Fly fishing is a truly international sport, what I mean by that is that it seems to me more and more fly fishers that I speak to are travelling far and wide to experience sport in all sorts of places. A scan through any fishing magazine will have photos of amazing scenery, or monster fish from various glamorous locations, there seems to be more opportunities for fishing adventures now than ever before. Note I say 'adventures' and not 'holidays', I believe that they are different.
A holiday to me brings up thoughts of 5 star hotels, all inclusive dining and balconies overlooking the pool, similarly the term 'fishing holiday' summons thoughts of 5 star lodges, all inclusive meals and carefully mapped out fishing itineraries. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but for me an adventure is slightly different. The recipe for a fishing adventure is somewhat different. I am preparing to depart on an adventure and the ingredients look like this;
1. A different location.
An adventure involves going and discovering fishing, not knowing beforehand what you can expect.
2. Room to explore.
Linked to point 1, part of an adventure is the ability to travel and get a feel for the fishing over a wider area.
3. Flexible accommodation.
I don't mean a chef that can keep your evening meal warm whilst you enjoy the evening rise, I mean the ability to have dinner at 3am or to shelter from the worst of the weather when the worst of the weather arrives. For the majority of my adventures that means a tent.
4. Time to really immerse yourself in the fishing.
In this age time is often the most difficult ingredient to source. Ideally in an adventure I really like to feel I have 'done' the fishing in that location.
5. An element of ...well, adventure.
I struggled with this one a bit, I thought 'danger' or 'survival' or even just plain old 'unusual' but it doesn't have to be any of them. I guess what I mean is an element of effort - be that travelling to the fishing location, living in difficult conditions, enduring bad weather or whatever.
Let me demonstrate by telling you about my plans:
1. Location; next month I travel to Iceland to fish for wild trout, I know that in itself is not very unusual, Iceland is fast becoming a very popular fishing destination, with well publicised trout fishing. But I am not fishing these places, instead I am heading up in to the Highlands - the bits up near the glaciers. The plan is to fish the tributaries of some of these famous waters, or more accurately their tributaries - and the small streams that run in to those tributaries. Waters, as far as I can tell that don't get fished - or even visited.
2. Room to explore; Yep, loads of it, more than I can actually fish in the time I have available, which is fine because I suspect some of it won't have any fish in it so I can just walk passed that bit.
3. Flexible accommodation; yes of course, the tent, a really sturdy one and I will be carrying all of the food I require for the trip with me, which presents one or two problems...
4. Time; Oh yes, as you can see I have not exactly splashed out on fancy living here so cost isn't the limiting issue to this one, so 10 days which is just about as much food as I can carry.
5. The adventure element; I think so. I have identified a Country with great fishing but relatively harsh environment and I have chosen the harshest bit of that harsh environment to explore solo and unsupported for 10 days. My fishing itinerary involves a drop off point and a pick up point with a date and time, in between those points lie kilometers of unexplored rivers and streams.
To me, those are the ingredients of a fine fishing adventure, I don't know if I will find fine fishing, but I think the adventure bit is pretty much guaranteed.
Now you have probably identified a few issues that need to be overcome, that is what I am working on at the moment, here's a few I am mulling over currently:
Navigation - this area is not exactly frequently visited so the best maps I can find aren't exactly modern or hugely detailed. I will be carrying GPS, I have no idea if it will receive the satellite signal required to be any good, so I plan for the old fashioned method. Similarly I have no idea if I will have a phone signal so I am looking at alternative ways to raising the alarm should it all get messy.
Food - 10 days worth of sufficient calories to compensate for a relatively high level of physical exertion. It will come down to the old favourites again - pasta, porridge, peanuts supplemented with some dried meat that I will carry for extra taste and fat content and I may kill the odd fish (although I won't plan for that). It could all get a little boring after the first 6 days or so.
The Weather - Apparently it could get a bit nasty up there, even in July, so I am going to need a full range technical clothing or a really good cagoule.
Stuff - Tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, food, clothing, fishing gear, waders, camera and everything else needs to be firstly, fitted in to a weight limit that the airline isn't going to have to call on some extra fairy dust to fly over to Iceland and secondly, has to fit in (or on) a rucksack that I can carry comfortably, a long way.
I will let you know how the plans develop.
In the meantime I am doing some fishing.