River Tay Salmon Boats
By Jock Monteith 29th April 2018
While many salmon beat owners have opted for the new fibreglass low maintenance salmon boats I personally think nothing beats the beauty of a brand new Tay 'coble' handcrafted by the one & only John Ferguson in the Perthshire village of Stanley.
Salmon Fishing Tradition Versus Convenience
Sure there's a bit of maintenance involved looking after clinker built 'coble' boats through the Summer months and sometimes a new boat will take in water until the boards swell after a few days but these boats play a big part of traditional boat fishing on the Tay. In my opinion tradition should be always chosen & preserved over convenience as nothing beats the visual beauty of River Tay larch built 'coble' when it's out on the river. As a boy seeing the boat out working used to fascinate me and assisting with Summer maintenance when the air was dry & moisture free was a task I used to enjoy when asked to assist.
Traditional Scottish Salmon Fishing
Fishing tackle technology pulled us away from the greenheart, split cane & even the fibreglass era for materials that provided lighter & better casting advantages. I don't however see any salmon fishing advantage from the use of a new fibreglass boat design so why not preserve what is visually a far more beautiful craft even if it does requires a wad of sandpaper and a few pots or varnish or paint each year. A hand built Tay 'coble' is a true 'work of art' and I'd doubt many visiting Tay salmon fisher would choose fibreglass over larch for their day on the river if asked to choose their style of boat.
Dunkeld House Salmon Beat Boats
The above 2 beauties have recently been acquired for the Dunkeld House salmon beat and have assisted in raising the visual presentation of the beat. These boats replaced two older models that had been glossed however these 2 new boats will remain varnished as although the gloss also looks good to my eye nothing beats the varnished larch look. The many riverbank walkers who frequently stroll the path between Dunkeld and the Dunkeld House Hotel are in for a real treat this year while these boats are out searching for our silver friends. While many photographs were always previously taken of the Dunkeld House beat working boats I'm sure shots that are taken now will go much further & wider!
A New Dunkeld House Fishing Hut
In addition to these 2 beautiful traditional boats there's a brand new fishing hut construction planned to commence as soon as the 2018 salmon fishing season ends in October. This new hut will be positioned at a far more appropriate & secluded location on the beat and overlooking one of the perfect salmon fly fishing pools. New beat maps have also been already drawn up and as of the end of this week every angler who fishes the beat will be given a copy in addition to seeing a large version (orientated to the river) on the fishing hut wall so all anglers will know exactly where to focus their fishing skills on. A new beautifully presented 'state of the art' Dunkeld House salmon beat booking platform is now performing well and many other new initiatives are in the pipe line too that will be announced shortly as progress permits.