mahonia 002

Owing to endless rain and the consequentially swollen rivers I had not been fishing for over a month. But this lack of activity had at last really got to me and I thought I’d try a small river I know.

It was my hope that since it was not a grand watercourse, even if it was double its normal flow it would not be completely unfishable. So last week I slipped out of the house in the dark, caught a train and was at the waterside as the sun came up. The river was running very high and much faster than normal, but I thought it was worth trying.

The experience was odd and a spot I knew so well was very different, yet still familiar. If I can make a crude analogy it was like bumping into a good friend who’d spent a long afternoon in the pub. I fished all morning, but only landed three fish – a brace of grayling and a brown trout, though one that was a good size for the river. All seemed much larger, until netted, owing to the strength of the current. A couple of fish I hooked and lost seemed bigger still, but that too was probably due to the force of the flow. Many times I struck at what may have been bites or just the capricious effects of the swirling water.

Despite a strong sensation that something interesting was soon to happen, at midday I packed up, because Little Boots had some friends coming round for the afternoon. A jay scoffed at me from the treetops as I left the water, but it had been a good session I reflected as I strolled back to the railway station. I’d caught fish, good fish, spent a good few hours in air both fresh and filled with bird sound and flight. But what will make the memory linger is the overwhelming scent of Mahonia flowers from a single bush. Its smell pervaded the whole of the park I walked through on my way to and from the river.

Heady stuff.

(Apologies for the quality of the photo, but the light was quite murky twenty minutes before sun-up.)

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