Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 72

naiveté on a river that beat him. The memory of the day, like a snapshot, he needed to keep to himself, because he feared that if he talked too much about it, it simply would lose its meaning. Sure, he didn’t catch a salmon. He was cold and tired and wet and needed a drink. But he was satisfied. The other reason he never said anything was that, as it turned out, he never got the time to.

The room erupted with a round of applause to the Yank for the effort. Cam was emotionless as he handed Mike a drink.

"You didn't tell me you were on military leave and chose to spend it here."


"That's right. This is my last bit of freedom before I report to BOLC at Fort Benning."


"I had a talk with your father Stan this evening while you were out. He’ s looking for you. You need to call him. The Army wants you back sooner than you planned."

FT Benning Georgia, Late September 2011


Mike opened the box marked AIR MAIL and pulled out an envelope.


Country House Hotel

Isle of Skye, Scotland


Dear Mike,

Thank you for the car. You were are right, it is a "beater" as you say but it can haul dogs and ghillies up and down the river and you are officially paid up at the Gil. It was a pleasure introducing you to Spey casting and our part of the world. I know the journey you are about to take. Let me offer you a piece of advice if I may. Some day you will have the money to hire a ghillie, the first rule is to let your fishing speak for itself. This ghillie doesn't want to know what you know or where you have fished or how good you think you are or what kind of fancy reels you've got. More than likely he has seen it all and, he will be better than you. The thing to do is to shut up and listen and to learn from him…then you can

buy him a dram or two at the end of the day. Simple things to keep in mind, simple things can take you a long way, son.

You dropped this at checkout. Your

father was right, it is a good quote.

In your brief time here, I think you

‘saw’ what you needed. In the box

are a few things to remember your

stay by. Enjoy the whiskey. It is not

Faeries piss but this Talisker will

carry you. And the other thing is


Good luck and God speed in your

days ahead.



Maj. Tom Cameron

Sandhurst Class of '60


Another thing. Do get to know your rivers intimately. It will make you appreciate what you achieve on them even more. The reason I fished with a lure is because, at that time of year,

on this river, in that weather and those tides…a lure is the only thing a salmon will snap at. I suppose I

should have told you that bit.


Mike paused to take in what that meant. He reached into the box and pulled out the gold spoon. The words, "Not Cheesy" now written on

the back. He couldn’t help but smile as ran it through his fingers, remembering everything about those days perfectly.

“Son of a bitch…” He said, thankful to Cam for the lesson.