Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A Fish Tale

The other day, my brother and his two sons who were over from the States, happened to invite me to join them for a day’s fly fishing on the River Test in Hampshire. In the past I have been hunting and shooting but I shall be honest, I have never tried my hand at fishing. 

Of course, of great concern to me was what I should wear. In the end, I opted for a blue gingham shirt, nicely frayed at the collar, a threadbare olive lambs wool V neck pullover, khaki needle cord trousers and an old Barbour jacket that I had bought in Portobello market second hand years ago, after all I didn't want to look like the new boy on the block. 

I was particularly fond of the Barbour because it had knitted cuffs, which stopped the rain dribbling down to my elbows, a detail I think Barbour have since dispensed with (bring it back I say!) For a day in the country I took that most essential accessory - my gun dog Muffin, although she would run a mile at the sound of shooting being more adept at photo shoots.

The Test is a beautiful and crystal clear river that meanders through unspoilt water meadows not unlike a Constable painting. My first attempts at casting very quickly found me out to be a townie despite all my efforts at dressing the part.  But eventually after six hours of clumsy and awkward casting I finally caught a silverback trout. 

I was asked if I would like to take it home for supper but I demurred and slipped it back into the river. Travelling back to London with a very damp dog in the back of my now incredibly muddy Range Rover, I began to feel rather hungry and thought how delicious that trout might have been grilled, with new potatoes and petit pois. As it was, I settled for beans on toast in front of the television and watched News at Ten.

What can I say? I'm a man of simple pleasures.

 Jeremy Hackett

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