Salmon Fishing Reflections
By Jock Monteith 18th August 2021
For those of you who are old enough do you remember the days when the newspaper used to run a 'Place The Ball' competition where you could win a prize for placing an X on the position of a hidden football during a live game scene. I think we should do something similar which would be useful for fine tuning salmon fisher's minds as to where to locate resting salmon.
Your Health Is Your Wealth
Those were also the days of the Embassy coupons where our mothers & fathers where conned into almost smoking themselves to death for these stupid blue paper tokens so they could exchange them for some meaningless prize from a magazine which never ever had salmon flies in it! I never once noticed salmon fishing kit in their prize catalogue either!
Salmon Fishing Discussions
During the same early 70's era I was deeply and mentally immersed in thoughts of the Tay and in those days I was better at keeping my north & south shut and my ears fully open for any golden snippets of salmon fishing information that would give a fishing advantage anytime there was a tactical salmon fishing discussion in the fishing hut involving any of the more experienced Tay fishers.
Abu Fishing Tackle
Those were the days when salmon flies came in little printed packets and ABU toby's came in a little light blue/green cardboard box fitted with a clear perspex lid and a silver toby finish meant a 'silver' finish not some neutered pewter simulation! It's no wonder as a Piscean I got well caught up in it all with the leading tackle manufacturer ABU even printing the best fishing days (in advance) for the year on the back of their popular "Tight Lines' tackle brochure. I'm still trying to work out their date selection formula!
The Old Abu Awards Program
Even bronze, silver & gold award pins were issued for specimen fish of any species caught on ABU tackle based on the size categories of each species. I nailed many bronze & silver awards but the gold pin always eluded me as did the purchase of their 'Rolls Royce' Ambassador black & gold multiplier reel! Thinking back to those days I realise many of these ABU related initiatives had certainly placed me under a spell which really still hasn't been lifted!
Bruce & Walker Salmon Rod Marketing
Bruce & Walker were doing their rounds and handing out their lovely glass fibre 'Expert' salmon fly rods to all the leading Scottish ghillies which was a fantastic marketing ploy unlike the mainly miserable manufacturing mob today who seem to hoard their precious rubbish. Do they not have the commercial brain capacity to understand that a busy salmon beat with the Head Ghillie's personal endorsement beats any retail showroom. Last year a well known rod manufacturer was up on the Tay demonstrating to high profile Tay ghillies who literally have many hundreds of 'qualified to buy' visiting salmon fishers through their beats each year but still suggesting the ghillies pay for their own demonstration stock!
Salmon Fishing Relections
Reflecting back over the decades to that first tug from a salmon in 1970 all I can say is 'wow' as this has been a fantastic journey full of 'highs & lows' but always one that has fully engaged my mind, body & soul. They say money is the 'route of all evil' as commercial exploitation has impacted all natural resources if you take a close look whether it be the massively destructive sea lice or proven salmon virus issues from the salmon farming industry or the commercial over netting of wild Atlantic salmon whether intentional by ocean raiders or under the guise of juvenile bi-catch.
The Salmon River Lifestyles
The wealthiest man I ever met (even though I've met many billionaires on the Scottish riverbanks) was my late friend and mentor Willie 'the ghillie' Laird. Willie never owned a house or car and had minimal savings in his bank account and was a humble man most of the time. If you study his 50 years plus of River Tay life brilliance you'll soon come to the realisation that he enjoyed 'true' wealth that even the richest on the planet couldn't match for a fascinatingly natural, stress free and widely respected lifestyle.