Sunday, July 19, 2009

Salmon Fishing Scotland Colin Leslie the Salmon King.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Colin Leslie the Salmon King.

Final farewell to the ‘Salmon King’

Jul 17 2009 by Les Stewart, Perthshire Advertiser Friday

THE funeral of one of Scotland’s best-known anglers will take place today in Ruthven Parish Church, near Alyth, at 11am.

Colin Leslie, who was a ghillie on the renowned Cargill Beat on the River Tay for more than 50 years, died peacefully in Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital on July 10, aged 84.

Born in November, 1924, Colin was the third child of four and was employed from an early age on his father’s farm.

He always had a love of the great outdoors and from a ‘wee laddie’ he loved to fish in local rivers, catching his first salmon – a massive 18 pounder – at the age of just 10.

Educated at Alyth Primary School – on his first day he ran away – he joined the Royal Navy, aged 16, and did his training at Dartmouth Royal Navy College on HMS Ganges.

He then went to RNB Chatham where he volunteered for Coastal Forces.

He served aboard motor torpedo boats off the coast of France, England and Norway and had the misfortune to be sunk by ‘friendly fire’ from the RAF.

He was hit by 13 pieces of shrapnel but recovered to tell the tale.

After the war he pursued his greatest love – fishing – and become known around the world after he took up his angling duties on the River Tay in 1946. And the rest is history, as they say.

He took hundreds of people out to fish on the Tay, including American millionaire Nelson D. Rockefeller, the New Zealand king of the Maoris, the Japanese ambassador, Field Marshall Montgomery’s Chief of Staff and the Roux brothers, to name just a few.

Many of his fishing exploits are recounted in his book, Scotland’s Salmon King, printed last year by Melrose Press Ltd, of Ely, Cambridgeshire.

The publication contains many humorous stories about his fishing days, when an occasional dram or two would be taken as he wished countless anglers ‘tight lines.’

Colin holds the record for the greatest number of huge salmon caught in Scotland since the Second World War.

His biggest was a 56-and-a-half pounder, hooked in the Sandyford Pool after playing it for an hour.

After retiring from Cargill, he worked for three years at Meikleour for the late Lord Lansdowne and always maintained that his work was his hobby.

Colin is survived by his wife, Nancy, his sister Flora and sons Peter and Morris and their families.

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