Back in May, I had my first experience salmon fishing. I’d been fly fishing for trout plenty of times down in Yorkshire, however I’d never had a chance to try for a salmon, so my friends Matt and Jenny at Invergarry Lodge invited me up to fish for a day on the River Garry, as a present for my thirti… twenty-fifth birthday. Sadly, I didn’t manage to hook anything at all, except for clothing, nets and various plants, trees and weeds. Thankfully though, others present were more successful, and I saw proof at least that there were some big salmon in that river.
In August I tried again, this time on the Esk in North Yorkshire. That day was even less fruitful, with three of us working the river for over 12 hours with not even a nibble. So after two unsuccessful salmon fishing trips, I decided it was time to call in the big guns – I invited my Dad, Phil Parrish, up to Invergarry to see if we could catch one of those fish I’d spied back in May.
We arrived with a car boot full of various rods, reels and lures. We had everything ranging from antique Sharpe’s reels and Hardy cane rods, to cheap modern rods and spinning reels. Surely with our vast arsenal, we’d be hauling in the fish?
Well it was a slow morning – we started early at the end of the Garry near Loch Oich, and worked our way up river. By early afternoon we were starting to tire and so stopped for a bite to eat, and to curse Poseidon for our bad luck so far. Thankfully, things started to pick up after that, and we each hooked a pike which provided us with some fun for a while. Thinking that the weather was about to take a turn for the worse, and noticing Matt appear with a six-pack of lager, I retreated to the fishing hut for a break with Matt whilst Dad continued in his search for a salmon.
Suddenly, we were alerted by shouting, and a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush. Running down the bank with the landing net, it appeared Dad was struggling with a fish the likes of which had not been seen since the première of Jaws in 1975. After a bit of a struggle to direct it into the net, we soon had it on the bank – not a shark, but a decent size salmon, and one very happy Dad.