Friday, August 15, 2008
Another hard week for fishing plus the August weed cut is already upon us. Heavy Showers in the early part of this week turned the river the colour of cocoa, although a rare brace of successive settled days towards the end of the week bought about a huge improvement in the fishing. Two days of reasonable hatches of medium Olives and Spurwings and the fish came up on the fin and looked vaguely interested in what was going on around them.
I will not have to cut too much weed this week, growth is not so prolific on this stretch at this time of the year, any holes or bars cut in the weed can often be replaced by brown or filamentous algae which gives the river a sickly appearance; I will cut and edge in the fringe and trim the ribbon weed and leave it at that.
Pheasants are fine and fast developing webbed feet. After one overnight intense shower during the week, I arrived at the release pen in the morning to find the floor of the pen covered in a sheet of water and the pheasants still up on their roost.
The weather is wreaking havoc with the harvest on the surrounding land, no corn has been cut around here for a fortnight or more, the past two days have seen fine weather, instigating a mad dash among the combine and corn cart fraternity to get some corn in the dryer. The field of Barley behind our house is far from dry. In the current weather conditions farmers will be forced to cut corn with a high moisture content that will take a great deal of drying in the corn dryer. This will use a lot of oil and with the current high energy prices will no doubt result in a rise in cost of many items on the shelves of our shops. Last year I paid £120 a ton for wheat to feed the pheasants, almost double what I had paid the previous year, this year I anticipate a similar increase: and they say that inflation in this country is running at between four and five percent!
This week we have been out rabbit shooting on the fields that we shoot over. This involves three blokes standing in the back of my pick up, two armed with shotguns and one with a high powered spot light driving around the headlands of the fields just after dark shooting as many Rabbits as they can. The Rabbit population, if left unchecked, would eventually take over the world, on my patch they would munch several acres of the farmer’s crop if we didn’t carry out our annual cull post harvest.
While the Rabbits are our main quarry we will also shoot the odd fox. We often see Badgers, numerous Roe Deer and the odd Muntjac. Owls are always very entertaining, often they are out for a Rabbit themselves and can often be quite obstinate; we regularly drive to within ten yards of a Tawny Owl that stands on a particular fence post; after a brief stand off it is always us who blinks first and moves on. One of the disturbing features of later years have been the few foxes that have been released on to our land after spending time in animal rescue centres or been caught up in urban areas. Unafraid of man and his lights and guns, they are easy prey for the earnest Gamekeeper. Well intentioned as their actions may be, these animal rescuers undoubtedly fail when releasing their mended animals back into areas where shooting and fishing are a way of life.
As I write, my hooligan of a black Labrador puppy Otis, lays on his back, under my chair, a gardening glove in his mouth snoring his head off. It’s a long and arduous journey this dog training lark!