That's Why I'm Here
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 Filed in: rivers
Always, back to the river then. Those with even a passing acquaintance with the calendar will notice that I've not actually fished - float in the water, ledger up a tree - since last August. There have been mitigating circumstances. My mind has been elsewhere, my spirits low. All the more reason to go fishing then, or so you'd think. But the longer Spring went on , the more it felt right to postpone my return to the bank until the official opening of the coarse fishing season - June the 16th. And so I did.
I have several new pieces of equipment to try. First, a new self-inflating mat to sit on. I've finally made the switch from the old mini lilo-type blow-up cushion of old to a new snazzy Karrimor which blows itself up. Second, a pair of shiny black Croc wellington boots which I received as a gift (thanks mum) and wanted because of their legendary comfort, partly because they weigh sod all and partly for practical reasons (hard to believe that someone with prose this lithe can have calves this wide).
As I was making my way across the field to the river (invisible at this stage) Ray was at home, fighting a plumbing leak; he wouldn't make it in the end. There was one other angler who gave me a good tip about chub, but apart from that, the field was mine. Someone had been busy cutting out large swims for an upcoming match, but the grass in the field is so high that you can't really see anyone until you're on top of them. Just the way I like it.
I checked out a few swims on the way but had already decided where I was going - to the first big bend where the river turns sharply again towards the lane. I fished there before last season (see Warums Again) and did OK. I'd cycled over to the tackle shop (where the staff get less rather than more friendly with each visit) and rejected their sorry looking casters in favour of maggots and really had no expectations beyond catching some small fish.
I wasn't disappointed. Over the first hour or two I caught a perch and a few roach, nothing larger than the palm of my hand, but welcome nevertheless and as good a way to kick off the season as anything else. Even after all these years, there's still nothing that smells quite like a roach. My backside went numb so the cushion needs work, but the wellies are a palpable hit and much easier on the feet than trad versions. And anyone who wonders why you need wellies to walk through a high field in summer at dusk has never had to pick slugs out of their Crocs.
About the author
Rob Beattie is the other of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.