31 MAY 1930, Page 36

A Day's Salmon Fishing

ONE salmon-fishing holiday will always remain in my memory. It was the spring of 1927. During the few days which I was able to snatch in Scotland I gulped down its joys in large mouthfuls, and since then have quietly chewed the cud of `happy memories. I was fishing a small river in Ross-shire where only fly-can be used and wading is not allowed. Most of the pools can easily be covered from the bank, and they are seldom more than thirty yards long. Although it was the end of April the weather was bitterly cold and snow still lay

on any ground untouched by the sun. Every day was de- lightful, but I think one of the nicest was when I fished the top beat, accompanied by a very youthful and inexperienced gillie. This is how it comes to mind.

The car drops us a few hundred yards fiom the first pool, and under our feet the snow crunches as we.walk to the river.

We pass through a small birch wood, and where the sun has touched the mossy tree-roots bunches of primroses are peeping out. As we near the stream a woodcock rises- with a clatter,

and then noiselessly 'speeds away. . ' Where I begin to fish is more a run than a pool, shallow at my side of the river, but deepening under the trees which

overhang the stream from the opposite bank. There are trees behind me also, so the caSting is difficult, bid that, I think, adds to the enjoyment; I am almost at the end of the run when my fly is stopped as it swings round to --me.- I tighten and am fast in my first fish. When .eventually I bring the salmon to the side, my gillie, even more excited than I, to my horror makes a wild swipe with his gaff which -misses the fish altogether and catches my line, tearing the hook from its hold and entangling hook and line in a bush of heather. The poor boy is almost crying, so I have to bottle my wrath and

stride in silence to the next pool. - -

This begins as a swirling rapid; and-gradually deepens and slows as the water eddies- round liirge submerged boulders. Almost at once I hook a- fish. Still sore and annoyed I take the gaff myself when _the time conies_ ; the fish makes a final plunge, I hang on too tightly, the hold gives, and the salmon is free ! I fish down the rest of the pool in a vicious temper with no result; The next pool is some little distance further down. As I walk to it I try to steady-myself. Tranquillity is helped by the sight of an eagle floating calmly down the glen. I hope he does not breakfast-on one of the newly born black- faced lambs that cower shivering in the :snow beside their mothers.

When I begin to fish again my nerves are calmer, and as my fly comes out of the stream's rush to the quiet -shingle on my side and a sahnon follows, and seizes it in shallow, water, I calmly tighten as he turns. Off he goes with a rush, right through the pool into-the next ; but he is well hooked and presently I get him to the side. I tell my gillie exactly what to do, and he is 'even more pleased than I when he knocks the fish on the head. It is 10 lbs., and like most of the spring fish here a beauty to behold—small headed, long backed and like a bar of silver. I think my salmon has disturbed this pool ; at any rate I get nothing more.

The pool below this looks ideal salmon water, but the head keeper has told me that for some unknoWn reason fish do not lie in it. It looks so perfect that I feel he must be wrong, and fish it down carefully, but draw a complete blank. There is a curious difference between salmon and trout in this respect. An experienced trout fisher can tell exactly where trout will lie in a river he sees for the first time ; a sahnon fisher can only guess, and that often wrongly.

It is lunch-time, but I would like to have two salmon to admire as I-eat my sandwiches ; so I fish the next glide, the water winding and swirling over boulders, the casting just long and difficult- enough to- make it -interesting. - Half-way down there is the same quiet stop to my fly, my rod bends, my reel shrieks. I hurry down the river, and -when -I am almost opposite the fish it changes its mind and rushes up to the top of the pool—my line-cutting-the water as the salmon passes me. I have • on- a .2bin. green highlander ; there is always a risk when wing such-arbig hook of its being dislodged if the fish passes the fisherman. This time, however, all is well and the salmon is soon on his side. The bank being steep and rocky I think-it safer-to Use the gaff mySelf, and land the fish in triumph. _-

For some time after luncheon I meet with no success, not even when-I-fish the top of the largest and best pool on the river. At the foot this pool widens out so much that some submerged boulders near the middle are almost out of reach. This is one of the best casts in the river to-day it lives up to its reputa- tion, and I get two salmon in successive- casts. Luckily for my small 011ie and me an under-keeper arives in time to gaff the fish and carry all four to_the road. _ .

I have still one more pool to fish, and right at the tail of it I am again fast in a salmon. Emery fish to-day has taken quietly, under Water, and they all mean business. I have hooked every one that has touched my fly. This is the last and liveliest ; he dashes downstream, and run and scramble as I may, at one time he has most of my backing out, has passed through two pools and is three hundred yards from where he started before I catch him up. But a fish cannot breathe when swimming With.the current, and if. I am out of breath he is more so, and quickly comes to the gaff. How really beautiful these five fish look, I think, as I light my pipe and watch them being put-into the' car: ' Then hey for a hot tub of steaming peaty water and a peat fire in my bedroom ! Soon I shall have a first-rate dinner with delightful companions.

I caught five salmon yesterday. I have caught five to-day. Will I get five to-morrow ? In point of fact I got none, but