Here is my photo diary of the year; I hope is triggers some good memories and gets you excited for the season ahead.
All the best for 2014!
Rain then snow
So if you thought it was wet over this Christmas, just remember what it was like in January 2013...... this is our fishing cabin at Nether Wallop and what I usually describe as the burbling Wallop Brook
Best Guide Never
This still remains my favourite You Tube clip from the year. It was part of the Fly Fishing Film Tour which I am delighted to say we are bringing to England in April 2014.
The eight wind turbines the height of the Post Office Tower planned for the Test valley were no idle threat. The consensus seems to be that these will not happen thanks to two critical policy changes since the application was lodged. Government subsidy for land based turbines is being reduced and the final say on applications now rests with the local authority rather that the Secretary of State.
Making F M Halford proud
The River Test One Fly celebrated its fifth year and was won by a nymph pattern. This year as a nod to the 100th anniversary of F M Halford's death, the inventor of modern day dry fly fishing, dry flies will score double in this year's event.
It may have been late and it may have been wet, but the arrival of spring and the Mayfly was worth the wait. This photo is of the River Dun at Mottisfont Abbey which for three or four hours had the most sustained hatch and feeding frenzy that I have seen in twenty years. You get a double hit on buttercups - the yellow in the fields and the white in the river, for
ranunculus weed is essentially a water buttercup with white flowers.
Oh to be in England ....
Hard to get much English than this where the River Test runs between the thatched cottages in Wherwell village.
Made in England?
It was one of those years for big changes in ownership; Fulling Mill Flies was sold by the founder to a Scottish based syndicate. House of Hardy went into administration to be bought by an American conglomerate who already own a roster of famous brands. Farlow's, another Royal Warrant holder, was bought by a Russian with an impressive salmon fishing pedigree. With Orvis opening a flagship store just a few steps from Farlow's expect a fight for your custom!
In an English country garden
I sometimes forget how quirky and quintessentially English our chalkstreams are. I doubt you would find anywhere else in the world where you are greeted quite like this with a country garden to guide your way to the fishing.
My man Alan ....
I almost ran this photo as a caption contest. It was taken at Nether Wallop Mill when we had a lovely family for a tuition day. Alan Middleton, provided the instruction that day. I reckon the girl is saying:
"I let my man Alan do all my fishing for me".
Kingfisher shot at last
This kingfisher is our daily companion at The Mill, scudding to and fro over the river and lake creating havoc for the Bullhead population. Rarely do I have my camera ready when he uses this perch, but just for once it came together.
It is been a while since I have chased bones; every bit exciting as I remembered it being. I took this shot with an Olympus Waterproof Tough TG-1 12 Megapixel camera which is the best fishing camera I have ever come across.
Sunrise and moon set
I took this shot at dawn on the top of the downs that divide the Test and Avon valleys. It might not be fishing season, but it is a reminder that the chalkstream valleys have beauty all year around.