An estimated 12lb salmon took hold of the fly

WHAT a week. It might have been raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing and gusting wind fit to blow you off your feet, but up in Scotland that has been just the sort of weather to bring the fish up the river. And as luck would have it, John has been there to catch a few.

In fact according to one friend we spoke to, he has now been christened John West because of the record number he caught this week, when none were expected to be taken at all. Every one of the salmon has been returned, so, as we hope to be up again to fish the loch which the fish are heading for, there could be an outside chance of seeing the same salmon again.

Back home our house sitters are looking after the ducklings we are rearing. Andy is a game keeper and he has brought his dogs with him for the week. They have all got on well with our pack of dogs but Millie, our little Jack Russell who has wangled how to sleep in the house, ensured that Andy got up nice and early each morning so that she could get outside for a tiddle. Half past two was the earliest. She also lead the rest of the pack astray.

“I’ve had those dogs trained for the last six years” Andy said. “One week with that little Jack Russell and they are off hunting , rolling in cow muck and looking the pictures of innocence when I call them back and reprimand them.”

That’s my girl.

Others in our party caught fish too. One, Pete, was quite alone on the river bank when an estimated 12lb salmon took hold of the tempting fly he had just dropped onto the river. The wind was whipping his line back behind him and rain sluicing down so that the lenses of his glasses were almost totally obscured by rain drops. After managing to keep the fish on the line as it sped up and down the river, it suddenly dawned on Pete that he would have to land this fish alone. He did not have a net and there was not a soul, and especially not a ghillie, in sight.

But he did have his mobile phone in his pocket and so, frantically holding on to the rod and reel with one hand, he fished (I know) the phone out with the other, and blinded by the rain, contacted the number of the nearest person (he hoped) on the river.

And successfully dialled up the son of the nearest person on the river.

“Help.I’ve got a whale on the line,” he yelled. “Can you give me a hand to land it?”

“Bit difficult” came the reply. “I’m 500 miles away. Isn’t there anyone nearer?”

But there wasn’t and he did manage to land the fish. At least he told us he did. The triumphant picture he took with his mobile phone showed a large foot where the salmon should have been.

But we believe him.