As I sit here at my desk, the cuckoo is lamenting “Meitjie, meitjie, meitjie” . That would be the Classless Cuckoo, with a gap in his front teeth, and flashing a ‘hang loose’ hand signal, as our family legend has it. You will know it as the Klaas’s Cuckoo, and tell me that they don’t have front teeth. Either way, they often sound out their call of the jilted lover as the sun emerges after a few days of cool and rain. With that rain, and coolness, us flyfishers are all thinking of heading to the hills to get on
A friend made a valid point the other day. It seems obvious now, but consider this: When you fish a stillwater, there is a very good chance that for at least a portion of the day, you will stand there, or sit there in your float tube, and think about work, or some domestic trouble. Now think back to the last day you spent on a river or stream. You scrambled up banks and slid down into the water, and waded over uneven rocks, and slipped and slithered , and hiked, and focused and cast and watched the dry fly
“But every angler who experiences bad fishing fears, above all else, that he’s the only one who’s experiencing it” Ted Leeson, Inventing Montana 2009. When we were under the shadow of magnificent Ha Ha Lamolapo; when we were camped where the rushing water of Angel falls filled our ears at night; when we were spooking an 18 inch brown in the pool at Rooiwal in the driving rain; at all those times, we didn’t feel hard done by. We may have felt a bit bleak when the brown James swore was 30 inches long, would not open its mouth. I
This cuppa was brewed up in the mountains, when the rain and cloud and wind didn’t look like letting up. Waiting this stuff out is infinitely better with good coffee. And on the subject of waiting it out: Ted Leeson’s writing continues to delight me in a way that has me laying the open book down on my lap, after reading a particularly erudite and poetic piece, and clucking and shaking my head in awe of his ability to capture a moment or concept, with which I identify immeasurably. “Much of the technical fly-fishing literature at which anglers have suckled
“We fished these streams with a weighty sense of proprietorship, and grave recognition that we might just be the only people on earth who cared that the Trout were there at all” pg 38, Jerusalem Creek, Ted Leeson. These words struck a chord with me when I first read them, to the extent that I immediately wrote them down in my journal. That “weighty sense of proprietorship” is exactly the feeling I get when I walk and fish my local river; a stream long forgotten by most, which I have probably written about and referred to, too much. Too
It was a very disappointed thief who broke down my patio door in the middle of the night with an axe, in search of a flat screen TV. All he got was an angry Great Dane and a sea of books. I only wish we had managed to give him some fast flying lead too….the bastard! But let me put the angry thoughts of retribution aside for a moment and focus on his disappointment, and my delight: Books. I hadn’t realised it, but books, and more specifically flyfishing books, have been in my blood for a long time. I remembered
I have an old friend who, when he is sitting comfortably in our lounge, and a truly classic piece of music comes on the stereo, closes his eyes as he listens. I think he sways a little too. He certainly zones out. He escapes the confines of our simple human surroundings, switches off the world around him, and allows his mind to soar to lofty and beautiful places in which the depth of his appreciation knows no bounds. He transcends those in the room who nod in his direction and snigger, and he rises to a place above us all.