The Poacher Diaries. | Page 6
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The Poacher Diaries.

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing' started by crabby_old_man, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    I suppose perch are the freshwater equivalent of the crabby bait thiefs that greatly lessen ones chance of a catch. Ive spent many a night watching a luminous rod tip in vain, with a bare hook at the end of my painstakingly and lovingly crafted rig. Something should be done about it.
     
  2. NIrishDane

    NIrishDane Member

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    These stories make for some engrossing reading. They paint such a vivid image, its like im there with you. Looking forward to the next one :thumbsup:
     
  3. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Thanks, I have great fun writing them. I will hopefully make it out this week, as the rain has made it more likely that the fish will be on the move. I have a water in mind, but the permit holders there are well known for thier willingness to call the blue meanies down on the unlicensed sports angler., and I have no desire to be handed a fine and a possible criminal record. It's never stopped me in the past though, so I probably will spend an hour or two there.

    I have heard tell that there are some monster pike in the river, grown fat on trout and seasonal salmon. I don't expect to catch one, in fact I hope I don't as I never target them and would be woefully ill prepared if I did. I will admit that the thought of hooking one is tantalising, and the risk adds a certain frisson, but it could bring about my downfall, as the fuss they make would make me the very centre of attention. Still, let's see, eh?
     
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  4. piker20

    piker20 Member

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    When's the memoirs being published? Put me down for a signed copy :thumbsup:
     
  5. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    I have been toying with the idea of writing these diaries into a short book for free download on amazon, or similar, for Kindle. Is there an appetite for that sort of a thing? I'd like to write it as part memoir, part guide and advice manual, as well as my infrequent reports making an appearance. it would probably take a few months, but I wouldnt like to make a start until I was sure that it would be read.

    What say you?
     
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  6. NIrishDane

    NIrishDane Member

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    I think it would be read, I know plenty of anglers that would empathize with your endeavours. I'm sure it would be a hit, not with the snobby elitist types us peasants despise.
     
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  7. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    A first draft of the introduction, written just now over a mug of tea. Its nowhere near complete and jumps around a bit, but it's how I would like to continue. if you could take the time to read it and offer up any criticism then i would greatly appreciate it.


    Like many anglers, my love of fishing was kindled when I was a boy. I was fortunate to grow up in an area where I had easy access to two rivers, several streams, a canal and countless hill lochs and reservoirs. I could start the day fishing for trout in fast flowing burns, move to the canal and fish for pike and perch, before eventually finding myself at the estuary of the River Clyde, where I could while away the hours chasing grey ghosts around a muddy harbour.



    I would spend hours during the week sorting my tackle into categories, counting and recounting my hooks and weights, cleaning my rod and oiling my reel, often silently raiding my fathers toolbox for the necessary bits and bobs. The pleasure and satisfaction I took from these simple tasks was immeasurable, and the time taken invaluable. Going to the local tackle shop and asking for 'Ten size 14 hooks and small tub of maggots please' was the best part of the week, especially when there were adults in the shop who would look down at me with pride and smiles. I was serious about the job of fishing, and knew exactly what tools needed. There was no patronising, just encouragement and advice. I loved it. I was a real fisherman, one of them, and I was being taken seriously. Of course, at the time I didn't realise what outrageous liars and tellers of tall tales they were.





    Often, I would run out of terminal tackle, and would spend some time hunting out wine bottle corks and sewing needles, and bending safety pins into a decent approximation of a hook, before heading down the park where I had hidden my spade and digging up a margarine tub full of worms. Sometimes I had a friend with me, more often not. Like all boys, our interests are fleeting and our alliances fragile. A best friend one day might be indifferent the next, and the precociousness of youth meant that I was like as not going fishing alone. Perfect.





