A Great 2004 For Fishing and Travel
I have just arrived home from my last trip abroad this year, then it all starts again in the next couple of weeks, when I will once again fly the Atlantic for my first big show of 2005 in Somerset New Jersey. A three day fly fishing show with Thomas and Thomas. My last trip of 2004 was to Dubai, to spend some time with my daughter Sharon, and her boyfriend Greg. I also done a spot of fishing. Greg has his own boat which didn't help as I fished the wrong tides, though I still enjoyed the experience Most of all I had a badly needed rest.
The past year had been one of my most hectic for a long time, some of my trips abroad lasting as long as five weeks. I had 2 trips to Swedish Lapland for pike, grayling and brown trout. 2 trips to the Bahamas where I hunted bonefish, sharks, barracuda and jacks. I made several visits to the east coast of America, where I attended various fly fishing shows with Thomas and Thomas. I did get in some fishing time for bluefish, striped bass and false albacore off the coast of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Apart from the fishing. I done several radio and TV shows, in between all this, I had to write some magazine features and shoot some pictures. I must say the Nikon digital SLR produces excellent quality pictures. One of my most memorable trips of the year was my a visit to the Catskills in New York State with a group of American fly fishers. As usual all my trips were a great success, and I had a lot of fun.
In August I attended the Junior World Carp Fishing Tournament in Ogdensburg in Upstate NY which was fished on the St Lawrence river. It was an excellent event and very well attended. In fact, it could not have been better organised. It was wonderful to see so many kids having some great days at the waterside, not only catching some big carp, but making new friends. Non of us will forget young Millie Mason of New Jersey catching a 44lb carp. Well done everyone. Sadly during the presentation evening I become quite ill, I was diagnosed next day as having a kidney infection. Having only one kidney it was a worrying time for all concerned. Thankfully the doctors and nurses in Waddington NY looked after me extremely well.
Oregon has always been one of my favourite places, and as I am not getting any younger I decided to visit some of my favourite places in this Pacific coast State. Kate and I spent four weeks with Cheryl and George Burgermeister either in their Portland City home or in their house on the coast with some fishing trips both on the ocean and rivers. I was able to have a good rest and build up my strength from my previous illness. We spent nearly four weeks in Oregon, before flying down to Denver Colorado for the Fly Tackle Dealers Show with Thomas and Thomas. This show is always an interesting few days even if it can be tiring.
It has certainly been a good fishing year for myself with three personal best fish, crucian carp of 3lb 3 ounces, Chub of 6lb 15 ounces, sadly not a seven which I so much desire and a barbel of 12lb 7 ounces caught when I didn't expect a single take. It was a full moon, heavy frost and a sky full of stars that sparkled like diamonds. My first double figure barbel from the River Ribble was another highlight. One of my special memories was helping Mick Holgate of Standish Lancashire catch a personal best chub of 6lb 7 ounces.
Christmas day was spent at the home of Sara and Chris Doyle where we were invited along with some twenty other guests for Christmas Day lunch. Everyone had lots of fun in the sun. The ex pats certainly enjoy themselves. Why not when the sun shines most of the year. We dined outside in shirtsleeves. No cooking the turkey and all the trimmings by Sara and Chris, they had arranged for a catering company to do everything, including keeping our glasses full. Not being able to drink alcohol, I was the driver. I suppose it was around midnight when Kate, Sharon, Greg and myself arrived home after a great day. Chris from Birmingham told me, he enjoys nothing better than catching barbel when he is at home in the UK. On his next visit home we will have a day on the River Kennet or Teme.
Sadly the year ended in a most disastrous way with the Tsunami devastation. Once again the poor people of the world have suffered another major loss of life. Two Sri Lankan brothers working in Dubai trying to improve their families lifestyle lost 43 family members. Just one young nephew survived. Some UK citizens sadly lost their lives, but for the majority, they only lost passports, wallets, keys etc. They had homes to return to, nothing like the local, who lost everything. I will be donating some of my speaking engagement and writing fees to the relief organisations.
Wouldn't it be great if we recalled our troops from Iraq, then sent them out to the disaster area to help with the rebuilding. I am sure our troops would welcome the chance to use their skills in building sewage and water treatment plants, getting the electricity up and running. In fact helping out wherever they can. Remember our troops are the finest in the world. No other servicemen can compare.
I was caught up in Hurricane Isis some years ago, I still remember from first hand experience the heartbreak of a major disaster. Have you noticed how these events always effects the poorer people in the poorer regions of the world, especially the woman, children and the old. I urge you all to go through your wardrobe and give away to the relief agencies all those cloths you no longer wear. These people want worry about the fashion stakes. Why not . make a donation to the British Red Cross and let us all show we really do care.
Finally I would like to say a big thank you to Simon and all the drivers at Classic Travel (UK) Ltd Tel 01254 820000 for getting me to the airport on time and being there on my return. to all the anglers, naturalists and fishery owners who I meet in my travels I say "Thank you for your advice, knowledge and help when needed". To you my readers and listeners thank you for all your E-mail's telephone calls items of news and pictures. Without you good people, life wouldn't be so interesting. A Happy Healthy New Year to you all