June 26th - Gone Fishing

L and I have been reflecting on the way that married couples change each other, manifested this morning by the way I got up, looked out of the window and on seeing the overcast skies thought, "Great day to go fishing!  Meanwhile L awoke to find himself thinking about arranging flowers in church...

So anyway, we went fishing.  When we're at home that means going to a local fishing lake, stocked with trout.  Not challenging enough for a pro perhaps, but an ideal place for a novice like me to practice my casting in readiness for fishing the upper reaches of the Tyne later in the year.  It’s frustrating work at times, learning a new skill.  Much of my time is spent unhooking my fly from overhanging branches, from undergrowth far behind me and occasionally even from myself.  I try to remember all the components of a good cast, but too often forget myself and open the wrist, haul back too far, push forward too hard.  The line punishes me by landing on the water in a pile like an untidy bird’s nest.

Every so often, though, I do seem to get it about right.  Suddenly and without conscious effort I make the line curl over me in a lazy S before laying itself down as straight as a die on the water, followed a moment later by the soft ‘plock’ as the heavy bead-head nymph hits the surface at the end of the gossamer-like leader.  I think there’s no more satisfying sound on earth.

We stayed till dusk, and as we dismantled our rods we were stilled by the sight of a barn owl hunting above its own pale reflection. There was just enough light to weigh my catch, a prettily-marked and (it must be said) rather foolish rainbow, and record it on a scrap of paper weighted with a stone at the back of the fishery-owner’s hut.   Then home through the twilight in our little red MGB, bearing with us our supper and that of the cats.

Here’s hoping for a long, overcast summer.