Impressive fishing news from Iceland this week -- famed guitarist and Rock icon Eric Clapton is reported to have landed the largest Atlantic Salmon of the summer in one of Iceland's premier salmon fisheries, the VatnsdalsÃ¡ river. Clapton had to run down river with the giant fish for over a half mile to finally land it before release. The specimen, measuring 42.5" and weighing 28 pounds was recorded by guide Sturla Birgisson as the biggest of the season so far.
The VatnsdalsÃ¡ river is one of the most well known Atlantic Salmon rivers in Iceland, and is renowned for the race of exceptionally large fish that populate it. First opened to fly fishing in 1936, the Vatnsdalsa was previously only open to net fishing, but now is managed with strict catch and release policies, and fly fishing only.
Clapton, a longtime and dedicated fly fisherman, certainly approached this accomplishment with skill. A bamboo rod enthusiast who not only has had models of cane rods named after him, but who also builds his own, Clapton approaches the sport with the same precision and artistry as his music. Known for playing a black Fender Stratocaster with a maple neck, the transition to expertly handling a two handed salmon rod might not be that much of a stretch.
Clapton is also globally recognized as a philanthropist, giving away millions of dollars in performance time and money to charities that he supports, including cancer and leukemia research, world hunger, and addiction issues among many others.
For younger readers unfamiliar with his work, Clapton's impact on popular music can't be understated. Heavily Influenced by the seminal American Blues musician Robert Johnson, Clapton applied the style to overdriven electric guitar with effects pedals, and the rest is history. First rising to fame in the mid 1960's with the amazingly talented guitar lineup of the Yardbirds, Clapton went on to form the first rock "Supergroup", Cream, with virtuoso musicians Jack Bruce on bass and drummer Ginger Baker. With Cream, he penned stylistically groundbreaking songs such as "Sunshine of Your Love" on the Gold albums "Wheels of Fire" and "Disraeli Gears". At one point, a writer from the UK press made note of some graffiti on the wall at a concert venue that read, "Clapton is God". Eric Clapton's legacy was cemented thereafter. After the relatively short but immensely influential commercial run of Cream from 1967 - 1969, Clapton went on as a solo act, opening a long career by scoring a major hit with the blistering classic rock staple, "Layla".
Sunshine of your Love
In researching the background for this piece, I was surprised to see that Mr. Clapton is a client of bamboo rod maker Mike Clark of Southcreek Ltd, who has been making repairs for 20 years on the 7 foot, cane 4-peice that my father gave me. Gracious in his endorsement of Clark's handiwork, Eric seems just another one of us, ready to give it another go.
"Thank you so much for the beautiful rod, I am going to try it out today. Unfortunately, the weather here in England has been so dry that the fly life has been drastically effected, but we shall see. Thanks again-- Tight Lines."
— Eric Clapton