Saturday, 26 January 2013
THE QUIET WATERS BY. (introduction/foreword)
UP TO NO GOOD AGAIN
During my teens and early adult life I fished mainly ponds and lakes and was joined by several friends and family members along the way. From either lack of time, interest or just convenience I was fishing commercial waters. The fish that I caught from these lakes whilst magnificent, would have a look in their eye which, at the time, one might mistake for disdain. Only now do I realise that the look in their eyes was from their loss of freedom, and was reflected in my own. It is my belief that the inclusion of others was in some way to mask what I was to lose from fishing, replacing that sense of freedom and adventure with good company or adding a competitive streak that was not in my nature and against my principals.
Undoubtedly the places I fished were stunningly beautiful. Most lakes reflected the transformation of the trees through the seasons and the air was filled with skylarks busily bragging how high they were in the summers sky through song. But the lakes were designed for convenience to both the owners and the needs of the anglers. Trees were felled, brambles and nettles were removed and grass was mown to a lawn like length. Not to mention the inclusion of running hot and cold water and toilets on some lakes.
One in particular that springs to mind would facilitate a kitchen with television and armchairs and freezers and fridges to store bait and drinks in a cabin on the lake. There was an extensive breakfast menu and it was not uncommon to see the owner wander round with mugs of tea and bacon sandwiches and delivered to the swim of the hungry fisherman. This would cause me to much tutting, shaking and scratching of my head. With the comforts of home and the shelter of bivvies along with electronic gadgetry signalling fish activity and delivering bait by a boat to precise spots in the lake, for me anyways, would signal what was wrong and what was missing from my fishing. These so called anglers were in all intents and purposes camping in their own gardens and running to mum at mealtimes or at the first clap of thunder.
Whilst fishing during this time I had the pleasure of teaching and introducing friends, brothers, children, nephews as well as reacquainting my father after his long absence from the sport, although not nearly frequently enough to either of our preference. I was witness to that rekindled magic again but my pleasure was obtained from seeing it in their eyes and not my own. This realisation or mid-life epiphany, call it what you will, would rekindle a spark which in turn would ignite my enthusiasm, eagerness and excitement before I had chance to recast and wet a line.
I needed to break from the comfort of familiarity of lakes and ponds and fish alone on our wild flowing rivers and streams. Whilst this would leave me in unfamiliar territory it would create a hunger for knowledge only sated by getting out there and exploring.
The teacher would once more become the pupil and the man would become the child again. Another bonus of being a now responsible adult living out his childhood would dissipate the perils of angry bulls, barbed wire fences, hiding from farmers and bailiffs and hopefully avoiding unnecessary dangerous risk taking.
This time around it would dispel general consensus of opinion that if I was missing I was probably up to no good.