Thanks for posting these pics
I know Pete meant well in his quote, as he fishes with Jeroen, so knows, understands and appreciates his heart felt humor and contagious energy.
Jeroen has spent over 10 seasons Salmon fishing the public waters on the Kola.
He knows who to connect with to minimize hassles, where to be, and when to be there to target the largest and brightest Salmon available ... And was willing to share that knowledge with a few lucky guys like myself.
I feel very fortunate to have been invited along.
Jeroen's on-going comment was "I cannot wait to see the look on your faces when you hook into a bright 30 pound Atlantic", and I know that one of the primary motivations for him was to give us the opportunity to share that very experience ... Because that's the way he is.
The waters we fished were not private camps <> They are public waters open to all as we have here on the Clearwater, the Umpqua, or the Manistee and you share bank space with anglers that gear fish as well as fly fish.
We did not stay in fancy digs.
We stayed with Russian families and local hotels. We all drank a lot, laughed a lot, ate well ... And although certainly the purpose for this adventure was to have the opportunity to catch large Atlantic's (And believe me, we fished our freaking brains out till our bones ached as we didn't come all that way just to sit on our arsh's !!!) ...
... But it also turned out to be an opportunity to share and experience just a small slice of life today with other Russian fly fisherman <> A life that has changed so dramatically from the Soviet/U.S. memories from both of our youths ... And I had only the most friendly of experiences with the Russian anglers that I met.
I don't know ... Call me sappy, but I thought that aspect of the trip alone was worth going back for to do again.
So I think Jeroen is right: It is personnel, and I will go back again with a bit of revenge in mind (hey I am a fisherman right ?!) ... But I know that I will primarily return for the whole of the experience itself.
... And maybe just maybe the Spey gods will give me the opportunity to actually kiss a 40 pound sea lice bright Atlantic at Junction Pool or Monica just one more time ... };^) ... !!!
I missed your flies I think by only a day or so ... But trust me <> They will go with me next Spring !!!