    There are fewer things in life better than sitting with a friend on the bank of a river, or on a pier and watching the rod tip while setting the world to rights over a flask of tea and a can of cold macaroni cheese. Don't heat it up, it really does ruin the flavour. Having somebody to chat to and to share the experience with can often be the making of a trip, but to be by ones self in the cold silvery dawn and to witness a moment in time that is yours and yours alone, ah, well that takes some beating.



    So, rod in hand and bait secure in my bag, I would set off for the day, promising to be back for tea. Starting at a favourite pool and bagging a few small brown trout was my favourite way to begin. It saved the blank and re-assured me that I knew what I was doing, with the added bonus of being able to say that, yes, I had caught something when meeting a friend or fellow worm drowner. I realise now that I could have followed convention and simply told a huge great whopper of a lie, and that it would be accepted without question, but I was just a lad, and knew little of guile and the good natured falsehoods that are such an important and integral part of the sport. There's nothing better to hear than a well told lie, and nothing quite so depressing as the ugly truth that nobody caught a thing. Work on your tall tales, do, its always a pleasure to listen, and I promise that nobody will call you out.



    Along my chosen route there were, and still are, places where I have never wet a line. These are the places that nature keeps, and we are not welcome there. You know the places I mean. Those parts of the river where the trees crowd the sky, blocking the light, and where the landscape conspires against you, and seems to fold and distort itself into ever new and dangerous shapes. What looked like a simple walk up a river bank becomes a hazardous game of stepping stones, with the threat of a twisted ankle never far away. These are the places where silence falls like a shroud, the tension in the air like a held breath, and the wind whispers a warning, KEEP OUT! These are the places of our darkest imaginations, where the bogeymen of our nightmares live. These the places upon where we dare not venture, but venture there we must......
     
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  8. Shirleycodlin

    Shirleycodlin Global Moderator - The Cod Obsessed one.

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    More please ;)
     
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  9. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Saturday 18/08/18



    With the weather switching between inclement, changeable and downright bloody awful, today's trip was a close run thing. With all but the foolhardiest of sportsmen resigned to a Saturday in front of the box, or in the shed to tinker and dream of better days, I set off as early as I dared and made the 2 hour journey by train, bus and foot to a loch I've not fished for quite some time. Past excursions have either been unfruitful or abandoned altogether due to ticket holders hogging the best bits. Today, however, I had the whole bally place to myself! Joy upon joy, there was not a single other rod on the water. I wasn't in the least bit surprised, as for long stretches at a time it was impossible to see the opposite bank due to rain and mist. What silly bugger would fish on a day like this?





    Now, the status of this particular loch was a matter of some debate between my friends and I. One claimed that it is a public water, but this is absolute tosh. Another reckons that it is owned by an association that owns the rights to a much larger nearby water, and this is a secondary venue, seldom if ever stocked, and more often used as a buffer between the hoi polloi and the main venue. That seems much more likely and as far as I can gather, its a place where one can retreat for a spot of solo fishing, far from the madding crowd, or a quiet place to practices ones casting before joining the fray, lest one embarrass oneself with amateurish over-arm action.



    The 'seldom stocked' status was what caught my attention. As much as I enjoy catching fish that can put a serious bend in a rod, there is nothing quite like hooking a wild fish, regardless of size. I have gone to great lengths in the past to catch fish of little more than half a pound, passing up multiple chances to catch great lurking brutes, put there just a few hours earlier, but they have nothing on a natural Scottish brownie. That's why I chose this particular water today. Getting there is no easy task, however, especially as I had to disguise my intentions and take the less trodden path, but I eventually made it and set my rod up in the usual manner.



    After an hour or so of hard fishing, with the wind changing ferocity and direction every 30 or so seconds, I finally hooked my first of the day. A small trout, about 10 inches long and weighing maybe ¼lb. It fought like stink and leapt 5 times its body length out of the water a few times. Wonderful stuff. This seemed to signal the start of a feeding frenzy and I hooked into about a dozen more in the space of an hour or two, none weighing over half a pound, but each punching well above their weight. Even the inevitable and ubiquitous perch put their best fighters to the front and gave a good account of themselves, even though the smaller ones became a nuisance at one point and cost me several of my best and favourite flies. Still, no matter. I'm prepared to sacrifice a few quid worth of bits for a days free sport.



