A week’s fishing at Knockando

cock fish

We are at Phones Beat, Knockando, River Spey. I have never fished here before and was therefore as exited as a young puppy. You met Sandy Smith the Ghillie featured on last page’s video. He proved to be one of the nicest Ghillies I have ever met. Just look at his cosy hut and you’ll know and can guess a lot about him:


A wood-burning stove blazing away at our arrival, kettle with hot water for coffee or tea, tray for our sausage rolls to be heated up- what  luxury!




See the attached veranda, we all looked forward to some nice weather to have a bbq and a seat outside, am afraid it never happened. We had the bbq but instead of us sitting on the veranda, Sandy had to put his grill there and we ate in the lovely hut…..

After the usual banter and a fine measure of water (of life) we finally decided to get into our waders and prepare the rods. I was told to go to the famous Pouches Pool, so there I dutifully went. What happened next- watch the video:

Sandy called the Biologist Brian Shaw from Spey Fishery Board, along he came and also the Head River Bailiff!!!! What a fuss, I thought to myself, but the fish was badly bruised and we were not sure if he had a disease or not. Things have to be handled correctly on this river. They measured the fish as 38 inches not 30 as I had understood. We could not weigh the fish as I had to put him back- pity, no fish yet for Christmas! The weight therefore could only be guessed, one chart said 22 lbs, in Sandy’s hut we found another one…



We leave this to the experts, fact is the fish was fresh and very deep in the body.

As you can imagine I was chuffed no end as this was my first fish this year.At lunch-time Duncan Dunbar-Nasmith the Factor came and paid a visit which was nice; obviously news travel fast on the river!

The day passed with loads of celebrating malts and some good pies from Simpson’s of Rothes.


Tuesday we had a visit from???

Yes it is famous Ian Gordon. Known for his excellent spey-casting, his abilities as a Ghillie among a lot of other things. He also organises exclusive Salmon fishing holidays. We had a good chat about God knows what and of course I was interested to hear his opinion on Salmon Conservation. We both agreed that there has to be a change of pace and also that we should try to take this question to a wider audience. In winter we shall discuss this further. He was also giving me some further tips on my casting, which is still not perfect….

Wednesday we had further visits, another Ghillie and Foreman of the Estate, Archie. He was taking us under his wing because it was Sandy’s day off. We all got on very well and enjoyed his company. Our friends the canoeists also paid a visit. Some of them behaved, others didn’t. In Ticino alla Mesolcina I came across a sign which shows how these people should conduct themselves:

By that day the winds were blowing at gale force and it was getting more difficult by the minute to get our lines out.

Thursday was the day of our bbq as I said above. No chance for relaxing in the sun- what a shame. Anyway we had the best meat from the butcher in Aberlour and of course some of Bob’s own meat. Sandy provided us with new tatties from his garden. No fish though!

To cut the story short we did not have another fish that week, Bob had his second grilse on the last day. What a lovely supper he must have had- we were not invited!

I shall finish this page with some nice photographs of the river and my fishing friends. Click on the pictures to enlarge them!

In a week I shall be back on the river at Castle Grant with the „Buckie Lads“.


6 Responses

  1. Elba says:

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!

    Extremely useful information specially the last part :) I care for such info a lot.
    I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  2. Ian Gordon says:

    Hi Eliane,

    I have to say, that really was a fantastic fish to be caught so late in the season and so high up the river, probably the best I have also seen. Congrats on the Blog too, very good indeed, written with lots of passion and some great pictures. Keep up the good work and I’ll be in touch over the winter. I will also let you know when my film is to be released. All the best. Ian

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