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Stewart Lochrie is most definitely hooked
It all started so innocently: the girlfriends fancied a bit of horse riding on a weekend up North, so my buddy and I decided on a bit of clay pigeon shooting to – well, to get out of the horse riding. Man in charge of said fictional animals called to say he’d had a family emergency and would have to cancel. Manager of the posh Hotel we were staying at feigned interest, spotted an opportunity, and suggested we go salmon fishing on the Tay – she knew just the man…..
….we were off.
My buddy’s interest lasted till our 2nd trip when he found himself neck deep in Carron Valley Reservoir. I made him sit in the car with the heater on while I had a few more attempts at getting a line out straight – don’t think he’s ever forgiven me, or fishing. I’d outgrown salmon by this advanced stage obviously, and decided that trout were the way forward.
Stage 1 went quite quickly. I was eagerly ripped off at a fishing mega store, but after a casting lesson, realised what gear I actually needed as opposed to wanted and that the gear didn’t mean a thing unless I engaged my brain a bit. I went one full year with the only thing to show, an overfed stocky who probably yawned while passing my fly. It took me three attempts with a priest and I’ve never forgiven myself.
Stage 2 was telling my girlfriend that I was off to the middle of nowhere to meet up with some blokes I’d got chatting to on the Internet. There would be no phone signal, and we were going to fish in a field mostly. In the pouring rain I caught my first wild brown trout in Loch Talla and I met the best Piano player I’ve ever known. (Well, the first I’ve ever known – you know who you are!)
The aftermath of stage 2 was realising that I was too embarrassed to actually hang out with the guys who actually know how to cast. So instead I waded out as far as I could in the hope that, from a distance, it might look like I knew what I was doing. I promised myself I wouldn’t throw away an opportunity like that again, or take myself that close to hypothermia. I watched enviously from afar as they spoke in tongues about “delayed rotation”, “whiplash”, “power snaps”, and “CCS”.
Actually I still don’t have the foggiest about CCS.
Stage 3 was when I started to catch fish on a more regular basis. Great stuff, my parents and mates would have to stop taking the piss now – I was for real. I read Bob Wyatt’s book; discovered Skues, Haig – Brown, Gary Borger; stunning. All fish were by now being returned.
Stage 4 – A great Casting Weekend in Dunkeld, followed by weekly visits to a park with a notepad, a measuring tape, and 2 books by Jason Borger and Mac Brown. Posting a video of yourself on the internet; casting is a liberating experience.
Stage 5 and I reckon I’d quite like a bit of what the rest of these guys have. They live this thing every day. They exist to improve as casters and teachers and get to meet great people from all over the world while they’re doing it. They’re as passionate about the timing of a slightest tightening of a couple of wrist tendons as they are about their closest family members or perhaps even more so. It’s all incredibly anal and geekish – but I love it!
This is it. Everyone needs a goal in life and I reckon I’ve found one. I’m going to spend the next year practicing for some certifications and absorbing every last detail of the what, when and how of loop formation. I’m going to kiss Ben Dixon’s rear end for some free lessons. I’m going to drag random family members, who have no interest in this nonsense at all, onto a football pitch against their will and teach them how to cast a fly. I’m going to track down the best casters around for lessons. I’m going to reign in the tackle tart, and spend the cash on Way Yin’s Spey to Z. Sh*t, I may even move to Sweden and become Stefan’s stalker. I’m going to get good enough to take part in the shoot out at the next Scottish Gathering.
“Shona baby, I’m packing in my well paid job to become a Casting Instructor….. We cool?”
Stewart Lochrie is a wannabe casting instructor who has been fly fishing exclusively for 3 years. He can be found either in a park in Glasgow avoiding the glares of the shell suited brigade and their endless jokes, or on the Tummel and Annan