TV crew on the Esk

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The South Esk in Brechin was the site for a visit of a film crew from Alba Television.

Some weeks ago I was invited to join them and to comment on the fishery which the town enjoys.

In a series to be broadcast in the spring of next year they will be looking at salmon fishings available to the public at affordable prices and this, of course, is what we enjoy here in Brechin.

I was there early with Peter Christie to meet the crew and the angling advisor for Alba, Donnie Whiteford, who is well known here in Brechin since I introduced him to Brechin Angling Club, I think about fifteen years ago.

Although he now lives back on his native Isle of Lewis he still retains his membership.

What attracted Alba to Brechin was the fact that for a mere £4.80 an angler can fish for salmon on a good beat on the South Esk while other beats on the river can attract £70 to £100 per day, although we did encounter one angler who thought it was a rip-off.

Suitably fitted up with walkie-talkie communication and radio mike we split up and went off to get a salmon.

Within a few minutes the producer had a salmon on but only for a few seconds.

It was apparent that fish were a lot fewer than the stock we had been seeing for the last few weeks and the only fish showing were very small grilse.

Peter was next to contact but the cameras were not able to get there in time as it, too, was lost after a couple of minutes.

It was a fish which kept boring down on the river bottom and it was successful in freeing itself.

That was to be that, fish wise, but I was interviewed about the river and, in particular, the disturbing news that coastal netting is to be extended into the first two weeks in September subject to some scientific studies.

I was pleased to note the disbelief of the crew who, as I have said, have a wide knowledge of salmon fishings in Scotland, especially as we all noted the lack of a late run of fish this year in comparison with the last few seasons.

By the end of a long day we left the river at darkness and I was devoid of any energy, but I tried hard all day, as we all did, and thanks to Mike Roberts for joining in.

The lack of a late run of salmon is a worrying factor as we come towards the end of the season and it is more apparent day by day.

The high water of early last week took the fish in the lower river beats right up into the Glen Clova region, but there are no salmon coming from the sea to replace them and I am worried that lower river beats face a very poor end to the season.

The annoying thing is that the heavy late runs of recent years was the basis of Usan Fishries submission to the Minister of the Environment. Very poor science is what comes to mind.

Remember to be at the Northern Hotel on Thursday evening (tomorrow) at 6 pm and have your say it this controversy.

People are coming from all over Scotland to support us but we the anglers with the South Esk at heart are the people who can make the difference. Please don’t sit quiet.

Make your point and make it strongly.

The future of our river needs you.

Tight Lines, by Bill Balfour.