.jpg[/img]

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[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1986_zpsc5fa3b8b.jpg[/img]



One of things I like most about being in this part of the world is the curry. Seriously. The UK isn’t really known for their food but man can they do a curry. This place is the best.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1992_zpsec5810fe.jpg[/img]



Now for the Whisky, I have been debating whether to put this here or the Single Malt thread. I might do both. For the most part I’m a beer guy, but I do love a good whisky. Over the last few years I’ve really enjoyed learning more about this art form and heritage. The hardest part here in the US is that it’s typically hard to get a taste of something new without having to invest in an entire bottle. You can read the descriptions and get a pretty good idea, and some of them really make you wonder…



“Marmite on burnt toast, then barbecued suckling pig; fresh and maritime with water – smouldering hessian rope and Vick’s cold remedy. Sweet and salty to taste, with plenty of smoke”.



I personally love burnt hessian rope so much more than merely toasted hessian rope. But that’s just me.



Enter ‘The Grill’

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1938_zpsed4c396e.jpg[/img]



Oh my, what a place. This is the place in Aberdeen to come and get single malt. The bar is lit brightly with flickering flourscents. The average age of the clientele is well above 60, there is no music and a lone TV will be playing football if it is on, the UK weather channel if it is not.



But they have whisky. An entire wall 5 bottles high, 4 bottles deep. The menu is 30 pages long. My goal was to not have the same dram twice and try as much as I could with the intention of identifying the bottles I wanted to buy on my way out of town. A challenge I looked forward to.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1941_zps755d7382.jpg[/img]



Not sure if you can see that but the 65 year old Macallan is listed at 225lbs for a 25mL pour. That’s $340 US, or $51,476 per gallon.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1939_zps097d4e73.jpg[/img]



I made friends with the bartender and he did let me get a couple pictures and take a whiff of this ultimate item of luxury.



The front

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2009_zpsa0a57b03.jpg[/img]



The back..nice huh?

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2010_zpsadd2aab1.jpg[/img]



To be honest, it smelled really nice but this one did more for me.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2011_zpsd4ce1afa.jpg[/img]



Here are some of the ones that I actually tasted

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2013_zps48b6692d.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2012_zpsdaf8b702.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1978_zps879408f8.jpg[/img]



I really liked a number of the GlenDronach’s, a Speyside like The Macallan but a bit more reasonable on the price point for similar age classes. I ended up coming home with a Talisker Distiller’s Edition Cask Strength which is phenomenal and a Tomintoul 21 Year Old that I’m also quite pleased with. I picked another bottle of a Distiller’s Edition Bunnahabhain for a friend that I hope he shares.



Ok enough with the jibber jabber, Part 3 will have the fishings.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_2014_zpsf72372d9.jpg[/img][/report]
Last edited by Lurgee on Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
#515628
Looks like a good start man!! The black bowmore is a solid malt but i would take the old Macallan anyday of the week.
The mates are going yourway tomorrow, the weather is going to be shite next weak though, wen/thur is going to be -12C during the nights..... But i am still jelaous as hell!!!!
#515636
[report]




I’ve been upping my donations to the karma pool lately with the hopes that maybe, just maybe this trip would turn out to be the one where not only did I have a good time, be in a great setting whilst chasing fish…but that I’d actually catch a memorable fish. In this case an Atlantic Salmon on a swung fly in Scotland.



It was quite an interesting evening the night before, I ended up staying out a lot later than I should have. If you ever talk to me in person, ask me about it. Wasn’t supposed to meet my guide till 8AM…Christ that’s the middle of the day?? So I had a traditional Scottish breakfast from my hotel’s buffet.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMG_1975_zps46ac77c4.jpg[/img]



Not that bad if you don’t think of what it really is.



Drove about 30 minutes outside of Town and had some good reading material



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6754_zpsa5b994f5.jpg[/img]



Pulling into our beat for the day.

