Thursday, 17 March 2011
Four Roach and a funeral
On arriving at the river we noticed it was pleasingly empty of fellow anglers and we managed to secure the prime swims were tree debris had created inviting slacks, where the local roach hid from expectant anglers passing floats. After a short while building the swim, and landing some mighty gudgeon, our red maggot bait became attractive to nearby roach and chub. After landing several beautiful fish we moved on to the nearby bridge searching for rivers dace that had begun to show over the last couple of weeks.
After a few casts I noticed a couple of people appear behind me and watch. Nothing unusual there I thought to myself (anglers often have an audience). Then a few more people appeared, and then a few more, until there were around 50 people surrounding me as I trotted my float under the bridge. Starting to feel a little uneasy my gaze was suddenly diverted to a elderly Sikh gentleman who was walking towards me with what looked to all intents and purposes a casket in his arms. My shocked expression was broken by a polite man informing me that they were, 'going to put my mum's ashes into the sea'. Not wanting to intrude on this important family moment, or correct him on the difference between a river and the sea, David and I gave our humblest apologies for the intrusion and walked further down the river.
A little later as our floats skipped down the rivers flow, they were joined by a steady succession of flowers from the funeral further upstream. This beautiful and reflective moment was made a little more bizare by the three foot long wooden casket and large plastic bowl that floated by a few moments later.
The bizarre nature of the day continued when we started to fish near the Swan pub further upstream. Normally a haunt of specimen hunters the swim was now occupied by a large shoal of small goldfish. Despite our best attempt to hook (and net them) they remained uncaught. However the local kingfisher was having more success and a small fish was soon in his beak. The day was topped off by a mysterious balloon that hugged the surface of the water and swam steadily upstream (and against the wind). Yet again we tried netting the balloon but missed. I can only think that a hidden pike angler had used the balloon as a float before the bait fish/pike escaped (with the balloon still attached).
So the season ended, not with a flurry of fish but with a reminder of the strange occurrences that a river angler may experience in the urban environment.