Alone On The River
Trout & Salmon|January 2018

Cliff Hatton encounters a mighty Wye salmon.

Cliff Hatton

IN ANGLING TERMS – and only in angling terms I assure you – I consider myself special, and so should you if, between earning a living and, perhaps, raising a family, your time is spent largely alone in search of fish in wild, wild places – from a mountain tarn to a deserted urban river where big, late-evening roach rise to leave a single bubble by the drifting burger-boxes. When I fish such places there’s something that gives me a nudge now and then, a reminder that I’m utterly alone and unknown to the world … that I could die here, in the Fens or on a Cumbrian hillside, and lay undiscovered for months or even years. This is why I feel special. It’s not conceit for I know I could come a cropper; it’s the self-awareness that what I’m doing is way beyond the experience and even the imagination of most.

These inner feelings came together last Monday evening as my battle with a big salmon went past the hour. At 5.15, I’d made a cast from above the rapids and I knew that it was a good one, the Cascade double swinging into the riffle mid-river, the line straightening and pulling nicely in the current. Suddenly the reel was rasping shrilly and I was into a fish – a big one.

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