Thomas McGuane tells a lovely little story in his book “The Longest Silence” about how his family referred to his fishing fanaticism. To the rest of the family his obsessive preoccupation was simply referred to as the “F word.” And so it happened that one evening, when dinner guests had been invited and everyone was sitting around the dinner table, his young daughter appeared and loudly pronounced to all the guests “all that daddy really cares about is the F word….. And if he’s not actually doing it, he’s reading about it!”

McGuane, who to the best of my knowledge lives in Montana, would have been no stranger to the feeling of entrapment that must accompany harsh winters and experienced his fair share of the cabin fever that many of us now feel as a result of being locked in our homes.

For those of us similarly afflicted by our preoccupation to the F word, and maybe a little desperate because we “can’t get none” there is, in addition to books and magazines, an effective means of treating the symptoms of withdrawal: Youtube.  

There´s tonnes of things that are fishing-related on Youtube, much of it very good. There probably is no better way of showing how to tie knots or tie flies than to see it well explained and to have the option to pause and replay as much as you want. That said, it is probably, for many of us primarily a means of going fishing vicariously.

A lot of stuff of course comes from the US and the production quality is often excellent with smooth music and editing, but to me at least, it can come across as a little unreal. Very often the presenter is being guided on top waters by experienced guides, which is something that never happens to me, and of course the editing process removes the sections when nothing was caught or when somebody´s fly got stuck on a rock or in the branches of a tree.

I prefer things that are more “honest” and truer to my own experiences of fishing and I chanced across just the right kind of medicine in the form of a series of such videos. They are produced by a German fisherman Dietrich Bohnhorst and, for the most part, feature the fishing adventures he has with his friend Dave Medlyn. Dietrich seems to have been “altered” by his experiences in Ireland and there is a distinctive Irish “feel” to the way he speaks and perhaps to his whole outlook on the business of fishing. He has a wonderful dry sense of humour. At one point after swinging in one of a succession of small trout he turns to his fishing buddy and says something along the lines of  “Dave, I have another small one here! The small ones are very difficult to catch here. The big ones are easy!” The interaction between these two guys reminds me of my own fishing experiences, in some of the same waters featured in these videos, with my brother Sean and our friend Mark McCann.

And the experiences of Dietrich and Dave ring true too. There are those days when the fishing is crap or when the weather is terrible and all efforts seem to come to nothing, as well as the sublime days we always remember when everything comes together. If you would like to see one of the Youtube videos (and there are many besides this one) this link should take you there:

So my recommendation to you is that, if the pangs of fishing withdrawal are strong and reading is not enough have a look at some of these videos. 

Just don´t let your daughter know! 


Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 12.33.43

Here´s Dave Medlyn excited about fishing prospects!

Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 12.39.58

And here is the man himself, Dietrich, with a trout he is about to release.