I've just returned from my autumn holiday to the south west. A week in Dorset and Somerset fishing both coarse and sea for several species using multiple tactics and methods.
As I write, I can't stop thinking of those moments of happy chance that at times either took my breath or stopped my heart beating momentarily.
I'm aware that some of the things I witnessed, whilst mundane or taken for granted by others, have been forged into personal memories.
Some might say that my personal views suggest that I 'sit on the fence' but truth be known I take very little for granted and I find others views interesting. Coupled with which, I find arguments tedious and relatively unhelpful. See: Cowardice (n)
To exemplify a relatively moot point, I witnessed an otter fishing in front of me. Now the occasion was a first for me and I was overwhelmed. It was a privileged spectacle that I know many will never see as close up in the wild, and it has now been logged in my lifetime experiences.
And yet if perchance the estate gamekeeper had come along and peppered it with his shotgun I would have understood. Whatever your views, on either me or the otter, it is of no consequence. Like I said I'm quite happy and content to be perched 'on the fence'.
The stunning views across both counties with Autumn forging its signature on the countryside was visually breath taking. The extremities of weather conditions paying no part in forming contrary to my opinion. These will forever serve as mental picture postcards in the future.
Fishing from rocks at Weymouth in brilliant sunshine, I observed Garfish hounding balls of whitebait and forcing them to explode from a gin clear sea like fireworks. It was like a miniature enactment of barracuda hunting in tropical waters. Beautiful coloured Wrasse did nothing but emphasize that illusion from my elevated vantage point. Yes I caught fish but to be honest nothing would outshine that particular spectacle.
My annual return to the Frome for Grayling is my favourite Autumn/Winter jolly and one of a select few that I anticipate with excitement weeks beforehand.
This time it proved to be a very special 'red letter day' for me and Graham with lots of varying personal bests obliterated. As of last years trip, it was a battle fought in torrential rain at times but I think we won having thirty odd fish between us. Our achievements doing wonders for our morale.
Taking fish in a relatively tranquil setting and yet with the odd tank thumping 120mm artillery shells across the nearby ranges and suppressing machine gun fire was a little surreal. But like the local fauna, it was soon ignored and pared into insignificance.
Walking back to the car at the end of the day it felt like we were 'fished out' instead of 'washed out' like last years trip.
Trying to muster enthusiasm for fishing at all on the final day took that last remaining mettle and a fair amount of stupidity. But with the curative properties of our beloved pastime and being so far from home did force me out the door and into the deluge once again. Sometimes staring out a window at a downpour for too long can dissuade the hardiest of spirits and dampen one's eagerness.
But the prospect of a good perch or two and the very dregs of what was left of my enthusiasm won through and we ventured out for a few hours, opting to convene on a nearby lake instead of the river Yeo which would be unfavourable considering the conditions.
So, what of serendipity? I hear you ask. Well, what I can tell you is that it doesn't pertain to another red letter day and a bumper haul of stonking great perch much the pity. Although a couple of small fish did put in appearance, it was more to do with the meteorology than success.
By the time we'd jumped in the car and made the short trip up the road, the weather had changed significantly. In less than an hour, the deluge, foreboding and misery had dissipated and was instead replaced with optimism, hope and quite a mild afternoon. Certainly pleasant enough for me to enjoy a couple of hours drop-shotting in beautiful surroundings. The dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure and the wind direction steering round to the south east thwarted the fishing unfortunately but it was nice to relax and take in the autumnal delights.
Amazing how a few days fishing and pleasant company can alter one's perspective too. Instead of viewing my life as a constant, miserable chain of events suddenly I enjoy seeing it through an alternate lens. One that blots out a hapless and paltry existence to one that focuses instead on optimism and enjoys life's acts of serendipity. Must be the pills as I haven't smoked weed since my teens.