An Angler's Take - Dougie Reid and Pat Quinn
Dougie Reid and Pat Quinn, who have each fished the Private Beat for many years, give their opinions of the Beat.
They won't tell you how to fish it though! That would take all the fun out of the experience.
The Sauce Pool
Dougie: When I am allowed to fish the Private Beat I make a bee-line for the Sauce Pool. It is a very deep pool which holds fish all year round. I make a very stealthy approach from above the stream entering the pool as, very often, you find a fish very high up. There are two big backwaters either side of the stream which can be infuriating to fish but, if you persevere, you are very often rewarded. The tail end of the pool fishes better from the south bank.
Pat: I always approach the Sauce Pool as if it has three different segments. I approach the pool well above the intake and fish the fast moving water where I have often encountered a fish. The "basin", which I consider to being the start of the slower moving and deepest part of the pool, sometimes needs to be addressed with a heavier fly. The tail portion of the pool I prefer to fish from the right bank as it allows me to fish deep in to the tail.
Dougie: Maggie Dumpies looks like nothing! Just a bit of narrow, fast running water. How wrong you would be to bypass it. It is a fantastic spot for a running fish and I have taken many down the years.
Pat: This is one of my favourite pools on the entire river which, even when leaving with a blank. It leaves you very happy and peaceful.
Dougie: Hickson`s Hole is very attractive to fish but does not seem to be particularly attractive to the fish as they do not hang about there for too long. The Bridge Pool is narrow but is a very enjoyable and often rewarding bit of water.
Pat: I find Hickson's fishes best in the lower part of the pool and I have taken several fish there.
The Bridge Pool
Dougie: The upper part of the Bridge Pool is not unlike Hickson`s Hole and does give up the odd fish whilst the Lower pool can only be fished from the Bridge. Fishing from the bridge is a great way to check how your fly looks in the water!
Pat: Pleasant to have a cast through but this pool has not been kind me. I like to get up on to the Bridge to see how my flies are swimming.
The Long Pool
Dougie: The Long Pool is very deceptive in that it is narrow and fast at the Head and almost a “glide” in the tail. This Pool produces around one third of the annual take from the Beat.
Pat: Salmon are likely to be encountered throughout this pool, but it is particularly good at the bottom part.
The Castle Pool
Dougie: The Castle Pool is by far the most attractive pool both in it`s situation and the free flowing streamy water throughout. Again, this pool gives up many fish in the course of a season
Pat: A beautiful bit of water to fish where you always feel that you are to pick a salmon up any second.
The Devil's Pool
Dougie: The Devil`s Pool lies directly below a very steep rock face and it`s waters contain many undercurrents and eddy`s.
Pat: A very difficult pool to fish, with swirly water, full of odd eddys.
My Best Take
Dougie: Going back to the early nineties, an Old Gentleman who I Ghillie for earlier in the year, arrived unexpectedly and was looking for a cast. We managed to get him on to the Private Beat. At that time the Estuary net was still very much in operation and I was skipper. Although the Bay was full of fish ( which was my first, most serious duty by far ) I did not want to disappoint the Elderly Gentleman. I asked Eddie to stand in for me promising him that I would be back for five o'clock to help him to pack all of the salmon that he caught with the Crew. I returned as promised at the given time to be told by Eddie that they had blanked for the day. We had six beautiful salmon on the Private Beat which goes to prove that, sometimes, the rod is mightier than the net!!
Pat: Probably the second best fighting fish that I have hooked, in my lifetime, was at Maggie Dumpy. At the very tail of the pool I hooked a fish which, at first, I thought was a grilse. After twenty seconds I realised that this was most certainly not the case as it took off to go upriver toward the Sauce Pool. Then it did an about turn and tried to head back towards the sea. It went from Maggie Dumpy down in to Hickson`s Hole and then down to the Bridge Pool before returning to Hickson's where I eventually landed a beautiful sea-liced fish of fourteen pounds.