Rynda Fishing Week 30 – 2012
Guest Report by Jonathan Chippindale
The MI-8 flight from Murmansk to the Rynda is always a reflective time for me. The stress of clearing immigration has been successfully negotiated, rods and baggage have also made it and are safely on-board, and now a weeks fishing lies ahead on the most beautiful, unspoiled and mesmeric river I know – a river that Duncan and I have been privileged to fish continuously between us for 23 years. In London, we’d heard reports of less snow cover and lower water levels this year, but any river can only really be truly assessed at first hand, so it was with real delight that the final orbit over the Rynda before touching down revealed plenty of height in the river and a good strong flow. A salmon even dutifully leaped in Home Pool as we thundered in over the camp to land on the pad.
And as the rotor blades slowed and peace returned once more to the helicopter’s cabin, outside the familiar, smiling faces of friends made over many years were all there waiting to greet us. Any concerns that the transition from Peter to Vladimir meant change for changes sake were quickly dispelled by the familiar warmth of our welcome from Kola, Katya and the team, although the fact that Sasha’s smart new helicopter now sports a shrouded tail rotor has sadly meant that a banana now no longer has the pivotal role to play during the traditional safety brief…!
Our party was as international as ever. Duncan and I represented Team GB. Bernt and Jurgen from Germany already had several years of experience on the Rynda – indeed we were fortunate enough to have fished with Jurgen’s twin sons a few years back, so we were well aware of their excellent river knowledge. We were also delighted to meet three Russian fishermen and their Finnish companion, all with exceptional skills and experience across pretty well every species of game fish from the Kola Peninsular to the Seychelles, and indeed virtually every latitude in-between.
The fishing was excellent. Previous rain had meant there was a good column of water around the 1 metre mark, and a strong grilse run with fish throughout the system. The weather was as ‘predictably unpredictable’ as ever, with the Arctic routinely chucking everything at us from fair to foul, so although the week started with the air temperature nicely warmer than the water, this situation reversed as the week went on.
That said, we hooked or landed fish in every named pool from Reindeer to well below the camp and I’m delighted to report that our eight rods had 132 fish for the week. Looking over the catch returns, standing out were the eight fish from Home Pool taken by Nikolay and Jakko, deftly intercepting a fresh grilse run in off the tide, and Duncan’s two fish over 20lbs, one of them at 25lbs being caught from an unnamed pocket in the rapids below Power Pool. Watching the way in which Jenya calmly supported Duncan through the emotional roller-coaster of playing and then landing this great fish only served to remind me how exceptional are the guides on this river.
The Zolotya was fishing particularly well, having previously been rested due to lower water levels. 44 fish came from ‘The Golden One’ over the week, including an incredible 12 fish for Jakko from Russian pool in one afternoon. Duncan and I made certain of staying overnight to once again make the most of the Zolotya magic, and sitting by the open fire swapping stories with Jenya and Misha was one of the highlights for us of a wonderful week, and why we continually strive to return each year.
This week also allowed us a welcome opportunity to rejoin our ongoing annual tussle with Kola over the ‘success’ (our view) or ‘otherwise’ (Kola’s view) of our own home-created Rynda ‘fly’, the L.G.S. This mythical concoction of fur, feather and tinsel has landed Duncan and myself more than 300 Rynda salmon over the years and has attracted comment on its alleged salmon attracting abilities in previous Rynda reports.
Ostensibly unimpressed, Kola has remained routinely dismissive over the seasons, referring to it only as F.S.F. – the last F standing for Fly, the other initials I must surely leave to my readers imagination! As ever results speak for themselves: of the 46 fish landed by Duncan and myself on this week, 45 were caught on this fly, the only exception being a hitched tube used to hook a fish in a spot unsuitable for a fly. Not only that, but fully immersed in the on-camp mystique surrounding this most elusive and secretive of objects, Oleg quietly borrowed one and fished it through the tail of Rebecca’s one afternoon, landing 5 fish in 20 minutes in the process. He and his excellent partner Vyasheslav erupted back into the dining room to proclaim themselves ‘believers’, and once Duncan and I realised it wasn’t actually a Kola wind-up, we all celebrated. Oleg: the recipe is on its way over to you!