Home to cold unfriendly weather after ten days of driving across Europe. The Fly Fair in Munich was pleasant and crowded, though unfortunately the nice Bavarians had little interest in reading English angling literature. Luckily I had a few bargains that they couldn't resist so I was able to pay my bill at Fawlty Towers. I avoided the relatively uninteresting scenery of northern France and the traffic jams of Stuttgart by making the return trip by a more southerly route via Austria and Switzerland and the empty motorways through the heart of France. It was great to stop en route and spend a little time with Bethan and Dewi, and we had a few memorable French dinners. Back in Wales temperatures have dropped and, in any case, I'll have little time for sport before heading off to Northamptonshire for the Falconry Fair.
Monthly Archives: May 2012
Of course it wasn't a 2½ weight rod. It was 8' 2½" long. Knew I'd seen 2½ somewhere.
Holland was a delight as usual; with so many old friends all staying at the same hotel it is the most sociable of the flyfishing fairs. Unfortunately fears for the Euro, or the opportunity for a four-day fishing trip over the Ascension Day holiday, kept the punters away. Shopping is not nearly as fruitful as in France, but I did a detour to Edam to sample the real old Edam cheese - not the plastic supermarket stuff we get here.
Perhaps someone can tell me why the Dutch can still sell you a plateful of smoked eel for ten Euros (and the Spanish an omelette full of elvers) while British anglers are forbidden from killing eels. I don't want to kill 'em - they have massive problems - but isn't that Europe-wide?
Back home, I went on the first boat-trip of the season, a short trip out of Rhyl where the sea-bed is paved with baby dabs and whiting. Just brought a fry of fry home for tea, with a gurnard for a soup.
This has been a welcome weekend at home, in tropical heat, gardening at dawn and dusk, with an unaccustomed siesta in between.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon I took Duncan to a stream that I'd had my eye on for years. Cascading off moorlands, it looked great for a dry fly so I took the lightest rod I had, a little Hardy Smuggler that I bought at auction years ago and had hardly ever used. Whether it was the cold north wind or an episode of sheep-dip, the stream failed to live up to its promise so we decided leave it until a summer evening and try elsewhere. Dunc knew of a mountain lake not far away - just a 400 yard walk from the car, he said. Ha! After the about a mile of 45 degree climbing the path levelled out to reveal a beautiful small lake set under a cliff. Despite me struggling a little with the 2½-weight rod in a howling gale, we caught a few fat yellow trout. The evening was made for me as a pair of merlins made a prolonged attack on a peregrine on the cliff above me. They mobbed him for half an hour, stooping repeatedly, before all three flew off, occasionally grappling in the air. Thrilled with the spectacle, and just after catching three trout in three casts, I jumped across a crevasse, crashed through the layer of moss that looked like a firm landing-place, and smashed my little Smuggler across a rock. Ah well, it was time to go home, anyway.
The van is loaded to the gunwales with flyfishing books for the Dutch Fly Fair this weekend. There won't be time for fishing but there will be time to catch up with lots of old friends, and maybe share a glass or two.
Only in February can I go a whole month without sport. Instead I've been buying up stocks of books at a tremendous rate - we must have had about ten pallets in last week, and a similar amount to come next week. I hoped that I would have sold a few of them at the Shooting Show but it wasn't to be; visitors were single-mindedly looking for guns. Off to the West Country Game Fair this weekend, where I hope that tastes will be a little more catholic.
Ceri just called me out to hear the clamour of a tree full of starlings. Not especially a sign of Spring, but the warm sunshine is - this week I'll get busy sowing seeds.
Apparently England is largely underwater and, in consequence, the Falconry Fair has been cancelled. A further consequence is that I have booked even more sessions at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival. Owen and Sara, Richard and Sharon have all appeared for the weekend - suddenly every night is a party.
Last evening we made our first visit of the season to the Llanbrynmair lakes, where we were greeted by a bevy of cuckoos (well, four anyway), two of which were courting or fighting in the nearby spruce tops. Swallows over the water confirmed our hopes and we found fish moving all over the lake. Unfortunately in the slight easterly it was flat calm and a rise that looked promising was actually quite a struggle. I coaxed three before the temperature dropped and we retreated to the lowlands.