With Net and Coble by George Chamier (1966)
An ancient and environmentally friendly method of catching salmon, by spotting them in the water and taking them with ‘net and coble’, unique to the Cromarty Firth, was recently banned by the Scottish government. The men who knew this way of fishing are no longer young, and there is every risk of their centuries-old techniques dying with them. So it is fortunate that a practitioner of the craft for over fifty years has drawn on his knowledge and experience to paint a rich picture of this fishing, the firthland itself and the history of salmon netting. He describes great fishing days, the life of the fishing bothy and the characters who inhabited it. He takes the reader through the fish’s life cycle and discusses declining catches and the threats to the wild salmon’s future. His and his fellow netsmen’s respect for this legendary fish and their love of the firth and its wildlife shine through.
With maps, many photographs and a helpful glossary, the story is enhanced by recipes, anecdote and character sketches, also five poems on fishing, the work of a variety of hands. While anglers and conservationists will be drawn to this unique account, there is much to interest the general reader, who will discover a vanished world, grand Highland characters and the delights of fishing in a beautiful setting.