I woke with post concert tinnitus ringing in my ears. Nicky and I had done the 300 mile round trip to see Lenny Kravitz at the 'ammersmiff Apollo - not a bad show (appreciated more by Nick that me), the band all had their instruments set to 11 and everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. A black girl danced in the aisle next to us moving like a hunting snake which I seem to recall noticing momentarily out of my peripheral vision ;-)
The biggest draw back was that it meant setting foot in London a place I abhor. I worked in Bristol for years and visit other cities quite regularly if unenthusiastically but I find London a charmless place and I avoid it like the plague.
What I needed today was to get myself to a quiet place, to redress the balance of my being. So I went fishing.
The river was up but not as high as I'd hoped. Had it been higher I would have adopted my two day flood approach which has produced some big fish in the past but, alas, there was just over 2' on so I had to look for a suitable swim for the conditions.
I fished a long crease that gave me a great feature to fish as well as deflecting some of the debris that the river carried. Out went a big feeder filled with broken boilies and a bit of groundbait to hold it together for the cast. Below that I fished a second rod, something I haven't done during the summer, with a pva bag of 10mm DT Baits Oily Chicken boilies and a couple on the hair. Its an approach that has done me well many times before.
Sitting there in the weak sunlight I was at peace. The air was keen, the sky bright with puffy white clouds (a Simpson's sky), with few birds to be seen as we are between the mass autumn exodus and the winter influx of visitors. The river burbled and gurgled over a sunken log the pitch rising and falling as the river surged, I cannot help but look up toward the sound every time it happens. The only sounds of mankind were of distant traffic and the occasional aircraft, I was content.
I worked at building the swim for a couple of hours, then the phone rang. I was happy to chat with Phil and hear the excitement in his voice as he prepared to make his first trip to his winter carp venue. The call was abruptly halted as I tightened into a fish that pulled hard in the heavy flow. When it surfaced it was just a scamp of a barbel with delusions of grandeur but was welcome on a cold afternoon.
I stuck at it for another hour or so but the sun was getting low and I was wishing I'd put on an extra layer or two of clothing. The rod twitched again and was in my hand as it bent toward the running fish. This one was slightly larger and had a very fat belly (I can talk), but, I noticed, a withered pectoral fin. Other than that It was a fine autumn barbel and was slipped back into the coloured water. That was enough for me. Rather than sit it out for a dusk fish I packed and headed home for a hot meal.
It was then that I noticed that my ears were clear - job done.