• Welcome to Pretentious Snobby Bastard Fly Fishing!!!!. Please login or sign up.
September 24, 2021, 13:34:59 PM

News:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


An (angling) Idiot Abroad:

Started by JMiller, May 21, 2015, 14:11:52 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

JMiller

I recently returned from a 12-day trip to England and (a little bit of) Scotland, and along with a few fishing photos, I brought back nearly a thousand of the obligatory pictures of my family standing in front of castles and statues, and all sorts of great memories to go with them, but I'll stick to the bits from my trip you all might find relevant in this report, at least as much as I can, so bear with me. It will still be long.

The impetus for going on this trip was not a desire on my part to fish in the UK, but rather the need for my in-laws to visit and connect with their ancestral homeland, visit village churches and graves, and finally see where they came from as they're getting on in years. I was simply tabbed to bring along because I had once, about 12 years ago, spent some time in Australia and had driven a little. So it was assumed that I could safely, and in good humor, chauffeur clan Thornthwaite in a van from London to Edinburgh and through every tourist trap in-between, on the wrong side of the road.  This was a little bit of a mindf*ck at first, but not all that difficult a transition, except maybe the 5 lane roundabouts on the big motorways, which were pretty much the only places people honked at me for not knowing what the hell I was doing. Luckily we had a GPS and nobody really cares if you bust crazy U-turns in the middle of traffic in England, so we got where we were going with only a few minor mishaps and disagreements. The seven of us left Nashville and flew in to London from NYC with two toddlers. I'll save you the explanation on this, but will just say it was not a very pleasant voyage. But the youngest finally settled down as we got near Heathrow. Here he is looking for Julie Andrews on top of a cloud.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

To tell you the truth, if I had been blindfolded and not told where I was going, you could have convinced me that I was in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai or Berlin once we left the airport. A huge city like that is pretty much the same to me on any continent. We did see the historical sights though, which were impressively old. The Tower of London, for instance, was built in 1089 and has been in continuous use in one capacity or another since that time. Think about that.

We took a riverboat tour on the Thames.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

Saw Big Ben and all that from the London Eye. Medium and Small Ben still unaccounted for.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The Kids enjoyed the "Big Ferris Wheel" as they called it. I asked around about why it was called the "London Eye," but nobody seemed to know.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The history and all that was great, honestly. And we had an excellent tour guide. But seriously, f*ck London. Way too many people in too small a space. I was so glad to get out of the city and see the actual country.

Before we left London though, I was somehow able to break away from the group for a day, since I had months before booked a day through Orvis, on the River Itchen in Winchester, which was just a quick morning train ride from the city. It did not disappoint. In fact, it matched exactly the pastoral ideal I had in my mind.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The chalk streams in the South of England are as clear and technical as you would imagine they would be, but it was cool to make long, delicate casts with dry flies to rising trout the way it's ideally supposed to be done for once in my life. What I found the most satisfying about the whole trip to Itchen was catching a brown trout in its native range, and also adding a new species, grayling, to my life list. Come to think of it, I don't actually have a physical list that I keep,  but maybe I should start writing one down if Im going to refer to it as if I have one and before I forget what's on it.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The brown trout in the River Itchen were the most beautiful I'd ever seen. Most of them are stocked, but I was advised that a few sea trout and Atlantic Salmon move up this river, and that there are still some wild, stream bred browns.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

I found it basically impossible to get a good shot of a grayling. It just ended up looking like some kind of big sucker no matter how I posed it, but suffice to say, they're beautiful fish in real life.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

I don't consider myself a great caster. My guide Brian insisted on me demonstrating my ability to cast before we went and scared off all the fish. Predictably, this made me nervous and I casted poorly, but he said it looked good so we went fishing. After a while, once I had a hang of how things are done the proper way, I recommended Brian do some fishing as well. He happily obliged, and at 70 years old, easily outcasted and out fished me.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

I hadn't packed a lunch, but the man gave me half his cheese and chutney sandwich, as well as made me coffee in the little Orvis hut. I gave him a pint of Wild Turkey.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

He could've just been trying to pump me up, but he said this one looked like one of the wild, native fish that still call the river home.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

We did catch some good ones.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

And again, I can't overstate how pretty these fish were.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

Every time I stopped fishing long enough to look around, I felt as if I were in The Shire. I was told Roger Waters held a beat just upstream and that George H.W. Bush had once fished the beat I was on. The day wore on, I began to feel a little regal myself, and I was hoping it wouldnt end.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

But it did, and soon I was back to the traffic and real life.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

A few days and many castles and statues later, I was taking a leak at Windsor Castle when this big may fly landed on the wall next to the urinal. Somehow that moment encapsulated my entire trip, or maybe my entire life. I am perpetually distracted by fishing.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

Then I saw this three-eyed raven, so I decided to follow it North of the Wall and do some fishing up in the lake district.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

