Tweed, Polish Sausage and Friends

 

The Tweed looking towards Peebles

Mist on the Tweed at Manor Brig, and there were anglers already on the water

The River Club Pro Team ( a private joke) hasn’t met up for a while in its entirety and while we were looking at a run to the Tay, the wading frankly put me off as I have heard it can be pretty hard going and while I know John and Radek could hack it, I probably couldn’t. So we decided on the Tweed. I usually give the Tweed a couple of goes most winters, not sure if I ventured there last winter, maybe not, but I haven’t fished it in the Brown Trout season for a few years, and we opted to meet at Manor Brig and start the day there.

 

 

Fishing the Tweed

Grand surroundings, John fishes faster water and manages a couple of fish

I arrived first, it had started a stunning day with horizon to horizon blue skies in the Forth Valley, with mist that was sure to burn off and the first signs of an early morning nip that heralds that inexorable downward slope towards winter, long nights and short days. Arriving at the designated meeting point the mist was still hugging the water in its trail from high in the hills near Moffat towards its eventual outpouring on the east coast at Berwick.

 

There were at least two anglers on the water already, visible to me and another two here, tackling up at their car. It seemed others had had the same idea as us. Radek and John arrived just as I was about ready, and once all prepared we opted to head downstream, mainly because I knew there were at least three anglers above us. Radek had the idea of moving one car down into Peebles so we could work down towards it and drive back to collect the other at the starting point, but this plan was scuppered on this particular Saturday as Peebles was hosting its annual Highland Games.

We started on the run down towards the Viaduct and fished on further down at Neidpath Castle and while we encountered more fishers on the way, there was plenty room for us all. I think we all planned to fish with nymphs from the start but we saw some fish moving to the flies that were already coming off and for me at least the temptation to try dry fly was too great. John had got a couple of wee fish early on on the bugs then I think I got my first of the day a small Brown trout on a small Size 16 Para-Adams.

Neidpath

Neidpath Castle

This was the view from pretty much the spot I spent some long summer days in 1978

Neidpath holds a lot of happy memories for me as it was really the place my fly fishing journey started back when I must have been about 14. My Mum and Dad liked to go holidays where they could go Green Bowling, and so they were looking for activities to keep me occupied. That particular year my dad had a friend from work show me the rudiments of casting and how to tie on a leader and a fly, ( out on the hard standing in front of our garage) and once at Peebles on our holidays, I was taken each morning, with my loaned gear, down to the tackle shop in Peebles- I think it was called Frasers. I chose 5-6 flies, mostly winged wets recommended by the shop, and with my day ticket in hand, was deposited at the castle where I spent the day until they came and got me later in the afternoon. By this time I had usually lost all my flies! I had no wellies or waders so it was not that easy to cover the water here, but I loved it ( never caught a fish!) and went back at least every other day of the holiday. By the end of the holiday, I was the proud owner of my first 9-foot fibreglass fly rod, line and reel. And in a sense, so it began.

But I digress….

Grayling going back

Radek’s nice Grayling

I had tried a few flies up to the point I caught my first Brown and they had been ignored but as soon as the Adams went on I had a fish first cast and rose probably 3 or 4 more, though likely none of the fish were of any substantial size. Radek and John had continued exploring further down and we kept meeting up and separating all the way down to the limit of this section. By now it was about One in the afternoon and it was quite a hot walk back to the cars to move to another section. We had all had fish, I think John had the most…. not that we were being competitive or anything most were nothing especially big, and there were a few Parr about. Radek had what I reckon ended up the fish of the day, a fairly chunky Grayling on the bugs. I had one on the bugs and one on the dry by lunchtime.

Civilized Behaviour

Radek and the BBQ

Radek’s big Sausage…titter ye not! Photo courtesy of John Watson

It was lunchtime, and Radek had thoughtfully brought a small Portable BBQ with him, and some Polish sausage. John had some other sausages and rolls and I brought some more rolls and the Ketchup. We had lunch. I think this is going to have to become the norm on future outings, a thoroughly agreeable way to break the time on the river with friends. The Polish Sausage was really tasty by the way, and even the pickled Peppers, which I didn’t fancy at first was a nice accompaniment.

….and yes we took away the disposable BBQ and any rubbish we brought.

Rising Trout

While we sat enjoying the weather and food, we could see a few fish rising and again dry fly was a temptation. It was pretty hard to see what they were taking, there was no particular singular “hatch” as such, though for a short spell there were quite a few bright Yellow flies on the water- Yellow Sallys? I had seen a few fish rise near a tree and while John and Radek returned to the car to get their waders, I had a wee go at the risers here. It was quite tricky to get a drag free drift with the various currents between me and the fish, but on about my third or fourth cast I managed to rise and connect with a nice Brown Trout  which while still fairly small, maybe about 7-8″, was a chunky wee fish and as bonnie as they come. It had fairly swallowed the barbless fly too and gave me a bit of trouble to release.  I was taking a wee spell to watch what was happen and let the spot I was fishing return to some calm after taking a fish out, when I watched a fly, it looked brownish from the distance, was swept down under the branches of the trees right over the spot where I caught the fish and a really nice looking trout rose to take it. I would lie to put a size on it but I saw its burnished golden flank and it was not a small trout. It was also I reckon not a stupid trout, as despite putting 5-6 different patterns over it, it still initially at least, continued to rise occasionally to something, though my flies were ignored, at least by this particular fish.

Catching a fish bugging

Radek gets a wee one on the bugs

 

Angler catches a fish ont he Tweed

A rare shot of me catching a fish on a dry fly.
Picture courtesy of Radek

Eventually, it got fed up with my efforts to catch it and seemed to go quiet. Having said that the entire stretch definitely came off peak activity even without the thrashing of the water to a foam along its length. John went to cover another decent fish I had spied further down and did manage to get a good pull on it but it never connected before then going away upstream to try the bugs in some faster water and I think he caught another Grayling. Radek fished the middle section with the bugs and I think got one or two more fish. I fished on and off where we were, and had a look round the corner of the river for some more prospects, but it was quite weedy and returned to have a final go with a tiny wee midge pattern over another rising fish which I successfully caught fishing slightly downstream with the dry.

 

We finished up around five, having had a great day, no massive fish ( a couple of nice Grayling) but everyone had something and a lot of laughs and Polish Sausage. I look forward to more days like this.

John, Radek and me

A great day on the river. John, Radek and me.