It was my goal to fly-fish by 30, and I started doing so when I was 29. Ever since, fishing has been my time to relax, away from family/work stress and my 3 children.
I did a lot of fishing on my own when I started off, and with my uncle who, in his 60s, taught me how to fly fish. My boys were not interested in fly fishing and I didn't join clubs because at the time (25 years ago) it was "gentlemen only".
So, whenever I could, I used to go to a lake in North Wales with my uncle and his friend. I also used to go to smaller lakes and fisheries on my own around the Chester area. My biggest catch was a 9 1/2lb rainbow trout on a Montana tied by my uncle.
I still have my first rod that is now 25yrs old, and the fly tying equipment I inherited from my uncle.
When we moved to France, fly-fishing was put on hold for a couple of years. This was mainly down to not knowing the lakes or the rivers. Then, I decided I would start again.
My middle son Lewis decided he would join me, after I once slipped on a bolder. Fortunately the water was not too deep, but I lost confidence. I am so glad he did as fishing is now our precious passion and time together.
I was given a lovely gift of an Orvis rod and wow, what a difference. We fish the local rivers in the Ariege. Fly fishing off float tubes in Lac Montbel is still new to us but can be fun.
We also fly fish for pike and carp but no success YET. This is a new adventure for us both.
People still look twice at me and look surprised at "a woman fishing" - not just fishing but "fly-fishing". I have had gentleman stop and give advice regarding flies, telling me to "use small ones" or “use black ones" but, interestingly, never what area to fish!!
For us it is not about how big or how many fish we catch, it's more about the quality time spent together, planning the day, fishing, sitting on the bank deliberating what fly to use whilst eating lunch, then the debrief on the drive home.
I could not do this if it was not for my son, who thinks scrambling up river banks is "fun".
We now have a special Mum and Son fishing bond (56 & 32), and many more fishing days ahead in the Ariege and beyond.