This post is a toast to our four legged friends. Fishing with dogs, whether bank or boat, has been a lifelong pleasure for me.
On the rare occasion I connect with something, they’re equally cock-a-hoop, and when I’m busy de-fankling or retrieving flies from a bush, they look on with resigned bemusement. Thank heavens the pooches can’t talk.
I always smile when I see a well-trained dog on the bank, following their master downstream. You can almost smell the anticipation, the dog pricking its ears at a rise willing the fish to take.
And to be quite frank, a dog is a finer companion than one or two fishers I’ve encountered over the years; patient, hardy and not prone to bragging.
Nuka, my faithful old hound, is a veteran of many an outing. Sometimes shivering, eternally patient, she’s always been a wonderful buddy.
There’s been the odd blip though. As a puppy years ago, I took her on the early morning shift on the Oykel. With little sleep to my name, and after an hour or so breathing Macallan fumes on the water, the previous night’s excesses eventually took a hold, and I retreated to a particularly appealing mossy mound for 40 winks.
Drifting in and out of slumber, I heard a curious crunching sound, but thought little of it. Big mistake. I woke to find that Nuka had been breakfasting on the tip of my brand spanking new Bruce and Walker Norway rod. The air was blue for quite some time, trust me.
Bizarrely, when I took the remnants into Nick at Gamefish in Edinburgh on my return, there was a fella there with a broken rod recounting how he’d just caught a bat.
And then there’s the late, great Dougster. He belonged to an old pal Ed, our host on the Shin for many a year.
Wonderful dog, but when a salmon was on the line, he was in the water, barking and biting. Anything for a sushi fix.
After the Oykel chewing incident, I was in a huff most of the day, until I hit a purple patch landing three splendid silver bars in sixty minutes in the evening light.
That’s as good as it’s ever been for me. Must be a moral in there somewhere.
Next time our trout man Stan Headley shares a few words on the leviathans that lurk in our waters, plus an interesting invite to join us catch them!
Until next time,