So that’s it. I’m going to Norway in two weeks, no make that 11 days, for the last week of the season. The flights are booked, the route is planned, the company out there, including two ‘email’ friends I have yet to even meet in the flesh, but comprising also a compact yet solid band of international pals I shall now be meeting for the third year running – is tantalising.
I couldn’t be more excited. That’s the truth and if I wasn’t there would be no point hooking (voluntarily and involuntarily) my heart and soul into the sport of salmon fishing. One that can be mad, bad and dangerous to know but can also offer the rare and intense episodes of our lives and be heaven on earth.
It’s just been such a great year. As I once met a dour Dumfriesshire countryman who confessed: “Any year I catch a salmon is a good season” – so I could add a year where I fish on the Kola Peninsula in May (and hit it just right with extraordinary numbers of fish seen, hooked, lost … and caught), then on the Gaula in August is a great year. Notwithstanding the beloved chosen river beginning with N that has proved so b****y frustrating recently. Or the world-class Borders river beginning with T which many would think I was mad to pass up the chance of fishing last month (I know it hurts me too).
But then I put it in context. I knew I was heading out to the unparalleled (in my salmon experience) fly waters of the Norwegian Flyfisher Club’s beats of the Gaula less than a month thence.
It’s the people, too. Russia’s brilliant but most of all I went back to the Varzuga this year because I like the people. Roxtons are absolutely brilliant out there. Why? Lots of reasons which I’ve detailed in this blog before but most of all it suits me, something clicked. (But yes, there were faces I wanted to see again, and did.)
Ditto the Norwegian Flyfishers Club.
Both rivers have in common the fabulous potential of their salmon fishing. On the V it’s in your face, more or less. The Gaula? It’s a challenge but with fish to 46lb caught at NFC Gaula already this year. Well, genug. Just to add on NFC although I caught fish in the past two visits, I hardly hit it perfect with low water both years. But if the weeks were a bit sparse, my God I loved every minute of them.
And amid all the excitement (and I’d better calm down a bit I’ve still got eight more working days to negotiate) the fact that this time I’m taking a new route, driving north from Oslo (Rygge) airport in a tiny ‘economy’ hire car for the best part of 300 miles seems almost incidental. But since I brought the departure forward 24 hours and will get the chance to walk the banks and, who knows even cast an extra line or three on the Sunday/day, then it’s worth it.
The water out there is good (big) now, and rising as I write this. Later season salmon and grilse will be streaming up from the fjord via the Gaulfossen. Filling the pools whose names make a thrilling roll-call – Renna, Tilseth Run, Long Pool, Langoy, Bridge and Bogen Sondre.
May the lines of friends and fellow rods who also relish fishing that mighty river in the last full week of 2011’s salmon-fishing tighten to a well-set reel and land their silver prize.
And light my fire, Gaula. I know you can, and dare I say I know you will. And I’m looking forward to it.