Special River Tay Moments

By 13th January 2019

While fantastic moments appear on the salmon rivers of Scotland on a daily basis when any fisher hooks and lands and perfect salmon it's always even more special as a ghillie when you've assisted guests in landing their first ever fish or when the TV cameras are running!

Take Calculated Chances & Learn To Love The Setbacks

I've never been shy when insulted and I'm pretty 'go ahead' at most things I've done in life. I believe in truth, transparency and eye contact when shaking hands on a deal and a good honest conscientious days work. I also believe you've got to take 'calculated' chances to make progress which beats sitting moaning about things if you're not content with where you're at in life like a 'howling' dog that's lying on a nail but won't get up! In saying that you can often push things too far in life so caution should always be built into the equation if possible! If and when you make mistakes along the way embrace and learn from them which is a vital part of life's 'sword sharpening' exercise.

The Salmon River Job Done Right

The point I'm trying to make is that there's obviously a good or not so good outcome to anything you do but you need to have 'the balls' to have a go in the first place. As a salmon beat ghillie I used to love the annual challenge of a 'Chris Bonnington' right hand river bank 6 day strimming job that would leave me seeing little green men jumping out of the bushes at dusk and with completely skinned ankles and all sorts of scuffs, bashes, stings and cuts. None of that was relevant however when the job was properly done and all the eye could see was 'green velvet' fading into the distance! I'm the type of guy you want believing in you and on the other oar of your lifeboat!

You'll Never Know If You Don't Have A Go

Where am I going with all these thoughts you may be thinking. As a professional salmon beat ghillie I took a few chances to raise the profile of the beat I 'single handedly' took commercially from 'zero to hero' on the Tay and part of that success was due to sticking my head above the parapet when the original 'Turas a Bhradain' series was kicking off in 2008. That May day on the Tay was the finest sunlit May day for filming and 2 truly perfect sea liced Spring salmon were landed by expert salmon fishers Jim Fisher & Donnie Whiteford which not only kicked off the series 'supremely' well but also instantly catapulted the beat and my own professional profile into a higher realm.

Turas A Bhradain Salmon Journey Series

The 'Turas A Bhradain' series as many of you'll know has since been recommissioned several times and even a few weeks ago one of the last programs in the recent series was screened and full credit goes to top producer Chris Webster and presenter Neen Mackay and their brilliant film production team along with all the Scottish salmon professionals who stood up and participated. For me in 2008 the dark side of being involved would have been the risk of the beat blanking on National TV which was probably why more cautious ghillies shied away from grabbing this massive 'profiling' exercise opportunity. Since the original 'The Tay' episode was filmed in 2008 it has been replayed hundreds of times so truly a fly that never left the water!

Keith Arthur 'Tight Lines' Sky TV

A few seasons ago another fantastic opportunity arose to host the UK's most famous angler Keith Arthur (who is one of the nicest & knowledgeable fellow fishers I've ever met) on the River Tay for his highly viewed Sky TV 'Tight Lines' show. Keith has caught more fish than some of the North Sea trawlers have but our silver friends had always alluded him for one reason or another for several years but seven minutes was all that was required when the Jockster entered the ring! I'm not taking full credit for that one though as any good ghillie occasionally needs a quality 'tip off' from a fellow professional.

The Glendelvine Salmon Beat Of The River Tay

My old chum and fellow professional River Tay ghillie Steve McIrvine at Glendelvine who I've been fishing with since boyhood days kindly got us on to his Glendelvine Beat (permits currently available for 2019) after Keith blanked on another Tay beat with another ghillie during the day. I got hold of Keith at 7pm and put him straight into a fish which my pal Steve had assured me was there to be caught and that at best his beat had been lightly fished that day. I love to go onto a 'rested' salmon pool and quickly so to did Keith as his seven year jinx was well and truly over the split second his perfect 10lbs bar of silver was introduced to the landing net after only 15 minutes on the Glendelvine Boat Pool! For this to happen on the exact pool the British record salmon was hooked in and with the UK's most famous angler catching his first ever salmon was indeed the highlight of my career and will likely always remain so. Again balls can pay off and cancel out the 'fear of failure' if you've done your calculations thoroughly enough!