Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Some like it Wet
My apologies first of all to regular readers of this blog, I know it has been a little while. Must be honest though: I can't think of many winters in living memory that have been less inspiring for fishing. Perhaps it's good to take a breather now and again though, even for a fanatical angler. The last trip I made was about a week ago and was more about stretching my legs and catching up with a friend.
Central Tiverton is not the most romantic spot at the best of times, but miraculously the river didn't look too bad. Must have been a day or two before the floods kicked back in and tried to drown the whole Westcountry. I'm glad I packed a pretty old, cheap match rod- because somehow I managed to trash the tip section in transit. Russ Hilton was good enough to share the honours though, as we took it in turns to trot maggots and have a good gas about everything.
Hardly electric I'm afraid, but it was good just to sit by the river again. A funny spot is the Exe in the People's Republic of Tiverton. There are odd dace and grayling here, but I missed the occasional bites I had, while Russ managed to land a couple of stray trout. Not bad ones either- silvery things in decent condition and better than a blank.
Meanwhile, with every last detail finalised and chapter proofread for the next book ("Canal Fishing: A Complete Guide") I must admit, I've felt like I needed a holiday from both writing and fishing. Is it enjoyable scraping together an existence this way? Bloody hell yes, but you have to treat your passions gently sometimes. Even the things we love most can get jaded, unless you give them some space to breathe. Which is why this flooded, gale force mud-bath of a winter is a perfect time to do exactly that.
Yes, obsession is a trap. There is a world out there beyond the damp corner that is fishing. There are people and beer and friendship and poetry and life. Some of you might envy those guys who seem to live permanently on the water with a rod. I personally don't. I know many editors and hacks in the fishing world who will tell you the hidden story of the most hardcore obsessives- and in many cases it is a lifestyle of loneliness, tinned food and haemorrhoids. What is the unlikely moral I'm trying to drive at? Sometimes LESS fishing actually makes for more enjoyment. Habit is the great deadener- and it's actually meant to be fun, remember?
My favourite recent haunt has been well away from the river in fact. It is Exeter's brilliant new bar, The Beer Cellar, at the top of South Street. Together with some other reprobates, I'm attempting to taste the lot, one bottle at a time if necessary. You've never seen a more outrageously varied selection of fantastic brews in your life, from crisp pale ales to the violently strong "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" (no kidding) at 32% proof. You have been warned. The line between drunkenness and enlightenment can be a fine one.
Other than my excursion to the Exe though, the only fishing related arrival has been the new range of "DG Flies For Coarse Fish" made by Turrall. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to have a range of anything in my own name, so this is a lovely surprise (to be added to my site in the next few weeks- but in the mean time try "Trout Catchers" who have most of the range for sales already). I'll be shooting up to the BFFI (British Fly Fair International) this very weekend to put these on show, along with my usual wares. It should be fun- and when the weather is this shite, having a proper social and meeting up with new and old friends should be just the ticket.