Friday, 13 May 2011

THE MONTHS of May and September are when Scotland looks her best, I've always thought. The countryside at this time grows into its annual full maturity. Trees are fully clothed and walks with the dogs are beneath a canopy that has grown thick enough to effectively keep me dry from everything other than the worst downpours. And we had some of those a week ago when the overdue rain brought that long dry spell to an end. It rained steadily round here for three days. What was good was that it was a gentle precipitation, which seems to be the sexy new word the weather presenters use these days. That meant it sank into the ground and watered the growing plants rather than coming coming down in stair rods and flowing straight off the dry land into the watercourses.

Salmon in the rivers welcomed the rise in the river levels for it meant they could complete their annual migration back to the spawning grounds at the headwaters of their mother rivers and get on with the important job of reproducing future generations of the King of Fish. The River North Esk has seen loads of fish caught in pools, unable to move further upstream. Fishermen have reported seeing a lot of them suffering from disease. In recent days I've seen a 16pounder and an 8pounder taken from the river.

My wife Liz and I enjoy fishing together. We've fished for salmon, but really prefer taking a boat onto a loch and fishing for trout. My father taught me to fish when I was a youngster in short pants and I've fished all my life. Liz came to fishing about ten years ago and so often, to my considerable chagrin and frustration, she comes home with a bigger basket than me. This theory about pheronomes must have some truth in it. However I took the prize last Wednesday. Fishing Loch Tillypronie in Aberdeenshire she caught a very acceptable 1lb brown trout but, almost with my last cast when I was ready to throw the rod in the loch in disgust, I hooked a two pounder. It was the biggest trout I've ever caught - the size of a small sea trout. And, as she would with a small sea trout, Liz baked it. And very tasty it was too. We're not ones to use masses of herbs, preferring the sweet taste of the unadulterated meat. We'll be out together again several times before the season ends.

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