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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For those of you who followed the Musto thread, here is an interview with Scott this years champion. Way Yin gets a couple of honnerable mentions. From inverness-courier.co.uk[

Setting records in the tranquil world of angling

IT’S only a couple of miles from the city centre, but ghillie Scott Mackenzie’s beat on the River Ness presents a tranquil scene.
When I caught up with him at Ness-side House along the Dores road, I found a man completely at peace with himself and his surroundings.
A strapping six-footer smartly turned out in the tweeds that go with the job, it’s not difficult to see why this affable Invernessian gave up his day job as a postie 15 years ago.
What better way to earn your living than in an environment where you are most at home?
Brought up in Ballifeary Road, Scott (35) who first picked up a fishing rod at the age of five, recently beat the cream of international anglers to win the 2003 Musto Open Spey Casting Championship.
Staged at the Country Landowners’ Association Game Fair at Harewood House, Harrogate, Scott produced a breathtaking cast of 51 yards, setting a new record for the competition which is the climax of the world’s largest countryside event.
While the £1000 cheque and magnum of champagne he received were welcome bonuses, Scott confessed the prestige of winning such a high-profile competition against the world’s top anglers was an experience he will never forget.
“The sportmanship and camaraderie among the competitors is the hallmark of the event. The whole atmosphere was friendly and genuine, ” he enthused.
The line he used for the winning cast was loaned to him by Way Yin, an American, and one of the competition favourites.
It matched a four-piece Bruce and Walker rod which the manufacturers altered for Scott to meet the rules of the competition.
The standard length of the Bruce and Walker four-piece is 18 feet. “The competition was for rods under 18 feet so they trimmed an inch off it,” Scott explained.
“The company gave me the rod which can be worth between £400 and £500. But apart from taking an inch off the top it was your standard rod which would come off the shelf.
“They are superb rods but you can stiffen them up to make them more powerful which can give the angler extra distance when casting.”
It was his first attempt at the CLA Game Fair championship, having won the Moy Game Fair casting title for 11 years.
The line he was loaned by May Yin for the winning cast was a Mastery XLT Spey Line 10/11, a slightly modified version of the same brand Scott had taken with him to Harrogate.
He qualified with a cast of 49 yards in the heats and his splendid winning cast of 51 yards in the final was watched by an expert panel of judges who had to weigh up the accuracy as well as the distance the line reached.
Competitors are given one minute to get their line out and two minutes casting time.
Ian Gordon from Knockando on Speyside was runner-up with a cast of 49 yards and Way Yin, a doctor from Washington state, achieved third place using a 16-foot rod which reached a distance of 46 yards.
Interestingly enough, the art of Speycasting was first developed on the River Ness.
“It was a local schoolmaster, Alexander Grant, who developed the technique in the 1890s. It’s particularly useful for anglers when they are fishing stretches of river which have trees on the banks. It’s like a roll cast when the line comes back and lands next to the angler rather than overhead where it can get tangled in the branches,” Scott explained.
The secret, he insists, is all about timing, co-ordination and good equipment.
Back in the late 19th century, Alexander Grant gave an exhibition of Speycasting on the Thames using one of his own greenheart rods and achieved a distance of 65 yards, a remarkable feat considerable the advances in technology over the past 100 years.
Scott was first taken out on to the Ness as a young child with his brother Iain by their later father Bill.
Like any angler, he remembers catching his first salmon — a seven and a half pound fish which he landed on the Ness at the age of 10.
“It was a great thrill and I caught it on the worm.
“We don’t really encourage worm fishing nowadays. It can be a deadly weapon and it’s easier than fly fishing.
“But you can never get the same pleasure from worm fishing than you do from the fly.
“Even if you don’t catch a fish, the experience of fly-casting is completely different and much more enjoyable. If you tie your own flies that all adds to the pleasure of your sport.
“It’s also a hobby you can enjoy during the dark winter months trying to produce that elusive lure which is going to attract the salmon.”

