We recall special fishing moments, memories that will remain with us for a lifetime. The one that got away, the cluster of errors that led to a missed opportunity that may never present itself again, the trophy that was landed when everything was stacked against us, the fish that took our first homemade fly etc.
These can be memories of our own captures, captures of a friend or just the experience of being in a given environment.
There is no doubt that an image can conjure these memories and bring them back to a vivid state. Images help us reminisce, reflect on amazing experiences that should never be forgotten. Indeed, reflecting on images after a trip can help deepen our experience and help us absorb what may have been a surreal experience that passed all too quickly.
There are many imaged I can reflect on over the years, and I am thankful that such experiences were presented in the first place. The following are, however, three that instantly spring to mind and are worth sharing.
- Tsimane, Bolivia; I was fortunate to head to Tsimane the year before it officially opened. To say that it was an amazing experience would be a massive understatement. I don’t think any other trip has stayed with me in this way. It is a place that certainly makes ‘there’s more to fishing than catching fish’ a reality. I remember the day this image was taken. We were hiking up a remote tributary, even swimming in areas where ravines presented an impasse. We came to the beautiful pool that you see in the image. A dorado rolled in the neck – it was big. In such situations I am glad to classify myself as sporting. I am never in a rush to catch the next fish, I am never competitive and I often enjoy being the spectator to unfolding events. My friend was itching to cast, so I let him loose. The excitement of the moment got the best of him – his cast ends up in the branches you see at the bottom of the image. The fly is stuck. I give him my rod and give him a second chance. This one he nails and the fish reacts well. After a few cartwheels the fish turns and runs downstream, straight under a logjam, out the other side, jumps and throws the hook. We didn’t need to land that fish, the memory and the image was reward enough – a grip and grin would have added nothing to the situation or memory.
- Alphonse, Seychelles; from memory I cannot recall another fish where I have openly said ‘I do not want to cast at another one of those’ following a fight. If any fish will test you to this degree, beat you down, drag you out and generally leave you feeling exhausted then it is the milkfish. It is difficult to describe their power, or certainly do them justice in a few words. I remember this day well. I was being guided by Scott – the dude. Such a cool guy and great fun on the water. The milkfish were up and daisy-chaining. The fishing was fun and not particularly new to me – it was basically like dead-drifting a dry fly for trout. I hooked and lost the first three, thinking my luck was not in. However, the fourth stuck and it got to a point where I wished it hadn’t! Aftter about 20 minutes we got the fish up. I thought this was the end. Great. No, no such luck. Scott turned to me and said ‘you have another half hour at least’. I thought he was joking. The fish knew every trick in the book! Towards the end it was trying to cut us off on coral, where Scott just gave the instruction to lift or the fish is gone. I lifted for all I was worth, to such an extent that the 10 weight rod exploded! However, I had done enough, the shattered tip section worked down the leader and Scott ended up netting the fish and half my rod. I still have the fly and rod section near my desk today. That was a good day.
- Camp Bonaventure, Canada; what first strikes you in this magical piscatorial playground is the water clarity. This is where ‘gin clear’ was invented. No swinging flies over likely looking water here; if you can’t see the fish, then it’s not there. This is not a place for numbers, it is more about how you catch them and watching them react etc. to this day I still cannot believe that a big salmon came up to take my dead-drifted bomber – intercepting it like a giant trout. Watching the salmon’s every reaction is both exhilarating and fascinating, often leaving you to ponder how often such things happen closer to home, but the water clarity does not afford the same luxuries of insight. I recall one day in particular. I was heading to a public section of the river, which had fish in it, but was reasonably heavily fished. In such situations something different often provokes a reaction. I could see a good head of fish – if you look closely, you can see them in the image with another angler trying his luck on them. The usual stuff wasn’t working, so I decided to try and wake them up. I love fishing huge sunrays, so decided to put a chartreuse one on that was around 15 cm long. When it got close to the salmon’s window I would retrieve it as fast as I could. The reaction was instantaneous, even from the larger fish. I will be totally honest and say that not a single fish was hooked. did that matter? Absolutely not one bit! I had as much fun having the ‘heart in the mouth’ chases than I would have had from the fight.
If you are interested in travelling to these or any other destination within our portfolio why not contact Steffan Jones or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.