Issue 2 articles

TypewriterHere is a list of all articles featured in issue two, in the order in which they appear, with the first paragraph of each feature to give you an idea of its content.
Fallon’s Angler is only available in print, so if you want to read the whole article, please purchase a copy.

Thank you.

FortGorgeous grayling

Tom Fort takes advantage of the Lady of the Stream

When I was a young man, struggling to achieve semi-competence as a fly fisherman, grayling counted for nothing. They were third-class river dwellers, hardly mentioned as a worthy quarry except in the context of some northern rivers where men—presumably wearing flat caps—caught them float-fishing with worms or maggots (bait—a dread word!).

YatesThe Wintering angler

A search for perch, by Chris Yates

For the last decade or two my fishing seasons have been divided between still waters during summer and rivers during winter. Autumn is the time of transition between the two, when my love for tench and crucian carp is gradually replaced by a growing passion for perch. And when winter comes, even a winter that is mostly grey and damp rather than truly wintry, I inevitably see nothing but stripes before my eyes. So, to give a flavour of the kinds of joyful enthusiasms that I’m prone to from November to March, here’s an account of a good day on a winter river with a good friend.

FreestoneHoly Carp!

Kibbutz Dan, carp fishing, and the meaning of life, by Greg Freestone

Morning had broken. Birdsong filled the valley. A well-worn path led me towards my favoured place of contemplation. As I got closer, bright water glistened from behind trees and a reassuring sense of familiarity swept over me. It was good to be back.

PikeThe mighty Usk

Theo Pike explores the idiosyncrasies of a big trout river

In my circle of closest fishing pals, it’s almost an article of faith that the bigger a river gets, the moodier and more unpredictable it can be. Small streams are where you go to hone your short game—fishing light and stealthy, casting to fish you can see or at least locate with an educated guess. Then, when you think you’re death from above on the chalkstreams and little urban gritstoners, you make your pilgrimage to the bigger spate waters to be tested.

AdcockShock and awe

Dorado by catamaran in Cuba, by Danny Adcock

Last year my partner finally convinced me that a foreign holiday was just what she needed. Negotiations lasted several weeks: I refused to go somewhere there was nothing to do but sit on a beach or next to a pool for a fortnight; she refused to go to Patagonia where there are brown trout the size of your arm. Eventually we settled on a compromise: Cuba. Cuba is in the Caribbean and they have beaches in the Caribbean. Cuba has history: literary, revolutionary. Cuba has culture: Havana, Hemingway. And of course, Cuba has fishing; boy does Cuba have fishing. Cuba has marlin, Cuba has tuna, Cuba has barracuda, Cuba has bonefish, Cuba has… well, you get the message. My partner and her two sons would laze poolside working on their tans, while I would cruise in Hemingway’s legendary footsteps amongst the islands in the stream!

LingEclipse

A once-in-a-lifetime search for sea trout, by Nigel Ling

The fishing during the week up to the eclipse was dreadful. Clear skies meant cold nights; and sea trout, if one can make any predictions about these supernal fish, don’t take well on cold nights. Yet they continue to manifest themselves by jumping. This is one of the most eerie phenomena of sea trout, the faint trickling as they leap, the curious whirr through the air, then the crack as they hit the water, like a twig snapping. It can startle you, especially if you miss the early delicate sound of the jump. I consulted the map in the rod room, which shows in dark blue the deeper runs in the river. These wander from bank to bank and you should remember their path when wading down a pool or run; if you forget you feel the water getting closer and closer to the tops of your waders, and are forced to retrace your steps against the current. Hopefully you remember the route you’ve just taken.

PetleyHung Goat Cantos

Part One: Winter’s End, by Dexter Petley

The mud last winter was death of heaven. Thick batter on the field, spilling into the lane. It stalked you everywhere, silt purse for a sow’s ear, mud in your eye, feet of clay. The wheel arches caked. Every pair of trousers in the bin bag spattered from the nightly hauling of kit to the yurt, mud’s jugular severed. It came indoors and dried itself by the woodstove. It was in the soup, hair, thoughts and dreams. Not once did it freeze over or disappear under snow. Instead, the rains provoked it, whipping it to sludge, night and day, lashing land into rising mortar. By January it was in my back, dull but vicious. My bones were mud, my name was mud. For trench-back, there’s ibuprofen in large doses, but if we follow the principles of the mud-fight, theory dictates a mud poultice, a band of green clay, a homeopathic revenge. Thinking my fishing days were over, I lay like Bog-Man wrapped in land-pads, putting a curse on a sky which pours out its troubles into the rain gauge.

StephensThe white bait run

John Stephens returns to the scene of childhood adventures

It was July 1952. I was seven years old. As we did every summer, my Dad, Mum, sister Jacque and I were camping in Pentewan Sands in St Austell Bay, Cornwall. It was the adventure of the year, two weeks of bliss; of sand and sea and of rock pools full of shrimp, blennies and gobies and strange claret-coloured sea anemones, with tiny tentacles that would grip onto your fingers. As in all my childhood memories of summer, it never rained.

GarnettA Suir thing?

