River Wissey Lovell Fuller


November 2007

Another delightful tale from the banks of the River Wissey.

Autumn colours are all around. Browns and reds have replaced the predominant green. The days are shortening and not just the nights are becoming colder. The change of seasons is bringing new and different things to see and enjoy. Today the wind is fresh and spent golden leaves float down from the trees to settle on the surface of the water. The current is flowing one way and the direction of the wind the other so the leaves remain positioned in front of me. Some have become waterlogged and have already begun their descent to the bottom of the river.

All my attention is focussed on the red tip of my float. It proudly rides the waves and every few minutes disappears to produce another fine roach. Despite the wind I am nice and cosy in the shelter of a towering reed bed. I am oblivious to everything but fishing!

Unbeknown to me several hundred geese are quietly grazing in the stubble fields the other side of the river. A high bank hides them from view. Suddenly with great gusto and a thrashing of wings a large flight takes off. They head up the river but at the bend continue onward with the wind and just clear a line of trees. The V shaped skein then disappears into the morning brightness. A second mass take-off follows in the same pattern and direction as before. A few stragglers follow along behind, perhaps those slow of instinct, and you wonder if they will ever catch up! Then all is quiet again. The interruption is a welcome break and quite a spectacle to witness. Yet again a few hours alongside the river Wissey is proving highly entertaining. However before I continue fishing an unexpected third wave appears over the far riverbank and instead of following the others they head immediately towards me and maintain their low flightpath right over my head. They are obviously unaware of my presence. The loud honking and the beating of wings of such a multitude of birds at really close quarters is amazing. Had I stood up I could easily have grabbed a pair of legs! There must have been 50 or more geese and I guess such a happening is every wildfowlers dream.

The rough water looks dark and murky but under the surface there is surprisingly good visibility. On the very bed of the river on top of a carpet of autumn leaves several grains of yellow sweet corn shine like pearls. They certainly attract the curiosity of all the fish. The smaller fish almost stand on their heads to investigate them. Unsuccessfully they mouth away but the sweet smelling morsels are much too big for them to eat. Even smaller fish arrive but they quickly realise the impossible task and continue on their way to look for more sensible sized food. Then through a curtain of weeds appear a shoal of much larger fish - the majestic roach have arrived. They swim slowly and gracefully and look really important. They turn away but decide to return and circle round and round. They glide effortlessly propelled by only the merest movement of their fins. The fins are bright red and stand out in the clear water. Their silver flanks glitter and flash as they manoeuvre for position. A few more grains of corn float down through the water and the roach commence feeding. With their bigger mouths they can comfortably eat the different but highly appetising offerings. The bait is working again!


Ivor Hook

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