AN IRISH angler has won the prestigious prize for the the largest salmon caught in Scotland this year - a whopping 50lb fish landed on the River Tweed.
Shamus Jennings, from County Down, has won the Savils Malloch trophy, awarded annually for the largest salmon caught by an angler on the fly and safely returned in Scottish waters during the year. It is believed to be the biggest salmon to be caught on a Scottish river for decades.
He said: “I am delighted to have been awarded this prestigious trophy and highly honoured to join such a select club. I was fortunate enough to catch a 25lb salmon the day before. That was my biggest fish to date and it is unbelievable that I was able to better it so dramatically the very next day.”
50 inches long
Mr Jennings’ salmon was caught on the Boleside beat of the Tweed on 29 October before being released back into the river. The monster salmon was 50 inches long with a girth of 33 inches.
Mr Jennings, who is co-owner of the Boleside beat, added: “A few years ago I hooked an absolute monster of a fish in exactly the same spot. I lost it after 90 minutes. This time I resolved to play my fish of a lifetime very hard to bring it to bank as quickly as possible. In the event it was landed in just 45 minutes.”
‘Increasing number of large fish’
Dr Ronald Campbell, Senior Biologist at the Tweed Foundation, estimated the weight at “over 50 lb”, making it the biggest salmon caught in a Scottish river for decades.
And Robert Rattray, secretary of the Savills Malloch Trophy, said: “It is noteworthy that Scotland seems to be producing an increasing number of large salmon in the 25 lb to 30 lb plus class. It is also worth mentioning that from the 2014 season the committee has decided to widen the criteria for deciding the annual winner. From now on it will not necessarily be awarded for the largest fish although this will remain an important consideration. Other factors such as the time of year of capture, the condition of the fish and how it is handled – in line with best catch and release practice – will also be taken into account.”
The record for the largest salmon ever caught in Britain is still held by a woman - Georgina Ballantine who set the record in 1922 for a salmon weighing 64lbs landed on the River Tay.