Tweed salmon wins Malloch

The largest salmon caught with a fly in Scotland in 2020 was taken from the Tweed at Bemersyde House.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:53 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:53 pm
Andy Britton's 32lb salmon won him the Malloch Challenge Trophy as well as the Bemersyde Trophy. Photo: Graeme Hart.

Lanarkshire angler Andy Britton landed the 32lb fish on August 11 at Tweedmill Beat, a feat which won him the Malloch Challenge Trophy as well as the Bemersyde Trophy, for catching the largest and best-caught fish on the fly in the Borders river.

It’s the first time since 2014 that the country’s largest salmon was caught in the Tweed, but the river has now given up the prize four times in the last 10 years.

At a special ceremony, prizes were also presented to Jonathon Murray, winner of the 2019 Bemersyde award, and Harry Brownlow and Sam Ackroyd, respective winners of the 2020 and 2019 Junior Bemersyde award.

Andy Britton.

Countess Haig of Bemersyde Estate, who presented Andy with his trophies, said: “I’m so glad that we were able to have this party and to celebrate the winners of this and last year’s Bemersyde Award and Malloch Challenge Trophy.

“One of the good things to have come out of lockdown is that more and more people have come to understand the numerous benefits of the sport of fishing and its role in sustainable tourism; this is what has happened at Bemersyde for hundreds of years.

"People who come to fish here walk in the same steps as the Roman Centurions who came to Bemersyde because it was the first point at which they could cross the Tweed.

"They would recognise the river as it is today; is at the heart of everything that we do here.”

Congratulating Andy on his achievement, Calum Innes, chair of the Tay Rivers Trust which judges the Malloch Challenge Trophy, said: “Andy Britton’s fish is a worthy winner of the Malloch Trophy. A 32lb fish brought safely to the net on light tackle and a small fly is no mean feat.

“He is to be congratulated, not only with his capture of such a magnificent salmon, but for the careful handling of the fish by him and ghillie Jock Veitch allowing for its swift release to continue its journey and hopefully breed successfully. It is a fantastic achievement that will be long remembered.”

Accepting the trophies, Andy said: “It’s a great privilege to hold this trophy.

"I’ve been a salmon fisherman all my life, catching my first fish 40 odd years ago, and I didn’t think I’d ever be standing here holding this.

“On the day, myself and Jock Veitch were fishing a pool with light tackle, a 12lb nylon with a size-12 fly, and we saw and we saw the fish take.

"Jock said, ‘This looks like a nice one’ and 15 minutes later he said ‘Can you guess the weight?’ And we said 15lb.

“The ghillie on the opposite bank was shouting across and said ‘Have you seen the fish?’ But we said ‘Not yet, but we think it’s a nice one, about 18lb’.

“He said: ‘Probably double that … I’ve just seen it!’ So we got it in 45 minutes later. We landed it safely returned it and off it went, hopefully to breed and rejuvenate the river.”