Kharlovka news - 29th of July

It was a truly international party that arrived at Kharlovka camp on 23rd July. There was Jeff from America, an international sportsman who has been the terror of fish and birds worldwide. Then there was Trond and Kristjan from Norway and Iceland respectively who are two of the best salmon fishers from those Salmon rich countries. Eugene comes from the West of Ireland and is one of the few successful organic salmon farmers. Brian and Simon come from the North of the Emerald Isle and arrived without tackle or clothes as these were lost by British Airways. No party would be the same without our Russian brethren and this consisted of Gennadiy and his daughter Anna who, it will be seen proved to be the star of the party. Finally there were a gathering of Brits; Mike and his son Hugh, David, a veteran of the Kharlovka who was paired with Hugh, who had never before ventured further than the Deveron in Scotland, and George an old hand at both Kharlovka and Rynda. There was an immediate bonding which clearly proves that all politicians should fish and thus make international relations happy and easy.

It was not an easy week as the river was lower than anyone could ever remember and there was often blazing sunshine. However, on the Tuesday rain poured down in a tropical torrent and the river rose 10cms. As the rain fell and the helicopter was about to arrive Eugene gave a cry such as would have driven the Vikings from his native Connemara, and was hooked into an obviously big fish. This turned out to be a beautiful 20lb salmon which was his personal best.

There was obviously a good run of grilse as both Hugh, son of Mike, and George returned each day with approximately 10 between them. Hugh’s father, Mike, usually returned soaked through having yet again fallen in! Almost as successful at disaster was Simon who sadly was broken by leviathans four times in two days before landing a magnificent 18lb fresh cock.

After the rain hopes were high but it seemed to make little difference as the fishing was still hard. However, with a massed experience of nearly 1000 years the team stuck at it and every day there were smiling faces and stories of joy and disaster. However, the greatest tale of the week came from 15 year old Anna, daughter of Gennadiy, who with typical female determination and fervour eventually threw success into the face of failure. Poor Anna had lost no less than 10 fish over the week, some of them of a good size. She did not whine, she did not grizzle, she stuck at her task and eventually fate bowed to her persistence and on the last day she caught 4 wonderful salmon with the biggest at 20lbs without assistance or interference from the lesser sex! Finally on the last day the gods had smiled on the party and sent a big run of fresh fish and grilse into the Kharlovka and Eastern Litza, nine of which were caught at Litza falls by Trond and Kristjan, the biggest being 19lbs.

As always it was a truly memorable week, full of laughter and happiness with some great fish thrown in for good measure. It was typical of the two rivers that they seem coyly to hold back their treasures and then award them to those who persist.

Michael and Justin