Shall we go fishing? and if so, where will we go !! but to Salvelinus, a Guiding company in the Spanish Pyrenees - the best Guiding Company that I have met having fished UK, Canada, Alaska and Patagonia.
We can start at the very best restaurant in the Pyrenees at Aren, a family ownership of over 300 years, with accommodation acceptable to anyone with it's A.C., complimentary bottle of wine on arrival as well as access to an in-house Sauna and Massage for the weary bones of the long distance traveller. Aren´s lodge has everything for the anglers and the travel companions. It is the "genuine article" as Hemingway would have seen it with its surroundings; Spain as she was and should be, children, boys and girls playing in the village square, locals sitting "en family" discussing what might or will happen as the sun sets, hunters returning from the mountains with trophies - there can be no better. The food! - we can start with an eight course tasting menu with unrestrained glasses of wine from premier vineyards fitted to our choice orchestrated by the owner Juan Antonio whose humour is a match for you and anyone. That is the beginning, and then we sit next morning to a breakfast overflowing with cheese, fresh fruit, hams and other meats, fresh bread and pastries and eggs served to your request and meet with our "Guides".
Alternatively, we can start at Ivan Tarin's Santa Cilia´s Lodge - great local food & accommodation in monastic buildings giving a sense of history within the surroundings of a simple village and looking over a river, the village full of the sounds of swallows and running water - as host, Ivan is very knowledgeable on "Classic" Spanish Wines and most persuasive in his serving ! but that is only the beginning - we are here on a 10 day fishing and cultural tour where we men do the hard bit, the fishing; and our ladies go with multi lingual guides to visit 11th and 12th Century Churches, Vineyards, local Restaurants and probably undertake some gentle shopping
Our fishing will take us to a complex of River, lakes and mountain creek fishing tailored to all standards; the guides, having previously scouted them all are able to present the fisherman with opportunities appropriate to his/her level of skill in superb surroundings - some sites can be challenging in approach to the mountains but that is all to the good - the effort is worthwhile. The Guides not only scout and guide but will care, feed and support you to an extraordinary standard. You may fish a limestone canyon one day with lightning fast "zebra" trout, the next to a broad river and follow on with a high mountain lake or stream.
2017 saw me netting fish greater than 3 kg in brown trout, wild rainbow, "zebra" trout, and barbel. I believe I netted more than ten on the majority of our daily excursions - enough to satisfy; with one enormous trout with a tail like a shovel - escaping the net!!!!!!! as Ivan was about to capture it.
At lunch, over a glass of wine, you may ask me why I keep been coming back to fish with Salvelinus ? - it is to be with my friends - Ivan, Juan Antonio, Aleix, Alberto, Serge, Javier, Aitor, Raluca, Maria Jose, Judit and other old friends like Ramon,so as to enjoy a unique combination of friendship and professionalism
I have fished many different waters with Salvelinus during my last 10 years - as a rough count not less than forty in areas, including National Parks, where rarely will you meet a walker let alone another angler; you will walk river banks marked only by the wild boar.
And finally, would you like me to tell you something more about my Salvelinus experience? - I have been wined and dined in the best restaurant in the World - a sunny day on a Spanish mountain overlooking the Pyrenees in the company of men whose friendship I treasure and fondly remember - Ivan, Ramon and the other Guides.
And I will say in God's own language "Diolch yn fawr" - Gallis for "much thanks"and that will never be enough.