I have fished for most of my life, starting as a boy, catching
pollock, codling and whiting from the pier at Whitby, then
moving to coarse fishing as a teenager. In my late teens
I began reservoir-fishing for trout and shortly afterwards
I was invited on my first salmon fishing trip.
Looking back to that first visit to the Kinnaird beat of
the River Tay I cannot believe what hopeless tackle I had
– a tatty old fixed spool reel and a very bendy spinning
rod. Still, casting from the bank, I caught my first salmon
that, at 23 lbs, remains the biggest I have caught to date.
For many years, however, I have concentrated on fly-fishing.
My favourite salmon river today is the River Dee which I
visit twice a year.
Closer to home are the chalk streams. There can be few
better ways to experience the English countryside than to
be standing besides a sparkling Hampshire chalk stream watching
crystal clear waters flowing over a creamy-white gravely
bed interspersed with clumps of trailing green ranunculus.
Here and there you can see the sandy forms of resting trout,
passed occasionally by silvery shoals of grayling. These
fish don’t give themselves up easily which makes it
all the more satisfying when they do.
My monthly fishing column in the Financial Times has led
me down some previously neglected avenues – trying
out the techniques of bass fishing with the fly, heading
out for sea trout in the night and fishing for perch and
roach with my youngest son.
This fishing section is a work in progress. It can never
finish. There is always one more river, one more fish, one
more story. That’s just as it should be.
Some features are listed thematically, some by species
and some by country – see the left-hand navigation
bar. The fishing
blog contains links to some of my favourite fishing
sites and other useful places.