I come from The Isle of Man an Island surrounded by mist. Viking mythology and the greatest Motorcycle Race on earth, the TT races. Apart from that the only thing left is fishing! Growing up on a tiny rock that’s 18 miles by 32 you can imagine there is not much to do so you find things to occupy yourself with. For me that started when my Dad took me to the local pier for the day, resulting in a hobby I’ll now do till the end of my days. I first seen fly fishing on an old VHS tape of the footballer Sir Jack Charlton and that was pretty much it. After that i was begging my Mum and Dad to get me a rod for my birthday. I remember opening the wrapping paper to discover my first ever setup and I was straight out to the garden flinging this thing round in the air trying to imitate what I had watched on the TV it was at this point I realised it wasn’t as easy as I thought!
That very afternoon I was straight out and got my licence and this is where the love affair began, stalking the banks, looking about for deep holes on the river trying to catch my first ever wild rainbow or brown trout. I spent many weeks going backwards and forwards to the river, and trying to learn the technique in the garden just so I could be like the people i’d watched on TV and eventually it all started to come together. 13 years old standing In the river with my shorts rolled up and a daddy long legs fly, my weapon of choice and BANG like an electric shock and instant panic my rod flew over and that was me struck into my first ever river fish. A few minutes later the net was out and on the bank stood a proud teenage boy with his first ever wild caught brown trout. The fish itself must of weighed just under 1 lb but the colours staring back at me were phenomenal, the oranges and different brown with hints of yellow popping through it could have been a giant but it wouldn’t of mattered because to me this one fish was everything. I knew at that point that this had now taken over my sea fishing and all the time spent had been worth it, I was hooked, this one small fish had changed the whole way I looked at fishing!
I used to go every day after school up to my local reservoir to a place called the Kerrowdhoo and in old Viking tongue meaning “dark quarter”. I spent the majority of my youth here with an agreement from my Grandmother that since it was a catch and keep reservoir she would buy my licence if she could have the fish….the challenge was accepted! It’s fair to say within a few months she was stocked up for quite some time and everyone in my family and friends were more than happy for me to give them the fish I had caught. As the years had gone by I had caught some stunning fish but the Island only stocked Brown trout and rainbow trout and after seeing different ones it was time to start travelling for the illusive.
It has taken me to the age of 37 to actually beat my personal best from the age of 15. I went to a lovely place called Lechlade and Bushleaze and when I arrived on a crisp February morning I knew it was going to be a special day. I had seen on social media that there had been some big fish coming out over the last few weeks so I had to try get that dream fish. I was out on a boat sitting under a willow tree fishing a tiny white buzzer and BANG my rod lurched over. The memory of the teenage boy standing in the river with his shorts rolled up was all coming back to me…panic stations! I knew it was a plus 10lb fish simply as I was using a light weight rod but when I seen this flash of silver and pink, I knew it was the personal best that had been in the back of my mind for 22 years. A while later I had in the net one of the most beautiful rainbow trout I had seen. I don’t know if it was the colours that made the fish more to me or the size but either way I had now something special and a day id never forget with one fish at 15.4 lb and the other coming in at 17.2 lb twice in one day I had beaten my 22 year personal best! Since this day I have never set out to achieve beating it but to go for the rare fish, like the Tiger trout, Blue Trout, Brown Trout and the Spartic trout all of which are stunning to catch.
Over the last few years I have been lucky and I’ve manage to go some fantastic places all over the world but nothing has ever gave me the adrenaline rush of catching something on a fly rod. I’ve had Marlin to Arapaima on the fly but there is something about the trout that always keeps my obsession going. These days I now live just outside of London following the daily grind I still find time to go searching for the next fish and everyone I catch reminds me of why I love this sport. I have now past my knowledge down from all the anglers I’ve met to my teenage son who will one day be given all my traditional tackle in hope it stays like this in my family for generations to come.
My favourite fly is the Buzzer simply because of how eclectic the patterns and colours can be and will be hit on all seasons.
2 skin-on trout filets.
1 tablespoon olive oil.
1 tablespoon butter.
1 garlic cloves, minced.
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or some lemon slice.
Salt and pepper, to taste
Primus Stove to cook
Favourite U.K. places for fishing
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