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Original Issue


Off the tip of South America, among the ghosts of wrecked ships and lost seamen, the bleak and windswept Falkland Islands provide the angler with some of the world's biggest sea-run browns

The Falkland Islands are situated in the South Atlantic, off Argentina. There, on a stony ridge above Skull Pass in the Mount Maria range, lie the bones of a sailor, picked clean a century ago by foxes and buzzards. Scraps of navy blue serge and some brass buttons are clues enough to his occupation and his lonely death. Three hundred and fifty miles to the southwest lies Cape Horn. Ship after ship, a hundred years ago, was beaten back from the Cape or, weathering it, made a desperate landfall on the Falklands only to be smashed on its reefs and headlands. From such a wreck, this poor man had somehow got ashore and scrambled as high as he could, searching for a sign of habitation. Finding none, he had died from cold and despair.

On the blue-sky morning that Syd Lee told me the story, he was wrestling his Land Rover across stone outcrops, through peat bogs and over high tussocks of grass to the Warrah River, which we could see shining beyond Skull Pass. It was so benign a day it was hard to believe that the islands could be cruel. The hills around us were surely the Big Rock Candy Mountains. Small flocks of upland geese, instead of skyrocketing out of sight on our approach, casually waddled away. They are peculiar fowl, so easily shot or brought down with a stone that they offer no sporting challenge whatsoever. In the grass there were wild Falkland strawberries that looked like double-sized raspberries and tasted like neither fruit but had a delicious flavor of their own. There were also delicate pink and white teaberries. And, as I had already discovered, the streams and rivers of the islands held magnificent trout, in particular some of the biggest sea-run brown trout in the world.

Even if he had had the strength or the means to catch them, though, the unlucky sailor commemorated in the name of Skull Pass could not have saved himself that way, for the trout is the most recent of all immigrants to the Falklands. Precisely when they established themselves is not known: an implantation of eyed ova from Chilean stock was made in the early 1940s and another batch, a gift of the Chilean government, arrived in 1947. There were further consignments from Scotland and England in the early '50s, but it was in 1954 that Falklanders, fishing in traditional style for a small, indigenous perchlike fish, with mutton for bait, started to catch trout.

To begin with, they were not especially impressive trout. They were slow growing and not very well nourished. A nine-incher, it proved, took four years to achieve that size. The Falkland rivers were acid and peaty, with little natural food. Altogether, it looked as if the trout were going to prove a bad bargain.

Then, on Feb. 25, 1956, Norman Cameron, wet-fly fishing in the Malo River, caught a 3½-pound trout. After that, the barriers came down. Within two years, trout up to 15 pounds were being taken. In the cautious words of an ichthyologist who came out from England to investigate the fishing, "These fish...appeared to have been feeding in the sea and resembled sea trout." Well, yes, indeed. Sea-run brown trout, brilliant silver, dappled with small black "x" markings that made them resemble Atlantic salmon. The Falkland Islands are surrounded by dense concentrations of krill, as well as immense schools of smeltlike fish. The small trout that local anglers had been catching before 1956 were unambitious stay-at-homes. But others had dropped downstream to the estuaries and the inshore waters around the islands, where a rich supply of food, hard to match anywhere in the world, awaited them. The same ichthyologist who had been so tentative in labeling the fish sea trout found that their condition was far better than that of sea-run browns in Britain.

The word was slow, very slow, to emerge in the world of angling. That was understandable. The Falklands, which consist of 202 islands, with a total area of 4,700 square miles, are extremely remote. Fewer than 2,000 people live there, principally on the main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland—Scottish and English sheep farmers for the most part—in one of the last vestiges of the British Empire. To some, the Falklands would be forbiddingly lonely. "An undulating land, with a wretched and desolate aspect," Charles Darwin called the islands in 1834. In the same year, Captain Robert Fitzroy, Royal Navy, commented tersely, "Admirably suited for a penal colony."

It is certainly true that the Falklands are not the Costa del Sol. Fronts build up over the Andes, cross Patagonia and 300 miles of cold South Atlantic to give the islands a kind of manic-depressive climate of sunshine and cloud that alternate bewilderingly. It is almost always windy, sometimes ferociously windy. There are exceedingly few trees and those planted and carefully nurtured. But the islands have a fragile, delicate beauty that is hard to put in concrete terms. The colors are muted greens and browns; the sky is constantly changing; the settlements are brilliant patches of red roofs and white walls. From them, faintly, comes the reek of peat smoke: the West of Ireland or the Scottish Hebrides transported 7,000 miles into the Southern Hemisphere. With, however, much larger sea trout.

