Following on from last week and my introduction to fly fishing, Peter Hampshire came over to meet me and collect his new equipment and tutor me on the art of fly casting while I showed him how to surfcast. I had asked Peter where he would prefer to show me the fly casting ropes. He said the beach! He later told me that if I could master the job there then a stillwater or river would be a doddle. It was obvious from the outset that Peter was a very calm and patient gentleman who I hoped would stay that way when he had witnessed me in action!
Off we went to Isla Plana beach just outside Puerto De Mazarron and while I set up the surf rods Peter was happily casting the fly line back and forth at ever increasing lengths then letting the line fall so gently on the water. It was one of those cases of me not wanting to really finish setting up the surf rods. The more I watched Peter out of my eye corner the less I wanted to show him how bad I was. He in turn had found it highly amusing when I had phoned him and said I found fly casting so difficult. He had been watching a segment of my DVD where I am driving a rally car at high speed on a road no wider than the car. This he thought warranted the use of the word "difficult" not flicking a fishing rod back and forth!
Eventually I had to take hold of the wretched device. I was becoming a typical fisherman and in my mind blaming everything but myself for not being able to master the task. Peter stood close and quietly told me how to operate the rod and line, pull the line and work the rod, pull the line and work the rod, he kept saying. Pull the line down as the rod goes on the backcast……..all totally alien to me! Two hours later I had the biggest grin on my face as I flicked the rod back and forth watching and feeling the line staying in the air, feeling the rod pull as the line came to it's full extent, letting more line through my fingers, then picking my moment to deliver the line tip to the water. Peter was shouting, "you've got it, you've got it!" The rod was doing the work as it is designed to do. What a feeling, I was by no means good but I was mastering the art. This was fantastic.
Maybe only fishermen or women will understand this feeling but if you are looking for a rewarding active pastime that requires skill and knowledge then fly fishing is worth considering. I now have to learn the many thousands of flies and the varying lines, leaders and droppers, matching the hatch and so on. This is going to be of great interest to me and I will enjoy it so much, being mobile with rod reel and net, stalking fish rather than waiting for them to find my bait. Reading a water for signs of activity and knowing which fly to use, landing the fly in front of the fish and watching it take - I cannot wait.
First though I have my first competition and believe me I am nervous. I need to read up on what flies are suitable for what conditions and, if need be more, practice before the event. I would through this column like to thank John and Peter for their patience and help. The knowledge some people have sometimes astounds me and I love to listen to experienced fishermen such as Peter Hampshire and John Gross because there is one thing you will never be able to buy and that is experience!
Copyright © Gary Smith