Friday, 10 February 2012

A cold nights reflection and a river runs through it…

Outside the first real snow of the winter was coming down and I was sitting in front of the log burning stove with my Labrador dog Ruby laid in front of me her backside getting singed by the fire, In one hand I had a glass of malt whisky and my pipe was in the other. The pipe contained a rather nice blend that the local tobacconist refers to as his Christmas pudding mix the aroma is rich fruity with a hint of spice. I find that this is the perfect combination of inactions for perfect pondering, it must be without the distraction of Phone/ TV/ Radio and is something that you appreciate more with years. Anyway last night amongst my thoughts I was considering how life contains certain special defining moments, in particular my fishing moments which have usually involved rivers.

I had just written the cheque to my angling club on the Ure and got to thinking about the first time I saw that river, I was 11 it was the swinging sixties and I was already hooked on fishing. To me back then fishing meant a 7ft spinning rod 10lb line a size 10 hook and worms for the chub in the river whiske near the boarding school I was residing at. But on a field trip to Masham I remember watching a bloke fly fishing , It was the first time I ever saw someone actually wading in a river fly fishing . A teacher at our school did fly fish and had seen him catch chub on little black gnats, but I was enthralled as I watched that angler catch a trout in that fast flowing rocky river, it seemed almost magical and certainly sowed a seed which although it lay dormant for a long time now is blossoming nicely. As nearly half a lifetime down the line I am that angler and have often wondered when watching kids on the bank if seeing me will plant the same dream in them. I hope so.


The first fish I ever caught on fly was a 13” Brown trout . It was on a Tups indispensable and to my shame it was caught by allowing the fly to drift downstream under the leaves of the overhanging bush where the trout was rising, a trotted fly you could say. In my defence I was about 13 and had received no guidance in the craft and my casting was at best terrible. These days the dry fly downstream bit bothers me less and less . The fact that I killed it and cooked it bothers me more and more. But to this day I can still close my eyes and watch that rising fish again and to this day I still marvel at the fact that the little tag of fur and feather at the end of the line can cast such a magical spell. That one event more than any other drove my passion for the dry fly.

A few weeks after this capture I was stood on the bank waving the fly rod about when an old guy from the village asked what I was doing , my response ” I am fly fishing “ delivered with all the attitude of someone filled with teenage hormones. His response was short and to the point , Nay Lad thees not fly fishing thee is just lashing t`watter . But then he said "if thou does want to learn to fly fish meet me here tomorrow and Ill teach thee"….The lessons continued all summer and by the Autumn I was set on the right route. Now my teacher Bill who was the local undertaker and appeared to be about 50 but I learnt later was in fact around 80 at the time will be long gone. But if you can read this Bill.. Thanks mate…Thanks…

So there we are some of the most formative events in my life and it does show that as the book says the river runs through it. Now wheres another log...