Some of you will remember that we gave a glowing review to the Wild Trout Trust’s recent publication, Not Really Fishing. The title has gone on to strike a nerve in the fishing community, and shown a number of us want to get away from that side of the sport that is all about big fish, numbers of fish, and ever more cunning ways to catch them. Yes, it’s good to catch, but not if we ignore the wonders of the riverbank as a result.
So, yes, a lot of us are really loving these tiny tales that are so life-affirming, so life-enhancing and even so life-changing. Therefore, we are collaborating with the Trust and inviting you all to submit your own river moments of magic!
Post them on this thread, or send or email them to the Editor, and we’ll publish them on our sites as they come in, right the way up to Christmas – which somehow sounds fitting! The best five, judged by WTT and by us here at TT, will receive a free copy of the book and the honour of seeing their story published in the next edition of Not Really Fishing, due out in time for Christmas next year. This isn’t quite like winning the lottery, we all know, but you’ll have given a lot of anglers a ray of light in these dark and fraught times.
Before you get writing, remember the ideal word count is 160 words, 180 as an absolute maximum... so remember those English lessons when précis was your favourite. And do remember that these are wildlife/spiritual moments from your angling experience, rather than out and out fishing stories.
To get the ball rolling, we publish an offering from myself, F&F editor John Bailey, and a lovely aside on bats from Denise Ashton at the Trust. So, no excuses and get writing! We all need cheering up right now!
My Ganges Epiphany
September 1989 I spent on the Ganges filming 'Casting For Gold', a Himalayan adventure for ITV. My co-presenter was Paul Boote, the celebrated traveller, and he had landed two golden mahseer to my score of none. The night was a black one. I lay in my tent, anguished at my failure, eaten up with jealousy.
I went to sit by the Black Rock, the colossal boulder in mid-river, where so many historic monster fish had been caught. The light grew, birdsong a heavenly choir. The monkeys played on the beach. A leopard coughed in the forests.
A sadhu appeared in the mists. He pointed to the Rock, and a mahseer broke the water into gold. My angling life had changed. My petty concerns fell away. I appreciated with the eyes of a new-born how lucky I was, fortunate beyond compare. From that day, I have felt only positives in my life. My joy in fishing has been complete.
Source: Wikimedia Commons: Gilles San Martin: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
There is a little gang of Daubenton’s bats that I am particularly fond of. They emerge from the tree roots on the bank opposite where I often fish at dusk. I first got to know them when I was casting to a rising fish. My fly seemed to jump several feet and land again. This happened a dozen times before I realised the bats were picking it up and putting it down.
Since then, I make sure I stand in the same spot at dusk and wait for them to emerge and flit around my legs for half an hour until I really cannot see and must go home. I talk to them, which must be very odd if anyone was ever listening, but fortunately I only have to share the river with the bats.
Denise Ashton, Wild Trout Trust
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