Saturday, 19 July 2014

Life of a super model

Nether Wallop Mill Monday July 21st 2014
Salisbury Cathedral at dawn no. 1

I have just spent the last ten days fishing - there is a surprise I hear you say but actually it is unusual for me to spend such an extended period  just fishing, However,  there was a purpose so I can at least pretend some sort of work justification.

As you will have gathered over the years great images are one of the keys to reminding everyone how stunningly beautiful the English chalkstreams are. That 'wish you were here' moment when you see a particular photo is sometimes beyond anything words might convey but getting those images is something else. I take some stuff myself but when it comes to high resolution, perfectly executed magazine quality photos you need a pro and I am lucky enough to have that in Ken Takata.

I met Ken about a decade ago when we fished the Jackson Hole One Fly together. Ken is an ex-LA fashion photographer who left the bright lights of Hollywood to ply his trade in Yellowstone National Park in Montana. His stock-in-trade is capturing the amazing landscapes of the Big Sky but his passion is fishing. As a winner of the One Fly in 2012 he is no mean fishermen but when he comes over here it is all business.

Ken Takata
Ken Takata
This is Ken's third trip to the chalkstreams and this time we decided to try some new locations with shoots on the Avon in Wiltshire, the Frome in Dorset and Kennet in Berkshire, plus some of my favourites in Hampshire. Over the years we have honed down a pretty good routine. I invite someone different each day who in return for a day on the river gets to be a 'model' and we simply go fishing. Ken is very unobtrusive, though occasionally his demands for photography perfection lead to a request for chalkstream sacrilege when you have to cast downstream .... all for the benefit of the camera of course.

That said not every day is a romp. We usually put in a dawn shoot which entails getting up at 3am, donning waders in the dark and getting into position by 4am to catch the pre-dawn light. I never knew such a thing existed but it does and it is beautiful, even if you are chilled to the bone after over an hour of standing in a single position. The life of a super model - I feel for you Naomi Campbell. 

This year we headed to the Avon at Salisbury for the dawn shots, in an effort to recreate John Constable's famous painting of the Cathedral spire with the river in the foreground. My thanks to the guys at Salisbury & District Angling for allowing us to use the river. I think you will all agree it is worth it.

You may see more of Ken's work at

Dream homes on the river for life

West Stratford, River Frome
West Stafford Estate, River Frome
Who knows why but after a few years with very little fishing of note coming up for sale all of a sudden four interesting beats have been put on the block in the past couple of months.

First we had the Itchen at Ovington, mysteriously withdrawn within a few days of coming to market followed by Cotton's Fishing Temple on the Dove in Derbyshire.  In the last week an Itchen fishery at Brambridge and a farm with fishing on the Dorset Frome have both been advertised.

I think it is fair to say both are the complete package and it is a decade since anything comparable has come up for sale.
Brambridge, River Itchen
Brambridge, River Itchen

ITCHEN FISHERY, Brambridge, Hampshire

Two houses, garden, grounds and 959 yards of double bank fishing plus 340 yards of single bank, plus a pretty thatched fishing hut. It is being sold through Savills in Winchester. Contact Steven Moore 01962 808575 No web listing at the time of writing. £4,500,000

WEST STAFFORD ESTATE, Dorchester, Dorset
This is a real little sporting estate with 360 acres, water meadows, over a mile of fishing, two houses, a Victorian reading room and a cricket bat willow plantation.  Contact Charles Matthews at Symonds & Sampson  01258 472244 Link to view the listing. £3,750,000.  

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