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Compleat Angling: Hampshire, England
By Jorgen Wouters
  |  Gorp.com

Anglers have been trying to fool fish with feathers and fur since Caesar's day. But it was the English who turned a quest for food into one of the world's most addictive pastimes. In southern England, just north of the Channel, lies the cradle of modern fly fishing: Hampshire. And chalkstreams like the Test and Itchen are its Tigris and Euphrates. Izaak Walton, the most celebrated angler in history, fished and wrote about these holy waters more than 300 years ago. Walton's The Compleat Angler remains one of the most frequently reprinted books in the English language since it was first published in 1653.

Thanks to careful management of these streams (read: private, ultra-exclusive water fished by appointment only) down through the centuries, old Izaak would still feel right at home. This is classic English countryside, a lush, serene, sylvan landscape laced by idyllic chalkstreams. And the wary brown trout that swim these streams offer anglers one of the supreme tests of dry-fly skills. Presentation and stealth are paramount. Beginners best try their luck elsewhere, since these fastidious trout won't give you a second chance if you blow your first cast. Remember, no wading, and dry flies only. Fished upstream, of course.


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