In­ter­view

Pe­ter Mcleod

Sportfishing Adventures - - Content -

While at­ten­ding the first edi­tion of the Eu­ro­pean Fishing Show in Bris­tol, we had the time to sit down with Pe­ter Mcleod for an in­ter­view. Pe­ter has been fly­fi­shing since he was 6. Af­ter years of gui­ding he foun­ded his own fly fishing tra­vel agen­cy, Aard­vark Mcleod, in 2009. Over the last 20 years, Pe­ter has fi­shed all over the world and has since then acquired ex­ten­sive know­ledge about fly fishing and in­ter­es­ting sto­ries to tell.

Let's start with hard one. What's the first fish you re­mem­ber catching ?

My fa­ther used to fly fish. I re­mem­ber he had a nice car­bon fi­ber rod. He found an old “tank ae­rial” rod for me to use which was made of steel, with a woo­den handle and an old fly reel. I re­mem­ber mes­sing around with a dog nob­bler fly, trying to get my line out, and thin­king fly fishing isn’t much fun. I was ha­ving a hard time lear­ning to cast and I was ve­ry di­sap­poin­ted. I was like “this is rub­bish! I want my float and my bam­boo rod!” And then sud­den­ly, I wat­ched the line slip­ping out through the rings of my rod. I im­me­dia­te­ly set the hook and I was on a real­ly nice rain­bow of about 2.5lb. The reel had no drag and the line was lit­te­ra­ly roa­ring off, but from that point, all the spin­ning rods and floats went out­side, and all I wan­ted was a nice fly reel and rod. I was pro­ba­bly 6 at that time. It has been a hor­ren­dous ad­dic­tion ever­since !

What your fa­vo­rite des­ti­na­tion and why ?

First of all, I’d say I pre­fer salt­wa­ter fishing, be­cause of the spe­cies va­rie­ty, and the fact that you ne­ver know what’s swim­ming around the cor­ner. And it al­so means I need to have lots of gear. Who has the most toys wins. It’s an ex­cuse to have a 7 wt rod, a 9 wt, and a 12 wt. Con­cer­ning the des­ti­na­tion, I think it would be Pro­vi­dence Atoll, in the Seychelles. It’s so un­tou­ched, so vir­gi­nal. A com­plete wil­der­ness. There’s li­te­ral­ly whole sec­tions that no hu­man beings ever wal­ked on, and it’s co­ve­red in fish : GTs, Par­rot­fish, milk­fish, trig­ger­fish, bo­ne­fish, you name it ! I’ve been there twice now and I still need to go again, more ex­plo­ra-

tion needs to be done over there.

Do you think Sportfishing tou­rism like you do can help pro­tect en­dan­ge­red spe­cies ?

Yes de­fi­ni­te­ly, wi­thout a sha­dow of a doubt. Those people who care en­ough about what we do, they’re so pas­sio­nate about it. You so­me­times hear people say “You’re a fi­sher­man, you’re da­ma­ging the en­vi­ron­ment” but as long as we catch and re­lease, we’re not. Ac­tual­ly we’re the big­gest ad­vo­cates for loo­king af­ter the en­vi­ron­ment. If you look at the amount of mo­ney in­ves­ted by fi­sher­men in that sport, that alone is an ob­vious ans­wer. Look at all the conser­va­tion funds, most of the mo­ney co­ming in­to these or­ga­ni­za­tions come from fi­sher­men. I just wish we lear­ned about pre­ser­va­tion much ear­lier.

Do you ever use spin­ning or bait­cas­ting reels or do you on­ly use a fly rod ?

No. The rea­son why ? I don't have any pro­blems with people who use them, I’m just crap at it ! As a co­arse fi­sher­men I can use a fixed spool rod with a float, but bait­cas­ting reels ? I just can’t cast. I can do stuff with my fly­rod I wouldn't be able to do with a spin­ning or bait­cas­ting reel !

Like eve­ry fi­sher­men, I am sure you have a good sto­ry about “the one that got away". What's yours ?

This is the part where I tell you I’m a lou­sy fi­sher­men ! Se­rious­ly, I was fishing in Far­qu­har a few years back, on an Is­land cal­led De­pose. It’s a big sand is­land, and the flats ba­si­cal­ly drop in­to the ocean. So right at the bot­tom of low tide we got down there. You could see the white sand slip away in­to the blue with the cur­rent. I was stan­ding there and I saw what I thought was an en­or­mous ray with a GT over it. I put my fly out and I rea­li­sed it wasn’t an en­or­mous ray, the whole thing was one GT. When they get huge they get to­tal­ly dis­pro­por­tio­nate, the tail is much smal­ler than the rest of the bo­dy, like a huge head and with a lit­tle pro­pel­ler on the back, and they move ve­ry slow­ly. This one la­zi­ly came af­ter the fly, and at the last se­cond the fish came out of the water and his head was on the co­ral bum­mie, in front of me with its mouth open. The fish mis­sed the fly, I screa­med and fell ba­ck­wards ! The mons­ter swam away to­wards my guide who es­ti­ma­ted it about 1,40m ! We’re tal­king about a 120-130lb fish. So that’s not real­ly a fish that got away, but it’s a ve­ry close en­coun­ter and it still gives me night­mares.

Do you have a dream des­ti­na­tion you ha­ven’t been to yet ?

I would real­ly like to go to Tsi­mane in Bo­li­via and fish for do­ra­do. The rea­son why I've ne­ver been there is be­cause I em­ploy Steff (Stef­fan Jones). He’s one of the first that went over there, and he knows the place ve­ry well. He does all my la­tin Ame­ri­can fishing. I would love to go in the jungle catch these huge do­ra­dos !

One last ques­tion. What’s your fa­vou­rite fish ?

You know I want to say GT but I’m trying to be ori­gi­nal ! Real­ly, GT is my fa­vo­rite be­cause they're pro­ba­bly most bru­tal fish in the ocean. I al­so love trout fishing. Trout is an ho­nest fish. And I love bo­ne­fish al­so. They eat if you present the fly cor­rect­ly, and they’re good figh­ters, es­pe­cial­ly on light ta­ckle.

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