Fishing enthusiast Iain Ogden is sharing his love of angling in the north-east of Scotland in his third book.
Iain caught his first salmon in the beautiful rock-strewn River Findhorn amongst the rolling grouse moors of Drynachan. After moving to Deeside, he became a regular rod on the famed Drum, Tilbouries and Park waters before the days of commercial letting and when spring runs were still in the ascendency.
After more than 40 years of regularly casting a line over the length and breadth of rivers in the north-east of Scotland and beyond, the author has befriended countless fishers, ghillies, factors, and lairds.
Collectively they have been privy to a wealth of salmon angling knowledge and insight which led to the publication of two books: Casts on the Dee & Spey in 2015 and Great Salmon Rods of the Dee and Spey in 2017.
Here, in his third book, 30 Salmon Pools on the Dee, Deveron, Spey and Findhorn, the author focusses on the very pools where salmon are caught, it features 30 of the most notable salmon pools on four of the most famous salmon rivers in Scotland.
The choice is based on fame, favouritism, photogenic appeal and whether the facts, figures and stories translate to entertaining narrative. Hours were spent in factor’s offices, castle libraries and ghillie’s huts investigating fishing records and historic pictures on each prospective pool.
Aerial and bankside photographs along with artist’s paintings fully illustrate every chapter. Additionally, the author gathered a host of amusing tales, quotes and anecdotes to humorously punctuate 30 salmon pools on the Dee, Deveron, Spey and Findhorn.
Throughout the thousands of hours fishing and on dozens of beats the author has pondered the very pools where the angler pursues his or her quarry. Why do some pools have such novel and intriguing names, are they enduring season after season, and why are they so famous?
The origin of pool names is discussed although answers were not always forthcoming, puzzles lost in the mists of time. Do pools endure? The simple answer is no, almost all have changed due to major floods, some significantly, and one described is now completely high and dry since the river altered its course after a prolonged deluge.
Iain said: ‘I first contemplated a book on notable salmon pools while having coffee on the banks of the River Drava. No, that’s not in Norway (that’s the Driva), this was in eastern Croatia near the border with Serbia. My wife was attending a conference in Osijek and I was wandering the city before dinner.
‘The month was October, we were in short sleeves and I was amused at the incongruity of considering the classic salmon rivers of north-east Scotland while gazing at a river twice as wide than any back home. Indeed, the Drava could have comfortably held the four rivers featured in this book and still wouldn’t have overflowed its banks.
‘The notion for the book came to me while pondering the more curious pool names on our rivers; Rat’s Tail, Jock’s Tail, Roof, Cellar, 29, Lord March, Lord Algernon, Back of the Bog. All have made me think about their origins and some have defied explanation. In contrast, how many Bridge Pools, Greenbanks, Long Pools and Kirks are there? Dozens may be an underestimate.
‘But not all pool names are evocative, think of Pitslug at Carlogie on the Dee or Slobs at Lower Pitchroy on the Spey. Not the most attractive names yet both are wonderful pools, and productive also.
‘What of my choice of pools? As in my previous two books I have concentrated on the Dee and Spey as they are the rivers I know best, I’ve been fortunate to fish the majority of beats on both and many of the pools are familiar. I have also added pools from the Deveron and Findhorn, both feature in the list of top Scottish salmon rivers. The former I know well, my living room overlooks its estuary, the latter is where I caught my first fish and ranks as the most scenic in the country.’
‘My selection of pools has been decided, in part, by artist’s interpretations of them and allowing me to reproduce their work here. Some of these artists are well known, they have galleries in the House of Bruar or have featured in full length pictorial fishing books.
‘Others are less well known but for me their work is equally alluring. Many of the artists are fishers in their own right and I have asked each to provide short art/angling biography for inclusion in the Annex’.
You can order a copy of 30 Salmon Pools on the Dee, Deveron, Spey and Findhorn by by emailing Iain Ogden for details at firstname.lastname@example.org