Minnows to Monsters
Paul's off in search of monsters and on Loch Ness he meets up with local salmon angling expert Ala McGruer, who explains and illustrates the wide variety of tackle and techniques used for successful salmon fishing on Scotland's most famous loch. An early start on the River Ness brings Paul success with an Atlantic Salmon on the fly! Then it's time to cast off, as Paul learns from expert sea angler Dave Holt, the skills needed to tempt one of Scotland's largest marine species, the ton-up-plus Common Skate. Paul lands a Skate of 190lbs which is very close to the British record.
It's late July and Paul is fishing on the famous River Alagnak in the Bristol Bay area of southern Alaska. Accompanied by experienced guide Dan Dickson, Paul fishes the fly for hard fighting King Salmon. After a few near misses, the take, when it comes, almost rips Paul's hand off. As the fish explodes on to the fly he quickly discovers their sheer power. With line screaming off the reel, Dan helps Paul into the boat so that they can follow the salmon downriver. Twenty five minutes later the king is landed, a magnificent salmon of 40lbs. Next Paul is off to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park where he gets the chance to see the bears, of which there are many, using their innate skills to catch salmon as the leap out of the water. The excitement continues with 'woggin' for Chum Salmon on the estuary tidal flats with surface fly lures. Up river Paul joins writer and sports expert Trey Combs for some acrobatic action with Silver Salmon. (This episode was nominated for a BAFTA award in 1997).
Paul sets out to fish a few of the more unusual man-made fishing venues in Scotland and is invited to try his luck for landlocked Steelhead Trout. Then north to the Highlands by the Strathspey steam train, for a scenic woodland encounter on Scotland's first ever man-made rainbow river. On Hillend Loch Paul joins members of Airdrie & District Angling Association in search of hard fighting brown trout then, in contrast, a relaxing morning coarse fishing along the picturesque banks of the Forth & Clyde canal, near Kirkintilloch.
The State of Sunshine
Paul's exploring the incredible fishing opportunities offered by Florida, the Sunshine State, on America's east coast. First up he's in the Lakeland district of Polk County, where he puts himself in the expert hands of local guide Dave Hoy for a spot of Bass fishing. Dave recommends they cast soft plastic worm lures, and it's not long before Paul is into some decent Largemouth Bass. From here he travels down to the island of Captiva on Florida's Gulf Coast, where in the shallow waters he goes fly fishing for Sea Trout on board with skipper Mike Fury, any trout between 14 & 24 inches can be taken home for dinner. At Robbie's Marina on Islamorada, in the Keys he sits and watches a shoal of Tarpon being hand fed a free meal before heading out into the deeper blue waters for some big game fishing, on board Catch 22 skippered by Capt. Scott Stanczyk. First job of the day is to net some bait fish, but as this attracts the circling Barracuda, it seems silly not to try and hook one of these dangerous predators. Paul certainly knows when one has taken his bait. Next a fast and furious session, as they hit a shoal of Dorado but Paul's hardest fight of the day is when he hooks a 50lb Sailfish on 15lb tackle.
Paul is in Northern Ireland on the beautiful Lower River Bann that drains the mighty Loch Neagh. It's full of large Bream, Roach, Pike, Perch, Eels and Trout and to see which of these he can catch he joins Francis Duffy, a local coarse angling expert. They start off with a couple of decent Roach and after a heavy shower, Paul catches his first ever Bream, at around 4lbs. Out in Francis' rowing boat Paul adds a hard fighting pike to his collection. Next up is a spot of sea fishing as he joins a party on board the Missy Moo out of Larne, skippered by Tommy Martin. Wrasse, Ling, Mackerel and pollack are on the menu. Back on the Lower River Bann, Paul joins the well know guide John Todd for a morning's Salmon fishing. They're on the famous Carnroe beat, where the salmon heading towards Loch Neagh are held up by a huge weir. Paul makes the most of this golden opportunity and hooks a lovely fish on his Scottish Ally Shrimp fly. John tells Paul that there aren't many Sea Trout to be found in the Bann but Loch Neagh is home to its very own Dollaghan Trout, a fish that migrates down up and down the feeder streams to the loch. The invitation to fish for one proves a great way to end the show.
Paul is on the River Spey at the Castle Grant estate on a beautiful sunny morning, faced with one of the decisions salmon anglers quite often find hardest to make, which fly to choose, from his box of hundreds? Luckily his ghillie John only carries a few in his "Fishermens Friends" tin and quickly suggests a small Blue Charm. The skies however turn to clear blue and the beating sun turns the salmon off. Fortunately the following day is overcast and the conditions more favourable and Paul hooks a very decent Salmon that provides quite a fight. Paul is then off to the River Endrick, that flows into Loch Lomond, to try one of his favourite forms of fishing, trotting large juicy earthworms down the current looking for a bar of silver. The take is always exciting as the salmon nibbles at the worm before swallowing it. Then on the last day of the season, in late autumn Paul is on the River Tay trying catch his final salmon of the year. He's on one of the beats just below Kenmore near the head of the river and after a rewarding day's fishing joins his fellow Tay anglers, on their traditional procession through the village, to toast, at the river's edge, the mighty salmon with a wee dram of malt whiskey.
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