Scott’s career as a ghillie has taken him from the west coast to the north-east of Scotland and back again to his home town.
He started on an 11,000-acre estate at Rhiconich near Kinlochbervie when he was 20 and stayed there for four years.
The estate included the Rhiconich River, which is a small spate river, and an assortment of loch fishing.
He returned to Inverness to work at Graham’s fishing tackle shop in Castle Street but the call of the outdoors was strong and within a year the opportunity of a ghillie’s post on the River Deveron presented itself.
“I just wanted to return to that type of lifestyle and I took up the post as ghillie on the Montcoffer beat where I stayed for five years,” he stated.
“The Deveron’s an excellent salmon and sea trout river and I gained a lot of valuable experience there.”
Since coming to the Ness-side beat five years ago, he has become a regular contributor to the Trout and Salmon magazine, testing new equipment and giving readers an insight into the best products available on the tackle market.
As well as supervising his charges on the beat, Scott does all the bookings, lettings and looks after fishing huts and boats.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than when you teach a novice and they land their first salmon,” he added.
He has also featured in a film with actor and TV personality Paul Young who has created a niche for himself with his specialist angling programmes.
“Conditions on the day we went fishing on the Ness were poor but we caught one fish so that was fine for the cameras.
“Paul was a Scottish champion trout fisherman and his programmes are obviously very enjoyable and the publicity can be very good for the beat.”
Other personalities Scott has acted as ghillie for include the Duke of Northumberland and former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Sir David Steel.
While the pluses of any ghillie’s post must be the great outdoors and doing a job they love it does have its downside — poachers!
“Fortunately, we are not troubled here too much on the Ness,” Scott remarked. “There have been one or two incidents but we have stamped them out fairly quickly.
“It’s more serious on the west coast because it’s so remote. Locals there genuinely believe it’s their birthright to take salmon from rivers when they want to.
“But there have been some serious incidents with attacks on ghillies and damage caused to boats, vehicles and fishing lodges.”
Scott points out that salmon fishing is one of the biggest earners in the Scottish economy, bringing in hundreds of millions of pounds every year, so it is an industry that deserves protection.
Seal populations and lice from farmed salmon are all adding to the decline in numbers of fresh Atlantic salmon in Scottish rivers.
“It’s an industry that can also be affected by weather conditions and the mild summer this year has seen our catches on the Ness drop by 50 per cent.
“That’s why beats have to offer visiting anglers all the comforts of home when they visit for a fishing holiday,” he said.
“It’s important if the fishing isn’t as good as you would hope, that the stay of the angler is made as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
“This year water levels on the Ness have not been too bad but temperatures too can have a big impact on whether fish are going to ‘take’.
“Unfortunately, this year the water has remained warm for months on end and it’s difficult to get salmon interested in these conditions, hence the fall in catches.”
A day’s fishing on a good stretch of water can cost anything between £80 and £200 a day and Scott’s beat covers a one-mile stretch of the Ness.
“It’s a good stretch of the river and I consider myself very fortunate to be working in such a beautiful location, yet so close to the city centre,” Scott said.
“My wife Shari loves it here and our two boys Lewis (4) and Ross (2) are already learning to fish.”
Lewis has already landed a trout and a pike and has helped his dad grass a salmon — a future champ in the making perhaps?
And what about his biggest fish?
“It was a 23-pounder but generally there are fewer large Atlantic salmon around.”
In fact Scott has a long way if he hopes to beat the British record. The biggest rod-caught Atlantic salmon on record was a 64-pound monster and was over four feet long.
It was landed in the Tay in 1922 by Miss Georgina Ballantine and took two hours to play and land.
But in 1812 a poacher called Jock Wallace caught an even bigger fish at Barjarg Estate on the Nith.
He took it to the laird to have it weighed and recorded, having fought the fish from eight in the morning till six in the evening. It weighed just over 67 pounds but was never recognised because of Jock’s tendency to depart from legal methods.

First published on 19 September 2003 in the Inverness Courier,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the editor for his permission to reprint the article here.

2,829 Posts
will Grants cast be beaten by graphite?

Will graphite ever reach the same length of cast that Grant made, 65 yards? Right now the Musto is 51 yards. 14 yards seems like a big difference.

215 Posts
Re: will Grants cast be beaten by graphite?

t_richerzhagen said:
Will graphite ever reach the same length of cast that Grant made, 65 yards? Right now the Musto is 51 yards. 14 yards seems like a big difference.
Remember that rods for the Musto comp. had to be less than 18'. I don't know what length Grant favoured, but I suspect he used at least a 20'er. Certainly 18'-20' rods were not uncommon in the 19th century, and O'Gorman, writing in 1845, mentions rods for the Irish Blackwater of up to 26'. According to WJM Menzies, an 18' greenheart rod was suitable only for 'a comparatively puny man'.

My 15' Grant Vibration weighs in at a modest 2lbs 1oz. Wonder what a 26' greenheart would weigh.

Edit PS. Contrary to popular opinion (and the article), Spey casting wasn't developed by Grant in the 1890's. I believe it is mentioned in 'The Book of the Salmon' by Edward Fitzgibbon, published in 1850, and also in Francis Francis's 'A Book on Angling', published 1867.

294 Posts
Long Greenheart

When I worked in a tackle shop one of my regulars brought in a 20 foot greenheart ,we had a waggle outside the shop ,any one that could fish all day with one of those was a MAN .:smokin:

294 Posts
Butch or Wot

have to say I do feel very butch in a non Camp Kind of way when i,m waving the big stick ,thats a Loomis or B+W for those in doubt .:chuckle:

BTW Malcom am working my socks of to get an early week on the Brora.Hope the tax rebate comes and SWMBO doesnt notice !!:smokin:
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