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Guiding a Guide: A Scottish Adventure

Orvis Endorsed Guide, Scott Rutherford, tells us about his recent experience of taking fellow guide Michael Rescorle out on the Rivers Don and Dee. 

I met Michael for a coffee in Orvis Stockbridge in December 2023 to discuss options for a trip to fish in Aberdeenshire and a plan was formed.  

Michael arrived on Sunday 21st April and stayed at Banchory Lodge Hotel. We fished the Don on Sunday afternoon where Michael caught his first fish in Scotland, a wild brownie on a streamer pattern followed by another better fish of around 1 3/4lb 17". Another was hooked but sadly lost on a spider pattern. 

On Monday, Michael and I fished Banchory beat on the Aberdeenshire Dee for salmon. Michael enjoyed the whole salmon fishing experience of meeting the ghillies and other anglers in a warm cosy hut before our day on the water. After some tuition and fault correction, Michael was soon casting a lovely line with the Orvis Mission 15’ 10wt, Orvis SSR V reel, and SA line; mastering the roll cast and circle C Spey casts due to the upstream wind. At lunchtime, we heard that one of the other rods had landed a lovely springer just below us. This spurred Michael on as we moved to the same pool that afternoon. Michael was casting and covering the water well but unfortunately didn't get a touch and retired to Banchory Lodge for dinner at the end of the day. 

Tuesday saw us back on Banchory beat for another day chasing silver and we spent the morning on the lower part of the Banchory beat at Invery. We were on the other side of the river; the wind was changeable meaning Michael had to learn the Double Spey cast required to cast safely with a downstream wind.

After lunch, our rotation saw us back on the top of the beat fishing pools Bohore and Sandy Haven like we had the day before. Halfway down Bohore I received a message from one of the ghillies, Jordan, to say another springer 12lb had been landed at the mouth of the Feugh, a tributary of the Dee, in the same spot as the day before. This was encouraging and kept Michael motivated with the prospect of another fish. We fished Sandy Haven down towards the Bridge at Banchory, which splits the upper from the middle section of the beat but didn't get a pull. Jordan then messaged again to say the other anglers had left early and suggested we go to the pool where both fish had been landed previously.

No surprise we headed there after catching up with Jordan and fellow ghillie Colin at the Gatehouse. They were finishing for the day at 5pm, so we said our goodbyes and Michael and I headed to fish the Hotel pool from the Feugh side. Spey casting was difficult with the strong easterly wind. Michael coped well but after two days of fishing a double-handed rod he was understandably feeling fatigued. Just as we were thinking of calling it a day a fresh Atlantic salmon jumped out of the water 20' out from the near bank. It was fresh as paint and clearly on the move. Encouraged by seeing a fish. Michael fished on until 6pm, however luck wasn't on our side so we packed it in and I dropped Michael back at the hotel. 

We had a later start on Wednesday, Michael's final day. I picked him up at 9am and we headed back to the Don again. The weather was very cold around 7°, the wind chill making it feel much colder. Armed with an Orvis Helios 2 8wt switch rod, Hydros SL V reel and Rio Scandi short versitip set up, Michael fished for salmon in the morning as we were hopeful of a hatch after lunch. We didn't get a touch nor saw a single fish rise the entire time.

We switched to trout after a leisurely lunch, taking advantage of the warmth of the sun while it lasted. We tried it all - Euro nymphing, nymphs & spiders, dry droppers and streamers, but the fish weren't having any of it. After seeing a salmon easily into double figures we switched back to salmon for a while before heading to the bottom of the beat where we were to end our day on a blank! The first occasion I've had a guest blank in this beat. That's the way it goes sometimes as we anglers all know. 

Still, a bad day on the water is better than a good day at work, and if you're like me and your work is guiding, it's always a win. It was a pleasure to Guide and get to know Michael over the 4 days we were together and, with unfinished business, he's already planning a return trip in July. 

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