Me on a good day at the Whinney Loch
I am not much of a fisherman. A seemingly brutal statement
from a dedicated fisherman who has been fishing for such a long, long time.
2013 will be my 43rd season. I should explain that when I say I am not much of a
fisherman, what I really mean is I am just an ordinary angler who loves to fish but
at times doesn’t always get it right.
One would think that all these years of experience would have helped a little,
maybe placed me slightly above my fellow anglers, sneaking a fish when no-
one else is catching, landing that fish of a lifetime while everyone stands around
with looks of total awe and admiration on their faces. Effortlessly casting the full
length of my line, ending in a perfect turnover and a Grey Duster settling gently
onto the water surface, to be sucked under by the huge brown trout everyone
has been trying to catch all evening. But no, despite all my experience, I am not
the fisherman I dream I should be, like those I read about in fishing publications.
These people are piscatorial wonders who seem to know exactly what they are
doing at all times, on all waters, with the correct flies, in all conditions and yep,
they always catch fish. Just because they are wonderful, if only the reality was
I am mostly a solitary angler and I do catch fish, but certainly not in the quantity
that I think I should in relation to amount of effort involved, what with the
thousands of flies in my boxes, the best rod and reel I can afford and all the
modern paraphernalia that I have been tempted to buy. I look quite the picture of
an expert. Looks can be so deceiving as I stroll casually and confidently down to
the water’s edge, looking for all the world like someone from a high class tackle
catalogue who knows exactly what he is doing. Ah, if only they knew.
The real beginning of my fishing process usually starts after I have just finished
fishing for the day and I am driving home. In my mind I go through all the flies
and techniques that I will use the next time I am fishing that particular water
because I just didn’t get it right this time. I am not downhearted at this point.
No, that would have happened as I made my penultimate cast before packing
up for the night. However, once I am in the car, “hey! tomorrow is another day
where everything will go the way it should do.” Maybe I did get a little fed up to
see other anglers’ rods bending fit to break, especially when they were either
side of me and using my own favourite fly, the Bibio. They were catching on the
exact same set up as I was, but I couldn’t touch a thing… but tomorrow, oh yes
I do land fish. I do have red letter days when I am the one making the catches
and there are murmurs flitting around the loch about the great angler on the far
bank. Sorry, I was dreaming the last bit again. In truth though, I have had times
where I thought I was wonderful and that things would always be like this from
now on – perfect fly selection and faultless technique. If only wishes were fishes.
You see, it’s the anticipation of the next fishing trip that keeps me going, I get
so excited by the prospect of an evening’s fishing, any evening’s fishing. Myriad
thoughts flit through my head. Getting my sandwiches ready…which way is
the wind blowing?… flies, line, leaders all in order…dries, wets or nymphs? –
hopefully dries. Pouring coffee into my flask… will it rain tonight? Packing the
car…will there be a good hatch? Then, on the road… this is going to be a great.
Tackling up in the car park watching anglers two handedly dragging bags of fish
to be weighed… today is the day!!
Ah well, c’est la vie there is always tomorrow.
I am sure that there are a few like me out there who simply enjoy fishing for the
sake of fishing. My fishing friends will hate this and run for cover when I quote
or misquote Izaak Walton again, ‘piscator non solum piscatur’ – ‘there is more to
fishing than fish’. Like pulling up a boat onto the shore of a mountain loch after a
morning session and having a great lunch with my friends and talking about all
the fish we missed and might catch later. The feel of the take of the first fish of
the day. Sheltering in the woods in a downpour, watching ospreys getting it right.
Sitting having a coffee and a cigar watching bats in the twilight after a good day’s
fishing. Memorable stuff.
This scenario roughly sums up how my fishing seasons pan out. That said, I
do admit to rare brief sojourns into the bushes to retrieve my rod, where I have
thrown it after a bout of fishless temper. Hardys would be horrified. Alternatively,
it might have been the lovely Diawa I once won in the Trout and Salmon
crossword. However, I always carry on regardless, such is my dedication to the
art of the angle.
As in previous years, nothing can diminish the excitement I feel during the run-
up to the 15th of March 2013 for the start of another wonderful season, no matter
how good or bad it, or I, turn out to be. It’s not going to depend upon bag size or
fish size. I am certainly not a trophy hunter. It’s going to be about the quality of
my time spent on the shores of the lochs I love.
I’ll say again, I am not much of an angler. I know there are going to be great
times and some not so great. At the end of the day these will all be wonderful
in their own way – wonderful enough to keep me going throughout the close
season, eager to cast a fly once more. That’s what fishing is all about. I can’t
A wee extra note to this post. It is 3 days to the start of the season, for the last 5 months I have been suffering from lateral epicondylitis ( tennis elbow).
Apologies for the quality of this image and thanks to the Maya foundation
The pain has been excruciating and I have been unable to fish over the close season and it has left me a bit fed up, hence very little blog action over the last while. Last week I had a cortisone injection and the pain has died down so heres hoping I will be able to fish soon. I plan to have my first outing on the 6th of April after some physiotherapy so fingers crossed. Getting old doesn’t come on its own. Anyways up watch this space and I wish a good season to everyone.