As Mr Kipling said - err no; the popular children's author and scribe of war related poetry (1865-1936), not the chap who baked some cakes and liked Tuesdays (that's what the adverts used to imply anyway "......Tuesday wrote Mr Kipling........") - well, as I was saying, as Mr K said “Hear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was: O my Best Beloved...................................”
I am a member of the Dulverton Angling Association. For thirty of our Earth pounds I can fish several lovely beats on the upper Exe and its tributaries and for a small daily charge some cracking salmon water on the middle river too. Needless to say that having been so unnervingly busy of late, working diligently and without the least vestige of thanks, for the benefit of others both at home and abroad, I have had no time nor opportunity to utilise said membership.
I undertook to redress the balance and possibly negate the effects of such labours, hopefully making Mark somewhat less of a dull boy, by sallying forth last Tuesday onto a wonderful beat near Dulverton.
It had everything did this one. A hut; some fish; an Ephemera danica or two; some crystal clear water and a retired old countryman with endless anecdotes and some handy hints! I lost no flies; I caught and safely returned three beautiful wild brown trout of between nine and eleven inches and I ate a picnic lunch of the best fodder that the deli counter at Morrison's (Tiverton branch - highly recommended!) had to offer. Bliss.
The aged countryman by the way was a retired keeper of game and did not fish, so his handy hints were about rearing partridges rather than catching trout.....................so not particularly helpful! He was a good old boy though.
For those that care, I caught my three trout on dry flies. The first on a Greenwell's Glory size 14. The second on an olive Klinkhammer size 16 and the third on a Greenwell's size 16. I was fishing leader tapering to 3lbs (copolymer) and 9ft in length and was using a 7'6" Greys Streamflex rod. There.
The Wednesday before "The Good" I was due to meet a friend of mine for a day afloat on Hawkridge Reservoir, between Taunton and Bridgwater in the noble county of Somerset. We were due to rendezvous at 10:00hrs. At 11:30hrs this was the scene.........................
And at 12:30hrs..................................
................the boat hadn't moved an inch!
At 11:00hrs I was not best pleased. However, and there is always a bright side, my companion's tardiness meant that I had a chance to get the boat and my tackle set up and then to calm down again so that by his arrival I was the picture of placidity. He, on the other hand, was the personification of rage, tempered only by contrition and laced with a generous dollop of embarrassment, a heady mix indeed and not one conducive to catching fish!
We set ourselves adrift and before long I had caught my first of the 4 rainbows that eventually found their way into my bass bag that day. That first one was like a red rag to a bull, it was the straw that fractured the 7th and 8th thoracic of this particular Camelus dromedaries, it was the reason that the whole subject of buzzer fishing, its practical applications both in theory and in practice and its effectiveness as a modern method of acquiring dinner was drawn into question. The method is flawed. It doesn't work........ and then.......I don't know what I am doing wrong. This can't be right. It's too cold. The line won't cast. WOE IS ME FOR I AM LOST!!!!
By my fourth fish I was starting to wither under fire and although there was a certain amount of schadenfreude to start with this partly diminished and after four hours of continuous bombardment I reached the point of complete capitulation. To top it all off, in a moment of temporarily revived pleasure garnered from a particularly disastrous cast by my unremittingly cantankerous boat partner and by way of judgment on me, I got my line caught around and then sliced up by the propeller! I barely batted an eyelid!
For those that care I caught all four fish on Diawl Bachs with JC or goose biot cheeks and on a floating line with 5ft intermediate polyleader and 12ft of 7lb fluorocarbon. They weighed 4lb, 3lb 4oz (x2) and 2lb 8oz.
The day after "The Bad" found myself and aforementioned boat partner afloat on Blagdon. It was the second time on Blagdon this year, the first at the beginning of the season resulting in my fingers nearly dropping off through cold, and we fared no better this time. After some lovely weather recently, this day dawned wet and cold and with a wind so strong that the boats on Chew Valley lake couldn't go out at all!
I will not dwell here on that day. Here is a place for joy, for tales of warmth and encouragement. Here is not for cold, for damp, for ...........................yuck!
Throughout the day the waves grew higher and the boat pitched and yawed ever more alarmingly. Several rowers had to be rescued and even my electric engine with all its 54lb worth of thrust and 120Ahs up its arse couldn't make much head way.
There was no joy to be had at this place, on this day. No mirth nor mischief. Laughter was a thing for elsewhere and for others. We had been weighed, we had been measured and we had been found, most decidedly, wanting!
For those who care we caught bugger all!!!!
So Best Beloved there you have it. The Good, The bad and the Ugly!