A treasure trove for salmon fishers - FisherSense World

A treasure trove for salmon fishers

I have just made a note in my diary to pay a call on Colin Innes when I next get up to the Dee. We haven’t yet met but Colin contacted me a little while back and pointed me to his website, feathersfliesandphantoms which I can only describe as a treasure trove for salmon fishers. I have added a link to the sidebar here headed: Vintage Dee flies.

Just now I’m looking at his section with photographs of Dee salmon huts. I have never met anyone who goes salmon fishing who has not developed an affinity with the fishing hut. There are good huts, there are so-so huts and there are classic huts.

My favourite is the main hut at Carlogie beat on the Dee. Another great hut featured here by Colin, is the one at Sluie. The fishing at Sluie is not so great because of the profile of the beat (the best pool fishes better from the other side of the river) but where better to ruminate over this discovery than in its very fine hut? Colin has photographed the old maps and pictures on its walls.

Another great feature of this site is Colin’s catalogue of old fishing flies used on the Dee, Don and Deveron. Looking at these old flies reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun. I can almost guarantee that the new wonder fly you will read about in virtually every issue of Trout & Salmon magazine will have had some earlier manifestation on a big single hook, perhaps, or tied with slightly different materials.

I would feel confident fishing any Scottish river with this Akroyd fly. Colin not only gives us a profile of the maker but also includes step-by-step instructions if you want to make the fly yourself.

It doesn’t take long to realise that Colin must have ploughed through a lot of old (and therefore out-of-copyright) material, and transferred the relevant stuff on to the site, with plates of flies, covers and illustrations from old catalogues and newspapers, plus many of his own photographs. It would take one huge book to include all this stuff but a web site is like a living organism that can be updated constantly.

Colin says he enjoys curling up in front of a fire with an old fishing book and a whisky. Today I guess you can do something similar with your lap top. I only wish we could make lap tops more like books with spongy leather exteriors. No doubt it will happen eventually.

For those who prefer books to web sites, however, Colin tells us he is gathering much of his work together in a forthcoming book. In the meantime we can scan through this marvellous library of fishing ephemera. All I can say, Colin, is thank you for sharing your research with fellow anglers in such an accessible format. Not everyone can get access to libraries and this work provides a valuable window in to salmon fishing’s rich heritage.

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