Monday, December 14, 2009

Salmon Fishing Scotland The Malloch Trophy Winner 2009.

Salmon Fishing Scotland The Malloch Trophy Winner 2009.

This article hits the press today.



It was the battle of a lifetime for angler Sandy Walker when a huge salmon engulfed his home tied fly on one of the cheapest fishing beats in Scotland.

Ninety heart-stopping minutes later the massive silver salmon, fresh in from the sea, was landed on the banks of the River Lochy near Sandy’s home in Inverlochy, Fort William.

But the beautiful silver fish didn’t end up on a plate. Instead, sporting Sandy let it live so it could continue its way upriver to spawn later in the year.

Before he helped the great salmon to regain its strength by gently nursing in the river, 69-year-old Sandy had it weighed, witnessed, and photographed.

Then he entered his amazing capture as a candidate for the prestigious Savills Malloch Trophy awarded to the angler who lands the biggest fly-caught salmon in Scotland.

To be eligible for the Trophy which depicts a leaping salmon in silver, a fish must be caught on a fly in a sportsmanlike manner and be returned unharmed.

Last week, almost six months later, a special committee examined a number of possible contenders for the Trophy from rivers including the Spey and Tweed, and judged Sandy’s fish to be the winner.

The news was then broken to a delighted Sandy that that his name was to be engraved for posterity on the trophy that every salmon angler in the UK dreams of being awarded.

The scene of Sandy’s epic battle wasn’t one of the “Rolls Royce” beats of Scotland’s salmon rivers where anglers can pay anything between £200 and £1000 for a day’s fishing, but the Tail Race Pool on the River Lochy Angling Association’s estuary beat which local members can fish for just £90 a year.

Yesterday retired Sandy who fishes the river every day from April till October, spoke of his “great honour” at having his name engraved on the legendary silver Trophy along with three decades of winners who like him had epic battles with huge fish.

He said: “The award is not so much for me but for the continuing recovery of the Lochy as one of the great west coast salmon rivers.

“It’s now well-established as one of the premier rivers in the UK for big salmon and much credit must go to the river manager, Jon Gibb, for all his work in promoting salmon conservation locally and improving the quality of fish returning to the Lochy.

“The fish was absolutely perfect, straight in from the sea, and very strong. After it was hooked it went into very deep water strewn with boulders and just sat down.

“I managed to move it from the depths after three quarters of an hour and it just took off heading for the sea. It was another 90 minutes before an angling club friend helped me to beach it.”

Sandy will now have to wait another six months to be presented with the trophy at a special River Tay Conservation dinner when he will also receive a special silver sculpture of a salmon, commissioned by Savills from the highly acclaimed artist Patrick Mavros, and a £250 voucher from the House of Bruar.

The Malloch Trophy first awarded in 1972, was named after the legendary P.D. Malloch, of Perth, who is recognised as the greatest name in Scottish fishing tackle history and one of the leading authorities of his day on salmon.

The first winner was Lady Burnett who caught a 43 pounder from the Tweed.

The Trophy ran for 28 consecutive years and was withdrawn after 1999 because it was felt it encouraged the killing of big fish which are important to the gene pool of every river in which they are spawned.

It remained locked in a cupboard and was lost to the salmon fishing world until the Tay Foundation acquired it and joined forces for a three year sponsorship partnership with property specialists, Savills.

The Trophy was then relaunched with the aim of promoting voluntary catch and release programmes, and the conservation of large salmon on all Scottish rivers.

Savills Director Roddy Willis said: “We are all too aware of the pressing need to protect the natural environment in general and future salmon stocks in particular. We are confident that the revival of this iconic competition will be a powerful means of promoting voluntary catch and release - the single most important contribution that individual salmon anglers can make to salmon conservation”.

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Anonymous said...

Prestigious, special committee, most coveted award, legendary,
iconic competition. bloody hell what a trophy...

Anonymous said...

cant help notice the string round the tail of the fish can anybody tell me what purpose this serves?

Sandy said...

Fly line serves no purpose at all. During the panic to return fish to river the line got tangled round my leg and tail of fish.

Anonymous said...

thanks,knew there would be a simple reason,fantastic fish,well done,good luck for 2010.

Anonymous said...

that fella has a face that could haunt hooses

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