Canon 1D MK111, 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens (at125mm), ISO 400, f8, 1/100th
This is an incredible place out here - the Namsen is one of the mighty European salmon rivers, and each year some monster salmon are taken during the season. We have been unlucky fishing wise and have come right in the middle of some unseasonal low water conditions, but above you can see the size of fish possible from this stunning river. When the water is up a bit more, fishermen are averaging over nine salmon plus per rod per day on the good beats, and that is some fishing. Lots of big fish are landed every week. I guess I am going to have to come back.....
Is it not somewhat ironic that conditions back home in the west country have been good for the salmon, with a silly amount of rain, yet over here in big salmon country, we are hoping for just any rain at all ? I love the fact that fishing is so much bigger than all of us mere mortals who try to tame it - as it gives to us so generously at times, does it not at other times try to break our will with the sheer levels of frustration we can be presented with ? How is that for profound on a Sunday morning ?
Canon 1D MK111, 70-200mm f2.8: IS lens (at 125mm), ISO 400, f5.6, 1/500th
In the end, I am here to do a job for Hardy & Greys Ltd., regardless of how the actual fishing conditions are - the salmon might be off the boil, but the weather conditions and light levels have been just about perfect for nailing a whack load of double-hander fishing and casting shots. Fishermen out here use a two-handed rod as naturally as we might use a single-hander. It is such a graceful way of fly fishing and I am really enjoying being around it again. Above is the Hardy & Greys Marketing Manager John Wolstenholme in the middle of a cast - the fact that he is a South African has been by the by. I never mentioned the cricket at all yesterday !! ( I am bad). Come on England.
Canon 1D MK111, 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens (at 140mm), ISO 400, f8, 1/320th
As well as shots of fishing and casting, of course we need a bit of tight stuff of the tackle being used. Fly fishing gear often looks so good when photographed in the most natural way possible, and all I had to do here was to ask Ian Gordon to just keep his hand still for a few seconds as I lined the shot up. It is very deliberate here to focus on the reel and have the rest of the rod gradually de-focusing to the front of the shot.
Canon 1D M111, 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens (at 95mm), ISO 400, f5.6, 1/400th
We have been working with an outstanding guide called Thomas Jonasson, who is originally from Sweden. He fell in love with the Namsen as he fished it many times every year, and one day swore to move to Norway and work as a guide. I asked him if he would fish a bit, and as is often the way with the guide, he has the most laid back and easy casting style that repeats itself time and time again. Thomas casts an incredible line, and he makes it looks just so easy. I really like the way this railway bridge has helped to frame some of these casting shots. This river is a dream to be spending time around, so I can only imagine what it is like when the fishing is going off big time.
Canon 1D MK111, 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens (at 150mm), ISO 400, f6.3, 1/1000th
I could happily photograph Ian Gordon Spey casting all day long - he is on another level entirely when he is putting lines out. Ian is raving about the river out here, but he knows more than us about the need for a bit more water moving through. It is no different in Scotland - when conditions are right, salmon fishing has been really good Ian tells me, but when the rivers are low, fishermen are going to struggle anywhere. Ian is going to be at the CLA Game Fair, so make sure to grab hold of him and ask about Spey casting.
It is my last day here today, and we are moving closer to the coast to try a different river, and from the sounds of it, we have a good chance of seeing some fish. A couple of small salmon were actually landed yesterday, and I met a Dutch fisherman who had been fishing for trout and then got torn to pieces by a good salmon that hit his fly - always the way !!
When I get back home tomorrow, I need to unpack and then re-pack with all my Ireland stuff, ready to drive over there on Tuesday afternoon. I sincerely hope that the weather is going to behave a little bit - I can't wait to get into some decent bass fishing. And then it is on to the Game Fair - I hope to see some of you there.