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:
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).
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.
(Petro and I at the surprise book launch party that she arranged for me: 21 Sept 2015)
With the water temperature in the lake varying from 21.3 degrees at 5 metres depth to 23 degrees at the surface, this was always going to be a tough day’s fishing. The sun was out in the morning, and I sat out there on the tube, lathered up with suncream, thankful for the breeze, and not entirely confident.