Not Really Fishing 'Magic Moments' competition – with the Wild Trout Trust

John Bailey

Well-known member
Feature Writer
Joined
Nov 16, 2020
Messages
195
Reaction score
393
IMG_2418.jpg


Some of you will remember that we gave a glowing review to the Wild Trout Trust’s recent publication, Not Really Fishing. The title has gone on to strike a nerve in the fishing community, and shown a number of us want to get away from that side of the sport that is all about big fish, numbers of fish, and ever more cunning ways to catch them. Yes, it’s good to catch, but not if we ignore the wonders of the riverbank as a result.

So, yes, a lot of us are really loving these tiny tales that are so life-affirming, so life-enhancing and even so life-changing. Therefore, we are collaborating with the Trust and inviting you all to submit your own river moments of magic!

Post them on this thread, or send or email them to the Editor, and we’ll publish them on our sites as they come in, right the way up to Christmas – which somehow sounds fitting! The best five, judged by WTT and by us here at TT, will receive a free copy of the book and the honour of seeing their story published in the next edition of Not Really Fishing, due out in time for Christmas next year. This isn’t quite like winning the lottery, we all know, but you’ll have given a lot of anglers a ray of light in these dark and fraught times.

Before you get writing, remember the ideal word count is 160 words, 180 as an absolute maximum... so remember those English lessons when précis was your favourite. And do remember that these are wildlife/spiritual moments from your angling experience, rather than out and out fishing stories.

To get the ball rolling, we publish an offering from myself, F&F editor John Bailey, and a lovely aside on bats from Denise Ashton at the Trust. So, no excuses and get writing! We all need cheering up right now!



IMG_2613.JPG


IMG_2611.JPG


IMG_2615.JPG


My Ganges Epiphany

September 1989 I spent on the Ganges filming 'Casting For Gold', a Himalayan adventure for ITV. My co-presenter was Paul Boote, the celebrated traveller, and he had landed two golden mahseer to my score of none. The night was a black one. I lay in my tent, anguished at my failure, eaten up with jealousy.

I went to sit by the Black Rock, the colossal boulder in mid-river, where so many historic monster fish had been caught. The light grew, birdsong a heavenly choir. The monkeys played on the beach. A leopard coughed in the forests.

A sadhu appeared in the mists. He pointed to the Rock, and a mahseer broke the water into gold. My angling life had changed. My petty concerns fell away. I appreciated with the eyes of a new-born how lucky I was, fortunate beyond compare. From that day, I have felt only positives in my life. My joy in fishing has been complete.

John Bailey




Myotis_daubentoni01.jpg

Source: Wikimedia Commons: Gilles San Martin: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Batgirl

There is a little gang of Daubenton’s bats that I am particularly fond of. They emerge from the tree roots on the bank opposite where I often fish at dusk. I first got to know them when I was casting to a rising fish. My fly seemed to jump several feet and land again. This happened a dozen times before I realised the bats were picking it up and putting it down.

Since then, I make sure I stand in the same spot at dusk and wait for them to emerge and flit around my legs for half an hour until I really cannot see and must go home. I talk to them, which must be very odd if anyone was ever listening, but fortunately I only have to share the river with the bats.

Denise Ashton, Wild Trout Trust
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mikench

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Messages
19,925
Reaction score
7,114
Location
leafy cheshire
No epiphany and no photos just a recollection of actually catching fish for the first time. I had a less than memorable couple of visits to a commercial water using a poker like rod, reel with 8lb line and a couple of floats in late 2015. I joined a club in the January and armed with my new light puddle chucker rod and reel, I set out to actually locate some of its local waters. On my return journey home I found a small lake near Tatton park and as it was deserted and as I didn't want an audience watching my cack handed attempt, I gave it a go. I plumbed up, attached a maggot and cast in. For the next hour or so I caught over 40 small Rudd and roach and became enthralled at the float dipping and moving through the water with these tiny but beautiful little fish on the end. They were all tiddlers but to me this was proper fishing with proper tackle and I loved it.

I doubt I would have noticed a golden eagle or a pine Martin that sunny afternoon in early February so engrossed was I in my task. I haven't stopped since.
 
Last edited:

Keith M

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2002
Messages
4,961
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hertfordshire
I’m often reminded of how privileged we anglers are to be able to witness wildlife going about its business in and around our rivers and lakes without being disturbed by us humans. especially when we are quietly sitting there watching our rods and not making any sudden movements. We often witness things that non anglers only ever read about but we anglers see fairly regularly.

There’s the robins who will often build up the courage to come closer and sit on your rod or on the edge of your maggot box and take a few maggots or pickup pieces of bread that you’ve scattered, or even on rare occasions allow you to hand feed them, then there’s the very rare magic of having a kingfisher land on your rod; or the tiny wren that picks up bait that you’ve dropped beneath your chair.



There are dozens of other things that stand out in my memory like the time I watched a magpie following a heron moving from swim to swim around the lake in the hope of grabbing any morsels dropped by the heron and the occasional sight of a grass snake or an adder swimming across my swim probably searching for something to eat.
Plus the occasional water vole or water rat moving in and out of the water.

Then there’s the time when I’d happened to doze off when I’d been carping with bite alarms; and opened my eyes to find a big rat sat on top of my bag staring right up close into my eyes eating one of my sandwiches and the time when a big rat was dragging my loaf of bread away into the undergrowth, and hissing at me when I tried to retrieve it.

Another time I discovered a Hedgehog who had crept into my bivvie during the night, licked the fat out of my frying pan and then fell asleep in the pan.

Then there’s the time when myself and a friend were fishing on a small river with an empty swim between us and suddenly heard some loud screeching noises coming from the empty swim between us; followed by a Stoat dragging a small rabbit from the empty swim and into the undergrowth.

I remember spending the evening fishing for Tench at my local estate lake when a fox wandered along the bank and sat quietly behind me for around five minutes just watching me fish before wandering off further along the bank and causing a lot of commotion amongst the wildfowl as it went.

Then there was the time I witnessed a shoal of Perch that was herding a shoal of small fry into a corner of a moat before rushing in to grab a meal; some of the fry even jumped onto the bank in an attempt to escape.

I could go on and on recounting the many things I’ve witnessed over the years while fishing and the different animals and birds and reptiles that I’ve seen, like deer, owls, bats etc. etc. but most of us anglers have seen these things themselves already. However we anglers are fairly privileged to be able to witness these things; that non anglers rarely see apart from on their Televisions or in a book.

Keith
 
Last edited:

mikench

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Messages
19,925
Reaction score
7,114
Location
leafy cheshire
Last year I was fishing with Gordon at a pretty venue and we were after tench. The pegs we chose had a very narrow and overgrown path behind adjacent to a large field. At one point in the proceedings I stood up and spotted a mink sauntering along the path towards me. It saw me but continued to approach me without a care in the world stopping almost at my feet. It gave me a quizzical look and as I moved to retrieve my phone from my pocket to take a pic, it disappeared into the undergrowth. I know they are an alien species and kill voles, birds and other indigenous wild life but they are a beautiful creature with their inquisitive eyes and glossy black coat. I felt strangely honoured to be in its company. I had never seen one close up before or since.
 
Top