Looking back, then, in Norway last August, there was much to learn, about holding the loop. Jigging the fly. Turning when Spey casting to deliver a 90 degree cast. Setting the reel tighter so a taking fish takes up the loop then sets the hook hold.
Fishing the small fast water pots with a longer line from upstream, seemingly too insignificant to hold a salmon – and to those who know it, there are some of these pots downstream of the bridge at Kotsøy on the upper middle Gaula.
So why the learning then, and why the learning now? There were fish in the river and they were taking some catching.
Also our guide was Englishman, Simon Kitcher, a Gaula guiding legend. It’s hard not to absorb vital fish catching gold in Simon’s company.
I was in need of some advice. Or the morale boost that only comes with experience. Three days earlier on the Findhorn at Logie Estate, a salmon had been there for the taking, a beauty of 5-8lb, on for ten seconds of heart stopping action before cavorting into the cooling evening air and throwing the hook.
The fly that pinged out was a small Red Frances. Small fly, small hook, fly pinged out.
I’m not sure Simon would have approved that one. Sometimes it takes a third party to get through to you on the basics.
And on this NFC Gaula visit, for the first time in 10 years, there was no salmon end-game. Although I caught a nice 4lb sea-trout on my borrowed Loop rod (an Opti NXT 14-footer).
Still, others in the camp caught fish and a huge salmon was lost after going under the bridge from the E7 high bank and the hook breaking.
What was really memorable though about this trip were the rod – Spey casting beautifully in all iterations.
And the place, that beautiful river winding north to the Trondheim fjord. Always in my heart, even now – or especially – in these days of Covid-19, which will pass – as all things must