Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Alarmingly as the years pass by annual milestones seem to come ever closer together. As February draws to a close it marks for me the passage of the dark nights of winter into the light days of spring . The first week in February has always seemed to me the week that the lengthening days really become noticeable , the grayling are now spawning in my local stream The snowdrops are blossoming in the hedge bottoms and under the midday sun the water starts to look alive again.
Although the season is still in the future March then becomes a time of frantic fly tying , checking lines and counting days . Each new dawn increasing the anticipation of opening day . " Opening Day" that first day of the season. An annual test of reality over anticipation. The anticipation is of a warm spring day with a smattering of large dark olives taking to the wing around lunchtime with an accompanying chorus of rising fish. The reality is that the day will probably be cold, windy with that miserable driving fine rain that soaks you through. Not a single fly will take to the air , but I will fish the dry fly in hope and then spiders in anticipation of a moving fish before opening my account on opening day becomes urgent enough for me to cook the books by using a nymph. Although I no longer resist fishing the nymph, in fact I have embraced the art over the last couple of seasons . I still cling to a romantic notion that a wild brownie on opening day on a dry fly is the perfect start to a season.
This year the lethargy that has been on me since christmas has meant that my fly tying has been non existent . There are many jobs that need to be done. There are a few new patterns that need to be added to my fly tying. Lessons learnt and favours given by fellow anglers need to be added to my fly box. There too there is change my fly box of years ago had a multitude of flies mostly 14s and 16s . Now I find I have very few patterns but in sizes from 16 to 22 . God bless Dave Southall for introducing me to his minimalistic micro midge a tiny fly thats long name is at odds with its astonishing ease of tying and a fly that caught me many fish last season. It is one fly that will be an ever present in my fly box . It will take its place among the old faithfull patterns I fish with the confidence derived from seasons long past.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
As winters go so far this one has become the crappiest ever. After suffering the flu at christmas , With Christmas dinner becoming half a slice of toast and marmalade. Then after just about recovering from that in early January I was rushed into hospital for a couple of weeks of been confined to bed with drips , tubes in the most uncomfortable of places and sensors galore.Now its the first time in my life I have ever been in hospital , I think I can summarise my stay as follows. Nurses are wonderful creatures , hospital food is revolting and morphine is quite simply wonderful. But laying on your back pretty much immobile for the first week gave me lots of time to think and dream of summer evenings on the river.
Now what does yours truly think about when hes immobile well yes of course fishing: I had hour after hour checking through all my fishing gear in my head, in my mind putting rods to reels and sorting lines and flies every last detail analysed and thought about.
Clubs I am in were considered and some decisions made, after joining the chalk stream late last year after I had paid all my other subs I really ended up with a club to many, this year I will be leaving Masham angling on the Ure. As much as I enjoy it last year I visited on a very few occasions, once to find levels were way to high and twice late on in the year I had my sessions spoilt by Salmon anglers getting into the top of the pool I was already working up and proceeding to fish down them , harsh words were said . The truth is that salmon and trout angling dont really interact easily on the river. Well not without a greater degree of consideration than was shown by the two dick heads I encountered.
During the long periods of dozing and staring at ceilings I even tried to go through the trips of the season. Making a mental note of which flies worked and thinking ahead to restocking the fly boxes. Then trying to plan my spring tying to restock the boxes.
The best and worst bit of the stay was the drug induced dreams. The worst was down to something called tramadol which gave me two nights of dreams of such lucidity I felt they were real . The third night the dream was such that I ended up out of bed, I would like to think I was imagining I was on the river bank, the reality is I cant remember but the reality is I ended up in a heap on the floor complete with drips tubes and a fair bit of my blood and other bodily fluids. After that the tramadol stopped and the morphine dose got greater and the dreams got pleasanter. During one morphine induced fishing trip I managed a brown trout of humongous proportions well into double figures caught on a home tied size 22 cdc on a hook that appeared to be invisible, It even made the national newspapers. If only life was like morphine, well you know what I mean.
Thursday, 8 January 2015
I know this isnt a political blog , but yesterdays events in Paris remind us all of what a precious thing free speech is....and the irony is the freedom of speech that they would deny others is the very freedom that allows them to preach their intolerance.
Je suis Charlie.....
Saturday, 3 January 2015
Today despite the last remains of the flu that has laid me low over christmas still hovering about I decided that it was either my sanity or a couple of hours by the river it has been many weeks since my last fix, now the long suffering her indoors has been my ministering angel for the last ten days was less than impressed by me hastening my flu recovery by standing in a freezing river for a couple of hours , but in my mind the needs of the mind outweighed the needs of the body....anyway thats my logic anyway.
The fishing was as always for me when search nymphing for grayling in winter a little less than inspiring. All the parts are there , the river, the fish , I have the rod and reel but like a chemical reaction without the heat it just doesnt fizz, Dont get me wrong I enjoy the fix but I guess its like a life long fag smoker using one of those weird little machines that everyone has stuck in their mouths. It hits the spot without ringing the bells and setting of the fireworks, What I need is trout , sunshine and hatching flies.
Anyway the first fish of the year came along reasonably quickly a nice little graying about average for the river , this was followed by another three including one that was just about able to fit the hook in its mouth. It was important I caught I hate blanks and a blank the first trip of the year would sit badly with me. The last fish of the day was another sodding rainbow. The clubs insistence in stocking these things is a constant mystery to me. I am yet to meet a fellow member that wants them in the river . Also I am told that they extend the trout season through october, well perhaps they do but everyone I met on the river last October was after grayling .
I have to say that the benefits of a well managed river were welcome to day the rope to haul myself up the bank was a very welcome sight today I finished the day well knackered but feeling that at least for a while the itch had been scratched.
Friday, 2 January 2015
Thanks to all you readers who keep coming back for more of my rambling , Apologies also for the lack of anything at all in the run up to Christmas, I had a few thoughts on something but that will come in the next month or two . Christmas this year taught me that having the flu is completely different to all those things that people glibly announce like I had a touch of the flu or I have had man flu. No having the flu for the first time in my 50 plus years is like having all your joints cased in concrete and then being run over by a truck. This truck parks on top of you for a week making you unable to move without shivering or sweating . I suppose losing half a stone in a week can help with my usual get fitter New Years resolution . Anyway one book that I had a copy of years ago was put on my wife's hints list and appeared on my sick bed on Christmas morning . On the few occasion I could be bothered I have been reading it, the simple fact and logic based approach makes for a stunning read