No angling magazine carries advertisements for Falkland fishing. My own journey began, in unlikely fashion, at the Fly-fishers' Club in London, appropriately enough over a lunch of lamb chops. "Three sixty-five," said Sir Edwin Arrowsmith, an ex-governor of the Falk-lands, indicating my plate. "Three sixty-five. That's what they call lamb," he explained. "In the Falklands, they eat a great deal of it, you understand. You'll develop a taste for it in the end."

It was not easy, he told me, to reach the Falklands. For more than 100 years, Britain and Argentina have claimed them and until 1971 the only way to get to them was by sea, from Montevideo. Since then an air link has been set up between Comodoro Rivadavia, in the south of Argentina, and Stanley, the capital (and only town) of the Falklands. The plane flies once a week, on a Monday, but before you can reserve a seat on it you have to hold a special visa from the Argentine Foreign Ministry. This has to be obtained the previous Friday in Buenos Aires. Because you have to be there by the Thursday, it is best to leave New York on the Wednesday....

So, this way and that way, it took almost six days to make it to Stanley, where, naturally, the wind was blowing hard from the southwest. Stanley has one hotel, the Upland Goose, where I had planned to stay, having meditated also on the problems of getting to the rivers. Land Rovers were the chief means of travel, I had been told, and because there were no roads outside of Stanley, this meant proceeding at an average speed of around four mph over the wickedly rough terrain. It seemed as if the number of rivers I would be able to visit would be severely limited.

But there at the airport was Terry Spruce, chairman of the angling club and 14 years out from Liverpool. "You're on the Beaver in the morning," he said. "West Falkland. Chartres River." We drove past the Upland Goose. "No point in your settling down," said Spruce. "Joan has dinner waiting for you and your room is ready." There it was. The classic hospitality of remote places. The Falkland Government Air Service consists of two Canadian Beaver floatplanes that work their way around the settlements on an ad hoc basis, depending on demand. Using the Beavers, I'd be passed from settlement to settlement, wherever the fishing was good. "You'll be staying with Bill and Pat Luxton at Chartres, then June and Syd Lee at Port Howard. After that it's the Millers at Port San Carlos and the Greenshields at Douglas Station. Then I'll meet you myself for the last weekend on the Malo River. The club has a fishing hut there."

I boarded the Beaver next morning and told the pilot I had no ticket. "I'll bill you later," he said. He might also have told me that en route he was going to dive-bomb the settlement at Port Darwin with a mailbag. Suddenly losing altitude, roaring in at sea level, then shooting over the roofs so tightly that you could see where the shingles needed attention is in no way conducive to a calm start to a fishing trip. My heart was still pounding when we landed on the Chartres estuary and the pilot got out on the starboard float and paddled the plane over to where a man in hip boots was waiting to throw him a line. "Try not to frighten the trout when you take off," was the best parting shot I could muster.

Bill Luxton was waiting for me there: a problem had arisen. Long before, on the advice of Sir Edwin, I had arranged my trip to coincide with the end of sheep-shearing on the islands, the busiest time. But there had been two weeks of rain, and because it is impossible to shear wet sheep, Luxton still had three days' work ahead in the sheds. "Don't worry," he said. "My wife Pat will take you up to the river after lunch." I wasn't immediately worried myself. I had already seen the unmistakable leap of a sea trout in the estuary, 50 yards off a rocky point, and there was still time to fish before lunch. At the risk of appearing a little overeager, I set up my gear. Spinning gear. The main run of the tide, like the fish I had seen, looked well offshore.

I very nearly caught a sea trout with the first cast that I made in the Falklands. On my third or fourth a bright little fish of a couple of pounds hit the small silver spoon and went high in the air. I netted him and was going to cast again when, "Hey, mister, mister, over here!" It was a boy shouting. I looked to my left and the water was boiling with fish, well out of the tide run, in a small bay. I clambered over the rocks and threw the spoon across them, but even as I did, the sleek black shoulders and great cowled head of a sea lion broke the surface. He had a big school of trout well corralled and it was pointless for me to fish on. The sight itself was well worth the loss of fishing time. The sea lion ripped through the school again and came up with a broken-backed five-pounder. "You're not allowed to shoot 'em," the small boy said. He also told me his name was Trevor, that he had broken the handle on his reel but he would be 11 on the 13th of the month and he was hoping for the best. He further told me that he would take me fishing but that he would have to borrow my reel to show me how. "I'm here every morning," he said courteously.

