The 2015 winner of the FishPal Malloch Trophy – for one of the largest salmon caught by an angler on a fly and safely returned during the year in Scottish waters – has been announced. The successful angler is Tom Buchanan from Barrhead in Glasgow for a 35 lb salmon caught on the River Lyon in Perthshire.
Mr Buchanan, who is 71 and a very experienced salmon angler (he started fishing at the age of three and once landed 30 salmon in a day), commented on being told of the decision of the FishPal Malloch Trophy Committee on December 16th: “Winning the FishPal Malloch is the best news I have ever had in my entire fishing career. Having been fortunate enough to land a number of large salmon, I knew as soon as it took that this was a big one. It ran me all over the place – my rod was bent double for 20 minutes and I felt very much the underdog. The fish was eventually banked with the wee fly holding on by a thread. The hook was twisted and bent out of all recognition. I measured him with my rod from the fork of his tail. I got him back in to the water quickly and he soon swam off with full power. I had a big lump in my throat”.
Mr Buchanan’s salmon of 35 lb, was landed on April 16 in the Rock pool on the South Chesthill Estate water (where he has fished since 1972) of the River Lyon, before being carefully released back into the river. To be eligible for the trophy a fish must be caught on a fly in a sportsmanlike manner and be returned to the water.
At the FishPal Malloch Trophy Committee meeting on December 16th several contenders were considered. Mr Buchanan’s entry, which fulfilled the relevant criteria including best evidence, was endorsed as the winner for 2015. His name will be engraved on the Tay Foundation’s trophy, joining an illustrious list of previous winners which stretches back four decades. He will also receive a replica Malloch Trophy, a Mackenzie DTX rod, a £250 FishPal voucher and a box of salmon flies from Caledonia Fly Company. .
This year also sees the introduction of the prestigious new Junior FishPal Malloch Competition. The five joint 2015 winners, for salmon caught and safely released, are:
William Thornton (age 13) – 15 lb (fresh-run) on August 10 in the Tail of Lundy pool on Beat 4 of the River Lochy. Landed after 25 minutes and three 100 yard runs.
Jess England (age 17) – 15 lb on July 31 in the Faulds pool on Hendersyde beat of the River Tweed. She caught a second (13 lb) the same day.
Jordan Grant (age 13) – 12 lb on April 24 in the Little Isle pool on the Inverness Angling Club water of the River Ness. He was the club’s Angler of the Year in 2014.
Joshua Hunt (age 8) – 10 lb on March 7 on the Burn Estate water of the River North Esk. He caught a second spring salmon the same day.
Conal Sinclair (age 10) – 10 lb on the Torhouskie Estate water of the River Bladnoch. He caught a second at 7 lb the same day.
The main prize for the junior winners is a day’s fishing in August at FishPonds on the Tay with tuition from former world Spey-casting champion Scott Mackenzie and head ghillie Iain Kirk. Each junior that attends the day will leave with a rod, reel and line courtesy of Glasgow Angling Centre and a box of salmon flies courtesy of Caledonia Fly Company.
John Wood, Chairman of the Tay Foundation and a member of the FishPal Malloch Committee, commented: “We are delighted to have such a worthy winner. Tom Buchanan’s success underlines the fact that in salmon fishing one can never predict what the next cast may bring. We are also especially pleased that so many juniors have entered for the new Junior FishPal Malloch Competition. The enthusiasm of these youngsters surely bodes well for the future”.
Mark Cockburn, CEO of sponsors FishPal, said: “We feel honoured to sponsor the prestigious FishPal Malloch Trophy and Tom Buchanan is a worthy addition to a long list of illustrious winners. We are particularly proud to have launched the new Junior FishPal Malloch Competition. It is most encouraging and satisfying to see the quality of entries from our younger anglers”.
Robert Rattray, Secretary of the FishPal Malloch Trophy, added: “This season was the third since the Committee widened the criteria for deciding the annual winner. The size of the fish is not the only factor (although this is still important) when we consider all the available evidence. Other factors such as the time of year of capture, the condition of the fish and how it is handled – in line with best catch and release practice – are also taken into account”.
The FishPal Malloch Trophy
c/o Tay Foundation
Perth PH1 3LW