Saturday, 27 September 2014

Contemplation of another season " gone fishing"


Friday saw my last river trout fishing trip of the year, although there are a couple of days left I cant see me getting on another river for trout this year . Sadly my local beck is almost completely dry and so I am unable to end the season as I normally do on a trip on my home water.   The season is ending with our local streams and rivers truly down to their bones,  I just hope that we have a proper winter with snow melt to get down into the aquifers.  My last trip was to Foston where although low the springs have kept up a reasonable flow.  I took a guest, after years of enjoying angling as a purely solitary pursuit in the last few years I have increasingly enjoyed the pleasure of sharing a day with a fellow angler. The conversation and crack with the right companion only adds to the day.  As it was the day blessed us with enough fish and the conditions were sufficiently challenging to make it feel as though we earned our victories.





During this strange season I must confess that I can not think of one fish that has come to my hand that was worthy of serious note , not one that would be considered worthy of a being called a trophy or required me to reach into that inside pocket of the waistcoat where the scales were put on season day one . I had my eyes on a couple of big old boys in Foston Beck that I estimated between 3 and 4 lb and it was through gritted teeth that one evening I congratulated a fellow angler for the capture of a fine brownie at 3lb 12oz....Moreover the days themselves have been pretty much without note it has been as if the days themselves served only to seperate me from those aspects of life that we all endure from time to time , I suppose when I look back my heart just hasnt been 100% in it with to many distractions in the rest of my life .  The highlights were a guided day on the Ure that was booked a year ago and the first few trips on a new river as much for the expectation as for the reality. But the stark truth is though that what the fishing has allowed me to do is from time to time to step away from those challenges that life throws at you. It is of course that perpetual sense of the unknown. Will the next cast be the fish of the season or even a lifetime?.  That is what  keeps me coming back .







I suppose looking further back through life the reality is that specimen fish come along very rarely and real blue ribbon days are as scarce as hens teeth, but the highlights are those transient moments, either of victories or enlightenment, those moments of elation when the perfect cast to a rising fish in a difficult lie results in a confident rise. Those penny drop moments when a new technique works. Perhaps even the moment when a kingfisher passes so close to you that you can feel the breath from its wing beats,  To me it is these that determine how we look back on the days and it is that which keep us coming back for more and coming back for more has been what I have been doing for well over 40 years now.  It truly is  "the fishing and not the catching".  It is that stepping away from your normal life in to that totally absorbing existence that the "Gone fishing " sign so eloquently describes , It is not just a place it is a parallel universe of pleasures and challenges.  It is about the sum of all those moments that come together to create our season .  So heres to next year and the next trout season may it offer a few more rewards and perhaps a few less challenges .





As for the Pictures well they are a couple of trout from the last few trips , and a bloke in a river casting to a rising fish. Which just about sums my season up nicely .



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Man, Rod line and fish .......



I have just returned from a short Trip to Rome , Four days in a very swish hotel, I know it was swish because a Gin and Tonic was 18 euros and we got complimentary slippers. The hotel was just around the back of the Pantheon.  A building that was constructed by the Emperor Hadrian in around 100 AD built on the site of an earlier structure from 27 BC built by some bloke called Marcus Agrippa ( what a great name) .  I wont bore you with the history lesson but its amazing to me that the building has been in constant use for the past 2000 years and is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world .  Something that has been around since the time of Christ and under constant use has to be pretty special.  It was also very beautiful, the internal frescoes were stunning.





Anyway that aside, apart from the sights and sounds ( and food) we had a visit to the Vatican city and after seeing the Sistene Chapel which I found spoiled by the crowds and the Gallery of maps which to me was the stunning highlight. Tucked away in one of the museums of the Vatican I came across this. It is the Jonah Sarcophagus carved in the third century ...I was instantly drawn to the image . This small figure with a fishing rod in his hand is not really mentioned but a little research online considers that the extreme right hand on the tableau may be a reference to the afterlife , Paradise if you like ,  Well looking at the figure fishing with a couple of fish looking to show interest and a bird in front of him suggesting fly tying materials arent out of the question then whos to argue against it being paradise. I for one strongly beleive that for once the historians may be bang on. 

I find it odd that after seeing the Vatican and the Pantheon and Coliseum this one little image is the thing that made a lasting impression. True thousands of years since the carving but still not so very far away from how we fish today it seemed to embody the very essence of fishing  ... Simply Man , rod line and fish . Paradise....




And a picture of the Pantheon , by moonlight no less.  A stunning structure ......


And the Vatican Gallery of maps ....







Monday, 25 August 2014

August apathy



It occurred to me last week that its a week or three since I wet a line.  Strange thing is I dont mind at all. Work has been busy and what with family stuff casting a fly just hasnt really been on my priority list.  Granted there has been a real water shortage and the rivers have been to their bones, but that wouldnt stop me in April or May, then I would fish in a flood or a dried up river bed. But now? well that urgency of early season has gone and that perfection of the May and June evening rise has past.  For now its like I take a breath mid year and think about times ahead.  My hunger sated by the spring and early summer plenty.  I sit back and enjoy a break like having a drink of wine and contemplating the port and stilton after stuffing yourself with a sirloin....



Now, I am looking forward to those fit and hungry September trout that so often seem to anticipate that the privations of winter are approaching by feeding like kids in a sweet shop.  Also my mind starts to stray towards the Grayling a fish that inhabits all but one of the rivers I fish and allows me to extend my fishing season right through the winter.  Although I must confess that injured and arthritic knees tend to keep me out of the water during the deep cold of January and February.  During those months the dark nights are spent in frenetic fly tying sessions refilling boxes and overhauling tackle.





Just as an aside the two photos above are from two rivers within 20 miles of each other from most recent trips, at the top a wolds chalk stream . Clear, alkaline stuffed with food and a constant flow year round. Below a typical small north Yorkshire spate stream.  Take a look at the two fish below . 








Two fish of about the same size, both native brownies One from the chalk stream , fat deep bellied and small finned , below from the spate stream richly coloured big finned long and lean. Tough little trout from a tough place to live .  Amazing how one species can be so diverse ...






Anyway as for now well a day off recently allowed me a trip the Ure,  That lovely Dales river that I have neglected this year, partly due the kid with new toy syndrome of having new rivers this year and partly as it has been on its bones for a large part of the year.  Sadly though the day ended up as a total cock up . After taking a couple of hours to drive to the Dales due to just about every tractor and trailer in the county been on the road I arrived to find a river higher than expected and one that was rising fast, I stayed long enough to have a sarnie and ponder the options during that time I stuck a stick in the bank and it confirmed that the river was going up smartish.  It appears a sudden shower up the valley had dumped a load of fresh rain in it and the river was now heading up and colouring up fast and to be honest I just didnt fancy it .  So back in the car and heading  east .  I was soon diverted due to a traffic accident and found myself heading south down the A1. So with clenched teeth and a steely determination to get some fishing in I headed towards the Yorkshire wolds the Sat Nav gave the picture...80 ish miles and best part of two hours. Arriving early afternoon I wondered why I just didnt go there to start with. Gin clear water and rising fish.  The recent weed cutting disturbance had died down my happiness was restored. . So the story of the day best part of 200 miles driven , two rivers visited 4 hours fishing , a few good fish on the bank and sanity restored .  But only just...