An Interview with Angler Marina Gibson
Atlas & I have partnered with the wonderful Riverford Organic who create plentiful vegetable boxes using seasonal produce farmed by dedicated, organic farmers. Riverford delivers fresh, seasonal, organic vegetables once a week from your local veg team, each week offers a varying box of seasonal vegetables. We have chosen to partner with Riverford because we strongly believe in championing organic farmers, removing GM crops and harvesting quality products over high quantity vegetables which aren’t organic.
In 2017 Marina quit her London desk job and moved up to Yorkshire to fulfil her lifetime passion, to fish in some of the worlds most renowned rivers and help to introduce newcomers to the increasingly popular sport.
According to the Angling Trust, more than three million people in Britain now like to fish and angling is one of their most popular sports, we wanted to get to the bottom of what drew her to this isolated yet rewarding sport.
How did you get into fishing?
My parents taught my brother and me to fly fish with a single handed rod from the age of around five, and we moved onto double handed rods when we were eight. It was my mother’s passion for salmon fishing that pushed us to do more.
What is your most memorable fish so far?
In 2014 I was invited to fish the River Spey. I was fishing a pool called Hollenbush on the Delfur beat; a location so magnificent I still have a perfect image of it in my mind. As my fly glided into the unknown I felt the tug. Before I had the chance to think I was down to my backing as this incredible fish shook it’s head. After a number of exhilarating runs she finally began to tire enabling my host Tom Mountain to net her safely. She was 15lbs, covered in sea lice and as fresh as they come. We released her safely in hope she would complete her journey.
We are often asked to source maps of certain rivers to commemorate a big catch or a favourite beat. What is your favourite river to fish?
It has to be the River Oykel in Scotland where my mother has lived since I was 12. I just feel so at home there, I caught my first two salmon there within 10 minutes of each other.
You do a lot of fishing abroad, what is your favourite international fly-fishing destination?
My best memory so far would be on my trip to Christmas Island last year (2017). It was the first time my other other, Edd Morrison and I had been fishing for giant trevally (GTs) AKA Gangsters of the Flats! It was hardcore fishing and not for the faint hearted! We walked on the flats for hours everyday, sometimes only stopping for a sip of water or soda to keep us going. The rewards were accentuated after working so hard! We caught many behemoth GTs, all on the fly, bluefin trevally, bonefish, milkfish and more. You can’t beat saltwater fishing - it equals sun, sight fishing, great guides and big, powerful, vibrant fish. It was so good, we are going back for more this March with a group of 10 anglers.
What is at the top of your fly fishing bucket list?
Although I have been to Argentina, last time I visited was predominately to play polo and I did 2 days of sea fishing whilst I was there. I would love to go back and experience golden dorado and sea trout and perhaps some dove shooting too, I need to save more in the piggy bank before though!
If you had to give one piece of angling advice for a newcomer to fly fishing what would it be?
To start up all you need is a rod, reel, line and a few flies - nothing fancy. One will discover that the more time you spend on the water the more you spend on your kit, but that will be down to your own budget – you have to be careful, though, it is a highly addictive passion! Wherever you are in the UK you are never more than a stones throw away from a fishery, whether it be a lake, river or sea. Google is our best friend, so use it. Just one more thing, perseverance - this particular trait will keep you coming back for more even after a hard day's fishing.
What would be your advice on buying a gift to someone who’s other half is a keen angler?
You can't go wrong with something sentimental, I bought an Atlas & I map for my Mother who is a keen fisherwoman. Sophie designed a map of her home river with a silhouette of her dog Sika, who sadly passed away recently. It was very emotional and there were a few tears shed.
Marina is now a freelance writer for fishing and hunting magazines, hosts trips worldwide, guides in the UK, hosts corporate days on the River Test, is a social media consultant for the London Fly Fishing Fair, an ambassador for the Atlantic Salmon Trust and fishes all year round with her Romanian rescue, Sedge. You could say she's permanently "Gone Fishing". For more information check out her website.