    With the water levels still low after a month of drought and only a few days of rain, the fish seem a little more ready to take a fellows bait and while the fishing was a little harder than I would have liked, to catch so many in such a short time was, in hindsight, marvellous sport and well worth the trek. I don't think I'll visit again this year, as the season is drawing to a close and there are other waters I want to fish before then, but come next year, well, they had just better watch out!








    Tally Ho!
     

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  10. Shirleycodlin

    Shirleycodlin Global Moderator - The Cod Obsessed one.

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    Another great read Crabby :)
     
  11. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Thanks Shirley. As ever, I appreciate you reading them and have just as much fun writing them. I even have pictures today. I normally don't take any, for legal reasons, but as there are so many lochs in the area, I counted on anybody challenging me being unable to prove I had caught the fish in any one in particular .
     
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  12. Timbc2

    Timbc2 Member

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    Enjoying your posts, keep up the good work :thumbsup:
     
  13. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    Brilliant crabby.......lovely looking fish and a fantastic read
     
  14. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    28/08/18





    A later start than usual today. I had planned setting out at around 7am, getting to my destination for 9-ish, but I'm afraid I fell to temptation the night before and indulged in a small chota peg. So, a quick coffee and toast and off, off, off we go!



    Before we get to the meat of the days fishing, I would like, if you will indulge me a moment, to go off on something of a tangent. As much as I enjoy walking in the hills, and would like very much if everybody had access to the delightful views and experiences to be had just a few miles from the city, I do wish that the vandals in charge of the current logging operations would take a moment to consider what exactly draws people to the wilderness in the first place, and not replace the winding footpaths and loch side ramblers rest stops with bloody great grey stone roads that criss cross one another and create an unnavigable maze.



    It is my understanding that upon completion of the harvest, these roads will be given a more suitable surface and they will form part of an integrated system of paths that will allow everybody to enjoy the place, but for the love of all that's green and pleasant, put some bloody signs up! What was once a series of partially hidden paths and shortcuts, if you had the know of the land, is now a nondescript wasteland of type one hardcore. Its near impossible to get ones bearings, and absolutely impossible to move with any degree of stealth and subtlety. I appreciate that its now easier to get where one wants to go, but, dash it all, that's not the point.





    Still, having only taken one wrong turn on one of these blasted roads and coming round in a perfect half circle, I eventually came upon today's venue. I have never fished here before, and will admit to being a little taken aback when I saw the sheer size of the loch. It didn't look that big on the map, and with the wind up, I feared that I was a little out of my depth, tackling a water this size on my own. And I was on my own. Absolutely on my own in fact. I didn't see anybody on the way, a good hours walk, and there was nobody else fishing. I got the impression that nobody had fished here for a very long time. The whole place had that overgrown and abandoned feel about it, with nothing to indicate that help would be available should I get into trouble. I have a rule that I will take no risks and, if unsure, I will turn back, but after the ordeal of the roads and missed turn, I was determined to wet a line.



    Breaking with my normal set up routine, I chose a heavier size 10 daddy long legs pattern on a shortened leader, 15ft or so, as I would be casting directly into the wind. It was hard fishing, but after an hour or so I hooked into a small brownie (see first pic), then another and a few more after that. I could see bigger fish rising out of reach, but there seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of quarter pounders within 50 feet of the bank. The dreaded perch were in evidence too, and I had a bit of fun with them for a while. There was one farcical moment where, having spotted a decent roll, I brought my line in to cast to it and noticed just in time that there was a finger sized perch on my hook. It was so small that I hadn't even noticed I had caught it, and it nearly came to a very ignominious end. Silly little sod.



