Hard work but 14 off

Ronald Sutherland

Raw Easterly winds and low water made the going tough on the Helmsdale last week but for those who stuck it out the rewards were there. 14 fish were recorded last count but surprisingly no fish were taken above the falls even though water temps held in the 40s and hit 46 for a short spell midweek. Beat 1 also failed to produce any action apart from a few kelts. Torrish, Borrobol and Badanloch rods all caught 4 fish. Jean, Richard and Jimmy Bain all scored for Torrish rods in Baddy Wood, Clay Bank, Lower Torrish and Falls pool, an Ally's tube doing the damage for Jean. Borrobol rods David Macleod party had a grand day on beat 2 landing 3 with 2 from the Park pool. Yours truly had 3 out of 4 fish on Badanloch rods with Hugh (Shug) Wilson returning a fine hard earned 13 pounder in the Flat pool beat 6 caught on a copper tube Monkey, All were released.

Casting was tough most days with a challenging wind but I have to say that the new Loop set up I have been using has been an absolute powerhouse. 3M technology is very much ALL that it has been made out to be in lightness and strength, when the power was needed it was there in abundance, most other rods would have struggled badly. The rod does not do it all of course, the new GDC shooting head balances the rod perfectly and feeds power like a bolt of lightening. If you want an idea of what I am talking about please step into the Loop experience right here, check out the amazing filming of the line in action - This combo will make casting easy for anyone and in more experienced hands it is quite phenomenal.

Enough about the gear, here are loads of pics from a great week with Ghillie Alex Fraser and Hugh Wilson on Badanloch rods including my 3 fish of 11, 12 & 15 from Johnny Gordons, Breakwater and Black Hole.
Another star this week was my new Tiger Monkey ( on trial ) which caught 2 of my 3, my other fish was caught on a Skullhead Cascade tube.

Hugh Wilson shows off his 13 pound bar of silver from the Flat pool beat 6. The black & yellow Monkey 1/2" coppertube did the business.

Cousin Derek Macrae up for the day on beat 5, as you can see by the toggs - not the warmest day in the world!

Beat 5 with Hugh Wilson

Alex Fraser returns Hugh's fish in the rocky Flat pool beat 6

Rons new Tiger Monkey

Hamish Macrae searching for a springer on the upper Helmsdale


RS Fulling Mill Cascade Skullhead

Another clonking springer heading back to fight another day.

My fish from the Black Hole pool beat 4, been in a few weeks.

My fish from Johnny Gordons beat 2 which took the Cascade Skullhead

My new Tiger Monkey conehead and outstanding Loop combo

Another day on the river, beat 4.

A thumper from the Breakwater pool safely in the bag on the Tiger Monkey.

Take good care of your fish before releasing!

Beat 2 fish

Cascade Skullhead firmly in the scissors.

Team selfie, Ron, Hugh (Shug) Wilson and ghillie Alex Fraser. Thanks for a memorable week Alex.

Look at the shoulders on this sea-liced beauty, Tiger Monkey does the job again.

My new Bottle tube Tiger Monkey.

Prospects for the week ahead are not great, we are not getting rid of the chill upstream wind and it is due to strengthen as the week goes on. The river also needs more water as we are down to summer level. Every cloud has a silver lining - these conditions really suit chances on the Association water so come on over and fish the big tides this week, fish are running daily now.



12 off last week

Ronald Sutherland

Unsettlerd Conditions lead to a few blank days last week but a few good days also. 5 fish came off Tuesday and the first fish from over the falls was caught by William Jappy on 2 above at 15lbs on Badanloch rods.  Thursday produced another 3, 2 of which were to the rod of Kevin Steel amazingly from the Groyne pool beat 6 at 10 & 12lbs. Kevin had a 12 pounder from Beat 2 earlier in the week fishing Badanloch rods along with William. The river was on the rise again on Friday so it was not until Saturday that the river settled once again. Torrish rods had been blank for the whole week until Andy Sutherland once again got amongst the fish. Fishing the foam pool on beat 5, Andy took a 9 pounder on his first run through. He then decided to "back up" the pool and duly hooked a 10 pounder. In the afternoon his form continued when he landed a 14 pounder in the Craggie bend to round off a great day. Another fish came off the Woody pool beat 3 to take the total for the season to 46.

7 of the fish caught last were on Monkey tubes and RS Willie Gunn Temple Dogs.

This is the RS Willie Gunn Temple dog copper tube, we have them for sale right here in the website!

The deadly Monkey fly. (black & orange and black & yellow are best )

The wife releases a lovely Carron fish from the weekend. Caught on her own fly again the Kazcade.



High pressure and gales slowing things down

Ronald Sutherland

The river shrunk back to almost summer levels last week but fish were still running, 3 fish off on Monday proved this. Kildonan had a thumping 21 pounder in Lower Caen beat 1 taken on a Morangie Conehead. Suisgil grassed a 10 pounder in Kilphedir beat 2 and Pano Constantinedes had his first fish on Craggie bend beat 5 for Achentoul.

Morangie conehead which you can buy online right here.

Pano with his first fish and the Craggie Bend pool in the background

Andrew Thomas with a spanking 13 pounder

The action eased off for the next 2 days as high pressure and sunshine took over. Thursday brought a change in the weather and regular visitor Andrew Thomas made his mark for Achentoul rods landing a lovely 13 pounder in the Gate pool beat 2. Next day the Westerly gales moved in to spoil things, the winds were ferocious and made standing up almost impossible let alone fishing. However, Pano C doubled his total with a fish from Lower Caen and Robert Mackay got off the mark on beat 6. The storm continued on Saturday and it's has not eased as I write on Sunday afternoon. Less wind and more water is required, it looks like next week is very unsettled so water should be on the way.
Copper tubes and coneheads are producing the goods as usual.

