There is a huge amount going for fishing in general these days and blogs, social networks and forums are all doing their bit to help. I rarely if ever post on forums but now and again I stumble across a thread that is running close to all out war as yet another piscatorial warrior has their say.
I guess that the web allows for this and fair enough, freedom of speech is important. However, I can't help but think that plenty of these unseen wannabe journalists seem to be forgetting that the subject they are discussing is supposed to be .... FUN. Take this weekend for example, to celebrate my 35th birthday I headed off with my better half in the Rado. That was fun, until we hit the M5 and one of the worst rain storms for years hit the South West. But undeterred we continued towards our destination, The Bull Hotel in Fairford, Gloucester.
Upon arrival we met up with a great bunch of people who had also descended on the hotel in pursuit of fun. This was soon forthcoming in the form of many pints of bitter, which was not only fun but helped me to forget the previous few hours dodging articulated lorries, excess surface water and a number of collisions! Sat in the toasty warm lounge laughter ensued as we prepared ourselves for a couple of days on the River Coln. The forecasts were not looking good but it is amazing what a few pints does for the confidence!
We awoke to blue skies and sun, the 3B bitter had worked! Full English down and it was off to the river. This is where the fun really began as we realised that our general attire would probably not go down well with the type of traditional angler who seems to think fishing is about "the proper way to do things" rather than "fun". Take a look.
Above: Fly fishing newbie Loz, fast becoming fly fishing junkie. Baseball cap, shades, a pair of fake breasts and rod over the shoulder ... on a chalkstream ... in England? My god, what next, a nymph on the end of the leader?
Above: Loz again, striking a pose. Could we see NDubz out on the bank soon?
Above: Dave demonstrates how to hold the rod when the fish needs two hands.
Above: Paul and the hip flask, possibly the most traditional part of the day .... and a lot of fun. Note the current rod over the shoulder look.
Above: I am a fan of indicator fishing, in fact I love it. If its good enough for the guides in Montana than its good enough for me. Here I am covertly carrying Strike Out yarn. Possibly the look of 2010?
Above: And if that doesn't work, hide it under a Buff.
Above: In between the childish giggling and gangsta fly fishing imagery we did find some time to wet a line. And it was damn tough! The water was coloured due to heavy rainfall and at times we were lashed by gales, but we stuck in a full day session and some Grayling did succumb. Here is the best fish of the trip to Daves rod. A very special specimen as it is his first ever Grayling.
It had been a wet, fairly unproductive weekend of fly fishing. In fact I reckon I have caught more Grayling in 5 minutes on a Southern Chalkstream than I did during the entire weekend. But the challenging conditions made it all the more rewarding and the thought of a warm fire and a decent pint waiting for us back at the hotel provided yet more inspiration. Overall though it cemented in my mind that fishing is what we make of it and above all, it must be fun. Thanks guys for a great weekend!