Saturday 12 November 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Land Trains and Limnobiology

Fishing has always been regarded as a solitary sport, the pastime for the contemplative man. It was unthinkable as in pig sticking, dominoes, pontoon and three card brag that women should come within a mile of it.

Of recent years, however thanks to the increase in leisure time, the number of household labour-saving devices and family cars, the tendency has grown for whole households to go fishing together. I saw it for myself not so long ago, when on the local canal when I was targeting Zander 3 generations of family were float fishing and enjoying their time together on the turd riddled towpath.

This development had wrought subtle changes in the ethos of the sport. The old image of an angler was that of a loner, a solitary, a misanthrope, even, who went fishing to get away from the Wife and family. That image gained currency, and survived so long, for one reason and one reason only, it was true.

The influence of the family on angling is demonstrated quite clearly, you see the solitary angler was used to falling out of bed in the early hours of Sunday morning, pulling on his familiar ripe-smelling gear, having a quick scratch of the nether regions and a strong coffee, and stomping out bleary and blissful in to the dawn.

But now that the feminine influence has exerted itself, things are different. All Saturday morning is spent cleaning and polishing the car. Saturday afternoon is spent trying on the new fishing outfit. The old outfit is got rid of. The comfortable holey vets, pullover, long johns, saggy jacket, scale-smeared anorak, droopy wellies and bobbly hat are lowered on fire tongs into the dustbin. 

In their place go an electric blue windcheater with red and white facings, a pair of slimline, knife-edged cream trousers, a pain of Italian made slip-on shoes and a tartan trilby decorated with unusable flies.

I jest but I must admit I've over the last year or so invested in better clothing to suit ones fishing. Staying dry and warm is one of the biggest hurdles in fishing and after toying around with cheap gear, I made the decision to invest in some decent stuff. Not proper expensive gear I might add, but the difference in spending a few more quid is quite apparent.

Anyway with a short window of opportunity to get that much needed fishing fix a visit to the closest bit of river to me, The Alne for some lure fishing sounded just the tonic. You'd have thought such a short journey would be without incident but no, a really slow Land Rover Defender towing a load of hay bales thankfully turned off after a mile or so, but then a land train of cyclists (>20) on this hilly B road, meant I then joined a queue of cars stuck behind a loads of MAMIL's. Not a pretty sight either, I assume they have mirrors in their houses like the rest of us ?

Anyway, the Alne looked in fine fettle when I get there but swim after swim after swim, literally nothing doing on the Salmo Hornet whatsoever. All very odd as the last time here the hits and bites on the lure really an eyeopener. Still I stuck with it though and in the end went back to the car donned my wellies and negotiated the East bank to get down to the weir.

It was well up and the usual island of gravel was reduced to a small standing area but it was a decision that paid for itself after the 4th cast when the lure was hit like a steam train. 

Sadly it only stayed on for a few seconds but at least I knew there were fish in the swim, and sure enough the very next cast I hooked up good and proper this time. Yeap, the culprit one of the trout that reside here. Not a bad one either and put up a proper scrap where it launched itself clear of the water a couple of times.

One more trout succumbed to the Salmo Hornet and that was my lot. No more bites in this ridiculously mild day before I had to head back home and get on with family duties. An enjoyable could of hours in solitude though, it really does work wonders.  


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