It could be said that fly fishing is an acquired taste that once established knows no cure. Nothing is quite as thrilling for the country sportsman as laying a perfectly straight line across rushing, deep water and within seconds feeling the sharp snatch and tug of a large fish as it takes the fly.

There are three main types of fly fishing in Britain: salmon, with a season that runs approx from mid January to the end of October, brown trout with a season that runs from mid March to early October and sea trout that may be fished from mid March to October.

Be aware that the seasons can vary depending on the water and the geograhical location. The availability of excellent grayling fishing and stocked rainbow trout lake fishing means that fly fishing is available all year round in most parts of the UK. On the Hampshire Chalk Streams you can catch fish on a dry fly even in the middle of winter. All of these fish provide excellent sport but rainbow trout are possibly more suitable for the novice.

Some of the best salmon fishing in the world is in Scotland on the rivers Spey, Dee, Don and Tweed, but there is adequate and less expensive sport to be had on some of the Welsh rivers (where there are also some first-class sea trout). Many hotels in Scotland specialise in arranging fishing for their guests, even providing rods and waders.

Aficionados enjoy fishing early in the year when there is more water and the salmon are not so easy to catch as in the autumn runs. It is a keen sportsman indeed who stands, for hours, thigh deep in freezing water testing both skill and patience. Contrary to appearances this is not a passive sport and requires quite a high level of fitness and endurance.

The Game Fair is an excellent place to buy clothing and equipment, as well as giving you a chance to practice your casting skills. All sorts of lovely stuff for fishermen can also be purchased at House of Hardy or Farlow’s in London, who sell everything for the fisherman from carbon-fibre or split-cane rods to a mind-boggling assortment of flies.

Although keen fishermen will tell you that they always dress their own flies there are many opportunities to try out all sorts of weird and wonderful lures without spending hours creating your own, especially as  most fly fishing equipment can now be easily bought online.

Another useful accessory for the salmon fisherman is a good ghillie. These colourful countrymen know where all the best fish are and, if you have a plentiful supply of whisky, they may even tell you. There are of course, as in any breed, always the irritating exceptions to the rule, such as the dour, taciturn types who watch you flounder all day, then whip out a couple of sizable fish from a spot that you have just vacated in disgust.

There is no doubt that playing a fish is an extremely important art. It is no good hooking the beggar if you can’t land it; sooner or later you are going to run out of line. Take the story of a keen fisherman who, while staying in Scotland, heard on the local grapevine exactly where there was a huge salmon lurking in the river. He was so determined to catch it before anyone else could, that he feigned illness, waited for all the villagers to go to church and then set out to catch it; something that was totally illegal on a Sunday in Scotland.

Jubilant at first, because he had managed to hook the fish, he later succumbed to intense embarrassment as no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t land his ill-gotten prey. Eventually time ran out for this dedicated sportsman and he was caught red-handed by his god-fearing hosts and of course half the village!

Trout fishing is probably best on the chalk streams of southern England such as the River Test, although Scottish lochs also offer good sport, particularly if you go out in a boat. Wild brown trout are more wily and difficult to catch than imported rainbow trout but they do have a much better flavour when cooked, so are well worth the effort.

You can easily buy a day fishing ticket, check for adverts in magazines or on the web, but you will need a rod licence issued by the water authority. Again, most good country hotels are able to sort out a day or two’s fishing for their guests and some even have their own trout streams. Another alternative is to find a reliable sporting agent who is willing to arrange a complete fishing package that can be from just one day up to several weeks.