    After a few hours, and with it all going quiet, I headed back, via another loch that I know perfectly well is private with a capital P, and where Crawford and Malcolm from senior management types pay a hefty premium to spend a few Saturdays a year sucking up the the CEO. I hadn't expected to get anything other than the bums rush here, but to my immense surprise and delight, there was nobody there. They had all packed up and buggered off for tea. With daylight fading a little, I wasted no time and set up with my more usual size 14 spider on a 20ft leader and within moments I was into a fat little stocky of around 2lb. I won't post any pictures of the fish I caught here, they were all of a muchness and looked like that had been cut from a template. Why anybody would pay so much to fish here is quite beyond me. Easily caught cookie cutter fishing has an audience it seems, but it's not my cup of poison, so after half an hour of one cast, one catch tedium, I set off home. I will admit that I swerved a little out of my way to have a few casts on yet another loch, one that I haven't fished for years, and where the evening rise is legendary. At least, it was. With the drought taking it's toll, and water levels at record lows, the fish seemed to be either hiding, or simply absent. What was once a spectacular sight, was reduced to a few splashes here and there, with maybe half a dozen rises in the space of an hour. I cast to them, of course, but to no avail. Tired and with darkness falling quickly, I had gotten to the 'making deals with yourself' stage of the day. You know the time I mean; one more cast unless I see a rise, or, one fish or 7pm, whichever comes first. That time. I was tired and hungry, and had resigned myself to a fish-less day, and was casting on auto-pilot, when I saw a rise right next to where my line had landed. Just my luck. I started to draw it back in order to cover this rise when I realised that I actually had the fish on!





    I hadn't noticed that the wind had snagged my leader and dumped it in a tangle only a couple of feet away from the end and to the right of the main line. It wasn't a very big fish, maybe nudging a pound with its boots on, (see second pic) but it was a welcome sight and gave a good account of itself, leaping theatrically from the water, and zigging and zagging as though the furies were on it's tail. This fish, more than any other, is what made the day worthwhile. For all the lost bearings, wind and sore feet, this was what I was after; a proper wild hill loch Scottish brown trout. In a metaphorical sea of stocked fish and pellet fed mutants, to catch a truly wild fish is a treat beyond measure. Even though it was among the smallest fish I've caught on this particular water, it wasn't dumped there from a barrel a few days before for the Crawfords of the world to brag about over a promotion seeking whisky at the golf club bar. This is what hill loch fishing is all about, and I couldn't have been happier as I packed up and made my way back home, to make a well earned cuppa and put my weary bones to bed. A small nightcap and the day was over. A good day and one I will treasure.



    Until next time, tight lines and tally ho!
     

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  15. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    As the summer draws to a close, and what a strange summer it's been, I was left in two minds this morning. Should I head for the hills as is my habit, or do I stay closer to home and fish the river that cuts the town in half? The hill lochs and streams hold me in constant state of fascination., with every day being completely different from the last, and the possibility of catching that wild, deep water lunker, come into the margins, is tantalizing. Most of the time, however, what I catch are juvenile fish, maybe a year old, and weighing half a pound. These have their charms, but after a whole day's casting with nothing substantial as a reward, my mind starts to wander, and I wonder if risking a more productive water would be worth it. If caught, I incur a lifetime ban, meaning no ticket for me should I ever wish to 'go legit', and I would be a pariah among the fluff chucking fraternity. Quite a few of the locals know me, but none know that I am the author of this diary. Getting nicked would probably be the end of at least 2 long standing friendships with lifetime permit holders. Hmmm...what to do?





