Fly-fishing and the pursuit of happiness: Where it all began

I don’t know about you, but I happen to remember the place and moment in time, when I decided that fly-fishing was my thing, and that quite frankly, from that moment on, it would be a lifelong pursuit.

If that sounds a little like a religious experience, then so be it.

I was standing on the path leading to the school hall. It was junior school.


I had probably caught my first Trout in 1979. My second had been on a school trip to “Mc Dougall’s dam” on Strathaven in Underberg:

Andrew Fowler (2 of 2)

It was now 1981.My classmate Murray and I were hotly contesting the “Hudson-Bennett” natural history prize with  our respective displays in the school hall. Mine was a sort of “trifle” of maps and pictures and information around the farmer’s conservancy in the Dargle. His was a collection of sea shells. We stopped on the path and had one of those schoolboy,  “Mine is better than yours”  conversations, and somehow the topic of my fledgling hobby of fly-fishing came up. It was a hobby for both of us. I was convinced that Murray would win the prize, and guess I must have been questioning what my “thing” would be; what I would focus on when I lost at other things. I don’t remember what was said by either of us, but I do remember that moment of decision as I stood there under the plane trees.

I won the “Hudson-Bennett” prize (I still have the book prize).

Andrew Fowler (1 of 2)

The only other prize I won that year was one for an essay. The essay included some fly-fishing. Back then I had no idea that it might be a sign!

Murray went on to become a very wealthy man. I am told he fly-fishes a bit when he has time between jet setting about the globe.

I will never possess his wealth.  I wish him well (no schoolboy contest or  sarcasm in that one).

I have my fly-fishing, and I have many sweet memories.

I am a happy man.

Book launch (1 of 6)

(Petro and I at the surprise book launch party that she arranged for me: 21 Sept 2015)

2 Responses

    1. Ha ha…it must have been to counter balance the weight of the fish! It was winter time and those fish were patrolling the edge trying to spawn, and after hours of frustration this one relented and put a smile on my face.

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