At 9am this morning the 2014 River Spey salmon angling season was officially declared open. The ceremony as usual was held in Aberlour.
A good crowd turned out for the opening and yet again the predicted rain/snow failed to penetrate as far north as forecast. A few snow flakes fell from an ominous looking sky just before 9am but they came to nothing and by midday the sun was shining.
Roger Knight addressed the crowd before our guest speaker BBC “Landward” and “Out of Doors” presenter Euan McIlwraith delivered the Opening Speech. Whilst not an angler himself Euan relayed a comment that had been made by one of his BBC colleagues, who is an angler. When he heard that Euan had been invited to open the Spey his colleague said what a privilige and honour it was to be invited to open such a river, the finest salmon fishing river in the land. He said those invited to open rivers usually started on lesser rivers before progressing to a river like the Spey. In that respect Euan was pleased to note that Alex Salmond had followed this tradition by opening the Tay first!
Rev Shuna Dicks of Craigellachie and Aberlour delivered the traditional blessing although she did hope that recent poor catches were not as a result of her words over the last few seasons!
Each year the angler who caught the first fish the previous season is asked to bless the river with whisky. This year the honour was fulfilled by Davy Leith, who caught a 10lb fish from the Boat Pool at Aberlour on opening day 2013. In keeping with tradition Davy then poured an entire bottle of Aberlour 12 year old into the Spey; surely such a sacrifice must bring good fortune.
With the river declared open some of the Aberlour Angling Club members had their first cast. A few kelts obliged for a photo opportunity.
Euan also had a few casts before he had to leave but he has promised to come back again later in the season, filming schedule permitting, for a full day fishing.
Many thanks to the opening day sponsors Aberlour Distillery and Walkers Shortbread; what better combination could there be with which to start a new season.