Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Cherry

Monday, 26 December 2016 at 16:15

Cherry For the past fifteen and more years, and with very few gaps, I've been out on Boxing Day to try and catch a pike. Today, on a reach of the river I hadn't fished before, I kept asking myself why I was bothering: the pike were utterly disinclined, there was an unlovely combination of cold wind and fell sunshine, and the result of several hours' fishing was one jack - a jack with so much attitude that it had clearly, and recently, won the Smallest Pike in the World contest. Yet I watched a kingfisher for twenty minutes - that brilliant and enigmatic blue, lit by winter sunshine - and in some local gardens and churchyards, winter-flowering cherry mimicked snowflakes.

Misericords

Friday, 16 December 2016 at 10:49

Misericord Misericords - 'acts of mercy', or folding seats placed in churches to save medieval, monkly bottoms during long hours of prayer - are astonishing. Under these folding wooden seats the original carpenters (who had free rein to construct these carvings from invention rather than from piety) offered humour, or profanity, or poignant, beautifully-made renderings of the natural world. Here's a bird-carving - a blackbird, I think - from a misericord in St. Gregory's, Sudbury. It struck me that any writer or researcher who wanted to plumb medieval minds and their relationship with the natural world could do a great deal worse than to study misericords.

Mixed bag (1)

Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 16:05

Perch A few short hours on the river, trotting a float with cane and 'pin. I took different baits with me - hemp, small brandlings and red worms, bread, and sweetcorn. Some roach took a single grain of sweetcorn fished over a smear of hempseed groundbait, while two wonderful dace (see below) and this handsome perch fell for small red worms. There was no real pattern to it but I thoroughly enjoyed myself on what would otherwise have been a damp, dispiriting and drear day.

Such handsome fish, perch. I'm remarkably fond of them.


Mixed bag (2)

Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 16:01

Dace This is a cracking dace, one of a matched brace. What d'you think? 10oz? Half a pound? They took small brandlings and were lovely dace, anyway - more than welcome on a day that never quite got light and faded at dusk into a smirr of dark and rain.

Roach and wet feet

Sunday, 4 December 2016 at 15:12

River roach A lovely stamp of roach on a cold day. There were no bites you could call decisive: the float just dithered and submerged slightly, without at any time being pulled under. This roach took a grain of sweetcorn and I think I could have done better if I'd stayed till dusk, but unfortunately I got two terminally wet feet after retrieving float, shot and line from a snag in a boggy place. Wringing out one's socks in temperatures of 4C tends to take the zest out of the day, one finds. 

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