The Friends of Hylands House

Registered Charity No 1059969

Capture of a Great Salmon by Mr Arthur Pryor
from the Essex Newsman, 6th November 1886
' Downstream went the fish into the ‘slap’ and there lay up again '

Mr Arthur Pryor, of Hylands, Chelmsford, writes the following interesting account of the capture of a 57lb Tweed salmon :-

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“On Wednesday last my host the Duke of Roxburgh allotted to me for the day the upper water at Floors. I had a very fine day’s sport having up to four o’clock landed fourteen fish, weighing from 8lb to 30lb. The last fish broke my favourite fly, and I replaced it with one of Forrest’s tying, called the ‘Wilkinson’. I then hooked what I felt to be a heavy fish, which took all my strength to hold him with one of the best 18ft 6in rod Forrest ever made. After trying all he knew to get rid of the hook up and down the ‘shott’ stream he went down through the rocks in safety. Here he stopped behind the big stones, and no power I was master of could move him until I got a pull at him down stream. I then had had hold of him for half and hour, and my arms ached painfully. The fish then went down stream. I had to jump out of the boat, when the Duke, Duchess, and my daughter appeared, ‘You must get to the top of the bank’ were the orders of my attendant. ‘How can I, and hold on both hands to the fish?’ The Duke saw the fix I was in, and came and partly lifted me up; all safe for the present. Downstream went the fish into the ‘slap’ and there lay up again. We all now thought it was a big fish ‘foul hooked’, and the Duke advised a steady pull down stream, which being resorted to the fish came through the ‘slap’ and for the first time rushed up to the surface and made the water boil. He then slowly swam towards my side of the river, and the fisherman slipped into the water below me, and the magnificent fish floated tail first into the landing net, after an hour’s hard struggle; he was fairly hooked. Sixty-five years ago I began catching tittlebats with a thread and a crooked pin. My last success was that recorded above.”

Mr Arthur Pryor 1886