Saturday, January 23, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland Spring Salmon Fishing January 2010 on the River Tay.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Spring Salmon Fishing January 2010 on the River Tay.

This was ARNOT MCWHINNIE's article in the Daily Record this week on the excitement of the Tay Opening day 2010.

The old adage might be ‘never count your chickens till they’ve hatched’, but for me on the opening day of the River Tay fishing it was ‘never count your salmon till it has spawned’.

That day I had the pleasure of landing a lovely, silver springer which, when put into Benchil beat ghillie Davie Seaton’s weigh-net, tipped the scales at 12 pounds.

The fish, which grabbed a pink and white Kynoch, was duly photographed and then carefully released.

And as it strongly swam back into the middle of the river I harboured the thought that just perhaps I would be the first angler to have his name engraved twice on the coveted Redford Trophy which is awarded to the captor of the heaviest fish on every opening day.

By the time we finished that evening the ghillies’ mobile phones, which are like the jungle tom toms of the river, had failed to reveal any bigger salmon.

But, as I learned soon after, a bigger one had been caught. So it’s congratulations to Perth angler Peter Backhouse who landed a superb 16 pound hen fish on a silver Toby from the Kercock beat.

Peter, I hope you will get the same pleasure as me at having your name engraved for posterity on this magnificent trophy named in memory of one of the Tay’s great anglers, the late Ian Redford.

Ian Redford with former Scottish Ghillies Willie Laird and Callum Gillies back on Tay Opening day 1979.

As for me I had the pleasure of being awarded the Tayside Hotel Trophy awarded to the angler who catches the biggest opening day salmon locally.

Davie and his head ghillie Dave Barwick also had the pleasure of being presented with two fine bottles of whisky to celebrate the occasion.

Undoubtedly the most celebrated salmon of the new season, was netted on Monday this week by legendary Tay ghillie, George McInnes, for veteran Glasgow angler, Ian Tait.

After its capture there was a dual celebration on the river bank because not only was it the first salmon from the Ballathie beat, but it was George’s 70th birthday.

George, a former police inspector, a friend and fishing buddy of mine since 1964 when he helped me land a silver springer, has achieved legendary status because he has undoubtedly caught more salmon in the UK thank any other angler, alive or dead.

He caught close on 700 salmon in two successive years, one of the years beating the great Robert “Wizard of the Wye” Pashley’s record of 678 salmon in 1936.

By the time he was appointed head ghillie at Ballathie 18 years ago George had landed around 14,000 salmon to his own rod.

Goodness knows how many he’s caught since then – maybe approaching 20,000 – but the one he steered his angler to on Monday will almost certainly stand out in his mind as one of the most memorable.

George’s birthday was celebrated with a lunch hosted on the riverbank by his under ghillie Garry McErlain, and attended by his daughters, Kim and Mandy, myself and wife, local ghillies, and of course, Ian Tait and his angling friend, Dr Ian Preston.

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