After a gap of 12 years which involved several fruitless forays to Scotland, I finally caught another salmon. It was a beautiful hen fish of about 15lbs and, like waiting for a bus, having waited an age, I had two more on the bank before the afternoon was finished. There is something wondrous about the salmon: their incredible life story reaches a climax as they return up the rivers of their birth and pass through quite impossible rapids and jump significant waterfalls. That they do this in such beautiful settings makes salmon fishing the king of sports.

My second fish, by contrast, weighed less than 2lbs. This is extremely worrying the grilse should not be so small. This year, the occurrence of undersized fish has been reported all over Scotland. Clearly, trawling has significantly diminished their main food source, sand eels. It is a disgrace, and yet another example of how man is plundering the earth. And yet, as I pondered this little fish that, half starved, had fought its way 30 miles up stream, I noticed a blue flowering harebell growing out of a tiny crevice on a bolder next to the rapids. The fish and the flower were survivors against impossible odds in impossible conditions. There is hope.

  • Robert Heath

    I do hope you didn’t keep the under 2lb grilse?