Wild Means Wild

Wild is Wild for a reason! Where has the adventure gone!?

Wild is Wild for a reason! Where has the adventure gone!?


Stocking to increase catches, pruning to allow easier casting conditions, removal of trees and the laying of paths to allow easier access; when is it going to end?

When did fishing turn into such an ‘easy’ affair? In this day and age, when nearly everything is instantly accessible via the good ol’ internet, it seems the majority of the developed world is happy to sit back and expect their fishing (as well as the rest of their lives) to be brought to them on a silver platter. Rivers and streams offering a truly wild experience are becoming rare, replaced instead for those with an easier access route, tarmacked path, parking facilities and, of course, our old friend Litter. Where has the rough and tumble gone? Where has the adventure gone!?

I’m happy that I’m able to know a few waters which do offer wild seclusion; waters which are miles from anywhere, where no mobile phone signals can penetrate, and where (should you to slip and hurt yourself) you’d be screwed hard pressed to get a paramedic team in in order to get you out. Let’s be honest with ourselves, these waters are jewels, to be kept as untouched as possible (with the exception of habitat improvements, disabled access, or bank improvements of course), and if you find yourself getting a little frustrated because you’re unable to make that back-cast, stick at it. It’s hard for a reason, but it doesn’t half pay off!

A low ceiling, but there is beauty in the wilderness.

A low ceiling, but there is beauty in the wilderness.


Wild environments, although jaw droppingly beautiful, can also be harsh – as the intermittent sheep skeletons I find will be the first to admit. One slip was all it probably took, and the doomed animal was fated to become trapped on the steep ledge to starve, washed down river, or took a fall which turned it into dinner for other predators. A good fishing buddy and I often joke of the predicaments we seem to find ourselves in while fishing in such environments: practically abseiling near-vertical drops to gain access, scrambling down steep banks, etc. Inspecting the scrapes, cuts, and bruises when you get home in the evening is sheer proof that things aren’t always easy, but they sure make the trip one hell of a great of a story!

Canyons and sharp drops - The long hikes in and out...

Canyons and sharp drops - The long hikes in and out...


At times when our wonderful Government is happy to sell off all of our national forests, or when the Environment Agency want to ‘give anglers more access to wild fishing in Wales‘, I have to ask ‘Why’? Surely they’d be enjoyed more so by being kept wild in the first place, and any photo a passing tourist may take showing no paths, etc, will surely be of more value? With more access comes more people; with more people comes more problems, and more problems in an already fragile environment is something we don’t want. We’re content to either screw them up, chop them down, or provide open and easy access to them all.

Wild means wild. If I can ‘walk’ up into a valley for a day’s small stream fishing, I don’t count it as wild. If I have to hike there, scramble down a few banks, and maybe smash my knee on a boulder while trying to lift myself out of a steep drop, then I count it as wild.

Wild means wild. Getting there is hard the hard part, but enjoying it once you are there is impossibly easy.

I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful and I hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant – and not nearly so much fun.

– Testament of a Fisherman, by Robert Traver – 1964 (Judge John Voelker, 1903-1991)

Heavy foliage - Time to learn a new cast...

Heavy foliage - Time to learn a new cast...

...and the reward for the hard work.

...and the reward for the hard work.

This is the type of path I like to follow...

This is the type of path I like to follow...

...and somewhere up there is what they call a proper path.

...and somewhere up there is a 'proper' path.

 

11 Responses to “Wild Means Wild”


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