Kharlovka news - 9 September

The story about our second exciting week on the Three Rivers program began in Murmansk airport on a sunny Saturday afternoon when 11 anglers boarded the big white helicopter bound for one of the most beautiful places on earth. Flying over the Tundra in its amazing autumn gown the guests’ excited exclamations drowned in the roar of the helicopter rotors. Fifty-five minutes later when the beating of the blades stopped our travellers left the mighty machine in impatient anticipation. The vast majority of them had been here many times before - great to be back!

For seven days the weather played its own wicked game testing the nerves of the fishermen. One day the temperatures went below zero and the wooden bridges and cabin steps got covered by the white frost however the rest of the week was more like midsummer with temperatures reaching to nearly 30 degrees. The water level started with the mark of 4 and kept stable for a while, but later with the warm winds and hot sun the level dropped to that of 1 cm.

However the spirits of the fishermen were never down. Due to a last minute cancellation the guests were divided into smaller groups of two rather than three guests to one guide as had been planned - meaning the guests were delighted to receive more water and attention from the guides. There was further relief for the guests and staff alike with the big news that Justin had returned to the camps. Volodya seemed to be the most pleased declaring "It was like losing our main generator on the first week and then having to run the rest of the season on the backup. Everything is brighter now!"

Each day brought good news. The anglers demonstrated their inimitable skill and patient determination in the most exciting amongst other activities. Mikael Frodin - a person whose name is familiar to every fisherman - landed three salmon with the largest of 15 lbs a couple of hours after the arrival. One fish an hour must have been his fishing pace!

The weather on Sunday reminded everyone of the camp’s northern location and demanded the guests put on warm fleece hats. However, despite the chill the fishermen kept warm climbing the steep paths and balancing on the slippery rocks. Equipped with all sorts of flies Mikael went on landing fish teaching along the way the correct pronunciation of Phatakorva - a fly originating from Finland. Among his catch were a ’fresh farmed’ 12lber and a 16 pounder. With a broad smile on his face, Iain easily hooked four nice salmon contributing to the common score. His partner Mike also won in a battle with an eighteen pound beauty - his first salmon ever caught! The only trio: Clare, Liz and Johnny added three more fish with the biggest one for Liz. She landed her 19 pounder in Barrel. Johnny had a fifteen pounder Personal Best. Kharlovka veteran angler David improved the total catch with a twenty pound salmon caught by the campsite.

Monday froze everything around, but the cool air waves made the fish move even more energetically and take the flies rather willingly. The total result for the day was remarkable 28 fish with the striking catch of Iain who managed to land a fresh grilse with sea lice, another perfectly silver sixteen pound salmon, a twenty pounder and a tagged 34 pound monster. Amazing! The only fly pattern he accepted was a self -tied Sunray Shadow. Another fresh sea liced salmon was hooked by Richard together with a nineteen pound Osenka he caught in between the entertainment show performed by hilarious lemmings. The following day turned out to be the start of an Indian summer or Babje Leto how it is called in Russia. Despite some misfortunes (John’s morning swim and Richard’s broken rod) the fishing went fine and some fresh salmon was caught by Liz and Mikael. With a feminine grace Clare landed a beautiful twenty-one pounder and thus got the biggest fish of the day as well as Clare’s PB.

Wednesday weather was fabulous for everyone. Comfortable air temperature and still cool water contributed to a good catch. Mike was lucky that day. He felt the line go taught when the first salmon took the Sunray Shadow in Litza Falls. Strong and agile the salmon made Mike struggle with its pull for several minutes from the height of the rock but in the end the salmon was in the guide’s net. Another one (14 lbs) got hooked in Flat Stone splashing the water drops around in acrobatic jumps. Fritz and John - a team of good friends from different continents; the tallest and the shortest members of the group proved to be excellent anglers. Each day they caught salmon, tied flies and entertained the other guests with funny stories. That day was the apogee of their friendship as almost simultaneously they both hooked a salmon making their guide Volodya run from one to another with the net.
The evening was noted by a Birthday cake with candles for Iain who celebrated his 40th Birthday in Kharlovka camp.

Another day of autumn was unseasonably hot. The air temperature must have gone far above 25 C. On one hand the guests could enjoy terrific weather conditions, but on the other, same heat caused the slowdown of salmon activity and made fishing hard work. However our guests were ready for this new challenge. Having turned up the sleeves of their shirts the anglers fought with sweat and dozy salmon. Mike was very close to getting a thirty-plus monster and he even held it for a minute, but…the fish took off the hook taking away the title of ’the best fish of the week’. Mikael and his triple catch were among the few who were lucky to land a salmon that hot day. The other to make the ’lucky 5’ were Johnny, Liz. Iain and Richard.

The last day of the fishing week got a little cooler and the results went up immediately. John, Fritz and Mikael went fishing instead of breakfast and shared three salmon between the three of them. John didn’t catch a fish but he managed to be a great operator for Fritz, whose silver sixteen pounder got filmed in the best traditions of the ASR Studios J Liz landed another 20 pound fish in Ledge to celebrate the end of the week. It was the same for Richard and Mikael who performed at the very best to add to the best results of the ’family group’. One for all and all for one - as goes the popular saying.

By the end of the day all speeches were made, all PB and the ’Best Fish of the Week’ certificates handed in to the happy anglers… another wonderful week, a week full of good news has come to its end. On their way back the anglers will undoubtedly reminisce about all the fishy moments, the stunning arctic colors and the sunny joyful days they spent amongst friends on Kharlovka camp.

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