Chris McCully


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The fire season

Thursday, 18 November 2021 at 08:48

Flames Last week I worked 71 hours; the week before, I worked 73 hours. To this has it come, in the last phase of a professional career: counting the hours, often in sadness, more often in disbelief, as autumn happens outside the windows. I've craved time as if it's oxygen or fresh blood.The weather's been so quiet that the leaves - many still hanging on the boughs in this late autumn - have become frail, almost translucent. When the sun shines they catch fire. Yesterday, craving remission from words and foolishness and computer screens, I fished for pike for three hours. The river flowed slowly and was running clear. I moved one pike to some lurid pink softbait but it didn't take hold properly. The aftershock of its bow-wave disturbed the mallard which were fussing on the far bank. And then nothing - nothing except the low sun and the stillness. I walked back to the car. It has been a difficult and sometimes wretched angling season. I was a man in flames.

And meanwhile...

Sunday, 14 November 2021 at 08:31

The goodbyes cover mock ...Jon sent across an image for what might become the cover of what I'm pretty sure will be my last ever book, The River of All the Goodbyes. It'll take a while for the text to see publication because there's all the proofing of the dictionary, Names of the Fish, to do first, and that will be a fiddly job. Nevertheless, it was grand to begin to think about what The Goodbyes might look like once it sees daylight.

A new old rod

Saturday, 13 November 2021 at 20:16

Swimversa This Milwards Swimversa was probably made around 1960. I had the rod restored by Paul Cook last year and Paul did a wonderful job, eliminating a minor knock in a ferrule and straightening the tip. Today was the first time I'd had the chance to rechristen the rejuvenated Swimversa; I did so on the Test at Timsbury, where Howard and I were pestered by (often very large) trout - all carefully returned - while trying to catch grayling. We did catch some grayling between us and I was delighted to see the Swimversa take on a curve it hasn't experienced for what I imagine are decades, but the highlight of a fairly slow day was, for me, a reacquaintance with...


Saturday, 13 November 2021 at 20:11

Graham Yes, it's been a long time since Graham and I worked the same swim, but here he is, looking almost as small as when I last encountered him. He's travelled well, mind you - all the way from the Itchen to the Test. Swimversa, Speedia, 3.2lb. reel line,2lb. bottom, size 18 barbless hook, single red maggot.

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