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This is predominantly a low water beat with six main pools, Snuffies, Benzies, The Scaper, The Smiddy, The Bailey Bridge pool and Bakers. Practically every other ‘fishy' looking bit of water in between these pools can produce salmon from time to time though.

Starting at the top of the beat, Snuffies is the first of the pools, with a classic streamy neck which the fish can build up in considerable numbers. The main body of the pool can also hold large quantities, although these are not generally good takers. The tail end of the pool can be productive at times. This pool has changed somewhat in character since the back burn was closed off on the North bank, however, since the nature of the water immediately above forms a natural barrier, the Association are sure that it will continue to be a good holding pool.

Immediately below Snuffies is Benzies. In times gone by this was a spring pool of some repute and during a cold spring it can still be productive. The season of 2001 saw a significant catch return up until the middle of April when the water warmed up enough to allow the fish to run freely. A long pool, it can hold fish from right up in the white water to the very lip at the tail. It fishes best when there is enough flow throughout its length to carry your fly round, but only just!

Moving down a couple of hundred yards takes you to the Scaper, another long pool. This pool doesn't have the depth to fish in dead low water and needs six inches above summer level before fish will stop here. Directly under the power lines is the place to concentrate. Again, given low cold water in the spring this pool produces the occasional springer.

The next pool of note is a few hundred yards below the Scaper. The Smiddy is a realatively short pool, but it is another one of those pools where your line can give that electrifying ‘jab' signifying a take, from the white water at the top, to the lip at the tail. The 2002 season saw a sealiced 28 lb cock fish taken from this excellent little pool

Moving down another few hundred yards will find you at the Bailey bridge pool, just above the footbridge. Although you may occasionally see fish splashing down in the dead water, it is only worth fishing through as far as the current runs. The hotspot is right under the footbridge. A point worth remembering is that salmon can be caught surprisingly far up in the really thin water at the neck.

Sea trout and finnock

Salmon, however, are not the only fish worthy of your attention on this beat. It can be a very good seatrout beat, with these fish being caught from April onwards. June, as would be expected producing the best of the fishing.

The Don sea trout are totally different from the slim seatrout of the Dee, with an average weight of over two and a half pounds they are all plump, hard fighting fish.

When fresh in, as most in this beat are, they take the fly readily, even during daylight hours. It is quite common to hook them while fishing the dry fly for the brownies. Although they can be caught throughout the beat, there are a few spots worth concentrating on. The neck of Snuffies and the neck of Benzies produce.

The Flatties, which is a small pool directly below Benzies, can hold surprising numbers at times. The streamy water at the neck, on the South side of the Smiddy often has a taker waiting. Down at the pedestrian Bailey bridge is a definite hotspot when they are about. The pace of this stream seems to suit seatrout, as well as looking the part for fishing the fly.

The main taking spot is again, almost directly under the bridge. The two streams at the limit of the beat, just above the Coffin stone at Seaton have also been popular when looking for seatrout. Both of these are suited to fishing the fly and it can be worth paying attention to the state of the tide for these particular spots.

If you time your visit to within an hour of high tide, it can definitely pay dividends. Sometimes a slightly larger fly fished a bit faster than normal seems to provoke more response from these fish which are clean off the tide.

The normal trout fishing outfit of a 9'-10' rod, floating or intermediate line with a 6lb breaking strain leader, moving up to 8lb during the hours of darkness should be sufficient for seatrout fishing. I have said that 2 ½ lb is the average weight for seatrout on the Don, but fish up to 9 lb and perhaps more have been caught on the waters. As for fly selection, my own personal favourites are the Dunkeld and a silver stoat in sizes from 10 to 16. Without a doubt the best fly is the one you have confidence in though. Seatrout are not only caught on the fly, the flying ‘C' accounts for a large number, as do the various other spinning baits in use. It must be said that to get the best out of these wonderful fish you should give the fly a try. Once experienced, never forgotten.

Brown trout

Brown trout are also prolific throughout the length of the beat, mainly wild with perhaps a sprinkling of travelling stockies washed down from Parkhill. The best brownie caught on this beat weighed four and half pounds and was taken on a size 18 dry fly down at the pedestrian Bailey bridge. As mentioned, there is no shortage of brownies throughout the length of the beat and most days when conditions are favourable trout can be found quietly and confidently feeding on the surface.


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