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A Fantastic Week on Speyside

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

It was nice to be back on the river with clients again this week and I have to say, as always, after a long winter, it’s great to be amongst people again. Easter Elchies was the venue a 3 day casting course where, as usual, I have 4 – 6 people, some who come to sharpen up their casting at the beginning of the season and others who are completely new to the game. This model was followed Monday – Wednesday, where I had 3 beginners and 2 more seasoned casters. It never ceases to amaze me just how enthusiastic everyone is, especially given the inclement weather conditions on Monday and Tuesday. However, we had a fantastic 3 days casting on a truly lovely beat (All Spey Beats Are), making the best of the weather to show beginners the ropes and showing the more experienced casters how to use the wind to their advantage, as well as some valuable sessions in the warm and well equipped fishing hut over lunchtime. In those conditions a plate of my amazing homemade soup were particularly welcome.

Fishing the River Spey in Snow
Budding Salmon Anglers sticking out the rough conditions on the Spey

After the 3 days I had some lovely feedback from both beginners and experienced rods alike. This is something I love to hear and what makes me do this. I truly love it... Everyone went away with a solid grounding, the beginners with a good idea of the fundamentals of Flycasting and experienced rods, another tool in their box to use whilst fishing. The group of four men were joined by one lady, Anne, whom I have To say, was the star of the week. A total beginner who loved it and was such a pleasure for everyone to be around, she did so well and brought so much to the whole group. I’m really looking forward to the next time and helping develop her journey in salmon fishing, understanding and enjoying both casting and fishing.

Easter Elchies Salmon Fishing
The Red Craig Easter Elchies

Our Cadence products also proved to be a great hit with both the beginners and experienced casters alike. The extremely light and responsive 12’6” rod with our new microspey line is being loved by beginners, the short head making it so easy to cast and integrated running line meaning there are no knots clicking through the rings. This really will be a great hit this coming season. Our 14”6” rod was used by David whom I have to say took his fishing to a different level during his two days coaching. Very pleasing for the coach too.

Ian Gordon Casting
The Instructor showing the versatility of the range of Cadence Rods and Lines

Thursday and Friday saw a team of regular rods fishing with a couple of new faces too. The group of very good anglers gave the beat every chance to produce a fish. Although the result mirrored that of the rest of the river. However, the guys had a great time and will be back for another try next year. None, or precious few Kelts in the river meant no action at all, however, unlike years in the past when the decline and lack of fish in the river was always the main focus of conversation in the fishing hut, this year the talk was about the river itself, fishing tackle, fun we had in past years. I feel a change, which for me is nice, however, I’m not 100% sure how healthy this is on the whole.

Fishing LAdies Haugh
Rio and Kobi Keeping an eye of a customer fishing Ladies Haugh

The theme of tackle continued on Saturday where I had a great day with my cousin and pals. All had come with a view to try my new rods and lines. Gordon is the President of the Fochabers Angling Association, a life long and very good angler. My cousin Abby, is also a life long member of the club and very keen angler. Our group of four was. Finished by another pal of mine, Alan Morris. All had come to have a look at our new products and be “Fitted” for a rod, which frankly is about marrying their “technique” to the right equipment and not being simply influenced by the likes and opinion of someone else, whom most of the time, are not really qualified to be talking about the subject. This causes so much confusion.

Ian Gordon testing on the riverbank
Going through the full range. Important to not leave anything out.

Whilst fitting the equipment to the person happens in sports such as Golf, Shooting , Tennis and many others. Amazingly, it doesn’t happen in fly fishing, a sport where, because of the flexibility of the rod, there is much more reason to do it than any other mentioned above. Cutting a long story short, not only did those people go away and feeling very happy with their new fishing equipment, they were also, “amazed” at the difference the same line could feel like on a different actioned rod. The rod and line that suited me, didn’t suit them, however, by tweaking the action of the rod by changing sections, suddenly everything fitted perfectly. This is why I decided to make the range of Cadence rods the way I did. I knew for a fact I could provide the angler, particularly my customers and friends, with a far better overall experience, and due to the online business model, at a reasonable cost. People have asked me in the last months and years, why did you leave one of the biggest fishing firms? The answer to this is simple, I’m an innovator who loves physics. I'm a leader and not a follower. Pushing boundaries and questioning incomplete science, this is what I love.

Seeing the faces and reactions of those seasoned anglers yesterday made all the three years of developing this product really worth the effort.

Speyside Whisky and Salmon Fishing
Testing can be lots of fun in many different ways. For instance , here we had a 32 year old Dram to test

All in all, although we had no fish, I was a very happy bunny as it won’t be the first or last week without a fish, and, as a Ghillie , instructor and host, my goal in life has always been to put people home at the end of their day happy. I loved every part of the week on the river. A nice variation of new and old, all of whom learned new things. It was great meeting new people too. For me, as with all weeks on the river, a fish would have been a real bonus.

Salmon Fishing Speyside Whisky
A pair of real pals enjoying testing our new Cadence rods and other Speyside Produce

Quote off the week – Wife to one of my fishing clients – “I don’t know why you don’t just hire a hut somewhere take a few friends with you and go and talk Shite for the day”! From a non fishing perspective she may have a point, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same!

6th – 11th March 2023 Easter Elchies River Spey.

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