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6800_zps48655f84.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6751_zps23685058.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6749_zps09f8f0e1.jpg[/img]



I loved that car

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6758_zps167c2d9b.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6785_zps2093b029.jpg[/img]



The Fishing Hut was alright too

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6759_zps9538056b.jpg[/img]



Met the Ghillie and got deloused

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6757_zps21c59d65.jpg[/img]



My fishing companion for the day

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6792_zps9c70086a.jpg[/img]



Reviewed our selection of shrimp flies

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6755_zpscd3424f2.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6756_zpsc61191b8.jpg[/img]



And chose one

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6777_zps89fd5f72.jpg[/img]



The plan was to get started with the Guide and Ghillie’s choice and switch over to one of the classics during the day. The common method over here is tube flies and double hook systems.



I was going to do what I was told.



This was my first time with a 15’ set-up. They had a brand new Scott McKenzie 10/11wt set up with a traditional spey system. I have no idea about these things but I was quite impressed, after a bit of instruction I was successfully moving line forward in a nearly correct direction 3 out of 5 times. Things got better as they day progressed and occasionally one might mistake me for actually doing it correctly. Regardless I felt comfortable and really enjoyed the process.



Action Shots

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The Ghillie showing me how it’s done

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There was a pair of river otters active around the beat that day. At one point one swam right up underneath me and came up right next to my feet. Very cool seeing this.



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/886617_10151389359997880_1014419726_o_zpsb6c44204.jpg[/img]



So right before lunch I was off fishing by myself while the guide prepared lunch. Cast, mend, swing, step, repeat. It was a good pool and I was on edge as I expected something to happen at any time. It did. About ½ through a swing at the tailout of the pool there was a solid hit, shake and run. I freaked, but slowly raised the rod tip, grabbed the line as it was tightening up and making the drag hum. I had one hooked!!



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/482830_10151389361177880_1685842860_n_zps25883587.jpg[/img]

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[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6773_zps367c3a30.jpg[/img]



I’m not good at estimating weight, they estimated between 16 – 18lbs and it was measured right at 37”.



This fish has ruined me forever.



After watching her swim away strong and quickly we broke for lunch, it was quite a celebration. What follows is not at all my style. I typically am a granola bar and keep fishing kind of guy but when in Rome…



Whisky was poured

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6780_zpsa740d6d7.jpg[/img]



Beef Bourginon made with Aberdeen Angus on a slow cooker…delicious

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6782_zpsc376472a.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/64118_10151389361327880_28707295_n_zps62e734a8.jpg[/img]



And some wine. I do think I could used to living like this though…



After lunch we moved to a different beat and my casts continued to improve. At this point I thought I was already well beyond where I hoped to be at the end of the day. My cast was working, I had caught a fish and I had a pretty solid buzz going. I wanted to swing the classics that PBR had sent me, so we tied on the Miss Grant, which the Ghillie said would mimic the sand eels the salmon feed on at sea…not a shrimp.



Over the course of the afternoon we got 3 more bumps and had 2 on but could not keep them buttoned. They were quite impressed and I believe the Guide was going to work out a tube pattern to mimic the Miss Grant. As I said before they say single hook fishing is very rare there these days due to inability to keep them hooked. I don’t know, I think it definitely could be done.



It was an amazing day. The other gentlemen I met during the day were just that, Gentlemen. All very nice, anxious to learn about fishing back in the states and happy to share, suggest and support. Heck, they even come equipped to share with class and style on the riverside. I’ve got to get one of these dram sets!

[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/IMGP6799_zpsf4b2244b.jpg[/img]



So that’s it for my big River Dee adventure. I truly can’t wait to return soon. On a side note I just so happened to pick up a bunch of business in Norway….ummm Heero?



[img]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv289/everett212/Scotland%20March%202013/45678_10151389361397880_16411444_n_zpsfd618e8b.jpg[/img][/report]
#515639
whoa. I believe this is the only time in the history of the world the use of the word Epic would be proper.
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