Marina Gibson’s fishing trips just wouldn’t be the same without a four-legged friend called Sedge.
As I’ve not been able to go fishing or guide over the past few months I thought I’d share the story of my fishing companion and partner in crime, who never leaves my side. Formerly known as Wes, he came from an online dog rescue charity in Romania. I paid £250 to cover his transportation to the UK, passport, neutering and microchip and he joined me in January 2017 when I was moving my belongings from London to North Yorkshire, and the rest, as they say, is history...
I decided to name him after one of my favourite trout flies, the Sedge, although during the early stages of getting to know each other, one thing I questioned was whether or not he’d enjoy fishing. Were his short legs going to cope with being on the river all day? Would he be a good swimmer? Our first week together coincided with my first spring fishing trip, on the River Dee. Sedge decided it would be a good idea to jump into the river on the Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo beat, but Martin Robson, the beat’s wonderful gillie, managed to grab him before he was swept away. He now wears a life jacket and it saved his life on the River Tyne last season when it enabled him to swim to the bank and avoid some rapids. He has travelled with me all over Britain, from the south of England to the north of Scotland, on London tubes and in pubs, for Casting in the Park sessions in Green Park — I had to keep my beady eye on him because of the pigeons — to Orvis headquarters and shop events, parties with friends, the Game Fair and even McDonald’s. I plan to take him on a fishing trip to Europe when we are allowed to travel again. The problem is that he hates being left behind and when I go abroad I can’t bear to leave him. On my return, it normally takes a few days to get his forgiveness.
Of course, I’m biased, but Sedge has the most unique character. He can be playful, resilient, chilled, protective, loyal, wise, attentive and has multiple personalities depending on the situation in which he finds himself. He also has the most incredible nose. When I’ve taken him shooting, time and again I’ve had to persuade people in the field that he really does pick up, and time and again he’s proven to be quite the little flusher, a snipe-finder, able to retrieve hen pheasant and anything smaller. However, what Sedge loves most are fishing adventures. After a few weeks of slow introductions, he began to fit into my lifestyle. He jumps into the car as I pack my kit and bounces out when we arrive at our destination, then he jumps up and down in the long grass before we get started. If I’m fishing with someone, he will go back and forth all day to see how everyone is getting on. When a fish is hooked, he rushes over before the net’s wet and slides down to the water, taking a dip to get a closer look. There have been occasions when he’s got so close to the fish that I’ve had to call him back to the bank, but it’s a learning process. Generally, he is very obedient and if he oversteps the mark, he is pretty good at not doing it again.
I really couldn’t imagine life without him. He keeps me amused on a daily basis and one thing’s for sure, he’s a ladies’ man. Every woman who meets him falls in love with him, which works in my favour because he always has willing babysitters when I’m away from home.
JO’S SEDGE CLOUSER
A few years ago, when I travelled to St Mawes for the UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival, my friend and expert fly-dresser Jo Stephenson (above) tied a Clouser minnow using some of Sedge’s bushy tail hair. Here’s the recipe: size 4 Partridge Sea Prince hook, Veniard GSP thread, pearl tinsel body, dumbbells eyes, and a tail and overwing made from a small dog’s tail fur.
Jo says it’s important to tie in the dumbbells just shy of halfway along the shank to allow the fly to swim properly. The next day we parted ways to fish in the saltwater fly festival. Jo tried the Sedge Clouser and caught a small pollock. Feeling that the fly might bag her a big bass and win the competition, she cast it out again and, sadly, it got wedged in rocks.