Thursday, 30 April 2015

Land of the Rising Sun - Part 1

I decided to visit Japan because it has three native salmonid species - Yamame (cherry salmon), Amago (a separate sub-species of cherry salmon found only in southern Japan, also known as red-spotted cherry salmon) and Iwana (white-spotted char). These fish do not grow to huge proportions, in fact a 10 inch specimen would be considered a trophy. So coming from New Zealand it has required a just a small change of mindset. Gone are the hulking 10lb brown trout flaunting their mass in plain view. Instead the challenge shifted to finding and catching each of these three strange and foreign looking little fish from an equally strange and foreign land. I particularly treasure catching new salmonid species on the fly so it wasn't too hard to leave New Zealand behind for the altogether different rewards offered by Japan.

Japan has been a wonderful country to visit. It is so different to anywhere else that I have been. Past centuries of suspicion of all things non Japanese, and a tight present day control over immigration has seen the country retain a strong sense of national identity and homogeneous culture. There simply is no choice but to fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture or, if reluctant, to be fully immersed whether you want to or not! The food is great, presenting a minefield of discovery in a country with a low level of English language proficiency - often I had to choose something from a Japanese menu or point to a photo without knowing what it was (the only time I regretted this was when I was presented with and ate sea urchin roe). Entering every restaurant or shop is greeted by a hearty shout of irasshaimase! (welcome). Hospitable, polite and deeply proud of their nation and traditions is how I would describe Japanese people.

And what a polite nation! Incredibly I can’t recall having heard a single argument or public disturbance since I've been here! Everyone here bows at each other at the slightest excuse and I’m hoping I can kick the habit when I leave or else be thought of as a little odd in the western hemisphere. I went to a cinema and the entire audience sat in dead silence until the very end of the credits. It didn't help that the end credits of American Sniper are played out in complete silence so they were some of the most awkward and longest minutes of my life! I walked through a park where a worker was using a weed trimmer to cut grass with two workers walking in time with him holding a mesh net to prevent debris from being thrown about by the blades. If this wasn't enough of a precaution, as I approached one of them blew a sharp note on a whistle and the weed trimmer was switched off. After I passed a safe distance another short blast on the whistle sounded and the weed trimmer kicked back into action. It’s hard to imagine where else in the world such thought and care to the public would be given to this menial task.  If I was to be brutally picky I’d say the only thing missing from this politeness utopia is the queue system - it can be a bit of a free-for-all at times.

In terms of cherry salmon the best way to tell Amago and Yamame apart is by the colour of their spots. Amago have red spots whilst these are absent in Yamame. Amago are also found in a much smaller area in southern Japan, and only in Japan, whilst its close relative the Yamame is pretty much found everywhere else in Japan and also the Korean Peninsular up to Russia. I’m not aware of any stream which naturally sustains the presence of both Amago and Yamame in Japan (somebody may correct me) so it was always going to be the case that it would take two fishing trips to knock off both from my species list. I decided to concentrate on Amago first.

Through a bit of good fortune I stumbled on the website of the Tokyo Fly Fishing and Country Club and linked up with chairman Ed Yoshida. After meeting Ed, joining the club and discussing fishing over an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ meal we hatched a plan to spend a day fishing for Amago in the Izu Peninsular south of Tokyo. I’m indebted to Ed for taking the trouble to assist me in my pursuit of this fish. It even turned out to be a real man bonding trip of sorts - a late night drive from Tokyo to the town of Ito in the peninsular, a couple of beers on arrival, an overnight sleep in Ed’s car in a parking lot at the town docks (with a 24hr Seven Eleven nearby to cater for all our needs), an early start to fish, a traditional cold soba noodle and tempura lunch finished off by a visit to the ‘Museum of Dodgy’ (a museum of sex artefacts). I did however decline Ed’s kind offer of getting naked and relaxing at a Japanese onsen (hot baths) which it must be added is a very traditional and customary way for Japanese to spend their time relaxing. So thanks Ed for a truly Japanese experience. We can go to an onsen next time.

