Wednesday, May 4, 2016

And We're Off!

And we're off, with the first four days of fishing undertaken after a sharp frost each morning and intermittent sleet and hail throughout the day.
Despite conditions, a flurry of olives in the early afternoon has induced fish to rise freely and several now feature in the catch book.

The first few weeks of last season saw many fish lost sending many (trout not anglers) to sulk and brood on future surface feeding but so far this year few fish have been pricked or lost. The cuckoo rocked up on the first day of the month as the first cuckoo flower broke into bloom and the first haze of hawthorn flies appeared as the buds broke on the hawthorn trees, which must mean everything is in its place and all is right with the world, although no fish have fallen to an artificial hawthorn to date. With the cold conditions much of the greenery is in hiatus, waiting for kinder conditions before springing forth. The fringe can only be described as stunted and affords the angler little cover from a fish on the fin while willow and its arboreal chums remain on the cusp of forming leaves. Warmer weather is forecast for later in the week with a marked transformation anticipated as spring finally arrives albeit at "fast forward" speed. We have Mallard chicks on the water and the kingfishers' frantic sorties after minnows suggests that they are feeding young.

The river level is reasonable, and when the weed gets a grip in warmer weather and raises itself up to its' full height the water level will rise further, but we still have foam on the water each morning and the river still carries a tint which is not unusual at the start of the season but it needs to be gone by the end of the month.

It's an oft repeated statement in this stream of guff, but declining water quality and quantity remain the principle threat to brown trout and the chalk stream environment, and if anyone tells you otherwise, tap them hard on the head with a large lump of wood and tell them to stop being silly. And while we're on this one, if a chap in fine fleece and cutting edge walking shoes waxes lyrical on genetic purity and the brown trout, reach for the same said large lump of wood to administer similar treatment and a reminder that protecting habitat and effective habitat management is more important to the success of the brown trout and populations of freshwater fish, than preserving specific genetic lines.

Moving on, and twenty four hours later (Like many of you, I too fall asleep between paragraphs)we've just had one of the heaviest hatches of hawthorn I have seen for some years. Pictures on the left and I apologise for the quality but brer hawthorn doesn't sit still for long.

Over on the short stretch of the Itchen that I fall in and out of on a part time basis, fishing began a little earlier, with fish poking a nose at a trickle of olives. Didn't see much grannom on any of my visits.

The place has been visited a few times by folk with carp fishing rods, bags of lager and large cigars.

If any of you clowns read this guff, stop now.

A long term resident of the valley managed to get some pictures of the car plus perpetrators. The messages to the poaching line at command centre central got lost somewhere in Suffolk, or possibly Sheffield, so we have turned to the police who appear to have matters in hand with something called operation Thornly which aims to quell an increase in petty countryside crime in the county, including poaching.
Thank you very much to the chap who took the photos, and well done the rural community police officer and also to Inspector Thornly (note to self - Sunday evening, ITV six part series, approach Ray Winstone's agent for role as man in ill fitting tracksuit bottoms with big rod and cigar)

Today I fell off a bridge. It wasn't the bridge's fault, despite the intricacy of its design it is of sound construction and once had four people on it at once. The newly betrothed have had their happiest moment recorded on it.
It has formed the centre piece in many artistic efforts in mediums from charcoal to oil some of which manage to make it look level.

It is also featured in the Mary Berry 2015 TV series "Crossing over to the other side" in which Mary explored the efficacy of Britain's best bridges and is featured on page 121 of the accompanying book "Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites".
A former Tiswas presenter may also attest to the efficacy of the bridge as he managed to cross this one before falling through another one a few yards downstream.

Anyway, presented with a new bench to put outside the fishing hut, I mistakenly assembled the thing at the workshop. Carrying the fully assembled seat I struggled through the gate to the bridge, passing the plaque that heralds Mary's crossing, the bench clipped the handrail and balance was affected, for what seemed like ten seconds but can only have been two I teetered in a cartoon style. Remembering my clever phone's aversion to water I whipped it out of my pocket before plunging into waist deep water, where I landed with a bench on my shoulder and phone held head high.

I haven't fallen in the river for years, but may consider doing it more often as I seem to have developed a certain style.

I don't care much for Tom Daley's new trunks but give me a stripy three quarter length swimsuit worn by Victorians when diving into buckets of water from height, and I'll take him on in Rio.

And so to Leicester,

Well done and all that , and outside North London who hasn't been following the foxes since Christmas, but what would Moley have made of it all?

We'll never know


It's one of the three, but I believe the ampersand is on the up.

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