There is one pool on every sea-trout river that, through the season, is more productive than any other. Often it is called the sea pool, though it is not tidal but the first pool above the tide's influence. The fish in it will be fresh from the sea, their saltwater instinct to hit a fly or a spoon still unabated. It was to the sea pool of the Chartres that Pat Luxton drove me after lunch that day, but I was quite settled in my mind that we were wasting our time. The wind had dropped and the sun had come blazing out; any sea trout in the pool was going to be cowering under whatever shade an overhanging bank could give. "I'll try the head and you can work up from the tail," Pat said. There was possibly 100 yards of fishing water between the two points. The water was dark and peaty, the river running full after the two weeks of rain. I had hoped to fly-fish, but this was spoon water. The trout would not be able to see a fly more than a couple of feet away.

I cast. In that glassy water, the quarter-ounce spoon hit like an artillery shell, a gross insult to any trout. Two turns of the reel—and my rod was pulled hard. A sea trout erupted. Three pounds. Twenty minutes later I had made no progress at all in making my way upstream toward Pat. I stood and cast and most times a sea trout hit. I landed four and lost as many again. It dawned on me what was happening. Fish were running up into the pool. But it was too bright and hot for trout to be acting like that. They should wait for dusk or full dark, like sea trout everywhere else. I stopped fishing and walked up to join Pat. She had a brace of three-pounders on the bank. All the fish seemed to run to a size—a single school of fish in the same year-class, no doubt, coming in from the salt.

"How often do you fish this pool?" I asked Pat.

"Oh, I think we came up here twice last year," she said brightly. I was fishing, plainly, over the least sophisticated sea trout in the world. When Pat explained that we had better start out on the hour-long Land Rover trip back to the settlement, so that she could get dinner under way, it was not too much of a hardship to consider that we would have spent about twice as long in traveling as in fishing. Tomorrow we would have more time, she said, enough to work upstream to the livelier water where fly-fishing might come into its own.

It didn't work out like that. As we walked in through the door at Chartres, Pat heard her name on the shortwave radio, which supplements the telephone in the islands and prattles away all day. "Four more for tomorrow night, is that all right, Mrs. Luxton?" The settlements in the Falklands fulfill one of the functions of medieval monasteries: they shelter the traveler without question. Pat finished her radio chat. "We've got a professor of geese, or something, from Aberdeen, and his assistant and two grass experts. I'll have to defrost the beef...." She trailed off into one of those silent, lip-moving feminine trances that signify complex arrangements are being worked out. It would be difficult to cope, I suggested respectfully.

"No, no," she said. "When we finish shearing we have Sports Week. I've got 29 staying; they'll be sleeping in the kitchen, the bathrooms, everywhere." Outside, the wind had picked up again, howling around the settlement. "Forty knots," Pat said. It seemed a precise estimate. "The living room carpet," she explained, "lifts at 40 knots." And indeed it was-shifting fitfully. "It only takes 20 knots, though, for the kitchen linoleum."

In the light of all this domestic pressure, it was understandable that next day's fishing would also be short—rooms to be readied in the morning, a mighty piece of beef to go in the oven early. And so, the next day on the Chartres River was something of a carbon copy of the first. A short assault on the sea pool, I think it was nine trout this time, the best a little over four pounds. That evening, naturally, we talked mostly about grass and geese, but Bill Luxton spoke once of the mighty runs of sea trout that had hit the Chartres from the late '50s on. "Even some of the small feeder streams were choked with big trout. There was a little pool the size of this living room, with fish of 10 and 12 pounds milling about with hardly room to turn. It was pointless to fish. We could pull them out by hand. Maybe that's why we don't fish very much now. Just take a picnic up to the river once or twice a year, fish for an hour or two, maybe." The size of the fish had gone down, by rapid natural selection. The Chartres was a small river; an average size of three pounds suited it better. And perhaps after 12-pounders they were anticlimactic.

