River Wissey Lovell Fuller


August 2009

Another spell binding tale from the banks of The River Wissey

It was dark but dawn was waiting. A low mist covered the water and the birds had commenced their daily chorus. The moon still commanded the sky but within an hour it would be competing with the sun. There was a glorious peace all about and a heavy dew signalled yet another fine day to follow.

Old Tom had already been up for several hours as darkness was his favourite time to wander the woods and the riverbanks. Most mornings he was out while others were in bed and fast asleep. He was sitting alongside the river Wissey in a spot he knew very well - in fact ever since he was a young boy this was the place he choose for his early morning fishing during the summer months.

As the light increased he began to see his large goose quill float whereas earlier he had merely used his fingers to feel the line for bites. He had an old battered torch but this was seldom used as he managed quite capably without any light. In fact it was often said that Old Tom had a sixth sense that most of us lack. He could call a hare or rabbit to his feet. He could even imitate the mating call of a fox to summon a vixen and with fishing he seldom had a blank day. Although he was reluctant to share his secrets his reputation was well known. Everyone liked Old Tom as he was at one with nature.

No one else was about at this early hour although he knew that work would soon commence in a nearby field to complete the harvesting that had commenced the day before. It had been an ideal mix of weather during the previous months with alternate warm and wet periods and the ears of wheat were fat and bursting with golden grain.

More fish came to the net. The roach were large indeed and all in prime condition so a joy to behold. They seemed in a feeding frenzy. The float would trot along in front of Old Tom and always at the same given point it would pause and dip slightly before completely disappearing under the surface to produce one fine fish after another.

At last the sun peeped over the horizon whereupon the fish stopped feeding. He gently flicked his tackle out a few more times but he knew it was pointless to continue. He had enjoyed exceptional sport and was now looking forward to returning home and to a hearty breakfast, then he heard someone approaching and a friendly voice hailed him. The farmer had seen Old Tom's bike down the lane and knew exactly where to find him. The two chatted away and eventually the farmer asked 'Have you had any luck this morning?' - 'No' replied Old Tom 'I haven't had any luck!'

Old Tom packed away his rod and belongings and last of all, with great effort, he pulled his keepnet out of the water. It was heavy and bulging and with the utmost care he returned dozens of beautiful fish back into the river. The farmer looked puzzled and said 'I thought you hadn't had any luck?' 'I haven't!' replied Old Tom with a grin. 'I had no luck but I have had over 75 years of experience at where and how to fish, I baited this swim without fishing it for a whole week. I know there is a deep hole immediately in front of me where the fish always collect and feed. I know the really big ones particularly enjoy the red worms that I find on my compost heap and that when the sun rises over the trees they always stop feeding. There was no luck - I knew exactly what was going to happen!'

Ivor Hook

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