The Critic Magazine

A catch that feeds the soul

MEMORIES ARE PRECIOUS to the fly fisherman, helping sustain him through the half of the year when the rules forbid the catching of trout, sea trout and salmon. On a January night when the opening of the season still seems depressingly distant I have only to close my eyes to summon up some episode from my fishing past. The memories come back with pyschedelic clarity. I can’t remember much about some pretty key life events but though it is nearly 20 years since I first caught a fish with a fly I still recall the jolt of electric intimacy as though it happened this morning.

Each season you add new memories but last year, with the opening of the season delayed by the pandemic, the number of outings was reduced. That made it all the more important to replenish the dream hoard before the shutters came down again.

Recently I’ve been rounding off the fishing year with an early autumn trip to South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The island is

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