Saturday, September 6, 2008

Salmon Fishing Scotland Daily Telegraph Article on the Blog.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Daily Telegraph Article on the Blog.

Ghillies cast a line on the web
This is an article which is in to-days Daily Telegraph.(06/09/2008)
Jock and I have acknowledge Sandy Stevenson for all his help and knowledge setting up our blogs. Thanks Sandy.

Adam Edwards discovers that blogs drive business for two River Tay keepers

When Jock Monteith spins a fishing tale and claims that he caught a salmon "this big" (he stretches his arms as wide as the Tay Bridge) his rival Bob White no longer says "rubbish" or words to that effect.

When White swears that the river is too muddy to hook the QE2, Monteith doesn't, anymore, blow a raspberry or imply untruthfulness by a similar gesture. Instead both men race home and check the internet.

Blogging on the Tay: Jock Montieth works on the lap top while Bob white casts for salmon

For a long-term rivalry between the two professional River Tay ghillies has moved from fishy boasts to piscine blogs. This season each keeper has started to document with words, pictures and videos the weather, the state of the water and the size and number of fish caught on their particular sections of Scotland's legendary river that winds through Perthshire into the North Sea.

"This year I have had nine salmon over the 20lb mark," says Monteith, who manages a mile-and-a-half of the river for two private clients including an international footballer. "They are bigger than anything Bob has caught down river. I know. It is there on the blog."

White, on the other hand, has caught more fish.

"We've had just short of 100 and the best of the season is still to come," says White, who looks after three miles of the river for two oil and energy businessmen. "We were the first on the river to get to 50 spring salmon, which I noted on the blog."

Every single fish caught on White's stretch of the river (or "beat") is photographed and posted on his site.

"A client caught a 15lb salmon this morning and his picture with the fish will be on the site tonight," says the tweed-clad keeper who claims to have come up with the idea of a daily fishing blog for a beat.

Monteith, whose site includes a little advertising, is equally bullish. "I put something up every day whether any fish have been caught or not," he says. "Every day I take videos of both the river and of the water gauge and put them on the blog, too."

The spin-off from this electronic competition between the two men has given those anoraks who eat, drink and sleep fly-fishing unique access, wherever they are in the world, to two short stretches of the Tay. In the past the reputation of a particular beat came from the log books and the stories that were handed down. Neither was always as accurate as it might have been.

In the early days of the internet a site called "Fish Scotland" was created. It allows fishermen to check the details of particular rivers including the facilities, what weather is expected and the anticipated state of the water. White and Monteith have developed links from that site into their blogs.

"As far as I know no other keepers on any other rivers in the country are using the internet in the same way," says White. "Most of the links to beats in Scotland and the rest of the UK only show a picturesque view of a river and a few contact details."

Monteith claims that the blogs are now the driving force of both their businesses.

"Bob and I have had our highs and lows," he says, "but both of us realise that business is up considerably because of the blogs. Clients, and other keepers, can see what's being caught for themselves. They don't have to take our word for it anymore."

On Monteith's site earlier in the week, for example, there was a 37-second panoramic video of his beat (about as enlightening to the uninitiated as a film of an empty goldfish tank) as well as a picture of client James Davie landing a fish using a "black flying c" spinner and a retrospective album of pictures of Newtyle Willie, the local ghillie for 50 years.

On White's site that same day, there was a film of him helping to land a salmon, another video of client Michael Glass fishing on a fly on the Pitlochrie beat and a picture of a 54lb salmon caught two months ago by a woman in Norway.

"I try to widen the blog to include all things related to fishing on the Tay as well as extraordinary fish that have been caught anywhere in the world," says White who, I notice, has exclusive photographs of the Tay Gillies Association Fun Day on his site. Not to be outdone, a video of the brass band playing at the Fun Day was to be found on Monteith's blog the following morning.

Can a podcast from White on the Fun Day's bouncy castle be far behind?


Anonymous said...

No opposition.

Anonymous said...

Jock's blog hasnae been updated since 2nd September.

Anonymous said...

the telegraph person has an ascerbic bitterness akin to an anti-, whilst his article is as vaccuous as an empty goldfish-bowl.

VC said...

I am inclined to agree with Anomymous No 3, just as well no-one reads the Telegraph anyway.


VC said...

Actually, having now seen it on-line & with a picture, it looks OK, definitely something that they can pass a link around for, and I think shows up river in a good light.

Test Valley River Keeper said...


I have just read the article in the Telegraph about your blog. I am a river keeper on a tributary of the River Test and also have a blog and would welcome any advice that you could give.

I have fished the Tay a few times at Murthly with my boss, and can see the attraction of a site that has pictures and information of fishing that some one has experienced or is about to fish.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what the first three comments are really trying to say, perhpas it is the touch of the green eyed monster, it was a fun good piece in a paper that actually has a lot to say for itself.

Anonymous said...

Money, money, and more money both gilles have links to sell flies and equipment.who sells the most not who catches the most is more important.

Its all about the BOB BOB!!!!


Anonymous said...

The photograph is not a good likeness of either keeper/ghillie.


Anonymous said...

Adam Edwards is stirring it and/or taking the proverbial, Not sincere and a bit worrying. I don't think you should have given it the space Bob.


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