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Ronan's report

Sunday April 17 2011

There was an interesting topic on The Board this week, asking who invented Spey casting. I was quite surprised that this was even raised as an issue as everyone knows that the Scots invented just about everything good in the world. Seriously, there are even books on the phenomenon.

Usually this theory gets extended to include the proposition that (a) everything bad in the world is down to the English, and that (b) anything good in the world not invented by the Scots was only missed out because "those bastard English held us back!"

One of the big "Scottish Inventions" is electricity.

Yup, James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism started the ball rolling and turbines turning all over the world in 1873. Somewhat later than the invention of Spey casting then.

I don’t think Maxwell can have been a fisherman, and definitely not a Spey caster. Otherwise I think he might've foreseen the rise of hydroelectric power and the chaos it causes for salmonids and the folk who fish for them. Hydroelectric dams do a great job of screwing with the river, its migratory fish populations, and the anglers who fish for them.

Ben and I drove up to a Hydro-dammed river this week. Reports from the locality were good, the weather was set fair and we allowed ourselves to get a tiny bit optimistic that we might catch a fresh salmon or two.

Monday dawned a little breezier than expected, but we were, undaunted as we set off for the river. We were a tad daunted, though, when we arrived to find some very glum-faced Ghillies (another Scottish invention: the glum face) and an extra 5ft of water in the river just released by the kind people half a mile upstream at the dam.

No wading today then, and only a half mile of barely fishable river bank to cast off. Not to worry though, we're made of stern stuff. Ben rummaged around in his mobile tackle shop and extracted a couple of Skagit lines of prodigious diameter, together with several miles of T14 and T17.

I've never used a skagit set-up in anger before and I have to say they were excellent for what we were up against: No room for a D-loop, big water and heavy flies.

Ah-hah! I hear you cry. "Skagits! Something good that's not Scottish!". Well yeah, The Skagit is a river in the Pacific North West, and the set-up originates from over there somewhere. But before you go thinking that the Scots are letting things slip, maybe you should check this out!

I rest my case.


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