Salmon Beat Satisfaction
By Jock Monteith 3rd June 2023
From years of personal experience operating as a Head Ghillie on the Tay there's huge self satisfaction in getting your salmon beat riverbanks just right in addition to the nice surprise visiting salmon fishers will receive when they turn up for their special day on the river.
Basic Riverbank Time Management Strategy
When you're a ghillie and running a busy salmon beat that doesn't necessarily mean you've no time to take care of the required annual riverbank maintenance side of things during working hours. Most fishing guests will understand that these things need to be attended to and when a ghillie has experienced anglers on who know the pools they've bought their permit to fish then slipping into riverbank maintenance mode is usually expected during late Summer. Personally I used to grab a few hours here and there over a few weeks when fishers were on the beat so as not to sicken myself or take my eyes off the fishing guests for too long each day.
The Unlet Salmon Fishing Week Opportunity
The Summer fishing these days on most Scottish beat's usually always throws up a week or two where there are no anglers booked on. This is the perfect time for an undistracted riverbank blitz to strim the banks and deal with any saplings or bigger branches that are in need of a trim. It's truly amazing what can be achieved in a week of hard graft if a ghillie has planned his duties and set his watch with each daily objective in mind. I've often amazed myself at the end results of slipping into mental strim mode for long daily shifts with a pocket full of sweets for energy and a litre or two of water or flask of tea on standby in the boat!
Take Real Pride In Your Salmon Beat
As a youngster up visiting the Tay on any opportunity I got through the Summer school holidays and seeing my late mentor with a pot of paint or out with his shirt sleeves rolled up cutting the riverbanks was a common sight. The Summer months were the time to get everything in order for the big weekly Autumn lets that were common back in the 70's. Boat maintenance through the Summer months when the low water conditions permitted the boats to be taken off the river was logically perfect too due to the dry warm Summer air conditions that were perfect for glossing or varnishing the boats. There is nothing that positively impacts anglers more than seeing a salmon beat in perfect order within minutes of arriving as first impressions go a very long way in this business.