Eric Clapton Just Caught the Year's Biggest Salmon in Iceland
by Lauren Steele
Rock & roll legend. World-class guitarist. Record-setting angler? Turns out that Eric Clapton, one of the greatest musicians of all time, is just as good with a fly rod as he is a guitar.
Clapton, while on a fly-fishing trip to Iceland last week, landed a 28-pound salmon on the Vatnsdalsá River, setting the record for reeling in the biggest salmon of the summer. The massive fish measured 42.5 inches. Working with Vatnsdalsá guide Sturla Birginsson, Clapton had to run over half a mile downriver after hooking the monster, and spent two and a half hours reeling it in. The local fishing association enforces a strict catch-and-release policy on the Vatnsdalsá River, but Clapton was able to snap a picture of his record-setting catch before setting it back into the river.
Reeling in this fish was no case of beginner’s luck. Clapton's love for fly-fishing goes back decades — from learning to fish on the Wey River as a school kid in Surrey, England, to utilizing it as a healthy pastime after getting sober 30 years ago. He described his reintroduction to the sport in his book, 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..."
*"Your destiny is to be caught by an elderly foreign rock star."