    In the end I plumped for the riskier of the two options and set out as the sparrows were just putting the kettle on, and made my silent way to the river. I have fished here before, a few years back, and caught an absolute beauty of a fish, so I had moderately high hopes for the day. So, wading out as far as I dared without my trusty cane, I tossed in my coin, said the fisherman's prayer* and cast into a likely looking pool on the far bank. After a little longer than a jiffy, but slightly less than a tad, I hooked into a small brownie on the dry, a daddy pattern I think, and this set the pattern for the few hours I spent here. I didn't catch anything of substance and certainly nothing bigger than I would have caught had I taken the first option and fished a hill loch or two, stocked ponds aside, but to spend the early hours of dawn casting over a burbling river, watching swifts dive for insects as the sun shone like brazen gold on the water as it sped over rocks on its way to the sea, was an absolute delight.



    As Piker20 said in another report, its not always about the catching. Of course, I would have liked to catch something over a pound or better, but to catch anything at all is a rare privilege and one not to be taken for granted. Many of us spend a lifetime fishing without ever realising that it's not the fish we're after. Its the silence, the solitude, and the space for a few moments quite reflection, far from the hubbub and the troubles of the everyday. Its a place where we can breathe easy, but never losing focus, and set our minds to rest and lose ourselves entirely in that endless moment, where time is stretched to infinity as we watch our fly land perfectly on the surface, where, with luck, it has not gone unnoticed. One must be careful not to become lost to the dream, but it is that dream that drives us on. Until next time, tight lines and, well, you know.









    *the fisherman's prayer;





    Like for like

    Owt for nowt

    Silver in

    Silver out
     

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  16. Jerseyman

    Jerseyman Member

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    Great read as always, whilst not a fluffer, wandering small rivers catching wild fish as a young un, still remains some of my best memories of fishing.
    Thank you for taking the time to remind me:)
     
  17. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Thanks for reading Jerseyman, and Im glad you enjoyed it. The rivers and streams I stalked as a child are still there, mostly unchanged, and its a huge pleasure to re-visit them and re-live those endless summer days spent in quiet fascination, only this time I'm properly equipped and don't have to be back in time for tea.
     
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  18. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    11/09/2018





    After several false starts and a fair amount of umm ing and aah-ing over the weather and the chances of actually catching anything, I finally decided that today's trip was worthwhile after all, and set out as early as I could. I wasn't sure that I was even going to go fishing again this season, as the weather forecast looks pretty grim for the next couple of weeks. I don't mind the rain so much, but when the wind is so high, it just makes everything that little bit more difficult.





    Well, today the wind had its best fighting trousers on and set about doing it's best to frustrate my efforts to get a decent cast out. The first place I stopped, a small lochan, and a place where I have only ever fished once before and blanked, was completely exposed to the elements as the trees that once sheltered it have been stripped away as part of the ongoing harvest. I didn't spend too much time here, and after getting soaked to the skin and catching myself for the fourth time in as many casts, I moved on to the next mark.



    Again, the same story. I haven't been up this way for a few years now, and I was shocked by what I saw. What was once a lush and dense forest, peppered with small lochs and reservoirs, is now a bleak and desolate landscape of stumps and barren earth, criss crossed with deer fences, gates and even steps. I understand that it has to be done and that in a few decades it will recover, but, for now, it makes for a very unpleasant walk. I doubt that it will achieve anything like it's former glory in my lifetime, so one hopes that the next generation will appreciate it. But I digress.



    Abandoning the second mark in short order, I made my way to the days main attraction, Loch ******. It's been quite a while since I wet a line here, and, even with the wind at a steady 20mph with occasional gusts of around 25mph, I was feeling quite confident. It's a big loch, and one that has produced the goods in the past. Starting at the north bank and working my way along the west, I cast out again and again, always exploring. There was no use in employing my usual tactic of stalk and cast to the rise; there were no rises, and even if there were, I wouldn't have been able to pick them out among the waves and wind lanes that had formed on the waters surface, let alone aim anywhere near. I think I missed a take, but the amount of grass and weed that has grown under the surface is such a snag hazard that I might just have gotten caught up in that.



