Last week I had the pleasure of watching our shareholders and employees attempting their hand at fly fishing as part of their first off-site meeting. Whilst the fish won 7:0 with everyone blanking on a hard morning after a cold snap, there was a different kind of success.
A New Angler Is Born
A lady called Alex became a convert to the sport, she refused to leave the lake for lunch insisting on working on her casting and is already making plans for some lessons.
This got me thinking. Alex has been introduced to just one small part of the vast angling experience. She has so much more to experience, and for that I am envious! I wish I was learning the sport again. Do you remember the anticipation and sense of mystery as a young angler? I can remember it as though it was yesterday.
Easy to Forget
For myself, I love my fly fishing (fluff chucking as the pole fishers call it). I have dabbled at course fishing, some spinning (lure fishing to you Americans out there) and even a bit of carp fishing. In my youth I favoured my fly fishing but spent much time out there on lakes hunting perch with bob floats and worms dug from the back garden. I now fish the fly exclusively and this is a loss. Perhaps a danger as you become a more seasoned angler, is you forget the other disciplines and methods previously used and the joy they bring. You might also become more blinkered to other approaches.
This became personally evident to me this year after I saw two approaches for the first time, which frankly blew my mind.
New Approaches (to me)
The first was Dock Skipping, an alien term to anyone outside North America. This is the skill of bouncing a sinking lure across the surface of the water (like skipping stones) to get your lure under a dock or any overhanging structure to reach the inaccessible fish underneath. Watching a YouTube clip of the skill and finesse required was fascinating. Never again will I think of ‘gear chucking’ as a less artful form than the fly. In fact I now have a ‘gear chucking’ trip booked in North Carolina next week and can’t wait to learn more about this discipline.
The second technique was Pole Fishing. Matthew (or Harry as I know him) our head of research is an avid ‘Maggot Drowner’. I watched a match at Partridge Lakes in the North of England for several hours. I was amazed at how, with deft precision the men and boys delivered their float and bait payload, often at a distance of up to thirteen meters. The poles have no reels, only a piece of elastic and a length of line at the end. We have all tangled our lines around the ends of our rods more times than we care to remember but these guys manage to avoid it cast after cast with a rod ten times longer than I have ever used!
As I look out on a blustery February day here in southern England, I look forward to learning some new skills this year and re-learning some old ones. I encourage everyone out there to do the same. Variety is the spice of life, fluff chucking, maggot drowning, gear chucking they all have their places and their inherent skills and rewards.