Friday, March 23, 2007

Lord Grey.

I have bought a copy of ‘Fly Fishing’ by Lord Edward Grey – a book written in the late nineteenth century, later revised in 1930.
Although I have only read the first chapter, already I have found a passage that sums up better than anything else I have read, what it means to be a fly fisher of northern streams:

“It is not everybody who cares for the independence and comparative solitude of angling; and there are probably some people who would consider either of these as a drawback. Nor are we all equally attracted by the charm and changes of the season and by natural beauties, nor all equally interested in the life of the country. The gift of being pleased by these things is one of the most precious possessions that a man can have within him, but it is rare to find it at an early age. In boyhood it is generally dormant , and it is not this that we think about when we first begin to fish; but presently there comes a time when we realize that angling is often taking us to the most beautiful places of the country at the very best times of year, and then we feel a new sense of gratitude and a crowning delight. From now onwards we look at more than the river. There comes a time when the beauty of the day or of the place seems to possess us, so that the thought of angling ever afterwards becomes full of beautiful associations, of delightful meadows and woods, of light upon water, of the sound of streams, till in the recollection of days that are past, the vision of these things perpetually rises up and fills us with joy.”

Wonderful stuff, that; and far more eloquently written than any ham-fisted attempt that I could ever make to convey the attraction of fishing in lonely places. Although Grey’s writings were concerned primarily with the chalk streams of the south, I’m sure the sentiments are consistent to any situation where an angler sets forth with a fly rod in search of respite from the relentless drudgery of modern living.

I certainly feel in need of respite at the moment and with the clocks changing this weekend, the time may have come to harass the rainbow trout of my local Barnsfold Reservoir one night next week……


Mike said...

That really is a lovely quote Matt. Thanks for sharing it :)

Peter said...

Like youself, I'm a graduate of Lancaster University. Like yourself I'm a fan of the fantastic wild fishing and landscapes of Cumbria. Born a Londoner, I went native because of the fishing up here, some 30 years ago and I'm still learning. Let's meet up sometime. Email me at

Anonymous said...

lord grey was a fishermen who fished both in nothumberland his home county and on the itchen , where later in life he and his wife had a cottage. he was also a great naturalist and birdwatcher you may enjoy his other writings