Holiday Sport

April 25, 2015

Swedish-camp-SLIDEROne of the joys of sport is the common bond with strangers, even when there is a language barrier. I’ve spent many hours in bars and lodges furthering foreign relations by playing the ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours game’. After all, we’re bound to have kit or kit envy in common, whether it’s fly boxes,trophy photos or guns.

The problem for many people is that, due to time and family commitments, a pure sporting break is something that’s always being put on hold. We wait until the kids are older, until university fees are a distant memory, work is less busy, the grandchildren don’t need babysitting…

We’ve deliberately built a range of trips that allow for both family and sporting time. Whether you fish, stalk or shoot we have something for you (and the rest of the family). And with the current exchange rates against the euro at a seven year low, there’s never been a better or cheaper time!

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Asturias Salmon
Forget trying to talk your better half into a week in Scotland where you might get the chance to have a cast for salmon, all you will probably get is mention of rain and midges.  It’s going to be a lot easier to suggest a week in Northern Spain with sandy beaches, sheltered coves and a mountainous back drop.

Little known as a fishing destination the region of Asturias, located about a two hour drive from the ferry port of Santander, offers superb salmon and sea trout fishing much of it on the dry fly. Our guide recently managed 23 salmon in one  day between 8 and 15lbs. The rivers are closed Mondays and Thursdays, but during June, July and August the rest of the week offers superb fishing.

If you’re more interested in a city break then stay with Spain and visit Salamanca. A UNESCO World Heritage site described as one of the most spectacular renaissance cities in Europe it has culture, cuisine and night life for everyone. Located about 2 hours West of Madrid, Salamanca is positioned on the river Tormez renowned for its prodigious mayfly hatches and numerous large, wild brown trout. Double figure fish being not uncommon.

If you’re looking for something a little different and don’t have the time or budget to go for bonefish, why not have a go for the European version, the barbel? Sight fished for with a dry fly in reservoirs, these torpedoes will give you some great sport and plenty of giggles.

Alternatively consider a few days in Tuscany, based in the stunning city of Florence we can arrange the chance to catch wels catfish on the fly. Sight casting at these monsters in the shadow of the Pontevechio  and then dining out in one of the thousands of superb trattorias makes for a heady mix of sport and holiday.
If neither of the above appeal how about Denmark? Better known for bacon, Lego and its pastries than fly fishing, Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula (all 11,496 sq mi of it) boasts two great lowland salmon rivers and a host of sea trout opportunities. Couple this with friendly locals, superb regional foods and a wonderful historic house hotel and you have the perfect makings for a quick get away  in this relaxing angler’s paradise well off the beaten path.
Another Nordic paradise with an underdeveloped reputation for fantastic fly fishing is Sweden. And with budget flights from London to Skellefta,  you be on the riverbank fishing for salmon within a couple of hours of boarding your flight. Long summer days leave plenty of time for exploring on bike or horseback. For the more adventurous, a trip to a Sami camp in the Arctic Circle, complete with epic helicopter and boat transport, can incorporate fly fishing for the wildest of trout as well as reindeer encounters.

For those who stalk, it’s hard to beat the family-friendly flexibility of Croatia. Whether you set off by boat to one the deserted islands in Croatian archipelago in search of mouflon, or climb the mountain behind your beach-front hotel in pursuit of chamois, you can be back in time for a dip in the Adriatic before supper. And with the lure sun-toasted Mediterranean beach to amuse them, the family won’t have missed you.
By its very nature, winged game tends to be found in more agricultural spots. Something about the hustle and bustle of tourist havens puts the avians off. So it can be a bit trickier to blend bird shooting in, but we’ve persevered with a few gems. Along with the well-known partridge in Spain, we offer quail in Croatia and ridiculously fast rock pigeon just outside Durban in South Africa.  This is one nut we’re determined to crack, and are always on the
lookout for more options.

Whatever the parameters of your holiday time, your sporting addiction or your bucket list, it is becoming ever easier to find a holiday destination that  provides something for everyone. We’ve created adventures based in tents, self-catering for the independent gourmets, pampering paradises of superb hotels, even luxe mobile affairs on a sporting train. There’s never been a better time to make foreign sport part of your holiday.


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