Saturday, 22 July 2017

close encounters

Enshou sits in the corner giving me the silent treatment.
It's understandable, it's a while since we've been out. So I buckle to pressure and off we go. Nothing fancy. Just the two of us and some quality time on stream. 

I've grabbed a box of simple kebari which I'm gradually distilling down to fewer and fewer patterns. Not sure if I'll ever get down to the 'one fly' but this is more because of a multi species approach to tenkara than anything else. I'm certainly very happy sticking with the loose suggestive approach of tenkara flies and these days I rarely reach for my western style ties at all.

So here we are, ducking and diving through tangled wood, trying to get to the heart of things. Up and over, over and under, I really should remember to collapse the rod down when I scramble through the timber. It takes me to a new place, further down stream than I've journeyed before and here I find a couple of surprises. Two of the biggest chub I have ever seen, closer to 30 inches than 20. 

My hands shake and I'm holding my breath. It's the trickiest cast I've ever had to make. A Stealers Wheel song runs through my head, only the lyrics have changed a little.

Trees to the left of me, briars to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, and I'm all over the place
I should tell you now of the sublime cast that lands the kebari like thistle down on the upstream edge of the fishes window. I should tell you also of the heroic battle that eventually sees the fish safely in the folds of my net. 

I should be telling you this, I really should, but this time the Universe decrees otherwise. The Universe decrees that my fly will indeed, against all odds, follow a perfect trajectory to its target. But to my disbelief, at the instant that I expect it to touch down, it seems to bounce back as if repelled by an invisible force field a couple of inches above the water, where it now hangs inexplicably in mid air, quite dry. 

I take an involuntary step forward and the giant chub instantly spook as I discover an near invisible wire stretched from one bank to the other, just above the water. The cable I learn marks the end of this stretch and the start of a privately owned beat. I can see that my giant fish have regrouped, further down stream and now quite out of my reach.  
fish on!

I console myself with some easy drifts over the bright gravel upstream where a pod of smaller chub are nymphing in the shallows. Some beautiful silver and bronze double yearlings come to hand and I wonder how many more years it will take for a few of them to grow on to such epic proportions.



  1. I would be quite happy with that chub. Nice looking stretch of river. I admire your fly reduction desire. Sadly I am still carrying boxes of them but at least I am tying and carrying more sakasa kebari.

    1. It is a lovely stretch of river David, though strangely only one or two escapee trout. Whether that's down to the biblical head of barbel pushing them off the redds I'm not sure, but the cub and dace do well here and for me that's the next best thing. Your kebari ties are lovely, you should try them more often!