It turns out Eric Clapton is as good at playing guitar as he is at landing massive Atlantic Salmon. Fly fishing has been a part of the English musician’s life since he learned to fly fish on his home waters, the River Wey in Surrey, England. He has been making an annual summer migration to Iceland since 2000 to chase the big Atlantic Salmon the island nation is known for and, in recent years, set two season records.
Eric’s first record fish, was landed in 2016 and measured 42.5 inches and weighed 28 pounds. His second (top image) occurred the very next season and taped out 41-inches and weighed 25 pounds. Both fish were taken on the Vatnsdalsá River, one of Iceland’s most notorious Atlantic Salmon Rivers. This river is also world-famous for being one of the only fly-fishing only, catch-and-release rivers in Iceland, meaning both of these fish were released moments after these shots were taken.
Clapton has credited fly fishing with aiding 30-year recovery from addiction, saying in his autobiography, Clapton: The Autobiography:
“That first summer of my recovery was one of the most beautiful I can remember, perhaps because I was healthy and clean, and I began to rent some trout-fishing days for myself, mostly on stretches of water in the neighborhood that had been specifically stocked for local fisherman… Fishing is an absorbing pastime and has a Zen quality to it. It’s an ideal pursuit for anyone who wants to think a lot and get things in perspective. It was also a perfect way of getting physically fit again, involving as it does a great deal of walking. I would go out at the crack of dawn and often stay out till nighttime… For once I was actually becoming good at something that had nothing to do with guitar playing or music. For the first time in a long time, I was doing something very normal and fairly mundane, and it was really important to me.”
Eric even made sure that when he was on tour, he was always close to fishing opportunities, often requesting that his manager, Roger Forrester, only book accommodations near to fly fishing areas, often spending hours on the water before gigs.