Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Summer Stream


This past couple of weeks the stream has intermittently forced itself to flow with the irresistible weight of a little rainfall easing it's reluctance. The Leam is never keen to flow in the summer and it's mysterious deep holes from 6 to 16 feet barely enjoy any movement between winters.

When the sun bakes the surface to a duckweed crust there is little to attract the angler not prepared to approach with extreme caution. Though the fish are distinctly active double rubber floats become redundant and this particular angler has had to learn to free-line lobs and bread to muster an enquiry or two.

The Stillwater offers no escape from the heat of the day and, as such, it's attractions, while needed in the world of The Blogger's Challenge, must be left for another day, month or maybe even a season.

On my tiny bankside scoreboard, Captain Cook's men, having had the drive drained out them by a literally unbelievable Ashes win, toil in the sun in the south of the country in the final test, as the remnant Aussies that haven't declared retirement play for their futures.

Clarke may not be liked by many it seems, and maybe his persona close-up and in private is not what it appears to the distant viewer, but for me he has been a top class cricketer and individual, even if his record in away Ashes tests is so poor.

This is not a great England side but the opposition is a very good one and their capitulation in the face of alien English pitch conditions has been as out of character as the beligerence of the home side  when it mattered.

For my part I now sit here in the nettles and remnants of now unidentifiable umbellifer seed heads awaiting another equally unlikely event. Despite my care, the irritant of the nettle stems bites at most of my fingers as I wait, expectant.

This, the most discreet of pegs, which produced fascinating winter fishing indeed some of the most exciting I have known in high water conditions last back-end, has delivered via the great river God two unexpected chub. One a baby of a pound followed, unexpectedly, by it's dad at 2.10.11.
Two other twitches have materialised between flicking slow-sinking bread pellets, through and among those overhanging nearside nettles, into the margin and pouring a steady trickle of strong sweet coffee over my parched throat as the temperature rises from 20degC at arrival before lunch to a predicted 28 by tea.


A flock of, it seems, somewhat over-chunky sheep lie in the shade of a giant ash in escape from the torture of the mid-day heat, compounded by as yet un-shorn fleece. They view me with caution as I pass, slowly, wishing not to flush them into the sunlight, and a small number get to their feet but resume their slumbers once they realise my intent.

As I wandered the length of this simmering watercourse on reluctant legs hawker dragonflies checked me and each other out. How they crash into each other to defend their territory! Head-butting the thorax until the intruder relents and a normal insectivorous foraging patrol may resume.

Much of the exposed water is so overgrown as to be unfishable and under more overcast circumstances each little clear patch may have been tested for life but today the shelter of overhanging trees was essential to provide anything but a lack of fishy interest.

The local buzzard, the closest we could get to an eagle in these parts, is mewing overhead and opposite, above the high clay bank, harvesters gather the grain in vast swathes as the breeze carries dust up and away over the hill to irritate the throats of villagers down-wind to the north.

Eventually what little evident feeding activity there has been declines and with the two chub in the metaphorical bag I trudge back through the mid-afternoon, shaded by my over-heavy winter hat; remembering as I go why those two colder seasons are so precious to me, and ponder the prospect of hemp, tares, and even elderberries. When the harvest is underway and water temperature high it is always peak time for those the most unlikely of baits.


Just as proof - a dace of 0-4-3 from a previous session in The Bloggers Challenge