At this time of year I am deep in armchair fishing mode. The forecast here is for a weekend of rain. My local river will be colouring up now and the fish will be sulking.

I imagine that I am joined, while in armchair mode, by the vast majority of the world´s fly fishermen who, I imagine, live predominantly in the northern hemisphere. They are likely to be pacing around now annoying their wives and waiting for the onset of the spring and the prospects of a new season.

Tying flies goes some way in treating the symptoms of this cabin fever but I often find solace in gatecrashing somebody else´s fishing adventure that had been uploaded on to Youtube.

One morning last week it was off to Iceland to witness the adventures of a couple of brothers who spent a summer there. These young guys started off chasing sheep on foot and, having manifestly failed to catch any, concluded quite reasonably, that sheep are a lot faster runners than they are generally given credit for.

Then they went after arctic char in a pool of some remote river. I have never seen an arctic char in real life but they strike me as particularly beautiful fish with the striking white leading edges to their ventral fins and their stunning colouration. Catching one is just another of those dreams of mine that may be realized some time in a distant future.

So anyway the two boys came across three good char in their pool. They hooked all three but landed only the third. The other two were lost. Despite its short duration this little drama had all the qualities of an epic tale. There was the initial failure to catch sheep, the discovery of a secret pool, the excitement of creeping up on the first char, the heartbreak of losing it and later the second. Finally there was the ultimate prize of the third fish that was briefly admired before being returned, unharmed, to the pool.

I like this little story because, like the best of fly fishing, it offers some adventure, silliness and camaraderie. It was good to see that the fish were treated with respect. Those three char are still swimming around in that pool in Iceland but perhaps they are a little bigger now and maybe a little wiser.


Here´s your man with the char. Arctic char like this may live in rivers or lakes or, in common with other salmonids they may migrate to sea to grow before returning to freshwater to spawn.