Ed discussing tactics before we hit the water

I had mentioned to Ed that I preferred to catch wild fish if possible. I’d come to realise that the needs of Tokyo’s fly fishing hordes are satiated by a widespread stocking policy. Ed obliged by taking me to the very upper reaches of the Ito river, a tumbling fall of water coming down the side of a mountain where no stocking occurs. Every now and again a pool of some substance was created by a concrete weir and I have also come to understand that almost all of Japan’s streams and rivers have been altered by man’s hand and tons of concrete (it‘s a political way of providing employment for people out of the cities and keeping the rural voting bloc happy). So if you do ever decide to visit Japan for fishing, bear in mind that whilst set in mountains and forests of stunning natural beauty the rivers themselves are largely manipulated and unnatural constructs. No matter though, they harbour stunningly beautiful and unique fish.

Ed employing tenkara

Ed Yoshida image

I found wild Amago and enticed three to take my fly, satisfyingly a wide hackled South African dry fly close to my heart, the RAB. None were longer than six or seven inches so no trophies but that didn't matter. They are simply beautiful little fish and it was a pleasure to catch them. It’s fitting that a country as unique as Japan has a unique salmon species.  



The Amago pictured above came from the pool on the right, under the tree roots

An idea of the casting challenge


Ed Yoshida image (would help if I opened my eyes!)

Many other Amago made an attempt to swallow my RAB but most were too small to trouble the sharp end of the hook. Then the heavens opened shortly before 12pm in the afternoon. I donned my rain coat and pushed on, caught my third and final Amago and then slipped and fell into the cold water. With cold water running over the top of my rain coat and soaking my shirt I lost the motivation to continue. I walked back downstream and found Ed passed out in the dry warmth of his car.


Later that evening Ed conveniently dropped me off at a Shinkansen (bullet train) station on the way back to Tokyo and I caught a train to Kyoto. Amago down, my hunt for Yamame and Iwana is to follow in part two.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Backcountry Wilderness and a Fitting End - New Zealand 2015

I’ve been in New Zealand a while now, but my time is coming to an end and I’m getting ready to move on to Japan and South Korea. I have really enjoyed my time in New Zealand - it’s hard not to with the spectacular scenery, friendly people and the best trout fishing on the planet. On the trout fishing front I’ve grown more confident as I pick up the skills to catch trout here and, particularly, feel my spotting skills have improved significantly. You have to be able to spot fish here and I may even have turned into a bit of a sight-fishing snob, refusing to blind cast a fly into the deeper pools. I will certainly be looking to spot more fish on my onward travels in the rest of the world. Nothing beats the thrill of spotting a large fish, casting to it and catching it. If I had to be picky, the only thing missing from my time here was a truly large, trophy fish. It isn’t the be-all and end-all, but nobody comes to New Zealand without entertaining thoughts of catching a whopper, do they?

With the season drawing to a close and the cold and dark inexorably creeping closer I agreed to go on one final fishing trip with Nick Moody. Nick has been reading and commenting on this blog for some years and it was good to meet him in the flesh. When I did first meet him it was during the tense Cricket World Cup semi final between New Zealand and South Africa (the less said of that the better). I’d just bought some beers at a bar but Nick was keen to get outside into the near dark to see me do a bit of grass casting - you see, it was his way of testing my casting ability. Pass it, and he’d be happy to have me along with him for four days in demanding backcountry conditions. Fail it, and I guess he’d suddenly have had some lawn cutting or painting to do. I’m glad I swiftly passed and could get back to the cricket! To give ourselves the best chance at catching a decent fish we settled on a backcountry river in the Canterbury region. It was over the Easter weekend but we hoped the poor weather forecast, complete with predicted gale force winds and rain, would deter all but the hardy.


[Not a particularly interesting video, taken at my campsite the night before I met Nick, but it shows the reason why we were where we were. I spotted four of the little critters at one stage.]

We expected a crowd. It was the last holiday weekend before winter and this river lay in the heart of New Zealand’s “mouse year” region. In case you don’t know, a mouse year happens once every 5 - 10 years in New Zealand when beech trees produce a bumper crop of seeds leading to a corresponding increase in the mouse population. Being territorial creatures, mice have to travel a distance and this may force them to cross rivers. If they do, they take their chances with the trout! In a mouse year a fish which would normally weigh 6 or 7lbs becomes a 10lb fish, all weight and bulk in the same length of frame. I’ve heard mythic tales of 16 and 18lb trout this year. This particular river had been hit hard by anglers all season, precisely because its fish had grown exceptionally big on mice, and now at the end of the season the fish had gained something of an education in the ways of fly fishing and would be a tough challenge to catch. On top of that, the fish start to feed less as the days shorten and they begin to pair up before the approaching spawning season. We were fortunate though as we only encountered three other fishermen all weekend, and we also encountered a few feeding fish.

