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Annan Salmon School - Day 4

A rubber-legged Woolly Bugger dressed on a trout hook?!?


Ueli Zellweger rounds off the course with a last-minute fish.
Ueli Zellweger rounds off the course with a last-minute fish.

A dry Friday night and a wonderful sunny autumn day meant that the river fell and continued to fall to new lows. Goodness me, it dropped to below 3ft on the gauge, thus introducing a new concept to all participants - wading. For most, it was waders on and a gingery ease into the water. Jimmy was soon back out again, like a scalded cat, as his waders leaked around the crotch area. Within minutes he was back in - albeit in Jack's neoprenes.

With the water clearing, the fly looked a good bet, and as the river fell so more and more of Kirkwood's river stretches opened up. Goslings now looked very fishy and later manse, the occasional leaping fish here added to the tension. Anthony phoned from Jardine. A fish? No, but his dog had managed an elegant water retrieve of a pheasant shot by the party in the woods.

Glyn and I were patrolling our banks hoping to add a little polish to our casters, all of whom were looking the part. All we needed was a fish to prove it. Jack was a puzzle - why was his cast dying like that? Then we realised - the tip he had on this multi-tip line was a poly leader, not part of the multi-tip set. A quick change and he was casting 100% better. "My work here is done", said Glyn triumphantly.

Not quite. Ueli Zellweger, in the dying moments of the day hooked a six-pounder fish in Stone Pool. After a spirited fight it was photographed and returned. The fly? A rubber-legged Woolly Bugger dressed on a trout hook. "Well, you did say try something different", said Ueli.

Four fish on fly during six days of rain and high water and yo-yoing levels was a pretty impressive return for our week, and some graceful casters drove away from the Annan that week.

The gala dinner held in the dining room of Kirkwood house that night was typical of the fare offered all week, and a reflection of all the hard work put in by the back-room staff - Rachel, Michelle, Kirsteen and Dan. Pears in blue cheese, poached salmon and Queen's pudding, eaten in front of a roaring log fire rounded off with a choice whisky from Anthony's vast collection. The Victorians couldn't have done it any better.

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