A Spring Fish Wins The Malloch Trophy

The 2021 winner of Scotland’s most prestigious angling award, the greatest honour in British game fishing, announced.

The 2021 winner of the 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 David Johnstone from Sutherland for a fine spring salmon caught on the Rive Naver.

Mr Johnstone on being told of the decision commented “I have fished the river since I was a kid and it’s a huge honour to bring the trophy back to the Naver after 25 years.

The fish was caught on a Kamasan single hook, a early season favourite of Mr.Johnstone when there’s plenty of kelts in the river Naver. Ironically, two casts earlier the hook that enticed the 29.5lb springer had been stuck on the river bed, and needed forceps to straighten it!. Twenty minutes into the fight and the tail of the fish finally surfaced, he thought about the hook!

Mr Johnstone’s salmon, accurately weighed at 29.5lb with a length of 42 inches and girth 22.25″ inches was landed on May 19 in the Long Stream on Beat Five of the River Naver. The fish of a lifetime swam off strongly and anglers who fished the pool during the season commented that there was a big fish there.

To be eligible for the trophy a fish must be caught on a fly in a sportsmanlike manner and be returned to the water

The fish was caught on a Loop Evotec Cast 12 foot rod with a Loop Classic reel, a Loop intermediate shooting head fly line and a home tied Ness’c’ variant on a Kamasan single hook. The fish was netted and weight was verified by Mr Alistair Campbell, a ghillie on the River Naver.

At Malloch Trophy Committee meeting several possible contenders were considered. Mr Johnstone’s entry, which fulfilled the relevant criteria including best evidence, was endorsed as the winner for 2021.

Calum Innes, Chairman of the Tay Foundation and a member of the Malloch Committee, commented: “Mr Johnstone‘s fish is a magnificent winner. Of course, it is a difficult task to select the ‘best’ fish from an array of worthy contenders, but this Naver salmon is one which all the judges considered exemplified the aspirations of the Malloch Trophy and Mr Johnstone is to be hugely congratulated on its capture and safe release.”

The winners name will be engraved on the Malloch Trophy joining an illustrious list of previous winners which stretches back four decades.

He will also receive a replica trophy and invited to a dinner on 7th October to receive his award from actors Robson Green and Jim Murray.

The Malloch Trophy

1) The Malloch Trophy is named after the Perth manufacturer and retailer of fishing tackle, Mallochs of Perth – recognised as the greatest name in Scottish tackle history and founded by P D Malloch, one of the leading salmon authorities of his day. The Trophy was first awarded in 1972 for a 43 lb fish caught on Tweed by Lady Burnett and awarded in 1999 following a run of 28 consecutive years (when it became the most keenly contested angling award in Scotland) for a 33 lb fish caught on the Spey.

2) After 1999 the trophy was not presented and remained locked in a cupboard for over 10 years; it was lost to the salmon fishing world until the Tay Foundation was able to acquire it with the aim of continuing its iconic presence in the world of salmon fishing. The Tay Foundation are seeking Malloch Trophy sponsorship partners to help them continue promoting voluntary catch and release programmes, and the conservation of large salmon in particular, on all Scottish rivers.

3) The Malloch Trophy Committee’s decision in all matters is final and no correspondence will be entered into subsequent to the award winner being announced. In December 2013 the Committee decided to widen the criteria for deciding the annual winner with the new criteria taking effect from the 2014 season. It would not necessarily be awarded for the largest fish although this would remain an important consideration. 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 – would also be taken into account.

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