Recognition I've received

The official bicentenary portrait of Nelson, researched and painted by Alan Suttie and Adrian Purkis.

Did the great Admiral fish with the Carshalton Cocktail and the Carshalton Dun, two famous old River Wandle flies?

Nelson's Cocktails fly again

First published in Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine, December 2005

200 years ago, as you're reading this, the body of history's most famous Admiral was sailing home to England in a cask of brandy.

Cut down by a French sniper's bullet in his hour of triumph at Trafalgar, it's sometimes suggested that Nelson half-designed his own death: a hero's way to go, strolling the deck of Victory in full finery while the battle howled about him so fiercely that cannonballs were actually colliding and bouncing off each other in mid-air "like a demonic game of billiards".

Yet Nelson also loved life - his twin passions for fly-fishing and Emma Hamilton prove that. We know how and when he met his vivacious lady love, in Naples in 1793, but it's far more mysterious how he first got hooked on fishing: maybe during his Norfolk childhood, or later with his fellow officers on short furlough where Dartmoor's streams tumble down to the sea around Plymouth.

Certainly, by the time he gave Emma the funds to buy Merton Place in September 1801, Nelson knew where he wanted to spend his precious shore time: within easy striking distance of the Admiralty, on the banks of the "best and clearest stream near London".

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