Wednesday 7th July, 2004
On Wednesday evening the Border Esk was still dropping slowly and was running clear and about 6 to 8 inches above summer level i.e. 0.7 metres on the SEPA gauge (0.5m base level). I was first to park at the Skelly hole car park at 9.30 and only one other angler arrived while I was setting up the rod. He, too, had had a poor season so far with no sea trout caught. I decided to walk down to the new bit before dark – a sea trout had been taken here last evening in daylight. When I arrived, the stream looked inviting, so I proceeded to fish down from the fast stream at the top down towards the tail where the big stone sits midstream. This is a nice stream to fish but shallow, though it may have some depth on the far side under the bank. After only a short time I had a strong take on the far side about two thirds of the way down the run. The fish, a nice fresh hen sea trout of 2 pounds 14 ozs, fought strongly but was eventually netted. It had gone for the size 8 Ginger Pearl on the dropper. It was 10.20 pm. It was dark by eleven o’clock and, with the river running fairly high, I changed to bigger flies, about size 6, with a silver stoat/yellow hackle on a silver Mustad hook on the tail and a palmered ginger pearl on the dropper.
At 11.15 I was delighted when another good fish took, again on the far side but a yard or two further down than the first. This fish, another fresh hen fish of 3 pounds 10 ounces, fought even more determinedly than the first with several long strong runs across the pool ending in a leap clear of the water, pound for pound one of the strongest fish I have hooked. After what seemed like a good five minutes, I was relieved to draw the beaten fish over the gye net. What a night – 2 lovely fish, a good size for the Esk, in an hour. At last I had struck silver!
I fished on here and upstream at the Skelly hole till 2.30 am but with no more luck, although the other fisher had one around 2 am at the lower stones. Alan also had a fish at the Moat and another couple of fish were taken in that area. So it seems that, at long last, the sea trout have arrived. Just how many we will see next week.