Ten years ago exactly to this day I received the Scottish register listing that confirmed my ownership of a syndicate rod on Dumfries & Galloway’s River Nith.
With fishing weeks in April, July and October the grand total catch has been fourteen salmon and a few sea trout.
They have been special years fishing, camping and enjoying the Dumfriesshire countryside and a special mention goes to my father who in the last four Julys has caught magnificent summer salmon of 9 3/4, 11 & 13lbs.
The Nith adventure started with a 4lb grilse when I first visited our beautiful middle river beats at Closeburn Castle in July 2002 fishing the rod of Brian Fratel.
Next day I grassed a six pounder and I was hooked.
My latest salmon, which weighed just under 19lb was my best ever, and I caught it as the light faded in pouring rain on our beat 3 last month.
So not a huge number of fish, (albeit every one etched in the golden glow of summers and autumns past). No, a sprinkling really, over the past decade.
Since November 18th 2002 I have been lucky to fish some amazing and prolific rivers in Russia (3 times), Norway (5 times) and a visit to Canada this autumn. I have fished in Iceland, Ireland, caught salmon and chunky summer sea trout from the Tweed and have caught salmon from a beautiful Scottish west coast river on Islay.
I have even – and hope my twitter friends Annan Trust take note – caught a couple of salmon on the Nith’s little sister (and yes I do acknowledge the A had had a much better 2013 season), the Annan.
But the Nith got into the soul of Robert Burns. And I can see why. So here’s some Burns from his epic, Tam O’Shanter, I like his thoughts on those delights that melt in front of our eyes even though we may try to preserve them in a photograph or even the pages of an online blog and for me that’s the point of it all and in winter months I look to the calendar and dream of those summer and autumn Weeks when again we will try and catch the fish of a thousand casts:
“But pleasures are like poppies spread, You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white–then melts for ever; Or like the borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow’s lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.– Nae man can tether time or tide; The hour approaches Tam maun ride”