I have laid aside business, and gone a'fishing.

Izaak Walton

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Going urban


Finally, I return to you after stepping off the merry-go-round of work for a change.

I'd texted my chum, one John Tyzack (JT), a few days earlier and arranged a day on the river. It was time to get the old waders wet, if I could fit into them...
Waders, as we all know, have the nasty habit of shrinking, especially around the areas of ones botticelli and midriff. Dining out twice a week and enjoying the odd bottle of half decent merlot or rioja have little or nothing to do with it....

The day got off to a good start when my dear wife presented me with a plate of succulent bacon-butties liberally dashed with HP sauce and two nice cups of tea to wash them down. She persuaded me to also consume a fruit slice, just to keep me going you understand.

Feeling prepared, I climbed into the motor and headed off to meet JT and before long we found ourselves in JT's motor, tootling along heading towards a days fishing. Much fun was had along the way as we both waffled on about this and that. I pointed out to JT that I was half-way though an excellent read; Hooked, by George Melly. Georgie boy regales his reader with various memories and ribald tales of his fishing exploits. I recommend it to the broadminded, over eighteen, fishing enthusiast. (RIP, Georgie).

En route to our destination we found ourselves in a delightful market town. Feeling the need for further refreshment I requested JT pull over so we could both enjoy a coffee. The needle on the thermometer had only just crept past zero. Perfect for Grayling but a bit nippy for yours truly.
We sat outside a cafe sipping our hot coffees. JT's dog, Scruffy, had been tethered to our table and was looking rather unimpressed as we enjoyed our drinks. However, her spirits lifted somewhat when the proprietor of the cafe appeared with a juicy sausage in her hand. 'Scruff' made short work of the snack and cheered up considerably. I felt a tad peckish...

We drove on a quarter of a mile until we found a car park, here we could dress for the occasion and leave the motor. Me worst fears were realised though, as I tugged on me waders - they had shrunk!
Anyway, after much puffing and cursing I was suited and booted, but only after having made a mental note to return to my local tackle supplier to purchase a new pair of waders, marked with sizing code XXL!

A short walk through this busy town led us to the riverbank. We must have looked a very strange pair as we mingled, rods in hand, with shoppers and people in their working suits and clothes.
Quite soon though, we were climbing down a riverbank towards what appeared to be very clear water. The banks may have been littered with all manner of debris and detritus, but the water was gin clear. Further testament to the fact that many of our once stone-dead and polluted urban rivers have now been reborn. Nothing short of a miracle, for me, dear reader.

An Iron Blue?

Fishing two nymphs, the point fly being weighted, and with the traffic roaring across the road bridge over our heads, my indicator stabbed down half an inch. I struck and my rod hooped over into a very fit, pound and a half Grayling. Soon, she was brought to the net and what a sight. A length of glittering silver brightened the bleakness of the grey environs. Chubby, is a polite way of describing her as she was slipped back into the water.

After a few more fish we moved up the riverbank towards a weirpool. I always think - Pike, when I meet a weirpool. Something dangerous about their nature, I suppose. You just don't know what lurks beneath the swirling blackness. Slowly, we stepped deeper into its depths and began to fish.

We spent about an hour in the pool and we must have brought dozens of fin-perfect Grayling to hand. Each one carefully unhooked from our barbless fly's and slipped back to join their friends. I caught two biggish males, again around the pound and a half mark and each a very splendid sight.

We decided to move on from the weirpool, JT had another spot in mind. So, we waded back to the bank and trekked back along the river and on reaching the road bridge, scrambled back into civilization.

A brief drive took us to an industrial estate on the edge of the town and we parked outside a pub. A few moments later we were once again descending towards the river. This time the river snaked its way through the buildings that formed the industrial estate. Sitting on top of the river banks were the sheer cliffs of large units housing noisy saw mills and the like. Funnily enough, we found the best beat on this urban river ran along the side of a very noisy commercial enterprise. Machines whined away behind us as grayling came to the hand before us.

I waded a little deeper into the river and suddenly felt an icy grip on the back of my leg, the tell-tale sign that I'd sprung a leak! I mentioned this to JT and he said Diver Dave was the chap to call on.
I'll be posting the waders off to Dave asap.

We caught a few more grayling but the cold of the day was gnawing away at both of us and we decided we'd had our fill.

A Red Letter Day, for me. Cheers JT!


  1. Loved reading about the day...a good one in every way: food, drink, and company (human, fish, and canine all). Take care and keep warm!

  2. Great blog, lovely grayling too, I'll be following from now on