Another delightful tale from the banks of the River Wissey
I had been in a really deep sleep and the alarm clock shrilled away. Instinctively I turned it off. It was 5.30 in the morning and the thought of another few hours in bed seemed really tempting instead of my planned fishing foray.
But in little more than half an hour I am on the riverbank. It is still very dark and any stranger to the river would soon fall in. Everywhere is a mixture of black shadows and shapes. The eyes eventually adjust to the surroundings and I walk up and down to begin my wait. There are no stars - only the moon just faint behind a thin veil of cloud. The air is fresh and damp with a hint of frost. The river has a slight ripple and the grass is still wet from yesterdays rain. There is no sound. There is a feeling of both isolation and self-importance. Imagination also takes over and momentarily I am King of the River Wissey!
My torch has been left on the kitchen table so there is nothing I can do. I wanted to start fishing before daybreak but I must now be patient.
At last there is a suggestion of lightness. The dark is changing to less dark although the process is very slow. Now there is a vague visibility. The real light is still to come but already things are beginning to stir. An occasional fish starts topping in front of me. Birds wake up and twitter away and clatter in the bushes. A daring wren appears out of the gloom and sits on my pile of baggage in defiance. A beating of wings is heard and grows louder and then three swans fly majestically past immediately in front of me. (It resembles a military fly-past and I am tempted to stand at attention and salute!) Mysterious plops and splashes can be heard nearby but out of sight. Then as if to continue the awakening process there is a rustling in the undergrowth - something else is moving. In just a few minutes all nature seems to have woken up.
Now I have my awaited half-light. I quickly set up my rods and cast out my baits. At last I am happy.
Eventually there is a suggestion of a red glow on the horizon. A full sunrise could follow and before long it is confirmed. The colour slowly increases in brightness and then changes into a wide crimson sky slashed with long yellow stripes. The effect grows and spreads and fills the entire sky. A large fiery orange sun then peeps over the distant trees and finally commands the skyline. Another day has arrived in a truly spectacular fashion and it is easy to imagine how man long ago regarded the sun as a god! The river itself has now assumed the same colours in reflection and completes the perfect picture. Then, as if to make full use of the backdrop, a pair of grebes perform a party piece. They swim backwards and forwards and chat away with their laborious repetitive noise. As a finale they dive in unison under the coloured surface to reappear far away.
Despite the display I am also watching my pike floats and one is now snaking across the surface. It then vanishes into the depths. I strike and connect with something solid. It slowly moves off and a battle commences. Always the optimist I assume this is my long awaited record-breaking fish and today's Technicolor landscape would certainly provide the perfect setting!
by Ivor Hook