Captured memories to treasure

posted in: Game Fishing, Sidebar | 0

 

         A mild August Sunday morning with a hint of moisture in the air, a light South West breeze bringing clouds from the Atlantic. The river was looking healthy, fairly high yet clear as morning sunlight occasionally broke through the lush trees that overhung the river.

            It was only a short session but good to be wading in the cool water as I searched the river working my way slowly upstream. I was fishing a large bushy dry fly tied by Nigel Nunn

https://www.nigelnunnflies.com beneath which was tied a small copper head nymph. I tempted a couple of small wild browns on the nymph and had a few splashy rises to the dry that I failed to hook.

            A good sized trout rose to the dry fly and I failed to connect so marked the spot and decided to have a try as I came back down river. I fished up covering a few likely spots with just the dry but failed to rise anymore fish.

            I decided to try once more for the good fish I had risen earlier without connecting. I walked back and climbed into the river at the bottom of the pool. I worked slowly up flicking the dry fly over promising spots until I reached the place where I had raised the trout earlier. The fly floated on the river and brought a splashy rise that I again failed to connect with.

            I decided upon a few minutes searching deeper with just a small jig headed nymph pattern, I leant back against a tree as I changed flies.

            I wrote earlier this summer about how we go fishing to make memories and the next few moments are one of those captured memories to treasure.

            As I prepared to flick the nymph into the river there was a flash of vivid electric blue as a kingfisher flew past just a rod length away. Whilst only fleeting the sight will linger in the minds eye for years to come. Downriver a movement caught my eye and I stood stock still as a heron and watched transfixed as three otters moved upriver along the far bank. I watched as they negotiated the tree roots, twisting, amazingly agile in the swirling water, scurrying in and out as they moved oblivious to my presence.

            After they had passed I wandered if it was worth casting a line? I flicked the small nymph and watched the tip of the fly line as the nymph sank into the deep water. The line twitched, I lifted the rod and a trout pulsed at the lines end. Eight inches or so of crimson spotted perfection. I admired my prize briefly before slipping the barbless hook and releasing into the cool clear water.

            It was time to go home with more memories made at the water’s edge.

Moments of reflection and lost spirits carried upon a flooding tide.

There is something reassuring about the perpetual ebbing and flowing of the tide. Watching the cool swirling waters as the light faded memories flooded in with the tide . I had started fishing in saltwater over fifty years ago whilst on holiday with my parents in this Cornish seaside town of Looe.

Over the years we have been drawn back many times. We had walked out onto the Banjo pier and It was pleasing to have glimpsed the flashing flanks of grey mullet in the clear water.

I  looked out at the horizon where I imagined the tuna shoals that have recently migrated into the waters off Cornwall potentially opening the dawning of a new age of recreational catch and release fishing.

I had looked out from this pier as a teenager and caught the flickering light of the Eddystone Light far out in the channel. I had since fished the Eddystone reef for pollock and caught blue shark many miles offshore.

Fifty years ago, I started on an angling journey that has taken me to many locations yet those childhood memories linger. An orange tipped float beneath harbour lights disappearing pleasingly as small pollack seized the strips of mackerel. Sharing the joys of catching crabs with our son James sat on the harbours edge as Pauline grabbed at his coat tails fearful that he would slip into the water.

Moments of reflection and lost spirits carried upon a flooding tide.

Tackle Memories

I was sorting through the tackle shed today and there is a quite a lot of old tackle some of it given to me over the years. It has dwelt in those old tackle boxes for years but this lockdown has given time to delve into the boxes and start to tidy. Much of it will never be used again but it does unlock a few memories.

(Above)The Mepps spinners that were favourites for salmon and sea trout in those days of plenty before the Fly Only Rules came into protect stocks.

The Mackerel spinners, Devon Minnows and classic the ABU Toby. 

(Above) The Winfield Shanny – Made in Gt Britain 

I notice the Winfield Shanny that brought back a fond memory of when Woolworths sold fishing tackle. Every Saturday afternoon my parents went to Barnstaple to do the weekly shop. I would wander off to visit the Rod Room or Gales. Or perhaps to Woolworths to buy a cheap bit of tackle or look through the record department. Them maybe call into A J Watts for some trendy clothes and finish off with a coffee in John Gays Coffee house.