Brown Turkey Syndrome
You will be familiar with this. Head Ghillie (HG) has spent weeks tying just the perfect range of flies for the particular river and stretch of water you are going to fish. One in every size and colour and yet more variations on each theme. He’s even packed the ‘travelling’ fly tying kit (just the one trunk) in the event that the remote location of the cottage precludes and any evening revelries.
With Fishwife in tow, HG excitedly gets to the river on the first morning to meet and greet the guide. HG opens ten fly boxes, simultaneously, with a flourish, and asks the guide which of his fantastic creations will prove to be The Killer. The guide sucks the air in through his teeth, and says, “Aye, have you got a Brown Turkey? Fish are only touching those at the moment, nothing else.” Hiding a distinct shudder, HG asks directions to the nearest tackle shop. “Aye, that’ll be in Greater Yonder – about an hour’s drive from Nether Yonder.”
With his usual impatience and overriding need to actually get down to fishing, HG refuses to believe that his creations will prove anything other than irresistible to the local salmon and sea trout population. So in he wades, with the aforementioned ten boxes, and makes his way down the first pool, changing flies after every three casts. Nothing. The second pool proves as fruitless. And the third.
After an excellent bank-side three course lunch (Fishwives have their uses), it is unilaterally decided to take a trip to the tackle shop in Greater Yonder and track down some Brown Turkeys. Stuck behind three caravans and a whole host of juggernauts on their way to the ferry, the luckless angling duo reach the shop with minutes to spare before closing.
“Aye,” says the assistant. And then, “Aye” again. “Brown Turkey. Hmmm. They’re very popular at the moment. We sold the last three this morning, I’m sorry to say. You could try Donald’s Tackle in Further Yonder, but I think ye’ll find the same thing.”
Of course, the moral of the story is never to travel unprepared. But even with the best will in the world, Brown Turkey Syndrome will always catch you up….
Besides the most obvious (rod, reel, line, waders, Sudoku book), here is a list of our absolute travelling essentials:
Corkscrew and bottle opener
Wader repair kit
Aquapac Waterproof Pouches (Blackberrys and car zappers don’t like water much)
Very sharp knife
Fish freezer bags (optimistic, but the local supermarket will only have tiny ones)
Bug/midge net and repellent
Corkscrew dog tether (if you have a dog)
If you are of the cooking persuasion and have a few minutes to spare, here is Prue Coats’s list of essentials for the fishing holiday cottage kitchen. We’re not sure if she’s having a laugh or not …
Sharp knives, including cook’s knife which can double as a carving/bread knife, your favourite pairing knife and a filleting knife
Heavy frying pan
Cast-iron enamelled casserole
Magimix or similar food processor
Electric hand beaters (optional). Very useful and they don’t take up much room
Chopping board – even a small one is invaluable. Countless times I have searched in vain on arriving at our holiday cottage to find the only thing to chop on is the small round bread board, which you want to use for bread anyway
Tin openers and corkscrews are usually provided, but if you have a favourite one, take it
Lidded plastic lunch boxes times number of guests plus some extra for the spur-of-the-moment invitee
2 or more large Thermos flasks
Cold box and/or insulated bag
Paper plates, napkins, cups, plastic cutlery. Optional, and only if you are desperate to cut down on the washing up. But unecological.