The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – ‘Buying a Memory’
What are we searching for when fly fishing? Well, fish of course! A day without fish is rarely a happy one however the cliché ‘there is more to fishing than catching fish’ also rings true.
I am an avid reader of old fishing books, especially romantic-fly-fishing-nostalgia where men wear ties and smoke pipes. I enjoy stories of idyllic summer afternoons and evenings in days gone by with gushing descriptions of the surroundings such as this from Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde, Hunting Memories, 1920
“The sun hangs low in the West - a great crimson ball swinging in ultra-marine deepening to darkest sapphire. He drops lower and lower, and his reflection streams across the black water - a broad pillar of fire”
Now summer is here and fishing is starting to become a little harder, the sights, sounds and smells of the river bank can compensate for a lack of rising fish. The fish are well nourished from their spring feeding and the warm, low and clear water has been making conditions tricky requiring utmost concentration.
I have in the past found it difficult to concentrate, a fact confirmed by a recent reading of an old school report! Put a rod in my hand however and I possess the concentration of a watchmaker, the hours pass by and I am more at ease than anywhere else on earth. Lucky me to work and play in such idyllic surroundings with a regular fly past courtesy of dippers and wagtails.
Fishing allows me to see the sunsets, the slow changing of the seasons and the beautiful contrasts of the Peak District landscape. From the pretty limestone streams meandering through the meadows of the White Peak to the dramatic waters of the upland reservoirs in the Dark Peak. A fishing rod concentrates my mind on my surroundings from the tiniest bug to the ‘pillar of fire’ on Ladybower as the sun drops towards Jaggers Clough.
When I buy a day ticket or pay the subs for my fly fishing club, I hope I am investing in more than the right to fish, hopefully I am buying a memory, something that I will look back on in years to come, remember with a smile and perhaps even capture a thought or two in verse for posterity and future grandchildren’s amusement.
I leave you with Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler 1676
“We sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and posses ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams which we now see glide so quietly by us”
Dave Johnson lives near Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District where he has been fly fishing since childhood. He is manager of Peaks Fly Fishing and helps run the Birchinlee Fly Fishing Club. Dave is also brand director for Harkers Fishing and a keen fly fishing writer, contributing to various print and online publications.
Articles by the same author
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- The Peaks River Diaries - January Grayling
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - Hot Soup and Grayling
- The Peaks River Diaries - Sitting and Looking
- The Peaks River Diaries – Cricket Weather
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - Early Hatches
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Winter Thoughts
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Winter Food
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries – Autumn Days
- The Peaks Fly Fishing Diaries - 'Sloe Gin and Season Climax'