I had a really interesting day yesterday teaching and guiding Simon Dawson, writer, self sufficiency guru, pig farming friend of mine. Simon was with me to write an article for a well known magazine on Adventure Fly Fishing UK - very exciting, it's due out in the September issue, I will tell you all about it when it happens!
My plan for the day was to try and show Simon the key components of this fantastic sport. How do you sum up this sport in such a short period of time? A sport that has entertained me for 30 years, that is still showing me new things, that still contrives every now and again to completely confuse me.
How to cast a fly was obviously top of the list but there are so many other things that I consider to be a vital part of the sport, entomology, fly tying, fly selection, the excitement or tension of the pursuit of our quarry, what about the killing, preparation and eating of our quarry - maybe not the top of everybody's agenda when fishing but still a very important aspect? So a full day then?!
Casting, sorted. Kind of!
Needless to say I was being a little optimistic! It is in my opinion impossible to convey all that there is to love about this sport in one short day. What was completely new to me was trying to see the day through the eye of an Editor, how to convey these experiences in 1200 words? What photographs do we need to aim for? For the first time I am not just concentrating on the Client's experience or enjoyment or teaching, but where does the photographer want me to stand whilst I am explaining the purpose of a tight casting loop? What aspects do Simon think will appeal to the readership? Did I hold my stomach in for that shot? Can we airbrush out one of my chins? Etc, etc.
Fly fishing tension and excitement as fish followed, swirled and tweaked our flies.
Thankfully it seemed to go quite well. The weather was relatively kind to us, the fishery beautiful as always and the fish played the game as well, lots of visual fishing, big follows, little tweaks, swirls, brief fights and finally some success.
FISH ON! Photographer tells me off for waving me arms around like a loon.
Finally Simon's first fish. I still remember my first fish nearly 30 years on. Somehow I think Simon well remember his.
So some interesting new experiences, a thought provoking but thoroughly enjoyable day. A useful exercise I think, particularly on those occasions when the marketing and hype overtakes us, to think about what aspects of this sport are most important to us.
On that deep and meaningful note, I am signing off.