He had caught three that very day. Expert advice on when the trout are taking is angling gold dust.
Of course we all go fishing for the sheer joy of being on the river – the swish of the line, sound of the stream and the sight of fry-fattened goosanders sunning their wings on the rocks – and all that.
But it also helps if there is a reasonable chance of catching something.
(On the subject of goosanders, The British Trust for Ornithology drily notes: "A young goosander requires 33kg of fish to reach adulthood, and birds are shot (under licence) on several (mostly Scottish) rivers to protect angling interests, though how effective this is is debated." Indeed it is. Most hotly.)
So replete with the information that 3pm was, or had been, the witching hour I said to Crumpet, the cocker spaniel whose birthday it was (she's three) that as a treat I would take her fishing the next day if she promised not to swim in exactly the spot I was trying to fish.
Armed with the 9ft 6in Daiwa Wilderness travellers' rod which I gave a son for his birthday because it was a very good deal on eBay, and he isn't at home much, we arrived on the riverbank.
It was about 2:30pm with a light upstream wind, lowish water and still dropping, with alternating blinding sun and half cloud and reasonably warm if you didn't stand about too much. Could have been a lot worse, in other words.
Crumpet went in for a celebratory splosh and paddle. I left her digging in sand with Mango the golden retriever. About 50 yards downstream I tried, with a small Greenwell's Glory fly, flicking out a line into the main stream and letting it round into the edge where the faster water meets the slack and the back eddies and where the brown trout lurk.
You never know how much trout can see so I sort of crouched and tried to keep back from the bank. And after a bit my back started to give out so I stood up saying, "Sod it," loudly and cast without thinking between two small rocks in the middle of the river, one rather upstream of the other and, bang, just like that, as the fly landed, the fish took.
Mercifully it didn't go the wrong way round the lower rock and then I remembered I had forgotten a net.
But stooping on a small strand of sand among the reeds I managed to wheek it out in a oner, high up onto the bank. About a pound and a quarter, I told the dogs when they appeared. But they weren't interested. And it was 3:05pm. Precisely.
This article was first published in The Scotsman, 28 May, 2011