We were lucky enough to sit down with Scott Mackenzie this week for a chat about his angling life.
Scott is a world spey casting champion and the driving force behind the Mackenzie brand. He’s brought 20-plus years ghillieing and a lifetime of fishing experience to the company and established them as the premier high end fly fishing brand in the country.
When did you start fishing? “My fishing life started at a very young age, where I used to go with my father to some of the hill lochs around the Inverness area, then on to the river around Inverness. I caught my first salmon on the Ness at the age of 10.
“Fishing’s always been part of my life. My first job after school was in the Post Office and as I started at 5am each morning, I was finished by lunchtime and was able to go fishing most days.
“I always dreamed of being a ghillie/gamekeeper though, and at the age of 20 I got accepted for a job in the far north-west of Scotland near Kinlochbervie.
“My mother thought I was mad leaving a good secure job to go up into the wilds of Scotland but it was in my heart and I took the plunge. I was a ghillie for 22 years moving to several different rivers, before leaving the ghilleing to pursue the Mackenzie brand full time in 2010.”
How did the competition casting start? “I got into competition casting after entering and winning a big cast contest at the CLA game fair, this started me off competing right across the world.
“It seems a lifetime ago but it’s fair to say they changed my life, it led to me working initially with Daiwa as their game consultant then moving on to Mackenzie.”
Scott winning a Spey Casting final
Spey casting is Scott’s speciality, so we had to ask for some pointers. “The biggest problem for beginners are rods and lines that are not matched, you can have a great rod and a great line but, if they don’t balance each other, it’s so much harder.
“It’s vital to get some advice, so you start with a proper balanced outfit that suits you and your pocket.
“You don’t always have to spend a fortune to get a good balanced outfit that will make a world of difference.”
If you can only catch one more fish, what would it be? Without hesitation Scott said: “As a Highlander I think I would get shot if I didn’t say a Salmon. The world nowadays is a small place, you can fish fairly easily around the world for any species you fancy and it is incredibly exciting but just one more fish..... It would always be a Salmon, for me they are the pinnacle of all fish."