Sunrise in the backcountry
Setting forth

The basic gist of our plan was to walk up the valley laden with our packs, spending three nights camped out on the banks of one of New Zealand’s most productive trout rivers. I can’t begin to describe how privileged I was to have the time to do so. If you’re into fly fishing, this has to come close to a life time fishing highlight. I’m not sure I will ever top it. The scenery was beautiful and down in the valley we were ensconced in the sounds of nature, the river and a surprising solitude given the lack of anglers. At one point Nick pointed out a New Zealand falcon flying downstream with a small bird in its talons. It began to pluck at its meal with its beak as it flew. Nick also commented on what must have been some pretty effective stoat trapping in the valley - judging by the constant chorus of birds (my favourite sound being the melodic bellbird).



The fish were evident from the start, all large and fairly easy to spot. It quickly became apparent that they were spooky as hell, ever wary of even the tiniest amount of drag. Your first cast really counts here, get it wrong and you watch a trophy size fish slink away into the depths upstream. Friday and Saturday saw some wind, meaning that we sometimes had to alter our casting approach, but the Sunday was perfectly clear. It was on the Sunday morning that we tasted our first real action, when I tempted a fish to take a carefully presented nymph. Nick was standing on the bank and saw the fish lift in the water and take my fly. The indicator had not moved by then when he shouted strike and I lifted the rod into an immovable weight. The fish was hooked! This is the largest fish I had ever hooked and for a second or two it simply did nothing but offer a solid and unmoving resistance. My initial reaction was that I had hooked a rock but by then Nick was letting out several “yahoos”. The fish then moved and in a porpoising display showed its head and enormous shoulders. That image will be imprinted in my mind forever. Nick, who in my peripheral vision seemed to be dancing for joy high up on the bank, excitedly shouted “it’s a trophy!” whilst the fish continued to move upstream into a higher section of pocket water. I kept the line as tight as possible but felt just a moment of slack and within a second or two the fish was off. Nick was crestfallen and slumped to the ground holding his head. He later estimated that fish at 14lbs. I was disappointed, who wouldn’t be, but not phased by it. It felt great to deceive and hook a trophy sized fish for the first time and I wanted to do it again!

The weather on Sunday was perfect

That was pretty much it as far as fish action was concerned over the first three days. We spotted several large fish and got to know the river and where the fish were holding fairly well. We probably each had a shot at 4 or 5 fish a day, but typically they would be spooked by the second cast or more rarely by a clumsy approach.

We based ourselves for two of the nights near one of the huts and this was my first experience of the meeting, talking, eating and camaraderie that comes with sharing a hut with different people in a remote river valley, mostly trampers and hunters. Helicopters buzzed into the valley daily and at first we were fearful they were dropping anglers ahead of us but later came to learn they were most likely dropping deer hunters above the tree line.  On Sunday we started to notice very fresh boot prints in the sand and a couple of what appeared to be spooked fish sitting stock still in the margins. Late that day we spotted anglers several kilometres in the distance ahead of us.



As we approached the final morning of fishing on the Monday we took stock of the weekend and the obvious lack of fish in the net. We discussed the pressure and stress that comes with fishing to large trout against a diminishing time period and Nick was clear to spell out a new set of rules for approaching fish, chiefly, to skirt around any fish giving the appearance of not feeding. He wanted us to have the best shot at landing a fish. We met two young anglers coming up the river and they politely agreed to give us enough room to fish in the time we had left. In passing one of them mentioned that he had caught “too many doubles to count” from this river this season alone and he advocated a sparse unweighted nymph fished behind a heavy point fly. He reached into his fly box and showed us what he meant by revealing a tiny #18 hook with only a shred of dubbing wrapped about it. I was grateful for his openness when most anglers in New Zealand go beyond keeping their cards close to their chest.