    So, working my way around, trying to find a spot that looked like it held a fish, was sheltered enough to cast without taking my eye out and didn't mean standing up to my knees in marsh water, I eventually found the perfect place and got the best cast of the day out and was immediately rewarded with a good take. At first the fish swam towards me, so I thought I had yet another tiddler on, but I would have been happy with that as I had already decided that the day was a washout and made a deal with myself that I would catch just one fish, of any size and of any species, then head home, so to get a trout was a bonus.



    It took just a few moments for the fish to realise it had been caught and took off in the opposite direction, putting a serious bend in my rod. At last, I had caught a decent fish in one of these confounded puddles! Taking my time and playing the fish as delicately as I could, lest I lose it, something that would have caused me to swear and curse so badly that i think i might have brought even worse weather down on us all, I slowly brought it to my net, where it took off again. I had about 5 attempts at netting it before I finally managed to get it to the bank, where I took a quick picture before letting it go. It's difficult to get a sense of its size because it wouldn't stay still and the picture is taken from an odd angle due to reeds and the soggy ground, but if you look at it's tail then you might get some sort of scale. I estimated it to be around 15-17 inches long, with a slim body, and with a weight of about 2lbs, the biggest wild fish I've caught in this series of lochs, and the biggest I've caught all season. I was absolutely delighted and decided not to push my luck and called it a day right then.


    Working my way around to the road that leads back to civilization, I noticed that a new club has taken the option of claiming the loch as their home water, and had erected a shiny new sign to say so. Well, that was money well spent lads. Just as I was leaving, a land rover pulled up and a couple of tweedy fellows spilled out. I was well out of range by then, so I don't think they saw me, but the amount of rubbish, fire pits and makeshift bank sticks I came across, tells me that nobody else is taking any notice of their sign either. Good stuff, and away the locals say I, but I do wish they would take their empties home with them. They are, after all, lighter than they were on the way up.



    This might be the last report for the season. The weather is deteriorating rapidly, and looks like it will be as miserable as it was today for the rest of the month. It might be that there's the odd day here and there to break up the monotony, so I will do my level best to get out and keep the secret poacher paths open. I will be working on my book over the winter, and I will post regular updates as and when I'm satisfied with the progress.



    Until then, tight lines and Tally Ho!
     

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  19. bigfish murtha

    bigfish murtha Member

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    A braw fish for your efforts crabby....
    Snotty weather is nae fun but a fish always brightens a dull day.......:thumbsup:
     
  20. crabby_old_man

    crabby_old_man Member

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    Last trip of the season?





    Take 2.



    Yes, take 2. A few days ago I decided to make one last pilgrimage to my favourite water to see the season out. I know that there's still a few weeks left, but the weather has taken such a turn for the worse that it's scarcely worth the effort of climbing all the way up just to be confronted with appalling conditions that make it all but impossible to get a decent cast out. I am an old man after all. Well, foolishly, I chose a day where I didn't expect there to be many, if any, club members out, and I was right. Again, I had a whole reservoir to myself. It turns out that they were right too, it was not a day to be fishing, it was a day to stay indoors out of the wind and the rain, but having got there I was determined to at least have a go.



    Oh dear. If you have ever spent a day like this then you will know exactly what I mean when I say that by lunch I was 50 metres of leader and 5 flies down, blind with fury and had denounced the sport and all of it's participants, their offspring and blighter that invented it in the first place. The best chance I had of actually catching a fish was ruined by my own impatience, clumsy rod action and frustration. Having spooked every living thing for a mile, I eventually admitted defeat and walked a very soggy path back to the cottage to plan my next move.





    That is a day best forgotten, but it remains a sore point for now. Spending 4 hours chasing imaginary rises to miss the only take you get because you're busy looking over your shoulder for legitimate anglers fairly gets a fellows dander up. But ever onwards, eh?





