My fly fishing ‘history’ can be roughly split into two periods: BB and AB. These stand for ‘Before Bob’ and ‘After Bob’. Anyone sniggering at this point, well, I’ve never met the man so let’s not go there.. The Bob I’m referring to is of course Bob Wyatt of Trout Hunting fame. This book had a really strong influence on the way I fish and the way I think about fishing. In fact it is what made me sit up and start to think a little about my fishing in the first place. It’s helped me to be able to ponder, with at least slight objectivity, about what might be going on when I tie that shaggy size 14 sedge onto my tippet.
One of the things I most enjoy about Bob’s writing is his wonderful ability to present simple, logical ideas that suggest how trout live and feed. His writing style is very relaxed and readable, and you never feel you are receiving a lecture. Sometimes when I’m out on a river and things are not going well I’ll share a wry chuckle with myself (or anyone willing to listen) that goes somewhere along the lines of “what would Bob say?” More often than not the answer I find bubbling into my brain tells me to sit down, have a cup of tea and smell the flowers!
I particularly like the emphasis Bob puts on fishing pals and how important it is to have in mind that fishing should be about the experience. One of the last and best chapters is in fact called “The Experience is the Thing” and I think he just about sums up all that is great about the shared joy to be found in angling. I feel like I’m there bobbing down the windward shore of a highland loch in June, a good pal near by, sharing some banter and catching bright wild brown trout.
If one of my own pals, the pal Al, is reading this I suspect a small smile may have crept across his lips by this point. This is to be expected however, because he ‘knows‘ Bob. Even if you don’t have this privilege, I cannot recommend a better book to tuck into this closed season.
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