On Skues’s Water

Here’s a photograph of the Itchen River, in Hampshire, England. The photo is a plate from Frederic Halford’s An Angler’s Autobiography, and shows the Old Barge beat, where G.E.M. Skues developed his theories of nymph fishing. The smooth, weedy currents made for some very difficult fishing, especially given the heavier diameter gut leaders of the day. Interestingly, Halford and Skues were friends after first meeting each other, but that friendship dissolved over time as Skues pursued his nymphal studies and Halford became deeply entrenched in a dry-fly-only mindset. Even today, in certain circles, dry fly versus nymph still stirs debate…