    So, day 2. The weather forecast had predicted winds of around 6-8mph for the morning, picking up in the afternoon. Well within acceptable parameters. Unfortunately, that meant that others would undoubtedly have the same idea, so the prospect of getting to my destination and having it to myself again were much reduced. But, joy unbound, I did. I don't know why there was nobody there but I was glad to see the banks void of ticket holders and officious prats, the bane of my sporting life. Having spent almost 2 hours getting there, a walk I do enjoy immensely it must be said, to be able to fish unmolested pleased me no end. Even as I walked up the hill and got closer to the water, I could feel the excitement rising. My step got a little quicker, my smile a little easier and my general disposition was greatly improved. I may even have wished a cow a good morning. Knowing that I would have a line out in short order brought me a strange mix of feelings, and I felt a calm euphoria, tinged with only a little sadness knowing that I might not walk these paths again for months. I love these hills and I love fishing them, and it's always a wrench to have to say goodbye to them for the winter. But to business.





    This time I had brought the larger of my rods, reasoning that the bigger fish were a little further out than I could reach with the 9 footer. Whether they had become line shy or had found a more abundant food source I do not know, but they were agonizingly beyond my range on that ill starred first attempt, so I armed myself with the heavy artillery and went at them with everything I had. This was a war of attrition, and I wasn't bloody leaving until I had at least one of them in my net. Setting my jaw in attitudes of grim determination and constantly reminding myself to relax, stay focussed and not to try and cast over every rise I saw, I slowly inched my way around the bank to the place I had previously missed the only take of the day. I paid no heed to my surroundings as far as getting caught was concerned. This was the last time I would be here until April at least, so getting asked to leave and reprimanded was of little consequence. I was here for one reason and nothing was going to stop me, by Jingo!





    After a time, I found myself at the scene of my angry outburst, and, sure enough, there were fish rising, rolling and jumping all around. Thinking themselves safely out of reach, they ignored my presence and continued in their playful antics, unaware that this time I was more than a match for them. Staying well back from the waters edge I let off a few shots, testing their appetites and making sure that I could cast with a full summers worth of unmanaged vegetation at my back. Nothing came in response to my opening salvo, although it did go quiet for a while. I suspect that the fish were indeed a little line shy and had been caught before, and were rightly wary of any morsel that dropped suspiciously close where they had just sipped some hapless winged thing from the surface.





    A slight change of position and tactics, and a few more casts and I was in! Not a particularly big fish, but the sense of relief that came over me was huge. If I had failed to catch at a stocked reservoir twice in a row then I don't know what I might have done. Sold all of my gear and taken up macramé most likely. But I hadn't failed, I had caught one at last, only to realise that while I might have brought the larger of my rods (11ft 7wt), I hadn't brought the larger handle for my net. Being on quite a high and steep bank with no way of getting down to the water's edge meant that I had to lie down and scoop the fish, while trying to keep it under control using only the top half of the rod. It's times like that where I'm glad nobody can see me. I must have cut a strange figure, and anybody but another angler, who would understand, would think that I had either fallen down or lost my mind.



    After another hour or so and a couple more fish, I was tempted to take the day to the very brink, but with the wind picking up and night beginning to fall, sense prevailed I made a final salute to the water and broke my rod for, probably, the last time this year. It's been a good season, for the most part, although I have had a bad day here and there, but these have been more than balanced out by the good days, some of them so very good that I will keep them forever in my mind. Catching my first salmon, a double figure brownie and getting to see the dawn come up like golden fire across some of the most beautiful country in the world, well, who wouldn't take a few pairs of wet socks for all that?



    So, its farewell for now, but I will update this thread when I have written a new chapter of the book that I intend to write in the off season. And, let's be clear on this, there are last trips and there are last trips, so who knows what might happen between now and the 31st of October? Thanks to everybody who has read, enjoyed (or not) and commented here. I really do appreciate your time and support.





    To the chap I startled while he was 'easing springs' just the other day, my sincere apologies. I didn't mean to creep up on you like that and I certainly didn't intend for you to get wee all down your leg. I do hope it dried in before you got home.







    Until next time, tight lines and tally ho!
     

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