Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Posts tagged “Upstream and down

Pewter and Charcoal, Walden and Furth

Pewter and charcoal….a series of sorts, that aims to couple the timelessness of a black and white image, with the timelessness of quotes from our fly fishing literature.

To kick it off, here is the uMngeni on Furth farm:

geni (1 of 1)

…and here is something from Walden…that unsung American writer, from his book ‘Upstream and down’, published in 1938:

“Streams with reputations do not always live up to them and the obscurer brooks often hold a big trout or two. ……/../… Fishermen rather than fish perpetuate and enhance the reputation of a stream. By story and legend, the magic euphony of a name, the prestige of a river is won and held. Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Neversink, Esopus, Brodhead – such names owe their celebrity as much to the tongues and pens of fishermen as to the numbers and weight of trout between their banks”

I will just leave those two here…..


Conspiring for big Trout

 

“But the purposeful conspiring for big trout has at least the thrill of anticipation and, if successful, the satisfaction of any job consummated according to design. On the prowl for a three-pounder you become a specialist; you have renounced the easier rewards of small ones for the rare chance of a whopper. The thing has the gambling appeal of any long shot. Swinging a big streamer into the twilight shallows is one of the headier adventures of trout fishing. It is a grand way to end a day of finicky maneuvers with dry flies. It caps a day of precision with an hour of gusto and sends you home with your balance restored. “ 

Howard T Walden. “Upstream and down” .  1938

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To tame a river

“It is old, old fishing landscape, scarred with its human contacts, familiar and friendly and kind to the frailties of anglers.”  Howard T Walden. Upstream and down. 1938.

The colonial idiosyncrasies of our heritage have us leaning to a tamed and manicured world. A conquered wilderness, which we celebrate as “wild” but enjoy for its comforts of stonemasonry, or footpaths and trimmed briar.  I for one hanker after the quaint, the named, and the iconic. Do you revel in relating the story of your catch, replete with the name of the pool?  Do you inwardly sigh with nostalgic affection at the sight of a stone arch over a river? Do you take your wilderness complete with a puff adder that will bite you, or do you prefer to  savour the golden glow of the  leather box, as you fold back its lid on the tailgate of your truck, to reveal a fine whisky and two glasses at fishing’s close?

I am told that a taste test uncovers the truth in coffee. The declaration is that we like it strong, but the taste test says otherwise.  Strong coffee is the stuff of cowboys and those who have no fears to conquer. The smooth flavours of a mild blend are what strokes our true satisfaction.

Would you be the one to take down the signs that show the way to the beat, or would you revel in creating the timeless logo with which to adorn it.

How about a footbridge. A fencing stile perhaps?

Too tame a river?

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