Icons, a web series from Swing the Fly, looks at the most influential figures in spey casting and swinging flies from North America and beyond in the 21st century. In this installment, we visit with Simon Gawesworth, one of the greatest Spey casting instructors and authors to grace our sport. Simon talks in this article about his latest book, his favorite rivers in both the U.K. and the U.S., his memories of times fishing on his own, and the Miracle of Istanbul.
Southern Patagonia is known for its windy days.
So simple and so effective, I cannot say how often it‘s saved my day, from my rivers at home, to along the classic rivers in England, where Frank Sawyer invented and published it in his book Nymphs and the Trout in 1958, to the wide rivers in Montana, like the Bighorn and many more.
Last January, Michael and I finally stood on the banks of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego. Like always, we booked on a relatively short notice, but we made it. We even man-aged to fill our fly boxes with all kinds of differnt flies, from Wooly Buggers to tube flies, rubber leg nymphs and Sunray shadows. That took us a few long nights but we were safe for flies. That’s what we thought. There was one fly that we didn’t have in our box. To be honest, we didn’t even think about it. A fly which usually is fished for Atlantic salmon in Canada and has her roots on the Miramichi.
Like the ugly duckling from Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, there is a hint of metaphor in my small story about a “ditch” that, after many years of mishandling, turns into a prolific and beautiful salmon river.
Admittedly, the effectiveness of a fly relies principally on the confidence that the fisherman has in it, but it also has to be recognized that the nearly-doubled rate of success kills any prior prejudice; the PHP flat-out works.
A reflection on life and a trip of a lifetime.