1 August 2019

River Dee Trip

by Steve Symons

Carlogie Beat, River Dee, Royal Deeside... A kind invite from Driology ambassador and head ghillie at the Balogie estate, Sean Stanton, saw us head north to fish the River Dee's fabled fly waters. 

Once prolific, The Dee - like numerous fisheries - has witnessed a decline in salmon numbers. I don't want to head into the doom and gloom here, nor wax lyrical on the glories of the good old days! But after studying the past century of salmon catches in the beat hut, it's apparent the river has always experienced highs and lows, with its best year achieved in 2014!

A trip like this is to be enjoyed for many reasons, especially the camaraderie experienced with like-minded fly fishermen, while a fish is always simply deemed a bonus. I am always learning and working when I fish, contemplating how we can improve, adapt, evolve or create products that will enhance the fly fishing experience whilst actually on the water. Everything is designed with a reason. That’s how the brand originated, after all.

The Dee collective - Jon Mc, Ben (our intrepid fly fishing photographer), Sean Stanton and yours truly - met Sunday evening at The Boat Inn, Aboyne. Fishing commenced bright and early - well, 9am - on the Monday morning with a fairly low river bathed in sunshine. Every pool on the Carlogie beat looked fishy, even more so when taken in by a new and eager eye.

We fished with much enthusiasm all morning to no avail, even with the expertise of Sean on hand to pinpoint the likely taking spots. The PM session brought about a rapid change in weather as the atmospheric pressure fell around us with ever-greying skies delivering sleet showers on a cold upstream wind. Fishing was tough, as expected in March. Needless to say, we headed off to the Inn for hand-thawing and nourishment as the watch hit 5.30pm and the temperature -3.

We were met on day two by a rapidly rising river, which does give one a little lift with thoughts of fresh run salmon entering the pools, paired with low darkened skies. Noticeably colder, the full layering system was adopted with addition of our new fleece lined beanie. This made for very comfortable fishing with the exception of hands, which remain a Driology free zone at present. (Note to self: product development.) Although we spotted the odd fish we could not connect, but as I said, a fish would have been a bonus and would have looked rather impressive in this newsletter!

What did I learn?

Don't book a flight with FlyBMI. (You can't now...) They went bust and we were lucky to get rescheduled flights to Scotland at all.

Another travel tip: I packed using a golf club travel case, my first time using this method to transport rods. It took six x four-piece salmon rods in tubes with ease, two sets of waders, boots and clothing. It has a front pouch for tackle and fly box storage. Brilliant.

The Dee has some beautiful fly water. Sean is a thoroughly nice chap and expert ghillie. Excellent fish and chips can be found at the Boat Inn. I rather like 'The Tayne,' a Glenmorangie whisky, an excellent airport purchase. And finally, there's a place for better gloves, an opportunity for Driology perhaps?

We love to share and hear ideas from fellow fly anglers. If you have any glove suggestions - or any other interesting ideas for that matter - please get in touch!

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