Summer on the river with Ian Farr

We catch up with our expert, Ian Farr, who is Head Ghillie at Bemersyde Estate on the River Tweed. Although it has been a quiet season so far, it’s been a busy few months for Ian.

Despite planning our visit for a summer’s day in August, the rain continued to batter the much-loved Bemersyde fishing hut on the river bank of the Tweed. It is weeks of this ‘summer’ weather in Scotland which has caused a lot of changes the landscape on Bemersyde’s one mile stretch of river. Torrential rain and flooding has caused the loss of a significant amount of gravel as well as large sections of banking being washed away. This isn’t necessarily bad news, it has just changed the environment slightly and has provided some different pools for those who come to Bemersyde on a regular basis.

Here’s what has been happening at Bemersyde since our last visit…

What has been happening at Bemersyde this summer?

This year, forty-one fish have been caught (including one 10lb salmon on the day of ArdMoor’s visit) with the majority of fish being caught in May. This is quiet in comparison to previous years but is a trend that has been felt throughout all other rivers too.

Maintaining the estate

It’s about to be very busy at Bemersyde in September and for this reason another Ghillie will join the team to help out with the added workload. To prepare for the busy season, all of the grass around the fishing hut and river banks has been cut, the bankings have been weeded, our five boats have been painted, trees have been cut back and lots of wood has been chopped for the burner in the fishing hut. This year, Himalayan Balsam weed was found growing on the riverbank which was an extra job as it needs pulled out. It’s an invasive plant which creates a dense canopy, killing everything underneath and means that sections of banking are easily eroded.

The Bemersyde Fishing Trophy

This year’s Bemersyde Trophy (awarded to the biggest fish caught and safely released on the river) was awarded to Fin Wilson for his 24lb Spring Salmon. This year, Lady Haig also introduced a Junior’s trophy which was won by Jess England (17) for two fish (13lb and 15lb) caught in one day! It would be great to get more of the younger generation into the sport and we hope to have even more entries for next year’s competition.

New – fishing weekends at Bemersyde

We are now offering our clients and those within the syndicate the opportunity to book fishing weekends at Bemersyde. Included is accommodation on the estate which sleeps up to 12. Last weekend we had a group staying with us, and thankfully the Scottish summer weather held out so that we managed to have a barbeque on the river bank.

What kit have you been using?

For the last two seasons I have been using a Scierra wading jacket and it’s still going strong, so I am looking forward to using the new version of the Scierra X Tech Wading Jacket during the coming season which has new and improved features such as a neoprene cuff. Two seasons may not seem like a long time, but I wear the kit day in and day out, which is probably equivalent to 6-8 seasons (maybe more!) for those who fish as a hobby.

The estate is about to get very busy for the shooting season and I usually take part quite a bit, however due to a back operation at the end of the year I won’t get out as much as I had hoped. I did manage to do some Roe Deer stalking in April however and used my Sasta jacket which is five years old and still excellent. For shooting I love my Ridgeline Bushmaster Jacket and Ridgeline Warrior XP Boots.

For shooting advice

If you need advice about finding kit to suit your needs, please get in touch with our team or browse more expert articles on our dedicated shooting blog.

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