George Edward the 10th, (more commonly known as Buddy), and I went for our last fishing outing in England this morning as tomorrow this time, we will be at the Gate at Heathrow just about to board our flight back to the U.S. And of course, we are flying Economy Delight on Virgin Atlantic, my dear!
So, we arrived at the lakes fed by Sweatsford Water, a tributary of the Avon in Hampshire, around 8 a.m. The lake’s visibility was marginal, but it was a terrific morning, cool at first, steadily warming as the sun rose higher in the sky and we could see ocasional trout rising to take a snack from the surface here and there. We waved our 9′ rods to and fro with little result – a few “follows” and no takers. As we were changing flies, and leaders, an older gentleman came along on his way to go chill his fish..which he had four of. (Somewhat embarrassing). Noting his patch that said, “British Masters Champion – 2014”, with all the good will and politeness I could muster, asked, “Might I know what sort of fly you were using?” He showed me a dark blue damsel. Before I could ask anything else, he dug into his well-worn fishing vest and handed me a fly clearly tied at Hollywood & Vine, or on Time’s Square, or somewhere else you would find the epitome of tackiness. It was large and gaudy with a black body, wrapped and with tail “feathers’ made from golden mylar that twinkled in the sun. “Now, young man”, he said, “you just cast that out, particularly if you see a trout rising, throw it right at ’em, and let it sink for 10 seconds or so. Then, just you strip it back in like this.” (Making short, jerky motions with his hand, miming retrieving line from the water by hand). “you do that, me friend and you’ll catchem!” Acknowledging my thanks and disregarding my offer to pay for the Imperial Gaudy Fly, he wondered off.
The short version of the rest of the story is this – I did exactly as he instructed, just so, and caught this very chunky 2-1/2lb Blue Trout.
My thanks to the unknown Master Champion, your Kung Fu is formidable!
I’ve been fishing, sometimes daily, for over 55 years, this day will stand out as one to be kept right in the front hall closet of my memory palace!
For those who may be unsure of the suitability of keeping the fish we caught, the waters we fished this trip are NOT catch and release, but are declared No Release waters. This is to ensure that no fish are returned to the waters in an injured state to die a slow death and bring possible contagion to the pristine waters. And, we eat them!