As the time was fast approaching for us to leave and collect our packs for the long hike back to our cars we came up to a large fish which we had spotted two days before. I spotted it in the same place, holding in fast water beneath the slight cover afforded by white, frothing bubbles. Back then it had been my turn to cast to it and it had been difficult in the strong wind and I had eventually let it be after never really feeling that I had got my fly down to the appropriate depth. As fate would have it, it was again my fish to cast to and there was little wind this time. I realised this would be the last fish I would cast to in New Zealand and I mentioned this to Nick as I entered the water. The lack of any real wind meant I could get downstream of it and cast up the team of two nymphs (including a very sparse unweighted fly) to the fish. Nick stayed on the bank to watch the fish and I was ready to strike at his say so. Two or three casts resulted in no interest and Nick said he couldn’t see the fish any longer. I figured it was spooked and resigned myself to the fact that my fishing season in New Zealand had just come to an end, with no trophy fish to show for it. I said to Nick that I wanted to practice the cast again (perhaps it was also in the hope that the fish had only momentarily moved and was still there) and I cast out, this time right into the fast water where the water was breaking white and within a second or two my indicator stopped dead. Instinctively I lifted my rod and just like the fish the day before it was hard at first to tell whether I had hooked a rock. Then the fish and the line came to life as the fish panicked and started to move upstream. I cannot begin to explain the emotion I was feeling. Nick was yahooing and dancing and my sense of elation was heightened by the sense of resignation I had felt just moments before. This fish also attempted to leap from the water, its vast bulk meaning it too could only just porpoise out of the water, displaying its head and the enormous bulk of its spotted shoulders that followed before disappearing back below the water. I desperately hoped the fly was well hooked this time and concentrated hard on keeping up the pressure. The fight was like no other I have experienced. The fish relied on its weight, choosing to sit in the current while I applied side strain, sometimes just sitting still for minutes with me wondering what to do before it could be persuaded to move. It lasted a long and tense 25 minutes, probably the longest 25 minutes of my life! In this time we dropped back with the fish as the pressure began to tell until, in a small, sheltered bay Nick was finally able to net the fish. Relief and elation flooded over me. I allowed myself to let out a yahoo and we high-fived boisterously. This was the most fitting end to my time in New Zealand that I could possibly imagine. The fish had taken the sparse unweighted nymph and in a quiet moment I thanked the young angler. And then I held my breath as Nick said “are you ready?” whilst lifting the fish in the net to check its weight. The scale settled just over the 10lb mark. I had done it!



Unfortunately Nick wasn’t able to get his own trophy before our time on the river expired. I wished he could, as he fished well and deserved a good fish. At least the two of us didn’t go fish-less over the four days. Then began the long hike back to the cars through beech forests which were alive with the sound of birds. We emerged at the road after dark and hitched a lift back to the car park still some distance away. We were lucky to get a lift within minutes as the clouds started to spit rain around us. In our enthusiasm to catch fish we had probably left too late but I’m glad we did. I’m already thinking of returning to New Zealand next season - I’m hooked!

[Nick has a blog worth a read at www.flyfishingtheworld.blogspot.com]




Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Haunted Dreams and a Hot Tip - New Zealand 2015

It's starting to get cold in New Zealand, too cold for this mayfly which froze to the roof of my car
I had fetched a friend from the airport the day before and we had made plans to do some travelling and sightseeing at the north end of the South Island. Part of the plan was also for me to shelve my fly rod for a few weeks and do some touristy stuff, which I was happy to do. There’s only so much fishing talk and stopping at bridges to peer over them that a non-fisher person can handle. About five minutes before we were due to set off, the email landed. It was from a recent acquaintance but a person I would consider to be an impeccable source, certainly with no reason to over-egg the pudding or play a cruel joke, and it read something along the lines of ‘Are you near X place? Ever heard of X river? Big fish are coming out of it, the biggest 18lbs and a number between 7 - 12lbs. You must do it. Go in at X place. Keep it hush hush’. I read the email again. And then once more. I focused  on the number. 18lb. I hadn’t imbibed my much needed morning cup of coffee by that stage so I rubbed my eyes slowly and read the number again to check my eyes were not deceiving me. I’d heard of such fish being caught in canals below salmon hatcheries but never in a normal stream in NZ. The present mouse year has changed all of that of course. The faintest feeling of butterflies crept into my stomach and I called my friend over and said, ’change of plan, we’re heading south’. And so it was with a big golden egg having been dropped into my inbox that we drove off on a round journey of about 1,200km out of our way, with me thinking more than once that my landing net’s built in scale only went to 14lbs.

