Beat profile: TweedswoodOur new fly fishing columnist, FishPal’s Sam Carlisle, brings us a relatively unknown beat that’s now under new ownership In early autumn there is no finer salmon river than the Tweed. The most productive river in Britain, by the start of October most of its pools are full with three distinct runs of fish. The springers, so prized early in the season, are now getting ready tospawn. The cocks in particular have grown grotesquely beautiful, with a long hooked lower jaw and bright red markings. They’re increasingly territorial, waiting to snap at a drifted Snaelda that invades their patch. The summer salmon, with legions of smaller grilse amongst them, are jostling for position. And the ultimate prize, silver autumn fish –late to the party and renowned for their broad shoulders and bristling muscles –are the great hope of every angler at this time of year. Is there time to dance with one more bright fish before the days become short and fly tying replaces fishing for the winter?

It is also this time of year that the middle and upper reaches of the river come into their own. One of the finest beats to fish is Tweedswood. Flying under the radar for a few years, as we emerged from the first lockdown back in spring 2020, Tweedswood passed into new ownership. Rods were reduced from six to four, an ambitious program of bank and hut restoration was undertaken, and the fishing became fly only. These improvements have already paid dividends, and it now provides stellar fishing. 

The imposing Leaderfoot Viaduct stands tall at the bottom of the beat, its giant arches creating the well oxygenated streams of the Bridge pool, which hold fish in drier years and, when the water rises, cause salmon to pause before moving just upstream into the long Tweedswood pool –one of the most productive on the middle river. Just upstream, the river winds around two corners, creating the pair of seductive Braes pools. Towards the top of the beat is a long and deep channel, known as Cowies, which is superb throughout the season. Here, with the wooded banks ablaze in autumn finery, and the first frost of the year lingering in the morning air, you feel almost certain that the serenity of the Scottish Borders is about to be shattered by the heavy, thudding pull of a salmon as it intercepts your swinging fly. 

Days at Tweedswood can be found at plus there are also syndicate places available during the spring and summer.