Odds And Endings

Shooting Times & Country|November 6, 2019

Odds And Endings
The final day of the fishing season is a success and a young gundog shows promise, but Laurence’s shooting skills seem to have vanished
It has been a time of endings and beginnings; both have had their distinctive flavour and both have given great pleasure. Of the endings, one matters a lot to me, for September’s end is also the end of the trout season.

The afternoon of September’s last day found me way up the Wharfe, not far from the river’s first pool, feeling surprised that I was there at all and highly delighted because the preceding days had seen so much rain that I had thought any more fishing would be out of the question. Only that morning the internet had told me that the Wharfe was still too big for sport, but it was at least falling.

All morning I helped High Park head keeper Tony Smith with the pheasants, telling myself how well they were doing and how well they were holding. Then I drove to Wharfedale in the improbable hope that the river would have fallen back enough to make fishing possible.

One of the virtues of headwaters is that they run off much more quickly than the middle and lower reaches of rivers. The Wharfe up near the source had fallen back further than I had dared hope. It was pleasing for a fisherman to search its pools and runs with a team of wet flies and catch himself a few last trout.

I drank a couple of glasses of red wine to mark the solemnity of the occasion, then I fished through the soft and windless afternoon, thinking how quiet and beautiful it all was. I caught six or seven trout, of which two were big enough to go in my bag.

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November 6, 2019