February 23, 2014

The Thin Brown Line

That's the sum total of my fishing since mid January - a rolling tumbleweed. I have actually ventured to the waterside on a couple of occasions, one brief session involving a round trip just short of two hundred miles for less than two windswept, wet hours in which Neil's white blood corpuscle count dropped and a virus took over his body to the point where the return journey was essential. The other was a brief attempt to emulate King Canute as we fished with the water lapping the bank in a vein attempt to lure either a pike or a chub. Neither species obliged.

But looking at the river cameras, courtesy of the Wye and Usk Foundation, I see that there's a mere metre on up river which means that after all these weeks a strip of brown will be separating the green of the flooded fields from the dirty grey of the water. Yes folks, I can go fishing!

But I can't. I'm coughing death rattles and near comatose, stricken by that most dreadful of all ailments 'Terminal Manflu'. I doubt I'll see the weekend out.

Bloody typical, just when the river's manageable and the fish will doubtless be swimming open mouthed just waiting for any morsel that comes their way and I'm grounded. Bugger!

Hey ho, nothing I can do about it but sit back and wait till things improve. Time was I'd have dosed myself up and with a "I'm going out, I may be some time" comment to Nicky I'd heroically bow my head against the conditions and venture forth. Nowadays I have a little more sense and take the opportunity to work my way through the Norman Wisdom box set or make another float.

Did I mention floats? Oh yes, I've been creative - ish, and have put a few together. Its a good way of spending the winer hours, I just wish I was good at it. The actual floats will work, that's not really very challenging is it? A stick which is buoyant is after all a float, we just like to complicate the issue by making them look pretty and that's where I fall down. I have the artistic ability of a chimp with a bucket of whitewash and a broom which doesn't make for pristine floats with dead straight bands of colour but what the hell, once they've floated ten yards downstream who can tell the difference and the fish certainly don't give a toss.

A forum I'm on is full of eager and highly competent float makers, each one being a work of art often with feathers inlayed into the varnish and paint jobs that could be exhibited in a gallery. They make pleasant comments about mine but its a bit like driving a Lada to a super car convention, we took the same road and were basically alike in that we were all on four wheels and had a roof and windows to keep the rain off but the looks my car got were somehow different to theirs. But I can live with it.
I have made floats in the past but have now rediscovered the joy of making my own tackle. When I fly fished I started tying my own and pretty soon it felt wrong to use a shop fly. The same will doubtless be true about floats and, with a few exceptions, I'll be rolling my own from now on.

Hopefully I'll have a fish to report in the near future - should I make it through the next few days that is - cough, cough, groan!