Ice, fire and an SB Arctic


I have only been to Iceland once. In September 2006 I went on a Trout and Salmon job [Born to fish, forced to work and fish, right?] and caught this 7-8lb Arctic char. At least I think it was that size, as the fish which I returned was unweighed. I shall never forget an

intensely powerful 20 yard first run by the char which grabbed a rather large Woolly Bugger fly tied by Peter Gathercole on a sink-tip line. A loop of line caught around the (‘waisted’, a design fault I reckon) handle of my Abel Super 8 reel but I was able to flick it off just before the rod bucked and the line zipped off through the rings. The reel spun like an F1 engine component as what I thought was one of the lake’s well documented 5lb sea-trout went berserk on feeling the pressure of the fankle-n-fingers resistance. The fish was broad across the shoulders like a carp/coarse fish and doggedly powerful. Peter took this photo, snapped from T&S, Jan 2007 issue (also on the cover!) and our guide was Gummi Atli Asgeirsson who is now doing great things with his guiding up there. The hefty ‘Arctic’ recovered well as I cradled it in the flooded lake margins. The trip, on which we also caught a brace of 3-4lb sea-trout under a bridge fishing a nymph upstream, the only time I’ve ever done that, was organised by Peter McLeod, who we’d met at the Game Fair that summer and suggested it as a pioneering venture. It was also memorable for a wind zipping across the volcanic tundra of those parts. Think of the wintry blow we’ve had in the UK over the last week and double it. I’ve never been back to the land of ice but do think about it. Treeless, windswept and with the odd volcano popping off and geysers hissing up through the ground, it’s a dramatic country. Not forgetting innumerable lakes and small river systems stuffed with trout, char and of course the hatchery-based salmon fishery.


About henrygiles

Born to fish forced to work and fish
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4 Responses to Ice, fire and an SB Arctic

  1. Nicholas Steedman says:

    Great fish Henry! I remember you telling us that story on Wednesday. Iceland is a wild and wonderful place!

    • henrygiles says:

      Nicholas, thanks for commenting. Obviously the two are connected (Wednesday night-generated wanderlust and digging out my Iceland memories). Actually I have the Jan ’07 T&S cover in framed Cromalin up on my wall which shows a handshake between me and Gummi with the fish recovering in the water at my knees just before we return it! That’s what kicked me off late last night. It is rather a nice shot, there is an even better one of the fish where it looks sleeker and more silvery but the photos belong to T&S/PG and so I’d rather not use.
      Really enjoyed Weds night – I thought Charles J’s talk was absolutely perfect, the epitome of a YM evening, so inspirational. I loved his view on Slovenia: Just go!
      PS I see you r looking cool in the new FJ. Look forward to reading it.

      • Nicholas Steedman says:

        It was an excellent night! Charles talk was brilliant, I could spend hours listening to his stories and not get bored! We’re trying to organise Iceland 2015 at the moment, can’t wait! Hopefully see you at the next YMD or winter talk.

      • henrygiles says:

        Nicholas, Yes see you then at either or both. I wonder if they’ll be able to rebook Steve Edge for a winter talk after he sadly had to cancel last time. That would be great but there’ll be others but Charles has set a high standard.
        Trust you saw I updated my previous – just wanted to say I received my FJ and looking forward to reading article featuring you. Good luck with organising Iceland 2015 but I’m on the Gaula as my overseas trip in August this year and then the holiday runs out :S

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