Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 52

The agent eyed him warily, flipped through the empty pages of his passport and asked, "Purpose of your visit?"

"Taking a break before the military gets me, if I’m lucky, a whole lot of salmon fishing..."

"Length of stay?"

“8 weeks.”

"Do you have a return ticket?"

“Yes.”

"Well then, good luck with your fishing and welcome to Scotland."

A82 Between Crianlarich and North Ballachullish, heading northwest to the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Mike was satisfied. He had made the right decision. The 1968, Trafalgar blue Morris Minor two door saloon now sailing through the Scottish highlands, east of Glencoe, was a thing of beauty. He had planned on hitchhiking around Scotland to save money but to his old friend and fishing buddy, Chick, he was being a jackass as usual.

"Mike," Chick had pleaded. "It's a road trip. No, it’s a fishing road trip. Don't be cheap. You're gonna

want a beater… Besides, you may have to sleep in it."

Now, his future was out there before him. He did not know what would unfold but the tinny sound of the engine and the sensation of being low to the ground told him that he had found the perfect ride to carry him, his Orvis Western series rod, Dan Bailey waders, Simms boots and camping gear to hopefully some of the finest stretches of salmon water in Scotland.

After relieving a starving student

at Stirling Uni of this little piece of English automotive history, the idea was to head out, first to the Western Scottish Islands and the Isle of Skye where salmon make relative short runs from the ocean into inland lochs. Then follow the coast north to explore the Inver and the Kirkaig rivers because he had read they were wild and remote and hard to fish. Then circle back down the spine of Scotland to the South, ending the 2 month odyssey with the possibility of getting on the Spey, the Dee or the Esk (North or South). But there really was no set agenda and other than buying a cheap used car, he had not prepared very well, if at all. Chick called him on it during their call the night before Mike left. "You're winging this trip aren't you?"