Friday January 22nd 2010

River Mur, Austria

Guided by Christof Menz, pro-guides

I have many foolish ambitions. Perhaps that's too grand a word, or makes my desires sound too sensible. I would like to fish for a variety of different species of fish. One fish that has been on my 'list' is the Huchen. This is also known as the 'Danube salmon', though it is only distantly related to our silvery king. It is a voracious predator that remains in the river all its life, feasting on smaller fish like grayling. In the 20th century it became a rare fish and I was captivated by its story over twelve years ago, when I first visited Austria.

So imagine my excitement when finally I managed to organise myself (never an easy or simple task) so that I had a couple of days to fish one of the tributaries of the Danube. Now huchen fishing is best done in the depths of winter, so I duly turned up on the banks of the Mur in January, wondering if -15C wasn't perhaps a little cold to go fishing.

I was assured by my guide, Christof, that conditions were fine and that we'd start fishing, but perhaps after just one more warming cup of coffee. Despite the constant subzero temperatures, the line freezing in the rod rings, the red raw hands and feet that turned to ice blocks; I enjoyed myself. And I caught my first huchen. Not a big boy, but a huchen all the same, and like your first love…..

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River Mur January

A winter's day

River Mur huchen

A first huchen, 3kgs