Dabble That Bob Fly: Lessons from “Der Kaiser” in Wales

In the “Desert of Wales,” he appeared like a tall drink of iced water. Even at 500 yards you could tell he knew how to fish. Striding toward the shore. Melding with the rain-parched tussocks in his beige chest waders. Oozing confidence. Master of his craft. He fished his way around the reservoir with a ruthless efficiency, dissecting the water, ignoring the areas he knew to be fishless, only a single exploratory cast in the others. Eyes always on the ripple for the hint of a rise.

Without a grain of sand in sight, the desert moniker given to the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales refers to the barren moorland stretching to the horizon in every direction. These uninhabited uplands are home to several reservoirs built by Victorian engineers to supply south Wales and the Midlands with drinking water. Having spent the previous three hours flogging every inch of one called Llyn Egnant to death, I sit in my car deciding whether to kip for an hour or neck a coffee and hit the water again. My mate, Steve, appears from around the other side of the hill we are parked on and follows my gaze to the fisherman now casting into the corner of the dam…

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