How much pomp and circumstance do we give a fishery?


Pic courtesy of Chris Glover

In this touching piece on Sir Edward Elgar and a fishing centenary (prompting me to bring the composer’s Cello Concerto up on Spotify as I type) I was taken with the writer’s thoughts on trout water hierarchy…

“In 1918 there was only one lake at Little Bognor, to call it a pond is an injustice. A pond is something found in a suburban garden, it conjures up visions of gnomes and goldfish. Curiously, Little Bognor has two ancient stone gnomes, hidden memorials to Sir Edward and his wife. Moreover, Little Bognor was built to provide a constant flow of water to the Upper Mill. It was therefore a millpond. Nevertheless, I prefer to call it a lake.”

It’s a subjective thing, so I don’t look to second guess this opinion, but personally, I can live with ‘pond’ as a fishing label for anything up to an acre or two, and not just because an angling writer needs all the synonyms he can get to stop his copy growing stale. ‘Pond’ can lend a certain charm, I think, and not merely diminish. It carries overtones of glades, grottos, secrets and undiscovered magic.

‘Lake’, I reserve for the big stuff, and I inwardly groan whenever I have to speak of a ‘reservoir’, which has a functional, charmless ring to it. ‘Pool’ serves me well for anything in between.

And I am thankful all the while that on this side of the Atlantic, we are spared the popular, yet numbingly literal American moniker of ‘hole’. Had they called it On Golden Hole, something tells me Henry Fonda would have died still awaiting his Oscar.


Fishing vehicle? I’m inclined to take the bus…

pexels-photo-191327.jpegJust one of those days when the fly fishing newsfeed happens to churn out polar opposites of the same theme.

At the premium end, hard on the wheels of the Bentley Bentayga [TF487] comes Rolls-Royce’s debut in the SUV market and I have to say I’m underwhelmed. You can’t stick that iconic grille on just any automobile genre and think, “Nailed it…”

Well you can, but I’m not sure you’re right. Looking at the Cullinan is like looking at the family butler as he whizzes past you on a skateboard on his day off, complete with back-to-front baseball cap. Something’s not right.

Give me Sam Soholt’s inventiveness instead, transforming an old school bus into a field sports motorhome with a difference. I was about to refer to it as the ‘budget’ end of this mechanical tale but mulling over the costs his labour of love is likely to have incurred, you’re probably looking at half a Jag’s worth, as it is.

Float-tubing and awkward questions

Float tube

Pic courtesy of kasperbs

I’m no fan of Americanisms slavishly adopted this side of the Atlantic, particularly if they make no grammatical sense. I must confess, however, to having an hypocritical soft spot for the American pronunciation of ‘buoy’.

Not only do I like the sound of ‘boo-ey’ but it at least has a certain logic to it.

My fondness for it only deepened this week, as I struggled against the prevailing wind on a northern reservoir, in what was my first experience of float-tubing. Still acquiring the correct flipper technique, I could feel myself drifting further away from the harbour than was ideal, as a fresh breeze pressed against my back.

Noting my travails, one of my fellow tubers shouted across the widening stretch of water between us.

“Would you feel better being tied to a buoy?” he asked, unfortunately using the British pronunciation.

Suddenly, I was delighted to be so far out of anyone else’s earshot.

‘Boo-ey’. We need to give it some serious thought.

Inbetweeners and an unintended joke


Pic courtesy of Paul Skinner

Younger Son is at that early stage of manhood, finally free to explore life’s heights and depths en route to finding his own concept of the happy medium.

One minute, the gratifying old fogey in him is expressing sadness that tweed suits are no longer in fashion, the next, he’s settling in for his nightly dose of utter squalor, courtesy of The Inbetweeners.

NSFW? This half-hour filthfest, fixated with life beneath the waist, is barely suitable for civilised society. Its one redeeming feature is that it is consistently – and I hate myself for writing this – hilarious.

Last night’s biggest gag, however, was one the scriptwriters hadn’t planned, unless it was intended as incredibly subtle irony, which would make it unique in the sitcom’s history.

The four heroes are out on a boat in Swanage harbour. One of them throws an unbaited fishing line overboard for the hell of it and a few minutes later, a fish comes aboard.

It’s a rainbow trout.

I know factual accuracy isn’t what drives this programme, but for goodness sake, television people, would it kill you to do just a smidgeon of research?

Enjoy Bosnia, Slovenia while you can, anglers

pexels-photo-921913.jpegWe highlighted growing concerns over the spread of Balkan hydropower projects in our News page of TF506, but as always, the voices of those affected hit home far harder than any statistics.

The nuts and bolts are here, the people who must live with them, here.

“Then they finished the war, I don’t have nothing and I start from the bottom…and, I don’t have anything again…”

Pink strikes a dodgy note with anglers

pexels-photo-366063.jpegOh, the irony. Just a week ago, our latest issue went to bed, including an article on women in fishing.

In my Wading In column (on the newsstands next Wednesday) I asked several women anglers to tell me what they liked and hated about attempts to boost female participation.  The good points varied but on the bad, they were within a whisker of unanimity – tackle and clothing manufacturers short on empathy, and still labouring under the  misapprehension that the use of pink in their products seals the deal avec les femmes…

Leaving me in something of a quandary. Do I tell those behind the XtraTuf Women’s Ankle Deck Boot, or leave them in blissful ignorance?

The acceptable face of flat-earthing

Daffodils and bunnies

Maybe I can be accused of flying in the face of reality, on this day of the vernal equinox, when the sun is directly in line with the Equator and the daylight hours are as long in Perth, Scotland as they are in Perth, Western Australia.

But I don’t care, and unlike the flat-earth fraternity, who are supposedly back in vogue and who have apparently never happened upon a single photo of Earth taken by Apollo astronauts, I have a modicum of hard reality on my side.

For all that I, too, am getting excited about a fresh year of fishing in shirtsleeves, I have known snow in late March. Hell, I’ve known snow in April, when silly mid-ons crouching in five sweaters and a blizzard are almost standard fare among cricket photographers.

The wind remains knife-like and the barbecue area in my garden about as inviting as a wartime trench.

So this is one Luddite stance I continue to take with pride.

To borrow from Jim Royle, first day of spring my a**e.