News of an impending Armageddon would have done little to halt my progress towards River X, and as I drew closer I felt my anticipation swell like a kid eating his way through an Advent calendar.  I allowed myself to dream big, literally, but equally stopped myself short of falling into the sinful trap of being too greedy. A seven or eight pound fish would do nicely. My friend, who I’m sure had better things to do than be sandfly fodder, was persuaded to come along to take photos of the trophy fish.

Along the way we stopped into a town on the banks of a famous trout river and checked in to a holiday park. I’d stayed there before and it’s a place which draws fishing types. Some live in this park all summer and go back home to the northern hemisphere and their families only when the days become short and the trout turn their attention to spawning. And return, conveniently, to the trout season in their home country. I always look with some admiration at the guys who spend their retirement hopping the equator from one fishing season to another and somehow persuade their spouses that it’s fine. I’ve met a few in NZ. I got speaking to one such character, a Pom, and when I told him in vague terms about the email he let out a guffaw which made his vast, exposed belly wobble and he said ‘mate, trust me, I’ve fished here for the last twenty years and there are no such rivers or secrets in New Zealand, but if you want to believe that then all the best to you’. He turned on his heels as he said this and walked away chuckling to himself and shaking his head at the same time. I put his response down to England’s woeful performance at the Cricket World Cup, being played in New Zealand at the time.

We pulled in to town X late in the evening and set up camp. An alarm clock was set for silly early the next morning - if the secret had got out I wanted to make sure I got to the river first. When the sun cut through the ground hugging mist and revealed clear blue skies I began to believe that it was going to be a special day. Even the fickle weather was playing along. This feeling was compounded when, after a drive of about an hour, we came to River X and the car park at X place was empty, and the river was exceptionally clear and just to prove how simple it was going to be to spot fish we simultaneously spotted and spooked a fish of about 4lbs in the margins of the first pool. ’Don’t worry about him, he’s just a little chap’ I said.

I went from pool to pool without seeing a fish, spending minutes at a time watching the deep water, long enough to be satisfied there were no feeding fish. Wanting to believe there were fish present I started seeing fish in the rocks and even spent half an hour casting to one. Nothing, not even a minnow was seen. A trout desert. I started by making a humble apology of sorts to my friend. “Well, at least the scenery is spectacular.” And it was, thankfully.

How was this possible? How could a trout utopia filled with monstrous trout become a barren trout vacuum in a matter of days? All sorts of theories ran through my mind. Had someone fished the water the day before? I didn’t see any footprints and even then I’d still expect to see a few “doggo” fish. Perhaps the rotund Pom was right and it was all a con. I’ll never know. I wasn't minded to report back to the writer of the email.

The trip down south gave me a good excuse to exorcise a demon which had been haunting my dreams for a few weeks, ever since I’d passed through a nondescript little town with a nearby river and gorge. It was here, just before the gorge becomes serious, that I’d seen a magnificent double digit fish. I had scrambled up on to a large rock to watch its home pool when I spotted it feeding just in front of a submerged boulder at the top of the pool. I decided to cast lying flat on the rock. First cast, the fly was carried by the tricky current about a foot to the right of the fish. No movement from the fish. Second cast, the same. I paused, re-calculated and started my third cast when I noticed heavy bow waves pulsing upstream. It must have spotted the waving tip of my rod. At that stage it was by far the biggest trout I had ever seen and I cursed my inability to make the cast first or second time. I took a breath and started to move up into the heart of the gorge when I heard the sounds of a motorbike drawing ever closer. Strange, I thought, the river was mostly impenetrable given its steep banks. The sound was as out of place (and annoying) in that little piece of the earth as a mobile phone ringtone in a cinema. I wondered if the sounds were coming from the ridge line where I had seen a herd of feral goats moments before. I heard the bike stop, now certain that it was just downstream and I walked back through the bush and down into the river where I saw a man sitting on a quad bike, piecing together a fly rod. I noticed that he had brought his bike to a stop just below the pool where the big fish had been moments before. I also thought I noticed an eagerness to his efforts. He knew of the big fish. It irritated me ever so slightly that he could ride up in comfort when I had walked in 5km to get there.  I stepped further out into the water and announced my presence, tacitly asserting my right to continue up the gorge unimpeded without any words having to be exchanged to that effect. The angler was startled and then disappointed to see me. “Any luck?” he eventually asked. “Nope, and I spooked the big boy” was all I needed to reply.




