My father came to visit us in Kenya, where I was working for Reuters. He’d heard there was a fly-tying factory in Nairobi, and we visited it and ordered boxes of patterns so he could use them in England, where he was fishing the River Rother in Sussex. The names fired my excitement as much as the possibility of going fishing in Kenya. Royal Coachman, Watson’s Fancy, Prince, Peter Ross.
So I bought myself a fly rod on my next leave visit to England, and went fishing in Kenya as soon as I got back. I found the river Gatamayu through a friend. and went there and met an elderly Kikuyu fish scout called James Muchiri Kimotho, who was to change my life. He taught me how to fish, just as he had taught dozens of people to fish since and before Kenya’s independence. He was employed by the government to watch over this little river an hour’s drive from Nairobi. I became friends with him and his family and we explored many, many rivers in Kenya over the period of his life, which ended peacefully in 2011. He was 83 years old.
This picture shows my first two Kenyan trout, beautiful brownies caught in a little waterfall where the river runs through tea and maize. And I brought them home and posed for this picture with my daughter Delia, wearing an Ethiopian dress I had bought for her in Addis Ababa. It was a very special day, made sadly more memorable by the fact that a visitor that day drove over my new rod and broke it for good. It was to be a long time before I fished in Kenya again.