“You’re never go­ing to be­lieve this”

A remarkable catch on the River Dee

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - First Cast -

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.

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