Memories of an experienced Dee Fisher at Crathie
Tom Saville has been fishing the River Dee up at Crathie for many a long year. Now an octogenarian, Tom dropped me an e-mail with information about fishing at Crathie and how he came to fish with tiny flies for salmon. He is the inventor of the famous Crathie Fly-a superb all round fly for salmon and sea trout. This is a small fly which is very lightly dressed and consistently produces fish for anglers who fish on into the darkness in mid summer evenings.
‘Ken, years ago in the mid-70s, I once had 23 for the week. Best 12lbs ( 20lb fish were like hens’ teeth in those days). All on the Crathie fly and Munro Killer, size 10 or 8 LW doubles! We never thought of smaller flies till 10 years later, when in very low water I got a 15lbs fish from Garlam on a size 14 double, stuck on as an experiment! Landed it in the dark. In normal water height (1ft4in) we often fished 6s and 8s.
When I returned to Crathie after about 8 years away in the late 1990s (the fishing was so poor) Archie reminded me about the efficiency of 12s and 14s. I’m still amazed that a fish can even see a 14 when it’s almost dark, and make the effort to take it ! Occasionally the thought creeps in “Why not try a size 6?”, but so far I’ve “chickened out” !’