River Wissey Lovell Fuller


September 2008

Another delightful tale from the banks of the Wissey

The beginning of a new fishing season is always exciting. After months of waiting and expectation the first day revisiting your favourite riverside haunt is really special and the final check of your fishing gear the night before makes sleep difficult as memories of happy days return. It is a traditional feeling of joy shared by all fishermen but not for me - I was going to murder the cat!

I must admit I may have left sorting out my fishing tackle rather late in the day but normally everything is straightforward. With only hours to spare I went to the garage and discovered that mice had attacked my bag of nets. All was in tatters. To make matters worse the responsible mice were still living in a nest in the bag. I was angry - we have a cat and he is employed to deal with such matters. On a daily basis he brings home birds and rats and even rabbits but he seems to have a thing about the conservation of mice. His prefers to catch only larger beings.

Albeit a day late I arrive at the river Wissey early in the morning. A solitary person in a boat in the distance is busy catching fish after fish and proving that the 'even earlier bird' theory is a good one but something is not quite right! The first few mornings of a brand new season are normally described as magical. The air is always heavy and still. The heat of the previous day still lingers and the surface of the water is mirror - like covered with a fine veil of mist. Fish are seen topping and tell-tale bubbles between the beds of water lilies show that the traditional tench are busy feeding. Everything heralds another red-hot day. Instead a strong breeze funnels up the river. There is brightness but the sky is a mass of threatening clouds. Coats are needed and to be buttoned up. Colours are not shining and reflections are black. By way of apology the elusive sun eventually appears and to its credit provides a dazzling display transforming the choppy water into a sea of sparkling diamonds. Then as unexpectedly as it came - it went! The in and out sun continues for a while but then gets fed up with itself and disappears completely just typifying our strange weather.

A herd of enquiring geese amble along the bank to investigate me. They are not impressed and continue along the bank complaining and muttering that their grazing area is taken. Out on the river two mallard ducks appear with a long string of ducklings. The youngsters are all evenly spaced and well disciplined as if on parade. The proud mother duck leads them but alas we know that fate is cruel and nature only provides her with large numbers as casualties are inevitable. The drake follows looking glum for he is no longer the dandy. The courtship period is now over so he has lost his bottle green and blue trim. The family paddles up the wide river and seem precarious with their convoy bobbing up and down battling against the wind and the rough water. The reed beds have all reappeared and the growth is shoulder high and more. Somewhere opposite a woodpecker drums away and a cuckoo calls to provide a continuous background. The old fashioned days of summer seem far away but it is still a joy to be alongside the river and there is still that unmistakable peace.

Me, I have caught nothing so far but fishing is for those with patience and I am here for a while yet. My lack of fish is not unexpected as I am fishing with a very large bait as the intention is to catch something big. Then I smile to myself. I remember the cat and perhaps he's a bit like me- he prefers just catching the big ones!

Ivor Hook

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.