The trout season draws near for those that start on the 1st of April. For those hardy souls that can and do from the 15th of March then it’s already underway. However, nothing heralds the upcoming season more than the annual Wild Trout Trust Spring Auction.
The planning for this years lot began pretty much as soon as last years auction ended so successfully. I was chatting to Adam Rawson of Rawson Fishing and I asked if he could make a rod… in fact, could he make two rods, one for me and one for the WTT.
For anyone who hasn’t commissioned a rod from a rod maker I can’t recommend the whole process highly enough. To be involved and updated throughout and be as immersed as possible in that work is something I both enjoy and have taken into my own endeavours.
Together, we hammered out colours, textures, fittings and it’s in there, in the details that the true beauty of bespoke comes through. When you can tweak every single element from grip size to stripping ring, agate to wraps and, with Adam, that also included matching two glass blanks as perfectly and exactly as possible… that, ladies and gentlemen, is bespoke. To quote the late (and very great) Andrew Weatherall “It’s just that service you get from someone who loves what they’re doing.”.
So, we had the rod… but the flies and the book were down to me. Easy, you might say, but having cast the rod that Adam made all the other elements (my elements) had to live up to his achievements and I needed something, a spark… Enter David Burton/Phishtitz.
David is a long standing champion of my flies, a friend who also has the dubious honour of being my chief tester (you can read his testimonial here). That’s all well and good you might think, but he also has to put up with my occasional crackpot ideas turning up in brown envelopes for him to test/fish with my nigh on certainty that they’ll work… some do, some don’t.
Anyway, David was fishing (and catching) when he compared his fly box of my scruffy offerings to other fishers immaculately lined up troops. His exact words were “Your flies were so full of life compared to others” and there we had the idea/hook for the whole lot… the flies, the book and the rod had to be “full of life”. And obviously my first thoughts were “So what’s that in Latin then?”.
Enter the Latin scholars… Julia will no doubt do something very technical here and show you some screenshots of various Latin scholars that were asked to translate “Full of life”. My idea/translation was politely ignored and they got to work (and thoroughly enjoyed themselves). In the end, Felix alacrisque was decided on and so the lot had a name.
Fast forward to the 18th of March 2022 and the auction goes live. Huge thanks must and should go to Christina at the Wild Trout Trust for putting this whole thing together (not an easy task in these still uncertain times). Because, even though the world is an increasingly crazy place, the work that the Wild Trout Trust does is truly invaluable and vital, especially against all the current odds and difficulties we face… but, to end this post in the words of Andrew Weatherall “Fail We May, Sail We Must”.
All photographs © Rik Pennington 2022
Illustrations © Nigel Nunn 2022