Perth Museum and Art Gallery is set to launch a new display this autumn, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Miss Georgina Ballantine catching the biggest ever rod-caught salmon in Britain.
Opening on 7 October, the Georgina Ballantine’s Salmon display will reveal previously unseen images and items donated and loaned by the family of Miss Ballantine. The display will include a gaff, a reel, a First World War medal, and a unique audio recording of Georgina Ballantine as she describes catching the salmon. The museum’s own modern fibreglass replica of the fish will also be part of the display.
“Though utterly exhausted, sheer determination kept me from giving up the rod, as tighter and tighter still the order came, and nearer and nearer came our quarry.”
These are the words of Georgina Ballantine as she describes the two-hour ordeal that she and her father endured to wrestle a monstrous salmon from the depths of the Tay. It would turn out to be the largest salmon ever caught in Great Britain and turned Miss Ballantine into an overnight celebrity.
Miss Ballantine was one of the few female anglers at the time. The 32-year-old had been fishing using a Malloch rod with her father, a ghillie, on 7 October 1922 and had already caught three fish weighing 25, 17 and 11lbs. The record-breaking salmon was caught as dusk approached, weighing 29 kilograms (64 pounds). The record still stands 100 years later and is unlikely to be broken.
The prize catch was brought to Perth, where the taxidermy firm P.D. Malloch’s captured its size and beauty in an impressive plaster cast. The salmon was gifted to Perth Royal Infirmary and eaten by staff and patients alike!
The new display opens on 7 October and runs until 23 December at Perth Museum and Art Gallery.
Free admission. Donations welcome.