Making Memories

Making Memories

I have a lot to thank my father for it when comes to my angling. Not just the practical side of thing like taking me fishing or spending time teaching me to tie knots, or all the hundreds of other things you need to learn to make you a skilled angler. No I have to thank him for sacking me from my job. How does him giving me the boot make a better angler I can hear you all ask, Well here goes.

I left school at 16 and started working for him as an apprentice’s joiner, and to be honest, I hated every moment of it, apart from women and a little later beer the only thing I wanted to do was go fishing. I struggled on for a few years passing my days thinking about where I could fish that coming weekend. One day I got called to the office for a chat, during that chat dad asked me what I really wanted to do with my life, I flippantly answered go fishing, out of the blue he said, you’re sacked! After the shock had subsided and the realization that it wasn’t a joke I gather my things together and left. Even though he’s been dead for nearly two years now I still thank him to this day for doing it because that gave the push I needed to get into the angling industry and travel the world as a fly fishing guide.
What has this drivel got to do with the title? Well throughout my travels I have witnessed many funny things that to this day still make me smile when I think about them. So here goes the story of yanks run.

The party met at Heathrow airport ready for the 18 hour flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina. As group leader my job is to make sure everyone has their tickets passports etc (you’d be surprised how many people turn up for the trip of a lifetime without a passport) The group consisted of three city bankers, a pair of car dealers from the West Midlands, a retired barber, a married couple and myself. We checked in went through to airside and settled in to the lounge for a few preflight drinks and chat about the fishing ahead of us.
I told everyone that we would be meeting up with the final member of the group in Buenos Aires. The flight past without any drama and we landed in Argentina and made our way to the hotel for our overnight stay.

Over dinner that night a rather large than life American gentleman by the name of Rik, joined use and proceeded to tell everyone that would listen and some that didn’t, what a wonderful angler he is, and how we should all fish the river we were heading for. The next morning we were on the way to the airport for a four hour flight down to the Rio Gallegos in Patagonia to fish the greatest sea trout river in the world. I drew the short straw and sat next to Rik on the flight.  I had listened to how I should fish the river and if I was struggling he would help me.( I didn’t let on that I had fished and worked on there as a guide for the last few years ). The flight landed then there is two hour mini bus ride to our lodge that would be our home for the 10 days. Evening meal that night everyone is introduced to the guides you will be working with that week, the usual questions were asked what fly should we use do we need sinking lines and what has it fished like last week. The feedback was that the fishing had been tough for the last two weeks down to the fact that usually strong winds they have in Patagonia at that time of year had died down making the fish very spooky. All through the briefing I could see Rik bending the ear of his guide, a Scottish lad called James; despite his young age (only in his early 20s) he is one hell of an angler and better still a superb guide. I spoke to James afterwards he told me that he had told him how he didn’t really need a guide.

The following day we had a steady start to the weeks fishing with everyone catching fish with the exception of you guest it Rik. At that nights evening meal every excuse in the book was coming out as to why he hadn’t caught, including blaming the guide. Day two he managed to catch a good sea trout of about 12lb and he was back to his bombastic self tell us all the tail about how he had hooked played and landed the fish all on his own. Talking with the other guides about the fishing the following morning, James informed me that our American friend really hadn’t got a clue what he was doing and the fish he had caught was more by luck than judgment, and that he had really pissed him off by the way he had spoken to him and basically being a pain in the arse, now the last thing you need to do is upset the person who is there to help you catch fish of a lifetime, as they have a habit of not trying. Part of the group hosts job was to fish with a different set of guests each day, that way you get to know everyone that little bit better and make them feel special,(when they’ve just shelled out between five and ten grand on a fishing trip it the least you can do) so that day I decided to venture out with Rik just to see if I could calm him down a bit and help him catch a few more fish. As the morning rolled on it was soon apparent the he really didn’t have a clue! As much as James and I Tried he just would not listen to advise, how does the saying go you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, well this dog hadn’t learned any in first place. At lunch time the conversation came round that a few years earlier an angler had unfortunately been drowned on the piece of river we were on, and that several guests had reported seeing a strange figure appear out of nowhere and disappeared again as quickly, to which Rik told us we were talking crap and there was no such thing as ghosts. The afternoon turned to evening with Rik still fish less. With the onset of darkness sea trout become more active and start to push on up the river to their spawning grounds. This is witching hour when you get the real big fish to take the fly. The run we were fishing is a long bend in the river of nice steady water about two hundred yards long going into a small rapid at the tail of the pool leading down to the next run. As the paying guest I let Rik fish down the pool first and when he was about sixty meters down I would follow, has I watched him wade out into that inky gloom with James at his shoulder, I could hear a big fish crash out of the water further down the pool. Now there is something very special about fishing for sea trout at night as you wade waste deep in water your sense come alive, I cast my line a 45 degree angle across the current and mended my fly line upstream to allow my two fly cast to swing round in the current of the river perfectly. Tap Tap Tap bang the line tightened and I was attached to a rather large angry Rio Gallegos sea trout. The fight was brutal with the fish spending as much time airborne as below the surface, telling myself to calm down I made my way back to the shore to land the fish, once in shallow water I reached for my net attached round my back, the fish rolled on its side coming towards the net just as it was about to go in there was a huge cry from further down the pool Rik had hooked a fish, this startled me and fumbled for the fish at this point my baseball cap got caught on the second fly on my cast, and at the very same time the fish that a few seconds ago was calmly gliding towards my net took off at a rate of knots down the pool towing my cap three feet above the water, I started to run down the bank after the fish as the fish dived the cap went underwater when the fish went airborne it followed, it really was the strangest sight I’ve ever seen while fishing. Now at this point I was nearly down to where Rik was landing his fish just as it had gone into James net, Rik looked up to see a hat flying down the river towards him, he let out a loud shriek and dropped his rod a ran out of the river like Usain Bolt in the one hundred meter final screaming that he had seen the ghost. On the way back to the lodge that night he hardly said a word as if he was in shock. When sat down around the table for the evening meal, he had regained his composure he told everyone that he had seen the ghost of the dead angler. I didn’t tell him what had really happened and all he had seen was my cap been towed around the river by a very angry sea trout. Over the coming days I told the rest of the group what had really happened much to their amusement. To this day that particular pool on the Rio Gallegos is called yank run in honor to our American friend. What has this got to do with our angling club you are probably all asking, well when we go to Lymedale pools, The Burley or the Ponds we are making memories that will stay with us forever. A personal best, that special fish or just spending time with our friends and family, that’s probably the greatest thing angling does for us, so get the rods out and go and make some memories.

remember, you can always make money, you can’t always make memories 

Hope you have enjoyed this drivel, big love and all the best