Thursday, 15 November 2007

Fishing in Middle Earth pt 3

The lady of the river calls. We let sleeping dogs lie and succumb. The Giman River is renowned far beyond the borders of Jamtland , not just for its beauty. In its mercurial glides and rapids, live grayling of mythical renown. In days of conflict and expansion this unique river was abused and violated, but the tide has turned, and it is now cherished and nurtured. Short lines gentlemen, short lines.. look after my ladies, are Lars’s parting words. Waterproof gimp suits are donned, and we wade, anticipation high. Willow wands, fluro spaghetti, and artful creations of fluff are the order of the day. The red tag lands as predetermined, with out fuss or splash, the casting gods smile today. Seconds elapse, the buoyant fluff deceives. Electric jag, the rod tip jars round, the lady writhes’ briefly in the depths and is gone. Senses are gathered and focused, we won’t be fooled again. In the last crease before the pool elapses, she strikes. Action meets reaction- clichés are true, the 6# hoops over, as a sliver bar cartwheels in the sun. A Nordic bronco, she clearly has her pilots’ wings, dancing repeatedly in the air. Steady pressure rewards, she glides towards the toy-like trout net. Just shy of a pound I hold my prize up to be pixilated by the far bank paparazzi. Match the hatch, a brief hour of Indian summer has awakened hordes of grey-fly from their watery slumbers. I too join in the cohesion of summer, and roll out a Grey CDC to the head of the next pool. Everything flows as the sequence of roll cast, feather, mend and drift is met with a savage take. The lady is not for turning, and darts like a mini salmon, line screeching from the spool. Imposing as a heavy-weight acrobat, she too cartwheels, tripping the light fantastic. My face contorts to wear an idiot grin, as I too am instantly converted to the ranks of the dry-fly disciples. The stolen afternoon disappears as a time warp. Summer returns, the weak September sun shines drowsily on the Giman valley, giving a taster of the glory days of June, 24/7 insect frenzy. The grey spinner skates along, deceiving several more grande dames , and a myriad of her smaller brethren. The crèche is safe and secure, future generations will prosper. Autumn is unseasonably dry, the river is gasping for an influx of extra water. The bones of the Giman are showing, the patient is parched, but resilient. Another victim of changing weather patterns, global turmoil edging to the borders of Jamtland.
The disco fish, the artic charr has yet to grace my net. We make plans with Birger to address this imbalance- close by are small crystal tarns in whose depths harbor dream fish. Slow growing and cautious, with the colors’ of an impressionist’s pallet, their capture is the ultimate alpine prize. Prodigious fly grazers, harvesting the rich summers haul caught on the gossamer surface. Prepared for a delicate war of attrition, we arrive at the Vattenbergstjärn. A chill breeze ruffles the surface; autumn has the upper hand today. At the waters edge, we sink & bounce. Deceptively solid, the whole of the tarns edge is a waterlogged matt of vitreous green sponge. Blessing and curse, the sphagnum is ultra osmosis and larder, providing a rich aquarium. I creep low slung. Flailing ineffectually, my 6# cuts the air like a schoolmaster’s cane. The casting gods are in Cuba today, smiling down on the bonefish flats. No delicate rings grace the waters surface today, the flies sleep in their watery homes. The hours pass fruitlessly- plan b. Compact lumps of metal are rigged, instigators of cannibalism. Where the stomach fails, territorialism prevails- young char are ruthlessly removed from another’s home. Disco lures for Disco fish are launched skywards. Time elapses, the lakes contours are methodically explored. Above the deafening silence, comes the urgent wail of a clutch. Bruce’s lure is mistaken for a young intruder, and the tussle is on. Lean, and flecked with spots of white, fins a blaze with blood red, she lays beaten on the moss. 30 minutes later her larger male companion graces Bruce’s net with his striking colors’, an aquatic cheetah. Still fishless I intensify my efforts. A windward corner of the pool beckons. The fish radar warns of an impending encounter. My lure lands on the space between wind ruffle and polished calm, far from shore. 4 cranks into the retrieve, all is solid and an irresistible force breaks the surface flexing and shaking the hooks thorny danger free. My whoop of joy turns to a curse as I realize my loss. A fish of 1000 km, a worthy display on the wall of Birgers home, quietly slips back to whence she came.. My duffer’s consolation prize comes 4 casts later. The same solid lunging take, followed by fierce runs into the deep. Distaining acrobatics, a peat-stained brown trout shows him self in the margins. Net forgotten, I scoop my prize unceremoniously up onto natures unhooking mat. Dog-toothed and perfectly formed, my largest wild brown is a silver plated wooden spoon. I will be back to claim the solid silver one..

Robin Adair