Expecting big waters, moody weather and traditional Irish fishing, Dominic Garnett got the very opposite on a wild and enjoyable trip to Tipperary, Ireland

No matter how many times I pack a suitcase or study the guide, fishing trips in far off places always sidestep expectations. From the picture you build in your head to the flies and even the weather, something different always hatches. Things mutate. Sometimes your best laid plans are lost in transit; other times you throw things together at the last minute but things just work. Sometimes you expect easy listening but you get punk rock

HattObsessive, compulsive, disorderly

Jeff Hatt accidentally uncovers a mercurial predator

It was the groggy morning after a lively night before, and as you can imagine, I wasn’t feeling especially vigorous. To blow the sleep from my bleary eyes I dug myself a handful of worms from the garden and pulled myself together. Intending to wander the Coventry Canal from Longford out to Hawkesbury Junction, I grabbed my trusty old 13-footer, the centre-pin reel, the float tube, shot and a packet of small hooks—a featherweight roaming outfit. I had no idea in my head other than to get out and do something about the fact that it was throbbing.

BerryA day on new water

A pike-based challenge on the Brizzle, by Jon Berry

I have just returned from a day by a new river. By new, I mean that it was, until this morning, a place where I had never before cast a line. The river itself has meandered through the gentle curves of Somerset for thousands of years, but until a recent conversation in a tackle shop I’m not sure I even knew its name. I certainly knew nothing of its inhabitants.

ParrWinter

A snowy pilgrimage, by Kevin Parr

I used to wish away the winter. I’d still fish of course, but not with the enthusiasm of the early season. As autumn passed so the ponds seemed to take on a completely different personality. Gone were the greens of the lilies and the trailing leaves, replaced in reflection by the glassy grey of a winter sky. The water itself would gain greater clarity with every frost—suddenly I could see that there were no fish to catch, not just suspect it. Without an algal tinge to hide possibility all that sat on the lake bed were dead leaves, curled and waiting to rot.

BurnsCalifornia gold rush

The Los Angeles River is the unlikely scene for some urban fly fishing, says Jim Burns

All rivers are initially hidden from the fly fishers who would caress fish from their bellies. Sure, you could hire a guide for several hundred dollars, hook up, and inhale a shot of Jack Daniels at the airport bar, thinking happily about what landed in your iPhone net, but then you would not really have known the river like a friend—more like a paid-for acquaintance.

NeillRainbows

Memories of a fishing father, by Maurice Neill

Father leaned out the window of his Morris Minor and studied the ground by the side of the road. “What are you looking for?” I asked. “Landmines,” he said. “This is bandit country and I’m taking no chances.” Tullynawood Lough straddles the Irish border among the rugged hills of South Armagh—an area where support for the ‘armed struggle’ of the Provisional Irish Republican Army was uncompromising and old hatreds run deep. The British army base at Crossmaglen was supplied by air. Captain Robert Nairac of the SAS was abducted and his body never found. Informers regularly turned up in bin bags with a bullet in the head. It took days to recover a body from the side of a country road because of the fear of booby traps.

NorgateIn absence of distraction

Deciding what is essential clears the mind for fishing, by Alex Norgate

Shape-shifting ghosts twist and turn above a motionless mirrored surface. White, grey and silver stretch out endlessly beyond the dark green charcoal mountains where I have been waiting. I am no longer sure if I know what it is that I seek. I’ve almost forgotten that in the depths, somewhere, are creatures that have for days evaded my capture. As my thoughts drift I imagine them in their enormity, eyeing my bait as they slide silently through the dense, knotted weed beds. Still, nothing bites.

FallonThe magic of Hottah Lake

A remote lake on the edge of the Arctic Circle yields giant trout, and a chance to reflect, by Garrett Fallon

The single propeller Otter landed with a gentle splash and skidded to a halt in front of the cabin that sat on a small, sandy esker. Minutes later, four disembarkees —Peter, John, Liam and I—watched as the tiny plane taxied out onto the lake, picked up speed then finally took to the air like an enormous Canadian goose. There we stood, over 200 miles from civilisation, over 3,000 miles from home, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, the only fishermen on a lake covering over 300 square miles. For the next week we had only two guides, a cook, and her dog for company. Mobile phones didn’t work. There was no television or radio. Our only contact with the outside world was via satellite phone, and only in emergency. Dublin seemed a very, very long way away.

TurnbullThe Crucian Crusade

Chris Turnbull highlights the plight of the crucian carp

As a boy, once old enough to join the local fishing club and gain access to a lily-smothered jewel of water in Sussex called the Rowfant Mill Pond, I set about learning how to catch its bream and tench, experienced the disappointment of being occasionally smashed up in the pads by wild carp and eventually caught a few nice crucian carp. These were a rarity from the lake and my biggest weighed 2lb 3oz.

CrossleyA quickening

Time spent with an Irish ghillie, by Gary Crossley

The olive is sparse and the mayfly has not yet begun. The wind is from the south-west, but this early in the year carries a cold off the Atlantic. The water is steely with a leaden look. Nephin is a shadow before a shadow. Gulls are sailing high in that mournful way they do. No fish are showing and there’s desperation in the air. That’s when this year’s killing fly is sought. Men all around the lough talk of this shade of sooty or that, this size or that, wet or dry, and there’s some furtive tying in front rooms, studies and lodges around and about, with the occasional glance out of the window for a sign of change.

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