Monthly Archives: January 2008

Wet legs

At last! I fished today. I didn’t fish well but at least I fished.

To be honest, it seems so long since I wet a line that I found myself enjoying the process, rather than being pre-occupied with finding fish. At this time of year I guess I should have been covering the water quickly and moving on; trying to find the shoaled Grayling. Instead, I found myself examining the water and chucking a nymph into any likely lie – the very model of patience and persistence. I didn’t catch anything, but it was wonderful to get the waders wet again.





Snowdrops are not my favourite flower but their appearance, along with the fact that it was still light enough to fish at 4:30 promise good things to come.

Blue Friday!!

Looking out of the office window – the sky is blue!!! Did you hear that? It’s not raining. Now, if only it holds off for a few days…….

Blue Monday

Yesterday was officially the most miserable day of the year and reading the blogs and forum posts who can argue. It seems the dull, dreary winter weather is getting everyone down. In Gloucester we are bracing ourselves for a repeat occurrence of last summer’s floods and my heart goes out to those who were forced from their homes and are almost ready to move back in now that the repairs have been completed, only to be faced with the prospect of enduring it all over again.

For me the misery has been limited to a lack of opportunity to get out after the Grayling so I should count myself fortunate. I try.

Yesterday I heard some news that really should make me miserable. It was confirmed that, at the end of June I will be made redundant as my little portion of the internet behemoth that pays the bills has been sold off. So, after 10 years with the company [gold watch territory in the IT business] I will be seeking alternative employment. At my time of life I should be worried sick but somehow, all I can think of is the additional time I will have for fishing.

Queue jumping

This is what happens when a certain someone attempts to by-pass the selection process for the Monnow Social…

I presume that I can by-pass this unseemly scramble for places and that my honorary gold invitation is en route. The Royal Suite at Alltyrynys also needs to be reserved in case I do decide to bestow on you the privilege of my presence. The rest of you serfs can wallow in the mud of your pikey camp.

And the reply from Dave….

Well now, it so happens that I received the following letter from the manager of the Alltyrynys Hotel this very morning:

“Dear Mr Smith
Many thanks for your recent enquiry as to the availability of The Royal Suite for your friends proposed fishing trip in May. I am happy to confirm that the suite is indeed available for the full duration of the desired period and that it will be our complete pleasure to once again host your friend; his diverse tastes and unusual appetites provide a challenge that all our staff look forward to with relish.

My staff and I have given due consideration to the list of ‘little details’ that your friend wishes us to attend to, and whilst they are as diverse as ever, we will be doing our level best to meet them fully, legislation permitting. Whilst most can be met without fuss, there are one or two areas in which we need further guidance.

  1. We were all truly sorry to hear of your friend’s recent sight troubles, but this has given us considerably more scope in the task of selecting his ‘Special’ Chamberpot Maids. These girls make up with fitness and enthusiasm what they perhaps lack in physical appearance; although as you point out, he will not notice the difference in age and complexion.
  2. In a similar vein to the above, we have had limited success in meeting his requirements for – and I quote – “Well furred companion”. I am afraid that it is now the common practise amongst ladies of Eastern European extraction to shave themselves thoroughly, except of course for that little inch or three between the eyebrows – though I believe some Welshmen grow up finding this attractive on account of their mothers.
  3. With regard to the extra fittings and fixtures in the bedroom. The local carpenter has examined the sketches your friend kindly sent to us but informs me that such alterations would not only be unsuitable for an antique four poster bed, but would also contravene animal welfare legislation.
  4. On the plus side, on hearing of your friends visit, and his special needs, the well known company Stannah have offered the use of one of their portable applicances for the duration of his stay. There is no fee attached this service, merely a hopeful request that your friend’s golden countenance will grace the pages of their catalogue in future years.
  5. Finally, we at The Alltyrynys appreciate the need for discretion, and given the nature of your friend’s previous exploits during his stays in this area, we certainly appreciate the need for anonymity on his part. However we find this year’s choice of nom de guerre, Mr Ivor Fatcock to be neither amusing nor intelligent. Having spoken with Truda and Olga, whom your friend will remember well no doubt, they have suggested that he provides a “somewhat less ironic” pseudonym.

As ever we seek to cater for all needs, and if any of the above should cause anxiety or disappointment to your friend, then I can recommend a thoroughly good campsite at Longtown, where I understand a group of highly personable young men will be staying. Should you or your friend need furhter clarification of arrangements, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards
Sir James Tolerance-Stretcher
The Alltyrynnys Hotel

Remember the Monnow Social?

For those that can’t the post is here. Anyway, it seems that planning for the 2008 version is already at an advanced stage. I’ve been lucky enough to secure a place at what is surely the Welsh Marches’ premier social gathering of the year and, once again, in the driving seat are Rob Denny, Dave Smith, Tim of FREE BEER fame and Neil Marfell.   The most important person there will be chef-du-camp Tom, who’s breakfasts are legendary and who’s peppered steaks summon the reluctant angler away from the river at dusk.

If you’re thinking social refinement and sartorial elegance; think again!  If last year is anything to go by ‘rough & ready’ will rule the day.  There will be much drinking, some falling over [especially if Neil let’s me anywhere near his Jack Daniels again], a fair amount of bragging, a HUGE amount of p1ss taking – in summary, a damned fine fishing weekend.  Can’t wait.

To steal a line from Tom Chandler – see you in the river.

What’s missing from my armoury?

Quite a lot actually. Taking stock of my fishing approach and skills I realise that I …

  • Have never fished wets on a river.
  • Have never fished spiders.
  • Seldom fish dry flies [never seems to be a consistent hatch on the LA].
  • Have never had a casting lesson.
  • Don’t tie my own flies.

It’s quite comforting to know that there’s so much to learn and put into practice and that my journey has a long way to go. No doubt I’ll address each of these areas at some time or other but the one thing I can’t do that I feel would immeasurably increase my enjoyment of a day on the river is to be able to cast left-handed.

Think of all the places I could put my fly with a nonchalant switch of hands rather than a clumsy across-the-body improvisation which has, at best, a 50/50 chance of achieving the desired placement of fly. Yes – this one deserves some attention, and soon.

Black Peril

I fished the Castle section of the Little Avon yesterday and saw a Cormorant guzzling down what looked like a small Chub.  I certainly hope this was a one-off!

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