Try fly-fishing and you'll be hooked
What makes a grown man (or woman) want to stand in cold water up to his thighs (or worse), waving a rod in the air and attempting to land a tiny confection of feather and silk on the nose of a rising trout, while simultaneously attempting to evade natural hazards such as brambles up the backside, splashes up the frontside and constant cries of ‘Have you got one, mister?’ from irritating passers-by.
Fly-fishing, it seems, can hook you for life. To be on the banks of an English chalk stream, preferably in Hampshire, the sport’s spiritual home, on a hot spring day in the midst of a cloud of hatching mayfly, with the sun on your back and a slight but helpful breeze behind your casting shoulder, is to be in very heaven. Throw in a brace or two of plump brown trout, together with a monster that inevitably got away, and something chilled and sparkling in the back of the car for later and you have sporting England at its best.
Forget worms or maggots. They are the stuff of coarse fishermen – hardy souls who hang round canals or stocked ponds, hunting muddy slabs of carp or chub. Fly-fishing pursues the aristocracy of fish: salmon and brown or rainbow trout. The fly-fisherman must practice the noble art of artifice: trying to persuade the wily quarry that his hand-tied, delicately presented Mayfly (or Black Gnat, or Daddy Long Legs, or Tup’s Indispensable) really is an adequate substitute for that gossamer, ephemeral natural. If fishing is like religion, then fly-fishing is High Church. Read More