HOW TO FISH THE SPEY
Improve your chances by following this advice from eight leading gillies
● Lionel Main, head gillie, Castle Grant: “Cast within your capability. Distance is not the objective – a neat and tidy line is.” ● Mark Melville, head gillie, Delfur: “When releasing fish, turn them upside down in the net. This calms the fish down, making the removal of the hook much easier without stressing the fish.” ● Euan Reid, head gillie, Arndilly: “Many fish are missed on the Spey for two reasons: over-wading and failing to let the fly complete its swing.” ● Steve Brand, head gillie, Ballindalloch Estate: “Aim to fish the river at the correct time of day according to conditions. And fish the right flies: cold, higher water – large tubes; warm, low water – small, lightly-dressed flies.” ● Robert Mitchell, head gillie, Macallan Water: “Listen to the gillie as he describes the pool you intend to fish and the magic usually happens. Adopt a stealthy approach, especially from May on. It’s not always about casting a long line. Fished at the right time, small dark flies can be equally as deadly as large colourful ones.” ● Lawrence De Rosa, gillie, C Beat, Tulchan: “Keep the fly interesting as it comes off the main current.
Figure-of-eight retrieve or stripping.” ● John Anderson, gillie, A Beat, Tulchan: “Make sure that your fly-box contains a selection of flies tied in various sizes. There is no guarantee that the fly size in say June or July is going to be a 10 or a 12, and remember that variety is the spice of life, even for a salmon. Also, the modern substitute for horns (macaw, peacock herl etc) is flash, which can be very effective. However, a little goes a long way: too much and you can have something that looks like a goldfish, so it pays to hold back on the use of modern toppings.” ● Roddy Stronach, gillie, B Beat, Tulchan: “Don’t overcast! A good short cast is better than a bad long one. Listen to the gillie.”
Calm the fish by turning it upside down and then unhook it.