These last few weeks Tom Carter has been taking some time out to get onto rivers in Scotland to meet ghillies and boatmen in order to get a better understanding of their beats, the river and the men who look after you when you come fishing. He was kindly invited to fish Murthly last week by the Gilchrist family.
An early start from my home in the borders and two hours later I was sitting with the Gilchrist party enjoying breakfast in Dunkeld at the Atholl Arms.
The Tay is a river I’ve never fished and I have always felt daunted by its size when I’ve seen it from my car travelling to rivers further up north. My first beat was Murthly 2. The drive through the grounds of Murthly & Strathbraan Estate was beautiful. The fishing hut is impressive. I was welcomed with enthusiasm from Donald Tritton and was told to “gear up”.
The morning was spent fishing from the left bank down the boat pool which is shared with Glendelvine. As I cast out my line I mentioned to Donald that the river looked massive and how do you fish a stretch a water this big. He said “You don’t need to cast to the opposite bank, the fish have lies in this river, rather than pools you find on other rivers.”
The wading line was good. The river bed caused no real problems, no nasty holes or large rocks to stumble over. Armed with a 15 foot rod I cast my wet cell 3 line across moving fish, my size 10 Copper Raider dancing in the water. The second run down I succumbed to spinning with a Flying C. Still unable to attract a pull, but still a hugely rewarding morning fishing the mighty Tay.
Lunch at the fishing hut was almost a state dinner. The comfortable fishing hut has plenty of room for six to sit down for lunch. It also comes complete with separate kitchen and bathroom. Fishing huts like this are rarely seen on the Tweed and non-estistant on the Thurso.
After a splendid lunch I fished above the hut in the afternoon. This section of the beat offered easy access into the river, and casting no more the halfway across the river was required. There are some good sized rocks where fish rest and a faster running lie in the middle of the river, this certainly keeps you on your toes with anticipation as I waded down the pool.
Sadly my flies didn’t connect, but all in all a great days fishing on a fine beat with a knowledgeable ghillie. I wil be returning to the Tay very soon and I now understand the passion my colleagues have of the river. A spring trip is already being planned with my fiancee.
Dunkeld is a cracking spot and has some affordable accommodation, good places to enjoy a beer – what more do you need!