Veteran Scottish angler Ian Bain (left) and getting-on-a-bit guide Skuli Kristinsson met up last week for their 21st season together on the East Ranga to share in this summer’s marvellous run of fish.
“Skuli was the first person I met when I arrived on the river all those years ago. He’s always been a great guide and a very good friend. It was really nice to have him for my guide this time too,” said Ian.
Ian’s five-day visit got off to a poor start after Iceland’s one-day heatwave, which reached 25c and turned the river grey with ice melt for nearly a couple of days, but he made up for it very quickly.
“In what amounted to little more than three days’ fishing, I had 26 fish, include four two-sea-wintered salmon, and Skuli added a few more. It was perfect timing really, apart from the start. We caught a lot of fish, lounged around on the bank drinking coffee and talking of old times. We shifted a few beers in the lodge and generally had a great time. All that I missed was a good cigar, even though I gave them up five years ago.
“When I first started on the East Ranga, I was 53, slim(ish), had brown hair and could wade across deep runs with relative ease. Now I’m 75, grey-haired, a bit arthritic, considerably overweight, have a new knee and hip and need a wading stick to stand even knee-deep in water. So I’m a bit restricted where I can fish, but that’s life.
“I know all the guides, most of the staff at the lodge, and a lot of the anglers. And, of course, I know the river. Visiting the East Ranga is like coming home to be with friends. Twenty-odd years may have passed, but what fun they have been!”
The East Ranga is producing the best fishing in years. Last Thursday, 147 were landed in what must be the best one-day catch for a long, long time.
PS: Ian, a professional writer, has just published his memoirs, Singing in the Lifeboat, available now on Amazon. The book includes quite a few fishing stories and has been widely hailed.