Sight fishing in the purest sense of the word

I am back from photographing a load of different fly fishing with Nick Hart - with a mountain of images to edit, keyword and process. We spent one day on a couple of classic chalkstreams up near Winchester where the water ruins crystal clear and the fish are very spooky. I am not into those terribly over-manicured chalkstreams where there is hardly a blade of grass out of place - fine for some people, and often hideously expensive, but if you go looking around and talk to the right people then there is a whole world of far wilder and more affordable fishing like this out there. This is sight fishing in the purest sense of the word - spot the fish, cast to it, and try your best to nail it...........not that easy when a big clumbering photographer like me is racing up and down the river banks !!

Above is a trout that was feeding away perfectly happily, and still nothing in fishing beats actually being able to watch fish behave naturally. To watch good fly anglers cast upstream with a dry fly and nail a fish like this is always a huge thrill, but part of me wonders how the fish might react to a little bass lure !! Perish the thought.........

We got access to this wonderfully wild chalkstream fly fishing via William Daniel of Famous Fishing - what a thoroughly nice guy, and he went out of his way to help us out with the photographs we needed. Fishing is full of some really good people. Huge thanks to William for sorting us out. I so want to head back that way for the grayling fishing in the middle of winter - imagine a big blue sky day with a serious frost. How good could that look ? Grayling are a very cool fish indeed. I do remember many years ago now when my brother and I hoiked a load out out of some chalkstream (on bread of course !!) that my uncle and aunt lived next to. Completely illegal I am sure, but we were young at the time.

My photos can only ever be as good as the people I work with - Nick Hart is not only a good mate, but he is one of the most natural, accomplished and easy to work with fly anglers that I have ever met. I can not tell you how important it is to go for proper casting lessons if you are getting into fly fishing - it is not like "regular" fishing where the cast is often a small part of the actual fishing. The single most important thing in fly fishing is the cast. Speak to Nick Hart's lot right here about lessons and guiding, plus they have a very cool shop on an outstanding fishery - check here. Very much worth a sniff around as well if you are looking for waders and wading boots for bass fishing - Nick and I often speak about using fly fishing gear more and more in the saltwater world, and you simply can't beat the advice and experience from guides who are out and about using this stuff day in, day out. I did see a new pair of studded-soled wading boots that I reckon would be awesome for my bass fishing..............control yourself Henry. But they did look just about perfect.

I very nearly took a swim in the river when I lined up this shot - the river bed looked all nice and firm, so in I got. But what looked nice and firm was in fact nice and soft !! Some judicious grabbing of those reeds saved my Nikon gear from getting a soaking. I get a huge kick out of photographing good looking fly fishing and the last few days were just outstanding. Have a good weekend - at last it's warming up.......