But in one soul in the Chartres settlement, the Waltonian flame still burned brightly. Next afternoon the Beaver was to pick me up and fly me to Port Howard. In the morning I took a walk along the estuary shore. Young Trevor was there, as promised. "Where's your stuff?" he asked. When I told him it was at the Luxton house, he was away like the wind and back in a moment with the tackle. "Need some bait," he announced and was off again. "Here you go. mister." he was saying, back again in seconds with a small, bloody package. "Bits of mutton. You got a hook?" I had to concede that the only ones I had were attached to flies or lures. Resignedly he dug into his jeans. "Tie that on, mister," he said. "You'll want a float as well, I suppose." From his other pocket he produced a giant, egg-shaped bobber. "I'll tie that on myself." he said. "It's the only one I've got."

When the gear was rigged, he told me to cast about 20 yards out. Almost immediately the bobber joggled and darted away. I tightened up and missed. "What's your name, mister?" Trevor asked. I told him. "All right, Clive," he said, "you better let me do it." Trevor took over. Inside a minute the spinning rod was dancing and shortly he was beaching a golden fish of a pound or so. "Plenty of mullet here, Clive," said Trevor. Apparently abstracted, he rebaited and cast again himself.

I looked at the fish on the beach. There was something mullet-like about the head, but it had a dorsal fin that ran almost its full length and very large, fanlike pectorals. This was, I was in no doubt, Eleginus falklandicus, of which Leslie Stewart, the English ichthyologist who had investigated the sea trout, wrote that specimens of up to 20 pounds had been recorded and that "the larger fish, when caught on rod and line, fight as well as Atlantic salmon." A big claim and one that the little fish that Trevor and I caught in abundance for the next hour could hardly prove. The biggest that Trevor had ever caught, he said, was a five-pounder, which we came nowhere near that morning.

"Got to go for smoko now." he said, ending the session and carefully recovering his hook and float. Smoko? Trevor wasn't even 11 yet. Only later did I learn that this was the Australian-derived Falkland word for any kind of midmorning break, smoking being forbidden in the shearing sheds.

Trevor walked off, a diminutive, reelless fisherman. I hoped that things would go well for him on his birthday on the 13th and it was hard not to leave one of my own reels with him. But I had a week of trout fishing ahead and only a single spare if anything went wrong.

At Port Howard, later in the day, Syd Lee's son was waiting for the Beaver in a dinghy; the jetty on wheels that they normally ran out for the plane had been carried away on a high tide. There were the same red roofs and the same white houses as in Chartres, and as in all the settlements, small gardens ablaze with flowers from home and neat vegetable plots. "And so, Syd, how is the fishing going?" I asked him when we got to the house. Well, truthfully, it seemed that it had been a few months since he was up on the Warrah. We'd just have to go there and find out.

It was another jouncing, rocking Land Rover trip, a two-hour one to the lower reaches of the Warrah, over wild country and across Skull Pass to the river, on a beautiful day. While he drove, Syd told the story of the sailor on the mountain and of an 85-year-old man who lived alone down on the estuary of the Warrah, had lived in the same shepherd's house for 50 years. It was four years since he had visited the settlement, nearly 40 years since he had been in Stanley. He was entirely self-sufficient except for tea and sugar and oddments that Syd took him occasionally. So self-sufficient, indeed, that a few years earlier, catching flu and deciding that his last day had come, he had got rid of all the food in his house and laid himself neatly on his bed, arms folded across his chest, reasoning that when he didn't answer the phone in the next day or two, somebody would be out to look. In the morning, however, he felt much better and very hungry. There being no food, he went out and shot a sheep. The Falklanders are a pragmatic race.

Naturally enough, Syd had headed the Land Rover for the sea pool of the Warrah. In a situation where you have an enormous plenty offish and virtually no angling pressure, it is difficult for sophisticated fishing methods to develop, and for that day, certainly, it was again necessary to go along with spinning. The Warrah was a bigger river than the Chartres, admittedly, and with the wind getting up and blowing straight into your face, it was impossible to cover more than a small fraction of the water with a fly.

And sea trout were running, it was clear, under the far bank. Both Syd and I were into good fish as soon as the thin, lightly dished spoons hit. Back at the settlement that evening, my fish went 8½ pounds, Syd's a little under that weight. There were big trout running; we had thought that eight-pound-test line would have been sufficient to handle them. Not so. In a short spell, no more than 15 minutes, Syd and I were each broken twice by fish that ran strongly to the tail of the pool and sounded. The line seemed to part under less pressure than either of us expected. We were slow on the uptake. Not until the fourth fish had been lost did we notice that the last foot of line was perceptibly abraded. The bottom of that pool was pure glacial boulder. It was virtually impossible to prevent big trout from getting down among the stones.

