Good afternoon everyone, we are back, that is the River Spey Season 2022 and me. I am delighted to have been asked by the Spey Fishery Board to continue writing the weekly reports and I hope you continue to enjoy their content.
Some of you may have heard on social media during the early part of the year that we lost a great Spey angler, Norman Matheson MBE. Norman was a retired Aberdeen surgeon and was well known throughout the Northeast fishing community as an angling stalwart of the Spey, Dee and Deveron rivers. He was also the captor of two 30lb fish during his time as an angler, one from Arndilly and the other from Park on the Dee. Norman may also be known to some you as a published author and this culminated in A Speyside Odyssey in 2019 and Speyside memoirs in 2020. Both books were self-illustrated by Norman and are a worthy read to those who have not had the opportunity to do so. His favourite beat on the Spey was Tulchan, with D beat his favoured one. His house was aptly named “Head of Wood”.
I had the great pleasure of speaking to Norman a few years ago, as a committee member of the River Spey Anglers Association when I was able to acquire a signed copy of his book, A Speyside Odyssey as a prize for a raffle at that time. Norman was very interested in what the RSAA is all about and our objectives of introducing more people into fishing through our various activities held throughout the year.
Opening Day on the Spey was a cold one, temperature gauge registered -3 in the car when I arrived at Aberlour on Friday morning for the official opening. Following the warm introduction to those that turned out on the rather cold morning, Board Director Roger Knight invited special guest Ian Tennant to say a few words before the Rev Andrew Kimmitt blessed the river. Thereafter retired Gordon Castle and Brae Water Head Ghillie, Ian Tennant and Mike Murdoch, Ghillie at Laggan open the season by “anointing” the river with some fine Aberlour, Speyside malt.
A good crowd had gathered for the opening and amongst them a good number of anglers from the Aberlour Angling Club who quickly headed to the water after the official ceremony had been completed. It was not long ( 5 minutes) before one of their members, Scott Mellis hooked and landed a fish but it was not the fresh fish he was after.
However, it was further down the river where the excitement on opening day took place. After a long wait of 14 years to land an opening day Spey springer, angler Clive Murray did just that with a cracking 9lb from the Rock Pool on the newly formed Upper Brae beat, Gordon Castle Fishings. I did hear the lucky fly was the old favourite, a Willie Gunn. A big well done to Clive and Beat Ghillie, Ian Stronach. Both were presented with a Bottle of Aberlour Single Malt and a Hamper courtesy of our supporters, Aberlour Distillery and Walkers of Aberlour
For those who were unable to be at Aberlour for the opening, the ceremony was filmed by the Board’s new Marketing and Communications Manager, Paul Hughes and it can be watched at the following link:
This is the first live feed for the Board and just one or two views to date – 7500 and counting.
Kelts appear to have been plentiful on the first couple of days of the season with a number appearing to be very well mended. I heard from one angler that Kinermony had 51 kelts for the day!!
Well it was a short first week for the beats and ghillies and as things start to liven up, so will the weekly reports.
It is hoped that Paul and I will bring you additional fishing related content during this season and we would love your feedback on this once we get it underway.
I will sign off now and wish those on the river in the forthcoming week tight lines and screaming reels for the rest of the season.
Chairman, River Spey Anglers Association.