Friday July 12, 2013

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A Female Angle

Written by Yvonne Cowie

thumb I got in to fishing mostly because of Ian, my husband, although I did have some previous experience (not as a fisher) because my grandfather was a very enthusiastic salmon fisher. He used to fish the River Conon in Rosshire in the days when salmon were plentiful and were a regular feature on the table in our house.

We, as children, would sometimes go and visit him at the river when he was fishing and my one strong memory was of being told to be quiet as we would scare the fish away and if anyone knows me that was quite a tall order. However, I also remember being fascinated by the way his line would land so straight and smooth on the river after some amazing swirls in the air. So, when I married Ian and when he started to fish on a regular basis and kindly asked me along, I thought “why not” and decided to give it a bash. wff-8-6-2012-5-40-53-PM-1I was using a cheap rod that he had bought for me on a stocked pond somewhere outside Stonehaven and despite being bitten extensively by the local midges, I had the time of my life. I then graduated to going along to Stonehaven Angling Club’s waters (again somewhere around Stonehaven) and met some of the other club members who were very kind to offer me the advice that the rod I was using was too heavy for me. Someone gave me a shot of their rod which was a Greys trout rod and I thought it was superb so went out and bought myself one. That was the start of the trout fishing and I was hooked just like all the poor trout I foul hooked.

Then came my first attempt at salmon fishing on Coupar Grange with Johnny the Gillie and oh man was that amazing or what, freezing cold and looking like something that came from another planet!

However, I got on great with Johnny and despite waddling like the Michelin man I had a fantastic time learning how to cast, although no catch for me. We returned to Coupar Grange on a few occasions and once I did actually catch a salmon but it was a kelt and had to be returned. My good friend Johnny had unhooked and returned it before I even saw it so I was a bit peeved at that but never mind.

 I have since gone and fished on the River Alness and the River Tay at Kercocks, but most importantly I have been on the Conon where my grandfather fished. That was a very special experience for me and Shaun, the Gillie there, was most helpful and very approachable. He also taught me a lot and when I returned for our second visit, I think he was quite impressed with my casting. wff-8-6-2012-5-40-53-PM-2So I think you can gather by now that I absolutely love salmon fishing and every one that I have met on my journey has been so helpful to me, but I do have one serious gripe about it – Trout and Salmon magazines having their covers and adverts featuring beautiful women in perfectly fitting fishing clothing, yet I can’t seem to be able to get any fishing gear to fit as you can see from above photo. I do not have the money to get custom-made stuff and really why should I have too?

So if any fishing clothing manufacturers are out there and reading this please consider 5’3” size 8 women and let us be able to participate in this sport without looking ridiculous please!

It is also a myth that if you are small you cannot handle a big rod as I started out with a 13’ Oracle rod and as soon as I tried a 15’ rod I found it so much easier. I have since bought Ian a 15’ Bruce and Walker and I am afraid that I pinch it every time we go out fishing together as I just find it so easy to use. Don’t worry, Ian has a 15’ Alltmor rod so it is not like he is suffering for my preference.

Yvonne Cowie lives in Fife with her husband Ian. She is presently a student at Dundee University undertaking an Msc in Social Research methods. However, she is a born and bred Highlander from the Black Isle and has two daughters Lauren, working in the motor trade and Nikki just graduated from Police College and about to undertake a career in the Aberdeen City Police Force. Yvonne is a keen angler with a preference for salmon fishing with a double-hander despite her 5’3”slim stature.


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