One more day left on the Warrah, which is named for an extinct mammal, the Falklands wolf-fox, the last of which was shot hereabouts in 1876. Shearing again. Syd could not spare another day himself but managed to find me a driver. No sea pool this time, I thought, and on this occasion we made an even longer journey to a place Syd had told me of, higher up the river. It turned out to be a pool of at least 400 yards of trout-holding water, falling away at the tail into a series of bubbling pots in which fish would naturally rest on their way upstream. At last I had come upon excellent fly water. The pool was called simply the Long Hole; Falkland rivers have not yet reached the stage of named pools.

At the pool's head, the water came down in a smooth glide. For maybe an hour I took nothing but small brown trout on an orthodox Black Spider ribbed with tinsel, and there was the nagging feeling that it was a mistake to have risked everything on the fly rod. The previous day, Syd and I had taken more than 40 pounds of trout on spoons. Maybe the fish were just too big to concern themselves with a few fibers of black hackle. But then, as I worked down to where the river narrowed, there came the classic violent strike and a five-pounder was catapulting out of the water so wildly that for the first 30 seconds it would be idle to pretend I had any serious contact with it. And so downstream. No fish as big as those of the sea pool the previous day; the best were somewhat under seven pounds, but there were many takes, and eight fish were landed in all and several others threw the hook on the first jump. At Port Howard, the bag went more than 35 pounds—a magnificent day's trouting.

At this juncture, I have to admit, I relaxed somewhat. The Beaver took me next day to Port San Carlos. Low clouds settled heavily on the island, and eschewing the river, I headed out to Paloma Beach—white sand, gray mist and sea, white breakers—to the surrealist scene of thousands of penguins, a straggling army, marching from the sands to their rookery. As if to upbraid me for this piece of truancy, the San Carlos River yielded me precisely nothing on the following day when I went there to fish. It was disappointing but I was not greatly disturbed. I still had in reserve the Malo, which had the reputation of being the finest of Falkland trout rivers. On my first day in Stanley, Terry Spruce had shown me photographs of a brace of Malo trout, each of which went over 15 pounds, taken on fly the previous season. And it was near where the fishing club had its lodge that one of the island's small garrison of marines had taken the current record, a 20-pounder.

The plan that Terry and I had made was simple. He would drive up to the fishing lodge from Stanley, a racking three-hour trip covering some of the roughest country in the Falklands. Meantime, the Beaver floatplane would put me down as close to shore as possible and as high up as possible in the Malo estuary. I would wade to shore in my hip boots, leave my luggage above the high-tide mark and then walk the mile or so to the lodge. Afterward, the Land Rover would pick up my gear.

The pilot, I learned later, was meant first to have flown low over the fishing hut to show me its location. This slipped his mind. He was also several degrees off in the direction he headed me when he dropped me off. At this time, it was the middle of a day of burnished sunshine. I kept my boots on and took a rod and a fishing bag in case I was at the lodge ahead of Terry and could steal a march on him.

A march is what I got. It was an hour before I began to suspect that anything was wrong. I must have traveled a mile in an hour, I reasoned, even though the going was slow over rocky, uneven ground and high clumps of grass. The watercourse where I had been landed was part of a delta-like complex, and obviously not the mouth of a single river. There were two distinct ranges of hills on the horizon and under one of them, clearly, the Malo had to flow. Because the Malo was the biggest of the island's rivers, it seemed logical to head for the higher range. It appeared a long way off but the undulating ground probably hid the river from me. I calculated that I would probably hit it well before I came to the hills. So I pressed on.

After two more hours of walking and changing course in case I was headed too far upstream, I was fairly certain I was lost and at this stage I should have backtracked to where I had been dropped off, and sat on my luggage until the Land Rover came. But maybe that, after all, was a little foolish. The Malo had to be under those big hills. Once I hit it I could walk downstream until I found the hut, which was just above the tide line.