There are plenty of places to catch trout up this way, and even Atlantic Salmon if it's the right time of year, but I have always been fascinated with Northern Pike, and I couldn't pass up a chance to get after them across the pond.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

First though, I wanted to explore the area a little bit with the little time I had. Most of the rest of our trip was centered around cities (which I don't care for in any country Ive been to yet) but the little town of Keswick where we stayed was also home to the highest peak in England, Scaffel Pike, so I got up early one morning and hiked through 500-year old, stone sheep pens to the Summit at just over 3,000 feet. Not real high by our standards, but above tree line the whole way.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The crag in the pic above had to be 5 or 6 hundred vertical feet. Just a bit of snow was left from the long winter. The cliff was called "great end" which I thought an effectively ominous name, potentially an accurate prediction for some.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

As I kept passing sheep and avoiding sheep shit on the trail, I couldn't keep the story from Almost Heroes out of my mind.

When I finally got to the top, I was the only one there. A little eerie actually. The giant cairn marked the summit, prayer flags whipped in the wind, and I could see for miles. How 'bout that selfie?

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The coast, Keswick, and the lake, Derwent Water where I would fish for pike the next day were all visible from the top of the mountain.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

The next morning I met my guide Eric at the Jetty. He likewise asked to see me cast before heading out across Derwent Water, and again, predictably, I fumbled around like I'd never cast a fly rod before and struggled to get 50 feet of line out in the whipping wind. He said it looked fine though, offered me a tip on my double haul and then set off in search of the water wolves.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

We fish hard. The wind was brutal. It was brutal all day and coming from different directions, changing to spite us every time we'd find the lee side of an island. We did ultimately catch some fish though. The pike were healthy and beautiful.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

I think this was my best one. Maybe 36 inches, but I saw her hit my fly at 75 feet out and she gave me all she had. Just the highlight of the trip as far as Im concerned.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

It is an irony that I live so close to musky water and basically ignore them, yet travel across the ocean to fish for pike, but to me they're beautiful fish and I've always held them in the highest esteem.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

Anyway, she still swims.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

And a bunch of the others like my flies too.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

And you couldn't have picked a more beautiful place to chase them.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

After Keswick and the pike, I was satisfied, on cruise control the rest of the trip. We went to Edinburgh and saw a bunch more old statues and castles. A sweet museum and a lot of great food and beer. Being numb to the castles by that point though, the coolest thing I think I saw up there was this old defender.

Guests are not allowed to view images in posts, please Register or Login

Then I headed home.

Random Cultural Comparisons and Thoughts:

- British Beer disappointingly sub-par, Scottish Beer muy bueno
- The UK population age better and are decidedly less obese than Americans overall
- It gets light at like 4:30 am and doesn't get dark until 9:30 pm, but nobody gets going until 7 or 8 a.m. and they're done with their day by 6. Shops close, everything except a few restaurants.  It seems to me half the day is wasted, but maybe as an American Im just overworked and used to society catering to my consumerist whims.
- Edinburgh is the type of city where a man could un-ironically wear a scarf
- Kids in the UK have no access to water to fish as far as I can tell, especially in the south, since all the rivers are owned in beats. Not sure how they breed fly fishermen there. Im glad that's not a worry we have here in the states
- I am now officially broke and will be eating peanut butter for the next 6 months to pay for this trip

Mahalo.
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence."


― Charles Bukowski

benben reincarnated

So.  Fucking.  Jealous.     bd;0      'c;

Like OMG.


ptfranze

Damn man that is so awesome! 'c;  y; My wife and I are just at the beginning parts of planning a European trip to celebrate her doctorate.  I found myself wondering if I would be able to sneak in any fishing.  This only makes me want to do it more. 


bullship

It's all shit, piss and bliss.

"This is the low rent district, and much like a trailer park, it doesn't attract the most upstanding citizens.
You can't piss in a mr coffee & get tasters choice."- Grannyknot

Big J

Not my cup of tea, but looks like you made the most of it.  Excellent salvaging of a trip with the inlaws.   V:; 


Jfey

Yup, going fishing

Dee-Vo

Good times. I'm sure that won't be soon forgotten.


sanjuanwormhatch

Badass. Let's see some beer and likker porn too.


Aka


Dougfish

Big time jealous.  -+;

We honeymooned all over Scotland for 10 days. Fukking awesome country. And people.
No fishing was done. Seafood was eaten, gardens seen, losts of old, really old stuff. Castles? Aye.
Just no fishing.

Again.  y;


Transylwader

Well played old chap.

Carry on. Except that part about you going to Austria. Fuck the dingoes.


OldDominionAngler


The Dude

Superb report.  I'm speechless.

I was born by the river in a little tent,<br />And just like the river I've been running ever since,<br />It's been a long, long time coming,<br />But I know change is gonna come.

raz

damn good.

i love me some mix bad trips.  awesome pikefish


RiverbumCO

My real name is Chad Farthouse.


#CommissionsEarned