Fly Fishing with Tony Entwistle
THE END OF A GREAT RUN
There are not too many ways to say it really … other than, “I am pulling the pin on my guided trout fishing business, as of this 31st March. I am retiring from guiding”. Done and dusted.
Regrettably, the impact of Covid-19 on tourism businesses in New Zealand, especially those that rely heavily on overseas tourists, has been traumatic. I have been lucky this past season to have had some good support from Kiwi anglers, which has helped in difficult times but isn’t enough to sustain the business. Our government has made it clear they will not re-open New Zealand’s borders to visiting tourists until such time as they feel it is safe to do so. While there is hope of a ‘travel bubble’ with Australia and some Pacific Islands before next Christmas, the government has also indicated it does not expect to re-open borders for North American and European tourists until at least June 2022. That for me is simply too long to wait. Too much time, too much uncertainty, too much anxiety, too much financial strain.
But let’s not be too sad. Yes, it is the end of a fantastic adventure and a great run, but all good things come to an end. In truth, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had a guiding career that lasted this long … 41 years. Initially, I enjoyed the adventure of exploring new waters and helping bring the upper South Island region to the attention of anglers worldwide. Ultimately however it was more about connecting with people. It will be difficult adjusting to no longer meeting the wonderful anglers I have been privileged to spend so much time on the water with over so many years. While fly-fishing was the glue that brought us together, it was the pleasure of meeting so many amazing people along the way that ‘kept me in the game’ for so long. Looking back we enjoyed some brilliant fishing moments, some heartbreaks and losses, and made more excellent fly-fishing memories than any angler/guide ever deserved to make in a lifetime. Thank you all for that.
With retirement, there is one thing that will remain constant though … I will still be getting out on a stream somewhere on a regular basis. I’m looking forward to more recreational angling with friends and exploring parts of New Zealand that I have never had the chance to fish. And, while I won’t be guiding anymore, I still plan to continue teaching and mentoring Kiwi anglers who want to learn or improve their fly-fishing skills via a range of clinics and courses … so watch this space.
You all know that I love a good fishing quote, so in signing off from guiding, here are a few favourites that seem somewhat appropriate at this time;
“I frankly don’t make much of a living, but I make a hell of a life.”
“I used to like fishing because I thought it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it’s the one thing I can think of that probably doesn’t.”
“They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re just not such a big deal anymore.”
“The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able.”
-Sparse Grey Hackle
I look forward to remaining in contact one way or another and hope our paths cross again on a river somewhere.
Proud to be a Life Member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association
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