On The Beat- with George Murray, Craigendinnie
George Murray has been the ghillie at Craigendinnie for the past 17 years, despite the fact he only ever intended to work there for 6 weeks as cover! Newly retired from Elf, George had bumped into Eoin Smith (the current Deecastle ghillie) in Banchory and Eoin had enquired about his availability to fill in for a short time. But when the late Jock Cattanach passed, George was offered the job and has been there ever since. Interestingly, George used to own Murray’s Tackle shop in Banchory (where Orvis is located), which he ran with his wife and son between the 1960s and 1980s.
The Craigendinnie beat is located on the south side of the upper river, just upstream of Aboyne. It has approximately 2 1/2 miles of fishing for 2 rods and has 15 pools. In the spring months, the beat has an agreement with Aboyne Castle which allows the rods from each to fish both banks. It is an excellent arrangement which benefits the anglers.
George likes the water to be lower rather than higher, within reason of course. Ideally a height of between 1′- 1’6″ would suit the whole beat and at that height, George would be confident of a pull anywhere. The beat will take higher water and pools such as Jocky Fyfe, Crofts, Upper Fontie, and the Lorne, will all fish with an extra push of water.
When pressed, George, like many of his anglers, tells me he would pick Jocky Fyfe and perhaps the Lorne as his favourite sports on the beat. Of course, he likes to hedge his bets and tells me, “it all depends on conditions.”
In the spring months, George likes an intermediate line with a tip, paired with an 1 1/2″ monkey or Cascade tubes. He also likes to give the Red Frances a swim too. Later as the water drops the floating line, possibly with an intermediate tip is his preferred choice, again, as he likes to stress, it all depends on the conditions. Fly sizes drop back with the water levels and Executioners and Silver Stoats down to s14 or even s16 are useful, as is a Munro if there is a slight tinge of colour in the water.
George is a strong advocate of customer care and takes the time to assess the different needs of each client and enjoys nothing more than a new rod getting a fish. More experienced rods, who have fished the beat many times can usually be relied on to work out the best tactics, for themselves, but for those new to the beat, George is very particular about ensuring they get the best possible advice and support. “Afterall.” he says, ” I like them to come back!”
Craigendinnie, is a delightful beat with lots of lovely fly water. The beat is very popular and there is usually a high demand for the fishing. Keep a close eye on FishDee to get a day, On the Beat, with George.