Where's the Weir?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 Filed in: rivers
One of the joys of modern computing is better mapping. I love maps. Sometimes they take you to places where you'll never ever go and other times they tell you what to expect when you get there. Aerial photographs are even more exciting because despite the veneer of accuracy, there's no way of knowing how out of date they are.
I say this after another unsuccessful trip to the river (may as well get the 'suspense' out of the way first). I'd been looking at the club membership book and wondering about the backwater, a new stretch of water that had been opened up to members this season. I've fished other backwaters attached to the river before and caught trout, my biggest roach (about 1lb) and been smashed up by something spectacular, so I was full of hope. A quick check of the aerial photo showed that although it looked overgrown, there was a weir at some point with proper concrete banks that I could sit on. I like weirs. Have done ever since the Thames at Windsor when we used to catch fat roach - and the occasional loco dace - on legered cheese paste.
So off I go, about 6.30pm on the hottest day of the year, trudging through the cut field, following the river proper until it comes to big open gate, and bends round to the right. I turn the corner and just like that, the river's gone. I don't see it again for another half mile at least, it's so choked with reeds, banks covered in stinging nettles. I almost give up and then I see another gate which I climb and a funny hole in the reeds, that looks like it leads down into the water. Peering through I discover the weir which can only be reached with a big treacherous step from slippery bank to concrete that goes round a fence, so you're sort of hanging on as you pivot round it. Going over's hard enough, but coming back with my trick knee is worse, so I stay long enough to take a photo and then return in a stupendously ungainly fashion, arms flailing, good leg swinging back and forth to get some momentum, duff knee locked in position. I only hope no-one was overhead, taking a photograph...
About the author
Rob Beattie is the other of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.