“You’re never going to believe this”
A remarkable catch on the River Dee
AT MIDDAY ON August 2, Jamie Mcculloch tied on a new fly and sent out a hopeful cast, long and true. About two-thirds of the way across the pool, the fly stopped. Jamie was in – for a surprise. He’d driven to the Banchory beat of the Dee from his home in Lanarkshire on the recommendation of his friend, Ryan, who’d already caught a fish that morning. Jamie’s “pull” happened at the junction with the Feugh at the spot where Ryan had earlier hooked his salmon. “It felt like a fish at first,” said Jamie. “Then it went dead, like when you hook a branch, but it got caught in the current and pulled downstream. It was quite heavy. After a while I knew it wasn’t a fish, but it was hard to identify.” The fight took a few minutes. Whatever had seized his tungsten-bead Red Frances kept taking line and was not in a hurry to come in. Jamie said, “When it came to my feet, I said to Ryan, ‘You’re never going to believe this. It’s a sporran.’ “We were in hysterics. It was one of the funniest experiences of my life.” When Jamie opened the sporran, he found a phone, house keys, money clip with cash, bank cards and identification. His first thought was for the owner’s safety. Had anyone been reported missing in the river? He took a photograph of the sporran and posted it on a salmon-fishing page on Facebook. The post went viral and he was bombarded by emails. Soon, the owner of the sporran, Arran Grieg, got in touch, asking Jamie if he’d had "a good catch". Five days earlier, after one or two drinks, Arran had attempted to ford the Dee in Highland dress while attending a wedding at the Banchory Lodge Hotel. He’d hitched up his kilt but fallen in and lost his sporran, a family heirloom – although he did manage to reach the far bank. A grateful Arran was reunited with his sporran when he met Jamie that evening. The sporran hadn’t strayed far from where Arran had slipped. Jamie thinks the tungsten bead Frances on a long leader had snagged it on the bottom.
The Red Frances is snagged in the side of the sporran.
Wedding guest Arran Grieg is reunited with his sporran. Naturally, he offered Jamie a drink.
Jamie is an accomplished salmon-fisher – pictured here with a grilse from Horncliffe on the Tweed.