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Annan Salmon School - Day 1

Doing a recce


Glynn goes through the basics of the Spey cast.
Glynn goes through the basics of the Spey cast.

It's Sunday and the drive down south reveals all rivers are high after the rain of Friday and Saturday, but when I get to the Annan the river looks clearer and lower than expected. The gauge at Bridekirk is at 2ft - reasonably high - but the weather is a perfect autumn day day with a blue sky and no clouds. Plus, it feels quite warm.

The first group - who will spend four days on the course - are taken through aspects of safety with instructor, Glynn Freeman, and then through the basics of the Spey cast. Then it's lunch - soup and sandwiches at the Stone Pool - followed by a river walk, where beat owner, Anthony Steel, points out the pools on the Kirkwood beat. The walk gives the opportunity to point out how high the river was on Friday, as the manicured lawns of the manse opposite show a distinct tidemark. Lunch and the walk has also revealed there are quite a few fish in the river, mainly at the tail of the Stone Pool.

On our return, Glynn demonstrates the Spey cast with a shooting head, and then invites participants to demonstrate their newly acquired skills. They are obviously learning fast, as all those who volunteer - Duncan White, Steven Murgatroyd, Anthony Potter, Tim Hannam and Jeff Jones - all look like 'old hands' as they put out a double-Spey.

Everyone leave the river in search of tea and cake, with an excited eagerness to put a fly over the pools in the morning. Today is Sunday. No fishing by law in Scotland, and only wool is allowed on the end of a cast. Tomorrow it's serious!

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