Quotes

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I’m currently reading a book called Fishing in Wild Places, by David Street. It’s a collection of 12 essays based around fishing, gathered together from a lifetime of fly angling and writing. Although I’m only part of the way through it, I thought it nice to give an advance mention of the upcoming review by quoting one of my favourite passages so far.

It comes from chapter 5, where he embarks on a two week expedition to fish for sea-trout in the windswept Faroe islands of the north Atlantic.

It was then that I had a take from something more like what I was looking for, and after a strenuous contest I netted a fine sea-trout of 3lb to the Bloody Butcher. Perseverence was rewarded, and my first Faroese sea-trout came against all the odds; a fisherman is sustained in the knowledge that the unexpected is only a few casts away. Let him believe this and he will endure almost anything.

With the trout season just around the corner, things are looking decidedly up. On some rivers and lochs people are already out and fishing.

Personally, I tend to view the trout season as starting for real on the 1st of April. I’m busy getting flies tied, sorting out all the bits and bobs and making plans for the first day. It’s got to be the most exciting time of the year, with everything ahead and to be discovered again.

So, as a welcome to the new season, how about a bit of quality Norman MacCaig poetry to stir the blood?

Loch Sionascaig

Hard to remember how the water went
Shaking the light,
Until it shook like peas in a riddling plate.

Or how the islands snored into the wind,
Or seemed to, round
Stiff, plunging headlands that they never cleared.

Or how a trout hung high its drizzling bow
For a count of three –
Heraldic figure on a shield of spray.

Yet clear the footprint in the puddled sand
That slowly filled
And rounded out and smoothed and disappeared

Between the vertical walls of the gully I looked out as though between blinkers. Yet that very restriction had merit. It gave to the hills, arrayed in keen edges against a pale green sky, and flaring a more fiery pink with each passing moment, a framed and focussed power to strike for all time to the mind. The broader and more splendid panorama, prevailing all daylong, confuses the eye with too great a mass of detail – suffers from a diffused interest that too readily fades with time and is forgotten. Moreover, that panorama is not lost through a gully-climb. It comes at the top, a sudden revelation; thus more memorable.

For a few minutes the mountains burned, white and red upon a field of green and gold. In low country one may see so rich and full a glow of colour in the cavernous nave of Chartres Cathedral, when the forenoon sun floods the stained glass and the vast brown flags are flecked by shafts of ruby and blue. But Chartres is not matched elsewhere. To seek such depth of colour, and to find it in yet more noble forms, one must go to mountains.

I love reading fishing books. Even during the trout season I find a good fishing book can relax and excite me like no other written words. Somehow the process of fishing seems to lend itself very well to the art of the written word. There’s always a beginning, quite often a middle, and always some kind of end. Perhaps the most important thing though is that fishing can always be a journey. And there’s nothing like a good journey to strike imagination and hope into the mind of a reader.

One of the great things about internet fishing diaries and websites is the potential for discovering books, both new upstarts and old time gems. I’ve bought several books following recommendations from my pal Alistair over at the Urban Fly Fisher blog. One of my recent favourites is “Trout Madness” by Robert Traver.
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