Stop press - 2 off beat 1 Saturday for Borrobol rods! so 8 for the week.

This fly just keeps catching - The RS TigerTail Fulling Mill copper tube

For more tackle deals and great pics from a successful adventure on the Carron river check out the Helmsdale Forum under the Other Rivers thread. We have also some great replies to the topics going on in there - have your say! simply sign in with a username and password to take part if you are a Club Helmsdale member.



Best week of the season

Ronald Sutherland

The fishing is improving by the week right now on the Helmsdale. Another good week reported 9 springers to bring the tally to 25. Kildonan rods got the week to a fast start with an 8lbs fish from the Vale of Tears before the river went on the rise. From Tuesday it was the Sweetman show on Badanloch rods when Elizabeth S had a lovely 12.5 pounder from Kilphedir pool beat 2. Not to be outdone, Hubby John duly grassed cracking 15 pounder next day from Salscraggie beat 1. The same day another 2 fish were caught on beat 6 and beat 5.

Badanloch ghillie Alex Fraser with a delighted John Sweetman

Alex (ghillie) & John Sweetman

John's wife Liz with her 12.5 pounder from Kilphedir pool

The RS Fulling Mill Monkey tube doing some serious damage yet again. The Monkey fly is really making it's presence felt this year already having had a number of spectacular seasons. Black and Yellow is always good in spring, but tied Monkey style there is nothing better. We have them tied on skullhead, Conehead, tungsten, aluminium and plastic tubes - do yourself a favour and call Ron for a selection with hooks to suit - 01431821372. Or simply purchase online here -

Thursday/Friday were blank surprisingly but Saturday produced 4. The first for beat 3 came off, beat 6 gave another and Graham McCulloch had a memorable day on beat 5 landing 2 sea liced fish from the Whinnie and Craggie bend a 8 & 9lbs. The week ended on 9 and we are now up to 25 fish off.

I had a lovely day on another river on Saturday, no takers on the day but I was extremely impressed with the attention to detail. When we arrived the ghillie guided us through the whole beat to set us up which was very helpful indeed but even better was to come, the layout of the beat had every pool named with the starting point and end of each pool clearly marked, you could not go wrong, we were then handed an A5 note with the order of all the pools. This was the best attention to detail I have seen on any salmon river (and I have fished a few! ) it really settles you into the water quickly and makes for a very enjoyable and organised day. Can you guess where it is...?

Bishops pool!

Green disc for starting point

Red disc for the end of the pool

A perfect livestock buffer strip

Stunning setting

The Master (Andy Torrish ) searching for yet another springer in amazing scenery.



The Helmsdale is waking up!

Ronald Sutherland

A stat before we get going here - we are now on 14 fish off March 2nd, last year we only had 11 fish off by March 17th....a big improvement. Week 3 is still available too for 2 rods on the full rotation, details on last weeks report.

We also have the long awaited Loop doubles back in stock as tube doubles and down eye for tying on -

Last week was website upgrade week for the Helmsdale Company, we hope that everything looks cleaner and more modern and that navigation is better. Due to ageing software, it had to be done and we hope the results last well into the future. We have lost a few images in the process but don't let that stop you buying anything, just call us if you are in any doubt about any products. Offering a first class personal service is always our pleasure and you can speak direct to me anytime.

Settled weather and water led to a good week on the Helmsdale last week. Kildonan rods got things rolling when Alan Stone grassed an 8 pounder on beat 6 Big Rock, he followed this with the first fish from beat 2 Eldrable pool.

Achentoul rods got off the Mark with another 9 pounder from Eldrable and Badanloch rods had one from beat 1 Lower Caen. Kildonan Ghillie Marty Grant and Andy Sutherland fishing Torrish rods both had 10 pounders from the Tail of the Marrel beat 1 and I managed to nip out of the shop on Friday morning and land a 9 pounder in Little Rock pool beat 6 on a TigerTail Conehead Kinermony Killer. This is a gorgeous new fly and one of my new custom designs for Fulling Mill based on Ghillie Jock Royan's lethal killer on the Spey.

RS Kinermony Tiger

The amazing Loop Cross S1 15ft doing the business on beat 6 - Dream Combo - Loop Colour Concept Evotec (green)  GDC Low Float shooting head, 6ft Rio Versitip med sink. I have never cast a better combination, effortless power, accuracy and turnover. Call us for superb deals on these.

We have more pics from this weeks action on the Forum.

The new Fulling Mill salmon collection is making a huge impact this year at all the big trade shows and retail events across Europe. No other company can offer such a mix of great looking innovative and traditional flies that actually catch fish.
The difference with our flies is that they have been tested in Iceland, Russia Scandinavia etc and in the UK by hardcore anglers and guides putting them through their paces on the water.
There are too many flies out there that look like Christmas tree decorations with legs and bits that have been dreamt up in some far away place by people who have never held a salmon rod, and they cost too much too!
You can purchase the top Fulling Mill RS designs here for only £2.99 each. Tell your friends and fill your boots! We have many more to come as we continually re-shape the new range.

Andy Sutherlands fish from beat 1 was also caught on one of my striking new Monkey designs, the Elver Monkey, this one is an absolute stunner and the best looking Monkey tube I have designed or seen. You really need to have a look at it on the Forum Hot New Flies section, I have a feeling that I am personally going to have to tie up hundreds of these!

To date we have 14 fish off the river. 8 from beat 1, 3 from beat 6,  2 from beat 2 and 1 off the Association water. The return rate has risen to an impressive 93%. Prospects are good for the week ahead and the Association water will start producing fish if it gets fished. £12.50 and £25 per rod per day it is very good value for money and we know full well that springers are running. The river is running at a 9" which is a good height for the local water. Availability is good.