Blanking

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Down by the river today. I saw creepy crawlies, daddy-long-legs a-skipping by, and rusty sedges waving in the breeze. Frogs and trees and sun and leaves, I saw them all and stood and waited. The season’s ‘shrooms and last winged olives, they all were there as the shadows lengthened.

But the river stayed brown, and high and coloured, from no matter which angle I looked and stuttered. Perhaps a bugger would have done, but somehow it didn’t seem right. I walked and walked, then turned and tried, to photograph the sight of clouds drifting by in a golden sea of light.

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The new season bug has finally hit. It’s been a long five months away from my friend the trout and my arch enemy the grayling has been a tortuous winter companion. I really don’t understand the total and utter failure with the grayling this winter. It has certainly not come through a lack of time, effort or frozen testicles. All of these things have been offered to the Lady with humble servitude but it seems She has been occupied elsewhere.

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Well, I’ve arrived at a mental service station and before long it’ll be back along the road to trout city. It’s that time of year where opening day creeps over the dashboard and into view. I’ve been thinking about what the new season might hold and between fits of flashbacks from previous years a few new thoughts have crystallised.

This is going to be the year of the Spey. Last season a pal of mine called Ally taught me how to roll cast properly and it soon became a critical part of my fishing arsenal. Having said that I almost never use a standard roll cast, not with groovy alternatives like the snake roll and the double Spey. These days I can Spey cast almost as far as I can overhead cast, which either means I’m an absolute god of casting or my overhead needs work. Spey casting is unbeatable for fishing spiders and streamers across and down, and dry flies in tight corners. One of the great benefits is the lack of turbo-fish-spooking as caused by overhead flailing.

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The past couple of weeks have brought a new kind of fishing low. The winter grayling fishing got off to a bad start earlier this month with high water and cold extremities. The fact that my (more experienced) fishing pal blanked as well was possibly a small consolation, but some early damage to the fishing confidence was nevertheless dealt.

Carefully playing down this feat I tried to paint a rosy picture to my brother. Images of crisp winter sunshine, secret pools and massive grayling enticed him down from the north east to spend a few days here. I described short, relaxing days spent prospecting for monsters. The evenings would bring searing hot curry at our favourite joint and a few pints of the best of beers to round things off.

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