Fishermen are privileged. We get to see beautiful places, meet wonderful people and, every now and then, our efforts with rod and line are rewarded.
This spring, everything is different. Something we can’t see, hear or smell, has changed our world. We can’t travel, we can’t meet and we can’t pursue our favorite sport. All due to a virus.
I’ve just had to cancel the highlight of my flyfishing season: My annual week fishing the wonderful Ballindalloch beat on the Spey, accompanied by great chums from both sides of the North Sea. If you have ever visited this estate, located between Aberlour and Grantown, you know what a gem it is. If you have been fortunate enough to fish their beat on this famous river – including the extraordinary Junction Pool – you know their water is second to none in the salmon fishing world. So, calling my week off, just a month before I was supposed to go, breaks my heart. Ballindalloch has become a home away from home.
At the same time, it was the right thing to do. We all need to do our bit, in fighting this virus. It is not about you and me now – it is about us. We can and we must handle this situation together. That is the only way.
All of you have a Ballindalloch somerwhere. A home away from home. A place you can’t imagine a fishing season without visiting. Yet, that may be out of reach for a while. Because all of us will have to change your plans this spring. Maybe even this summer and, if the worst case scenarios are correct, this autumn, too.
We’ve got some rough times ahead of us, but hey – we’ve been through rough times before. I will return to Ballindalloch, and the other near and far places I love, as soon as I can. As soon as it is safe. Safe for everyone. As should you, to your Ballindalloch, in order to support them and to recharge your batteries. Piscator non solum Piscatur!
Oh, another thing: I just noticed that a few salmon fisheries in Scotland are now closing…until further notice. I suspect more will have to follow, also in this country when our season begins. But who knows…maybe, at least, it is good news for the wild salmon?