Four times I thought I had found the river. Each time it proved to be a broad, blind creek with the tide running up it so strongly that I had to make a wide detour to cross it. I was beginning to appreciate the wildness of the islands, to have a different perspective from the one I had when flying over them in a Beaver or riding in a Land Rover back to the security of a settlement. Nearly 5,000 square miles and only 2,000 people, the great majority of whom lived in Stanley.

The sun was hot at first and the turned-down boots were proving a curse, but there was plenty of water to drink in the brooks I crossed, although bitter-tasting and peaty. I tried not to consider the chance of a dead sheep in the stream. I crossed emerald-green bog holes and curious plateaus of peat, climbing ridges of a couple of hundred feet, hoping to get a glimpse of the river, then descending again. I had been carrying my jacket so far. Now, after the sun began to lower and my watch showed I had been walking for about five hours, the Falkland Sou'westerly sprang up and I put my jacket on. In the clear air, the mountains seemed no nearer. About then, for the first time, I thought of the sailor above Skull Pass. Absurd, of course. But when I came to the next creek I went well above it rather than wade. If I had to be out all night I didn't want wet feet. It was already getting cold. Later I twice fell into holes in the peat and the second time I thought I tore a muscle in my left thigh. It became painful to walk and I was now looking around for a sheltered place to spend the night. The two previous nights, after a hot day, there had been sharp frosts.

I made it to the top of the next rise and then, not entirely believing it, I saw a telephone pole and heard the wire singing in the wind. In the Falklands, Lord bless them, they paint the poles white, and now I could see them, marching away across the next hill. They might have led to Stanley, for all I knew, an impossible 30 miles away, but for the moment I was well content to be in touch with an artifact. I stayed with the poles over the next two hills, going more and more slowly, stopping to rest frequently. And then across the next valley, the white walls glowing pinkly in the evening sun, I saw a house.

It was not far, but it took me an hour to get there, long before which I realized that no smoke came from the chimney. The door hung open, though, and inside was a stove and a pile of cut peat. A shelter for shepherds who came that way when the sheep were being gathered in. I was luckier than the Skull Pass sailor. Oddly, it was several minutes before I realized that if I had been following telephone poles, then there had to be a telephone. Not that it would be connected, of course.

It was on the wall, an antique instrument with a handle to twist. I picked it up and twisted. Nothing. I twisted again, more violently. "What number are you calling?" a voice said brightly.

I had the stove going well by the time Terry picked me up around 10 p.m. In the darkness, it took us two hours to drive to the fishing lodge and when I awoke in the morning my left knee was football-sized.

(Later we figured I had covered close to 14 miles. For the first time in my life, on the last night I was in the Falklands, I had a record dedicated to me. It was These Boots Were Made for Walking. The request, the local radio station said, came from "numerous" sources.)

The best fishing in the Malo, where the 15-pounders were caught on fly, is in a steep, rocky gorge. With my knee, there would clearly be no gorge fishing for me, and my Falkland fishing looked to be ending on a low note. I could haul myself as far as a shingle beach along which trout might run with the tide, but the prospects did not seem good. Unlike the Chartres and the Warrah, there was little fresh water running down the Malo and few fish coming in from the sea. Oddly enough, I did almost catch one of the Malo monsters. It jumped three times before it threw the spoon and both Terry and I had a good look at it. A conservative 12 pounds, we reckoned. I took two smallish trout later and that seemed to be the end of that.

It was not. We toiled back to the lodge, and when we reached the pool below it, we could see the swirls of heavy fish and the bow waves that they were putting up in the shallow water. "Mullet," said Terry. "We take a lot of them here. Want to try?"

"No mutton," I responded. I hadn't forgotten my fishing lesson from Trevor.

"No mutton needed," Terry said. "Just a small spoon and a couple of diddle-dee berries."

The silver diddle-dee bush grows everywhere in the Falklands. It has small red berries. Terry now proceeded to adorn each point of my treble hook with a diddle-dee berry. "Mullet love anything red," he said.

The bow waves of big fish followed my lure several times before one hit. And then there was a massive, brick-wall resistance, just like a salmon's, a huge golden swirl on the surface, a crashing leap and then my fish, quite suddenly, seemed to be 50 yards downstream. It was 20 minutes before it was close enough to beach. It went 15 pounds on the club scales. To completely endorse the salmon comparison I would have to catch more. But they are very hard fish to land.

"I hate this drive back to Stanley," Terry said, as we were climbing a scarp of loose stone on the way home.

I looked at him incredulously. "It beats walking," I said.