Work had taken me north of the border this week so a trip on the East Coast train line through the heart of England and up along the coast via Berwick on Tweed enabled me to reflect on what a beautiful country we live in. With tended allotments, manicured gardens and picturesque pastureland along with the more rugged hillsides of Northumberland. I saw many rivers, canals and lakes. The train sped past fisherman who used their skill to tempt fish to take in the cold January waters, some fished on their own sat on banks, others spinning and a large group were clearly match fishing.
I returned from Edinburgh on the night train and during the journey read ‘The Accidental Angler’ by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, published by Yellow Jersey Press. If travelling it is an ideal companion. If only I could have got to sleep on the overnight Caledonian Sleeper I could have dreamt of sitting on a riverbank in dappled sunlight watching a Harcork float bob in the gentle summer breeze until it momentarily slipped beneath the shimmering water. I have to add this was not to be as the train rattled its way from Waverley to Carlisle stopping for a few minutes before the carriage shuddered as we pulled away in the indigo coloured darkness.
The weekend ended up being full of activity, the Saturday’s farmers market, Sunday junior football league followed by a walk by the river where I came across fisherman up to his knees in the Thames just below the old Harrods Depositary…not trotting or spinning but ‘Spy Casting’. Well, I was assured that he wasn’t fishing for salmon or sea-trout but practicing his casting before a trip to Argentina in search of double figure sea-trout. He seemed quite taken back when I mentioned that there were salmon and sea-trout in the Thames. For in the book The Accidental Angler, Charles Rangeley-Wilson writes about this very point in the chapter The Breath of a River where on page 15 he writes, ‘Just recently stories have circulated about the idea of a cleaner river. I’ve heard about bass in the Estuary, sea-trout in Deptford Creek, dolphins at Chiswick. the occasional salmon running up through Teddington Lock.’
I have seen for myself dead brown trout, sea-trout and salmon smolts after the outfall of sewage from the recent spills into the Thames, sad as it was to witness it also gave me some faith that these majestic fish swam past out home on their way up the Thames. Maybe my recent meeting with Paul who was practicing his spey casting will at some stage in the future be common place to see a fly-fisher cast for a Thames salmon.
Upon returning home it was time to clear up the shelves of the bookcase and replace a few books taken down for my trip, where to my surprise I found an old Abu-matic 170 which I had purchased a while back for my younger son to use. I guess the idea was to get him to fish with a closed face reel to avoid the mess he could get into with a bail arm spinning reel. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by his skill to manage a fixed spool reel first time out.