I WRITE this column with a little sadness. My brief tenure as The Standard’s angling correspondent is coming to an end. A change in circumstances is taking me to a new life on the Wiltshire-Somerset border.
This being so, I can no longer consider myself worthy as your local reporter of all things fishy – though some of you might reasonably suggest that there has been precious little reporting in my contributions!
And so, from next week, you will be spared these musings on my own fishing, on otters and other threats to our sport, and on the triumphs and intrigue that are so central to the scene on our glorious Water Park.
I’m grateful to all who have got in touch and shared your stories.
I will be casting into new waters. Last weekend I walked a stretch of the River Frome, a tiny trickle of water with enough deep pools and undercuts to hide some decent fish.
The local expert – by which I mean the pub know-it-all who hasn’t cast a line since Isaac Walton was a boy – tells me that there are sizeable chub, perch and pike as well as native brown trout. I look forward to finding out.
There is also, of course, the lower section of my beloved Bristol Avon to explore. I’ve never fished its broader reaches, but do know that there are monster pike, and an elusive stock of very large barbel and carp. That will be fun, too.
I’ll finish with one last story; a few days ago, my fishing companion Les and I went to the Welsh mountain lake to fish for its wild carp. It was as beautiful as ever, though the weed which usually proliferates was curiously absent. It didn’t matter – the fish were in their usual haunts and we caught 10 wildies and 14 chub.
The latter are a welcome anomaly. We know the provenance of the carp, which were stocked centuries ago for food by monks from a long-gone priory, but nobody can say with any authority how the chub got there.
The best guess is that they arrived as eggs on the legs of a passing bird, and prospered against the odds, but no one knows for sure. And I like that. Fishing is full of surprises, inexplicable mysteries and wonder. Every new cast is an opportunity. Not unlike life itself. Tight lines.