Mr Jennings’s heavy cock salmon was caught on the Boleside beat of the Tweed on October 29 and measured, 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 unharmed.
The fish was 50 inches long with a girth of 33 inches. The dimensions and photograph were considered by Dr Ronald Campbell, Senior Biologist at the Tweed Foundation, who estimated the weight at “over 50 lb”, making it the biggest salmon caught in a Scottish river for decades.
Mr Jennings’s salmon was hooked from the boat on a Boleside Shrimp fly, tied by Boleside gillie Nigel Fell on a Bruce and Walker 16 ft Parabolic rod in the Glenmayne pool. Mr Jennings, who is co-owner of the Boleside beat, added: “A few years ago I hooked an absolute monster of a fish in exactly the same spot. I lost it after 90 minutes. This time I resolved to play my fish of a lifetime very hard to bring it to bank as quickly as possible. In the event it was landed in just 45 minutes”.
At the Savills Malloch Trophy Committee meeting on December 13th several possible contenders from a wide range of rivers between the Highlands and the Borders, were considered. Mr Jennings’s entry, which fulfilled the relevant criteria including best evidence, was endorsed as the winner for 2013. 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 and a £250 House of Bruar Gift Voucher.
Roddy d’Anyers Willis of Savills, a member of the Savills Malloch Committee, commented: “I am delighted that this sensational conservation award has been won by Shamus Jennings for his monster fish, estimated at 50lb, from the Tweed. It is ironic that I may find myself presenting this spectacular silver salmon trophy to the person to whom I sold the Boleside beat, along with his brother, in 2002. Congratulations to Shamus on this fantastic personal achievement”.
Robert Rattray, Secretary of the Savills Malloch Trophy, said: “It is noteworthy that Scotland seems to be producing an increasing number of large salmon in the 25 lb to 30 lb plus class. It is also worth mentioning that from the 2014 season the Committee has decided to widen the criteria for deciding the annual winner. From now on it will not necessarily be awarded for the largest fish although this will 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 – will also be taken into account”.