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Batten down the hatches

For someone who earns their living as a guide, November and December's weather has been very tough


It seems that abnormal weather conditions have become the norm.
It seems that abnormal weather conditions have become the norm.

November has been blown out. I have had to cancel virtually all of my guiding sessions – taking a boat out on the old estate lake with the wind gusting at more than 40mph hasn’t been an appealing prospect. For novice casters, mastering double haul techniques to launch big hairy pike flies when it’s blowing a hooly just isn’t practical.

November has been a disaster and December isn’t looking any better. In truth, 2015 as a whole has been difficult. Most of January was spoiled because heavy rain had coloured the estate lake. A number of my May guiding dates were blown out when fishery staff wouldn’t let us go afloat. My summer saltwater fly fishing was disrupted by the weather. Half of our fly sharking dates were cancelled because of rough seas and most of my boat fishing days were called off. It’s been particularly frustrating because when I have been able to get on the water, the results have been good. In March, I caught an absolutely huge pike and the summer saw great sport with blue sharks and some fabulous saltwater catches of big bass and heavyweight Pollack.

I could shrug my shoulders, curse the Weather Gods and wait for conditions to ‘get back to normal’. The problem is that abnormal weather conditions have become the norm. Recent years have featured an ever increasing number of days that have been blown out. Mark Bowler refers to Storm Abigail in his latest blog post. The trouble is that all her brothers and sisters have been getting in on the act!

It’s a worry. I earn my living as a guide (I supplement my income with some writing) and if I don’t get out on the water I don’t get paid. Common sense tells me that I should investigate other options but I’m passionate about my guiding and have no ambition or desire to launch another career. I could look at other waters – bank fishing on gravel pits would be less subject to sabotage by weather conditions. However, such waters are less suited to the services of a guide. Water craft is less relevant when the only real feature is the drop-off from the shoreline. A client doesn’t need me to tell them to move to the next swim and launch a fan of casts.

Because my wallet has been cruelly damaged, I can’t even afford to drown my sorrows with decent malt whisky!

My Victor Meldrew impersonations are improving every day. My wife suggests that I should take up yoga. Hopefully, I will be able to submit a less depressing blog post before I go completely off the rails...

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