Fly fishing and the king’s new clothes

Three years a fly fisherman and I’m still clearly at the starry-eyed stage.

I visited Scotland’s Allandale Tarn last year, had a thoroughly enjoyable morning and in co-owner Margo Allan, encountered one of the best characters I’ve met in fishery management so far. So I was interested to read this article on another angler’s recent visit to the water, an interest that only grew when I read how the writer’s day had been transformed by a “red-headed palmered white cat with long tail”:

“…nothing else was working for me and I had some success with the pattern in the past, I thought “Why not?” and tied it on…{it] turned the session around. Retrieving slowly the fly brought take after take, with the best at 6lbs”

Now I’m not quite the naif I once was. I usually manage to bite my tongue these days before the words “magic fly” cross my lips. Nevertheless, I remain a complete sucker for the hero pattern that turns a dismal day on its head.

“Have you heard of a red-headed palmered white cat with long tail?” I ask the editor, busily typing away alongside me. “Chap used one on a sunny day, millpond conditions, fish rising but not taking and suddenly can’t stop himself catching. Sounds fantastic…”

The ed didn’t even look up. “Dries not working. Switch to a lure. Fish it at a level where the fish are feeding more comfortably. Bob’s your uncle,” he grunted.

Magic fly. I really do need to grow up.


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