What do you get when you introduce a couple of fine Spanish amigos to a pair of proper English gents and then mix them all together with a room full of Russian fly fishing fanatics? A grand celebration – That’s what - Nastarovia! Without question, every season more and more of the locals here are getting hooked on our beloved sport. Thankfully, our latest multinational team bonded together early on, and then often after that, turning the adventure into a high energy experience for us all.
Coming off a weekend of promising rain including an additional 20cms in the rivers, the boys wasted no time slapping their flies straight into the water. Before we could reign them all back in for dinner on the first evening, after only three hours of fishing on the beats, they had pulled in a staggering 20 salmon - kick starting the show off with a promising bang. Unfortunately, the intense arctic sun popped out the very next morning and we were in for several tricky days of veritable, changing weather. Bright mornings were followed on with white puffy clouds that were ushered in and out by the barometer, which moved up and down through the week like a yo yo. Although the breezes kept us all fresh, they seemed to be coming at us from a different direction twice a day. Temperatures ranged from 10 degrees C up to an unfair 33 degrees C and once, it all happened within the same day. While normally the weather systems tend to settle in for a couple of days, last week Mother Nature simply could not make up her stubborn mind.
Our water conditions were a bit puzzling as well, where after surviving the last couple of weeks with concerning low water levels down into single digits, we somehow managed to finish off last week with more water in the rivers than we had when they first arrived? Without any real local precipitation to report, there must have obviously been some good rain storms rumbling on further up into the tundra, which kept the mighty Kharlovka flowing through the week above the 20cm mark on the home pool scale.
Speaking of our famous Kharlovka Home pool, Big Dimitry wasted no time jumping straight in on the first Saturday evening sliding six nice salmon in a row into Andrey’s net including a eye opening silver brace of 20 and 23 pounders. Then a couple of days later, his trip was made returning back to the lodge with some stunning photos of his new P.B. 30 pounder. And while they may have been a bit knackered from their previous week over on the Rynda, it is always a pleasure to see Leonid and Boris back again here with us on the Kharlovka. This time around they combined for some nice mid-sized salmon including a trio of 20 pounders. Other highlights must also include my brace of back-to-back, bright silver 23 pounders taken one fine sunny morning out of the home pool. Although they were both crackers, one of them was extra special, wearing a tag from when we first caught this salmon back on July 16th 2008. After analysing the scales under Dima’s microscope, we realized that salmon number 1909 was an amazing 10 years old and was returning in bright fresh condition to spawn for a for a second time!
Let’s not forget about our old friend Simon either, who was back again on his tenth visit to the Kharlovka, adding a few more hard earned salmon to his big fish log of 25 and 26 pounds. And, just as Spain deserved to win their world cup semi final last week, so too did Enric and Pepe merit every last one of their two dozen salmon here last week, especially since half of them were greater than 15 pounds including an impressive 33 pound P.B. late one evening out of the Home pool for Enric.
If you can’t beat them – join them! Surely Yuri and Ivan deserve an honourable mention as well for leap-frogging five kilometres down the little Kharlovka creek, landing some 50 tundra brownies up to just over a kilo. If Ivan wasn’t thoroughly impressed with Yuri’s performance yet then surely pulling in a 34 pound monster where the Little Kharlovka creek confluences into the home pool to end the day - must have tipped him over the edge!
As we all know by now, no matter what the unpredictable conditions may be up here, the mighty Kharlovka always seems to produce the big highlights. While almost half the team have been coming to the ASR for several seasons now, the majority were here on their very first visit and were just learning about the finer points of Spey casting off the giant, hook-destroying boulders of the challenging north coast. Using patterns such as King Tsars, Black Toobs, Green Uplanders, Golden killers and of course, the Sun Ray Shadow, last week’s team managed to pull in a respectable 124 salmon on the week. It must also be said that, there were certainly many more fish hooked than actually made it to the nets. Nevertheless, the boys managed to make up for any loses with extra long nightly saunas along with some epic socializing back in the lodge. “Fishing is about pleasure!” The Russians proclaimed. "There is no rush to do anything. You must make the most of every precious summer day."
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