Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Go Home to GVFFC
Upcoming Events, trips and Workshops at Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Stay with us in our lakeside cottage at thornton eildon alexandra victoria
Learn to fly fish for beginners
Guiding and Tuition
Streamcraft Lessons
Drift boat and raft trips fly fishing
Fly fishing in New Zealand with goulburn valley fly fishing centre
Montana fly fishing trips with GVFFC
Fly fishing in New Zealand with goulburn valley fly fishing centre
Purchase a fly fishing Gift Certificate from GVFFC
Learn to tie trout flies at our Fly Tying Workshop
Secondary school activity week fly fishing at Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Visit our shop
Click to visit Antony's Blog for the latest fishing reports

Click to visit Antony's Blog for the latest fishing reports

Download free fly fishing videos and reports
Read a fly fishing article
Learn to tie flies
Learn about local insects
Our location with instructions on how to find us
Our facilities including lodge, private waters and accommodation
Meet the guides - Antony, David and Geoff and read media releases and reviews on our company
Contact us today!
Send us your feedback
Request an info pack from GVFFC

join our mailing list
* indicates required

Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

subscribe to gvffc rss feed Click here to learn about GVFFCs fly fishing gift certificates

Click here to request an information kit from Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre including brochure and promo DVD

 

A Cure for Salmonella by Arthur Greenwood

I used to be a salmon angler, but I'm feeling much better now, thanks. It was a long and painful road to recovery, but through sheer resolve and the support of family and friends, I think I've beaten it. I met someone else recently who went through the same trauma, and he depressed me a bit when he likened the problem to alcoholism, drug abuse or gambling addiction it never really leaves you, he said, it just lurks somewhere deep in the soul, and if you're not very careful, the next thing you know is that you find yourself buying tubes and shrimps and outsized landing nets for no apparent reason

That scared me, because I really felt that I was over it for good No more waking up in the middle of the night trembling and sweating from a vivid dream of a stretch of river full of plunging and rolling salmon which stolidly refuse to countenance any known lure or bait. No more stumbling out of bed to wash, dress and drive a hundred miles to turn the nightmare into reality with an awesome sense of deja vu. Gone forever the lingering whiff of boiled shrimp on the fingers, the furtive purchase of large jungle cock feathers, the embarrassment of asking female tackle-shop assistants for a Flying Condom.

Don't get me wrong, because I used to enjoy it all in a masochistic sort of way, and I was moderately successful at it. The problem was that I never figured out exactly why I caught salmon one day and couldn't catch them the next. The contrariness of the beast, which some find fascinating, drove me to distraction. I took to adding a code to my Diary entries which I called 'The F - Factor' and which indicated the frustration rating of a day's salmon fishing. Similar to the Richter Scale for earthquakes, the designated scale from 1 - 10 was an indication of how close I came on each occasion to chucking rod, reel and bag into the river.

Part of the cold turkey treatment devised by concerned friends involved repeated forced reading of these Diary entries, particularly those from the most virulent, latter stages of the disease. Sheer hell, to relive those awful days of F-6, F-7 and God Help Us All, an F-10 at Galway Weir when I was taken away sobbing to the nearest bar after a morning session where every fly in the box was personally inspected by forty-two salmon - yes, I counted every one - and refused by them all. The problem with The Weir is that you can see wall-to-wall salmon from the Bridge below it, literally hundreds and hundreds of them, and they won't take anything unless the water level is absolutely right. Now that I am better, I can watch the fish from the Bridge as the poor afflicted sufferers below hurl their flies, lures and shrimps at them. The serried ranks of salmon simply part momentarily to allow the intruder to pass, and then reform again like those shoals of tropical fish you see on Wildlife programmes on telly. These are the sort of events which prompted me to seek a cure.

And I lifted mine eyes unto the hills. Literally. By climbing mountains in search of secluded tarns, I put out of my mind the vulgar splashing and humping of the salmon, and concentrated instead on the capture of the little jewels which inhabited these wild places. And it was wonderful. A trout would rise near to the shore. There were sedges flying about. A dry Wickham was tied on. The trout ate it. It was played, landed and released. Now this was what fishing should be about. Unlike salmon, they ate flies of all descriptions and sizes. Unlike salmon, they took them no matter if the water was high or low, warm or cold, clear or coloured. When they didn't take them, I didn't care, because I knew that, unlike salmon, they would take them tomorrow. I could feel the poison leaving my system.

The rehabilitation continued gently into Phase Two. Kind and caring friends took me to fish for trout in the big lakes of the West of Ireland, where we carefully avoided any situation which would lead to an F-Factor of more than 3. This precluded the Mayfly, or any form of dapping. I wasn't ready yet, they said. Standard wet fly drifting was enough to start with, they advised. And so it proved to be. Things went swimmingly, apart from the occasion when we had to pack up and leave Lough Conn in a hurry due to an unexpected run of fresh grilse which appeared, frisking and frolicking, at the mouth of the Deele River. I had a Thunder and Lightning on the dropper before my minder rumbled the situation, started the outboard and roared back to the landing stage trailing twenty yards of my fly-line behind us. We moved on to Lough Mask, which is not directly connected to the sea.

Phase Three was going to be the acid test, the end of term exam. It would be dangerous, they told me, and I didn't have to do it. The challenge was to act as boatman for a day on one of Northern Ireland's premier salmon beats. There was no likelihood of my getting my hands on their salmon rod because my two companions had paid a few hundred quid to share a day rod, and I had no chance of even holding it, they said. The ground rules were simple. I could row. I could net. I could make the tea. No touching salmon, or smelling them. In the riverbank car-park that morning, I wasn't sure if I was up to it. As we set off, the other rod on the beat hailed us in great excitement. The place was stuffed with fish, he said. A salmon had jumped into his boat before he had even wet the fly, and being a great sportsman, he had returned it as a token to the Gods. (We found out later that he didn't touch another fish all day). I reversed the boat and headed shore wards at a rate of knots. I couldn't go through with this. I could feel the old madness rising within me. Stop, they roared. Get the boat on station, or else swim home. Although it was overcast, I put my dark glasses on, and it helped a bit. Like an alcoholic in a pub with no money for a drink, I hunched miserably over the oars while they covered fish after fish. Nothing. I felt a bit better. My strength returned, and I began to notice their discomfort in a detached way. This could have been me, I told myself. We went ashore, and I cheerfully made the tea, while the addicts discussed tactics. Shrimps, they said. They'll take a purple one for sure this afternoon. We munched our sandwiches and watched a procession of salmon ascending the fish-pass. Plenty left for us, they assured each other. Bound to get one sooner or later. I was enjoying this now. I heard echoes of my former self. I knew how Scrooge felt with the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Well, the shrimp didn't work. Nearly home time, and a last fling with the Flying 'C' produced a solid take to the stern rod. My heart sank, my resolve weakened. The fish was about ten yards from the boat, and thrashing on the surface. Despite my detachment, I roared, "Ease up!" I knew what was coming, and ducked. Sure enough, the lure came away, sailed over our heads, and splashed into the river on the other side of the boat. After the obligatory expletive came another cry as the despondent rod reeled in - you've guessed it. Another salmon took the spinner, was played and boated. I looked at the silver body in the net, and at that moment, I knew that I could never completely recover from this terrible affliction. This salmon disease. The excitement, the unpredictability, yes, even the days of black despair are all part of this magnificent sport. And, secretly, I'm not unhappy about the outcome By judicious application of the appropriate medicine (one dose of double-handed fly-fishing once a month from May to September) the problem can be kept under control Now, sea trout fishing.... ahhh, that'sa different matter altogether!

 

 

Click here to view our cottage specials