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Donkin's World: Tweed Kelt

Fishing on the River Tweed is an expensive hobby, as Richard Donkin reveals.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Earlier this year I sneaked away for a couple of days on the Tweed, but had nothing to show for it. The tattiest kelt took my lure but there didn't seem to be many fresh fish coming through. Still a kelt will do just fine for some. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7879581.stm?lss

All the same, it was beautiful sunny weather, wading the river below the bridge in the aptly named town of Coldstream. It's why people go winter fishing.

I was fishing the lower Tweed Lennel beat that is owned by a fishing syndicate. The original syndicate bought it for about 38,000 nearly 40 years ago. A 24th share was sold last year for 160,000, valuing the beat today at more than 3.8m, a multiple of 100 during the lifetime of the syndicate. So it hasn't been a bad little investment.

The syndicate members divide their time so they have two days a month on the river. That's fine for people living in the north but it's a heck of a drag from the south for just two days.

There is another opinion, however, as my fishing companion pointed out, that anyone who has to run a business can take a couple of days without it interfering too much with their work. Another advantage of the system is that people get the chance to fish the river in all weathers, when the fish are running in numbers in October and when they are not in....er, February.

Being a Borders river it's easy to insult your Scottish-sounding ghillie by calling him a Scot when it turns out he was born in England. Equally I got it wrong with another ghillie who I thought must be English. "Och no," he said. "I'm six miles Scottish and my wife's a hundred yards English."

These things matter.


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