Special River Tay Moments
By Jock Monteith 24th January 2021
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!
You'll Never Know If You Don't Have A Go
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 I was in charge of blanking on National TV which was probably why more cautious ghillies shied away from grabbing this massive potential 'profiling' opportunity. Since the original 'The Tay' episode was filmed in 2008 it has been replayed many times so truly a fantastic memory of a great Spring day out on the middle Tay's beautiful Newtyle salmon beat.
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 I 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 famous Glendelvine Beat after Keith blanked on another upstream beat during the day. I got hold of Keith that day at 6pm and put him straight into a fish which my pal Steve had assured me was there to be caught and that 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 Beat's famous Boat Pool! For this to happen on the exact same pool the British record salmon was hooked in 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. Taking a chance on National TV can pay off if you've done your calculations thoroughly enough!