2015 proved to be a watershed year in some respects. After 41 years of a pretty frenetic business world, I took the plunge and semi-retired. Would I get bored with being able to fish more days than work? No, I can categorically confirm the opposite to be the case! Fishing makes me smile, always did – and there is far more smiling happening in my life these days!
The year started in sensational fashion with my first trip to Lake Strobel in Patagonia. What a place! Loads of huge, fighting-fit, wild rainbows and a bunch of great people, not least Luciano Albo the owner of Estancia Laguna Verde.
I will be headed back there in January 2016 and I can't wait!
Grayling and Pike
The cold months are 'pike months' for the most part, although we also target the lovely grayling. Pike, even the smaller ones, are great fun on the long rod and 2015 was no exception. As always, it was a pleasure to spend time in beautiful places. Food for the soul and how lucky we are as fly fishers in this regard!
Beautiful places for hunting fish
No small flies here!
The chalkstream season
A highlight of the chalkstream season was a huge Chub of 6 and a half pounds on the River Loddon in Berkshire.
Chub from the Lodden
I'm truly unlikely to ever come across a heavier specimen on the fly. My beloved brown trout were also in prolific supply, as were a good number of weighty rainbows which, pound for pound, stand back for no other fish.
From the Avon
Some weighty rainbows
Chub and dace also made their appearances from time to time, and the smaller ones are bars of radiant silver.
On the Thames
And then there was the Thames; long a source of enjoyment aboard the good ship 'Esox II' which is moored no more than 20 minutes from our home in Ascot. Some good fish, some smaller fish, but a day out on the Thames with a good friend is always a great pleasure with plenty of chatter or, as the Irish call it, 'craic'.
And finally, there were the salmon; or more honestly expressed, there weren't! nine were hooked, eight were lost! Ah well, this is why it's called 'fishing' and not 'catching'!
So what are the conclusions after nearly a year with more time on the water than ever before?
1. Time on the water may not in the final analysis be added to one's life-span but it sure as hell seems that way! I wonder why it took me so long to figure this out!
2. The most exciting board meeting doesn't come close!
3. Fly fishers are a great bunch and spending more time with them is a really good thing.
4. If you fish more days than you work, this is a wonderful privilege to be savoured!
Season’s Greetings to you all and I wish you a wonderful New Year!