This is why you never throw out old fishing books…

pile of books

Photo by Pixabay on

You tend to see most fishing tips going in this line of work, so anything you haven’t seen before always comes as a pleasant surprise.

Looking for information on tadpoles last week, I discovered a book in the depths of the TF library that I had no idea was there – Introducing Fly Fishing in South Africa.

It was penned 44 years ago by English-born John Beams, who has been described as “one of South Africa’s legendary fly fishing pioneers”. Among the section of general tips with which he closes the book were three new ones on me, although I accept that could just be because I’m woefully under-informed:

“When crossing a swollen river use your rod to give you balance. Hold the rod out and submerge as much of its length as possible just under the surface. This will act as [a] stabiliser…

“…when crossing fast water, don’t put one foot in front of the others you do when walking. Having found a good foothold with one leg bring the other level with it, using the static leg as a shield against the force of the current.

“If, when wearing waders you get a footfull of cold water, don’t empty it out. It will be warmer to retain the trapped water until you reach your car or home.”

Enjoy Bosnia, Slovenia while you can, anglers

pexels-photo-921913.jpegWe highlighted growing concerns over the spread of Balkan hydropower projects in our News page of TF506, but as always, the voices of those affected hit home far harder than any statistics.

The nuts and bolts are here, the people who must live with them, here.

“Then they finished the war, I don’t have nothing and I start from the bottom…and, I don’t have anything again…”

Mating belongs to all – you read it here second


Pic courtesy of t.germeau

It’s a prime example of life being unfair: you have a really good cause to promote, but jazzing it up to appeal to media and the wider audience can be sooo hard.

Congratulations, then, to those behind a Finnish campaign to highlight and help the plight of migratory fish, that will see grocery firm K Group join forces with WWF.

“K Group and WWF Finland will jointly map different parts of Finland to find obstacles in migratory fish spawning grounds and in a spirit of cooperation with local landowners, local K-retailers and volunteers make the spawning grounds once again accessible for fish. The aim is to generate more awareness of and discussion about Finland’s endangered migratory fish populations”.

All of which seems destined to meet that same wowless factor fate, until you read that the campaign slogan is ‘Kuteminen kuuluu kaikplle’, and even more exciting in its English form – ‘Mating Belongs To All’.

Now you’re talking.

I’m in no position to prognosticate on the fate of Finland’s migratory fish, but I can hazard a more qualified guess that if the campaign starts pitching Mating Belongs To All sweatshirts to the nation’s young adults, it may not lack for funding.

Fishing lodge story a cliffhanger


According to Google translate, such is the Japanese for “And as close to the water as you can get it, please…” words almost certainly heard by architect Masato Sekya, as he was briefed on this delicately-poised residential project  in southern Japan.

Jutting out from the cliff face overlooking a river, the house is planned as a weekend retreat for a couple who like to fish.

“Faced with the possibility that the sharply inclined riverbank could collapse or the water could rise, the suggestion of setting a tall pillar on the shore to support the residence was deemed too dangerous.

“The building’s tubular reinforced concrete structure is installed on flat bedrock, with a concrete pillar as a fulcrum, and a mass of concrete as a counterweight.”

All undoubtedly very dramatic and a tribute to man’s creativity but given the country’s susceptibility to earthquakes, I wouldn’t be hanging around on those steps to the riverbank when mulling over my choice of nymph.

Ain’t no sunshine? Then they’re gone

a-fly-rod-of-your-own-9781451618341_lgOn a roll-call of supposedly hard and fast rules that stand on shaky ground, this thing about trout ceasing to co-operate in bright sunshine is due some serious review.

Just days after filing an article on a great day’s fishing beneath near-cloudless skies at Tinto Trout Fishery (see our 500th issue, out on  August 16) I start reading John Gierach’s latest book, A Fly Rod of Your Own, and encounter this:

“The day was unseasonably chilly, cloudy and rainy with a leaden sky…The weather felt more like October than August and would normally have been promising for trout fishing, but Snake River cutthroats don’t care for gloomy days. They’re friskier when it’s warm and sunny…”

None of this makes the basic premise unsound, of course, but it does serve as a cautionary reminder that the only thing set in stone in flyfishing are bridge supports.

Salmon fishing – be prepared for deep-pocket water…

Just had some ads for salmon fishing courses sent to me.

Three days on the Tyne – in February – for 100 pennies shy of a grand, per person.

Four days on the Tweed in August, £1,399.

And then I had an email offering me a week’s five-star accommodation on the Greek island of Kos for £579. I won’t be going there for the time being, either, but it was at least nice to be back on planet Earth.

There comes a point in a fishing guide’s life when he’s good enough to let himself go

Gary McFadden is there.

Seriously, if a guy who looked like he does came out of nowhere and offered to help you with your fishing, I doubt you’d know whether to run or hand him some  kind of helpline number.

Such is the danger of being swayed by image before you’ve assessed the substance behind it.

The hirsute McFadden is in fact a fishing guide of such repute on Alaska’s Kenai River that he has just been voted into America’s Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

“He’s kind of an icon. I don’t know if you’ve ever met him, but he’s kind of like the wizard, he’s like Gandalf almost,” Harpe said. “He has those qualities about him and there is something to say about that.”

He has quite way with words, too. The end-of-season river, full of trout sulkily moping around with sore mouths, is a word picture that will stay with me for the rest of the day…