Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Taking the Plunge
New experiences, whether humbling or hair raising, have been what this summer have been all about so far. One of the biggest challenges of my angling life so far was a survival trip to the Welsh Mountains. Armed with basic camping gear but little in the way of food, the idea was to survive on wild trout and our wits alone! More to come on this in due course as soon as I've leafed through some of co-survivor Frazer Mcbain's warts and all photos. Things were hardly less hair raising in Devon though, with the honour and trial which form the rite of passage to join Zyg Gregorek's "5 C's" at Angler's Paradise. Plunging off a rope bridge to swim around the lake's island was just the final straw. In the meeting beforehand, I fulfilled the other traditions of gritting my teeth as ice was put down my trousers and I wore this rather fetching wig of pondweed: All good, madcap fun and I can't wait to try some of the lakes here for a longer visit. The Sunday 5C's match saw the carp reluctant to feed- with this solitary orfe the winning fish- but what a beautiful fish: If ice on your nether regions was one humbling experience however, a more honourable one was signing books and spreading the word on "Flyfishing for Coarse Fish" at the British Fly Fair International (BFFI). The feedback has been terrific- and meeting like minds is a real confidence booster. The way I see it, I'm just one person- a cheerleader if you like. With so many enthusiastic anglers out there however, I think over the next few seasons we'll begin to realise the huge potential for fly rod sport with new species. One reason I love the BFFI is the sheer number of inspiring people you meet there- the tyers row was as awesome as ever. When trading yourself you try to put your "don't spend any profits!" head on, but to no avail as usual. Never mind, these kicking grasshoppers look well worth a cast for chub just as soon as summer arrives! I feel like my book has been just one part of a very exciting year however- and a truly excellent one for inspired reading. Joining me at the show as a fellow scribe for Merlin Unwin Books was Theo Pike, whose new tome "Trout in Dirty Places" is set to be the bible as far as urban fly fishing is concerned. From a Westcountry point of view it's also a great reference work- with Tiverton, Tavistock and Taunton all given chapters to whet the appetite of any Westcountry rod looking for exciting, often free fishing. I also must mention Chris Sandford's work. For those more familiar with Chris's passion for vintage tackle and fishing history, he also turns out beautiful and deadly flies. A host of current "must have" patterns are explained blow by blow in typically lucid style in his new booklet and DVD set "Mayflies & More": With little sign of summer on the way, a bit of reading and viewing material certainly doesn't hurt. Here's hoping it settles down soon.