You know – I may just have had one of the best holidays in a long time, it was a great mixture of family fun (own plus the in-laws) at Center Parcs and some unexpected big trout action on the Eden with Matt from the North Country Angler blog.
Before my holiday I had made some posts on a fly forum about spots to fish and was given some advice by Matt about public beats – however getting away was proving difficult due to tight timescales and it was only another chance message to Matt which allowed us to meet up. I can honestly say that on every holiday I pack my fishing gear and make some plans however I hardly ever get around to actually getting some fishing done – there is something about the Lake District though (or at least being near it) that makes things so much easier. Additionally being able to get a 24 hour rod licence online without any trips to a post office was great – it would have been just my luck to get caught without one.
As Matt and I shook hands I was half expecting sparks to fly or a lightning bolt to strike the ground as we have both been keeping out respective blogs going for quite frankly fucking ages! However it was grins all round and then a quick dash to where we were going to fish.
Matt has already written up a rather lovely and generous account of our evening together and I want you to go over there and read it just now and then come back here for me to fill in the blanks.
I would like to draw your attention to this little gem:
“Alistair was duly rewarded for his excellent casting and presentation with a cracking brownie of 2lb 5oz..”
Thankfully he did not follow this up with an account of my second trout of the evening:
“After spotting a rise the size of a thimble in the pocket water for Alistair he proceeded to catch his fly in a tree twice and then the top section of his rod fell off – when he could get his fly in the water it was by sheer luck the trout took”
Before all the trout catching action actually started I had already missed a couple of trout and caught a nice Grayling. In fact the first trout sipped down my fly and I was away in a world of my own watching the fly drift along like a wee boat before realising I should strike and finding nothing there. “The big ones often do that” mused Matt – I fished on. The next rising trout ignored my fly again until I changed to a smaller cdc fly – I drifted over a tiny rise in a shallow pocket of water (again spotted by Matt), the trout took, I struck, there was an enormous displacement of water and the trout was gone – I said the F word and Matt very nonchalantly and unfaltering commented how big the fish are in the river.
I was amazed – if had not actually caught anything else after this I would still have been happy that I had escaped from Center Parcs for the evening.
I remember having a chat with The Suburban Bushwacker about folk actually finding it interesting when bloggers get together to find out what their impressions are of them. So what are my impressions of North Country Angler? Put it this way – this is a guy that pretty much sacrificed his own evening of fishing so that I could catch some fish – he is bound by the same time constraints as I am family wise yet still managed to wangle an evening fishing with only a couple of days notice – after all that he lugged around an absolutely enormous camera and took pictures of me fishing as well as hero shots – now that is what I call a thoroughly decent chap.
Additionally he has one of the best sayings I have ever heard – let me explain. Your fishing session can be split up into various times – there is the wading around, the gazing at the water looking for trout, the chat if you are with a pal and the actual act of fishing when you are actively trying to catch a trout. After my second trout (the one when my fly got caught in the tree and my rod tip fell off) he said it again – the phrase was “That’s good fishing” , and you know something it was bloody good fishing, the best in a long time if truth be told. Matt was worried about the curse – you know, when your home river looks like a muddy ditch and the trout show a particularly high level of belligerency for visiting anglers – he did not have to be worried in the least!
You always learn when you fish and I learned a valuable lesson from Matt – I need to get back to my roots of spotting fish as well as taking a bit of time reflecting on my trips – that is after all the reason I started this blog.
As I looked at the final quote on Matt’s blog it really struck a cord with me – in fact I think it will strike a chord with every family man out there:
“don’t get me wrong here, I accept – and am very grateful – that I still get out plenty……..it’s relative – I used to get out a lot!”
I will be back if Matt will have me – below you can look at around a dozen pics that were taken on the evening – the best ones are Matt’s.
Now that my friends is good fishing!