Our 'Net and Coble' Salmon Fishing
The Cree Estuary on the south west Coast of Scotland has been a source of salmon to the Marr family for three generations, going as far back as 1920.
As a small child, Vincent learned from his father the old traditional method of "Net and Coble" salmon fishing. His father, mother and, indeed, his grandparents, all fished the very same pools as Vincent and his wife Ruby do now in the 21st century.
"Net and Coble" is a fine craft and can often be dangerous work. Moving quicksands create deep pools in the bed of the estuary where salmon gather in the tidal water to make their way upstream.
From clay banks, Vincent and Ruby will push and row their coble to ever-changing pools, hoping to find a suitable place for landing their fish.
Vincent's life-long skills and knowledge allow him to skilfully judge, on a daily basis, how, where and when the salmon can be caught. It is never easy and long hard shifts in thigh deep quick sands are often required to ensure a good catch. There is no escape from high roaring tides and often, work must continue in torrential rain.
Each "shot" of the pool requires one body to stand on the landing bank and one to row the coble around the salmon pool. As Vincent rows around the pool, his net will cast off into the water creating a circular "trap" for the salmon.
Together, Vincent and Ruby will meet in the bank of quick sand and pull the heavy net in to be "landed". It may sound simple, but each shot will take 30 minutes of strenuous labour and can often appear fruitless!
There are, however, those precious times when misty waters evaporate into clear summer skies, where sands are soft but firm and the glory of the king of the fish, jumping high in the Cree, makes us feel truly blessed to live and work in this beautiful part of south west Scotland.