Moments before I went to sleep that night, and then the following nights, the image of that graceful fish casually moving its sinuous body in the current would play on the cinema screen of the dark insides of my eyelids. The unplanned trip down south allowed me a second go at that fish. I knew, after the recent fishing failure, that it would be a hard sell to my friend but I cunningly proposed a full day activity for her which would take us close to the behemoth. My friend agreed and I had my chance at redemption.

I decided that this time I would ignore the many other fish I had seen in the pools below the behemoth, some which I estimated were at least 6 or 7lbs. They had proven difficult to catch and I didn’t want to waste my time on them. That was the promise I made to myself on the 4km walk to the river. When I got to the river I spotted a feeding fish and I couldn’t resist casting to it. I delivered two nymphs upstream and the fish turned to its left and swallowed the smaller of the two. It buried itself in willow roots and remained there until I waded over and kicked my feet about, making it flee its shelter. It was a fish of 3lbs and a good distraction from the behemoth. I did chide myself for succumbing to temptation, and returned my focus to the task at hand.



I walked up the river ignoring the other fish and eventually came to the reason why I was there - the behemoth’s pool. My pulse began to quicken. I inched forward slowly, not wanting to risk spooking the fish again with a clumsy approach. I slowly climbed the look-out rock, careful not to reveal too much of my head and hat as more and more of the pool came into view. The fish was not in its previous position in front of the boulder. Slowly more of the pool came into view but I couldn’t see the fish. I stared into the water, looking hard at every inch of water but no living shapes emerged. I watched and waited for about 10 minutes. My mind raced whilst I watched the water in silence. Do fish have different morning and afternoon lies extending over separate pools? Had quad-biker returned and captured the fish? Had the fish died? A creeping, chilling realisation started to dawn on me - the haunting images of that behemoth would remain for some time yet! The most likely explanation for its absence I reckon is that it was simply hiding away under a rock at the time. I could easily rationalise the absence of a single fish in a river whereas I couldn't begin to explain the absence of all fish from the first river.

How did the rest of the day go? I pushed on into the gorge, a gruelling yet beautiful and remote place but I saw no other fish in the deep green waters other than a small spooked trout and a massive black eel which caused the hairs on my neck to stand up. All ugliness and slime, eels have that effect on me. On the way back, scrambling between two high rocks I slipped and fell to the ground, jarring my ribs onto a sharp rock with a pain so sharp I wanted to be ill. I walked about a kilometre before I realised I was missing my watch. I returned to the place of the fall and luckily found it between the rocks. The stainless steel strap had broken at a hinge and it probably saved my ribs the brunt of the fall.

Isn't it funny that among all the fish we do catch, the multitude of average fish mostly, it’s the missed opportunities at greatness and the misadventures which can stand out the most.  

It's not all milk and honey in New Zealand and in a self-repeating cycle it's probably that truth which makes someone change plans and set off to the opposite end of the island on nothing but a hot tip of bountiful promise.

With such uneventful fishing, I'd have done anything for a fish...


Coming to America

Crown Prince Akeem in the title movie may have visited the shores of the US in search of a royal bride, but this African comes in search of trout. Akeem took his personal aide Semmi to help his quest, I will bring along nothing but a fly rod, a backpack and a budget. Can't wait!

My trip to New Zealand is winding down and I'm starting to think about the USA. I'll be there between 16 May 2015 and 23 July 2015. Haven't planned much but the rough idea is to catch as many trout of as many different species as I can in a southerly direction through Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Nothing is set in stone yet except my arrival and departure terminals - Vancouver on 16 May and Las Vegas on 23 July. I'm hoping to encounter Rainbows, Cutthroats, Apache and Gila trout as well as fishing some of the West's famous and not so famous rivers. If I can fit in a trip to the Sierra Nevadas for Golden trout, I will too.

If anyone has any ideas for must-fish rivers, must-have flies, interesting places to visit or cool places to stay I'd be really grateful to have them. I'm not looking for pointers to your secret spots, just general ideas to make my trip as good as such a trip should be. There's obviously a heap of big name rivers that I've grown up reading about. If you're familiar with any of them, let me know! If you want to go fishing with me, even better! Either leave me a comment below or send me an email at theriverbeat@yahoo.co.uk. Thanks!

Image from www.steve-lovelace.com