Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 at 10:58

Tying desk I've missed fly-tying over the past winter. I've had too little time, been too hard-pushed at work. As part of the regrouping that takes place between the end of the coarse fishing season and the opening of the trout fishing I decided to get my fly-tying stuff organised and did something I should have done forty years ago: buy a desk. I know you can get fiercely dear, purpose-made fly-tying desks but the desk pictured came from a local house clearance and very splendid it is. (The word 'patina' is playing somewhere in the dim recesses of the brain as I type.) Large feathers, capes and long hanks in steerage; hackles and furs amidships; tools, silks, varnishes and whatnot in the little drawers on the poop deck.... Yes, I'm so well-organised that I won't be able to find anything for several years, but there we are. I'm now going to tie some Orange Partridges - if I can find that last remaining spool of Pearsall's. And a well-marked partridge feather. And a hook.

Last knockings

Saturday, 11 March 2017 at 18:13

Celandine Last knockings of the coarse fishing season. It felt rather odd to be fishing for pike among daffodils and celandines, and in truth my thoughts were more with the opening of the trout season. Yet I released two pike and moved two more, saw a kingfisher, and spent a good half hour watching a big shoal of dace, roach and rudd in a flow of water by a grating. Very lovely they were, too, hanging in the current and occasionally tipping up to sip at bits of nothing in the surface. Harbingers of June - and June will be upon us before we know it.

The celandine was the topic of one of the boy W. Wordsworth's rather less successful efforts: 'Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,/ In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest....' - the portentous 'Thing' sitting ill with the 'shrinking' nature of the plant. Still, one sympathises with the poet's comment that he once encountered a celandine that was '[s]tiff in its members, withered, changed of hue' - an accurate characterisation of the boy McCully fishing yesterday.

Bang and whimper

Saturday, 11 March 2017 at 18:08

March pike One of a brace today, best around 6lb. The pike season's coming to an end not with a bang, nor even with a whimper, but with a sort of mewling. Still, the last few months have been full of interest and it was good to end with a couple of bonny, if small, fish.

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