Fly fishing

What is the “incurable addiction” of high society?

Where there is sport, there is adventure. Marina Gibson, fishing guru among the great and the good, is about to take a group of men to the Seychelles. The trip involves two small planes (after the big ones). “It’s a bootcamp,” she says. ‘We fish for giant trevally [bird-eating fish]. Also for bonefish, humpback parrotfish, triggerfish, permit – all on the fly rod. In simple terms, it means hunting fish in flight. Such an adventure does not come cheap. A week will cost you $12.5,000.

Queen Mother fishing for rainbow trout on the banks of the Waikato River in Auckland

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Gijs Sijpesteijn. founding partner of SteynWaters, which organizes bespoke sports trips around the world, says we should all take up fly fishing because of its mental benefits. “It’s all about patience, thinking about the elements of your career, the art of casting and ultimately humanity, whether you eat your career or release it into the river.” Natural elements must also be taken into account. Are they working for you or against you?

Where shooting is all about quantity, “with fishing I either went away for days and caught nothing or came back with 246 salmon (on 12 rods) on the East Anga River,” says Sijpesteijn. “Ultimately, the fish has a choice to take the bait or ignore it.”

The possibility of the “bite” is what keeps many people standing in cold water until the wee hours of the morning, says Fowler. “A real fisherman will answer ‘not yet’ to the question of whether he has caught anything, no matter how long he has not fished,” he says.

It takes much longer to get the dopamine hit, in other words, making the addiction almost incurable.