After a delayed flight to Helsinki, where we arrived a little late, I had an early call at 3:30 and walked over to the airport where we departed on time for Murmansk, arriving at 10am.

There, we spent 2hrs hanging about, clearing customs & immigration before boarding our helicopter for the 2 hour flight to the Ponoi.

Once we arrived we were shown to our cabins, where I got changed quickly and walked down to the Upper Home pool, where in about 90 minutes of fishing, I had 2 small, but coloured salmon, both about 6lbs.

Dinner was good, the party included 9 other brits, all from Yorkshire and a proper team, and a father and 2 sons, with them sharing a rod between the 2 sons. 

I’m paired up with a Japanese chap called Suzuki, a really nice chap, who’s in the cabin next to mine.

The beat map is shown below:

8th July 2018

We fished the Panache beat with the guide called Genia.  He was probably the best of the guides we had in the week - with Max, the head guide.  I had 5 fish in the day, of 2,6,9,11,& 14 lbs, all of them stale.  It was windy all day but overcast in the morning & sunny in the afternoon.  Overall an enjoyable days fishing, and I had the biggest fish of the day with the 14lb one.  Bought a new Sims gilet to celebrate, as it was a bit cool on the river.  The river is very low for the time of year, and water temperatures horribly high, in common with the rest of Europe which is enjoying a proper drought & heatwave.

9th July 2018

We fished with Andrei all day, and it was simply awful.  He set me up with a Skagit line, but a normal fast sinking tip that simply didn’t work with it, and he insisted that we strip the fly as fast as possible all day, in evil wind.  I didn’t have a fish all day, and was mighty annoyed at that, especially as Suzuki had 4 fish, from high in the water when I was dredging the bottom.  Not a happy chap.

10th July 2018

Today we fished Kolovai beat with James, a young but green guide from Newcastle, who’d worked in John Norris’ shop.

I had 3 fish, the best being 12lbs all on Willie Gunns.  The guides seem completely transfixed with this fly, and don’t recommend anything else.  Most of the English guests are disappointed with the number of fish being caught, and I suppose its a measure of the week that there are no return visitors other than the Spanish party, and they simply park themselves in the home pool all evening, and seem incapable of telling the difference between a Sea trout & a Salmon!

11th July 2018

Fished Gold Beach with Ben today.  This was another disappointing day, catching only 2 fish and raising 6 or so to a hitch tube, none of which stuck.

12th July 2018

We fished Kolmac with Nick as a guide.  He wasn’t as bad as we’d been told by the other fishers, and I had 3 fish and lost another 2, one of which was very big.  The fish caught were 8,6 & 6lbs, and they were caught when we had a brief respite from the constant sun & wind.

13th July 2018

We finished the week fishing on the bottom beat, Tomba with the head guide, Max.  I had 3 fish, the best of which was 14lbs, and the last one was on a hitch tube, first cast, despite being told all day by Max that a hitch was a waste of time.  Not particularly impressive week, totaling 18 fish, not a patch on what we had on the Kharlovka last year. 

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