Happily, my thoughts and deeds turned to fishing last week. The water was too cold for a decent hatch
of flies, so I tied pheasant-tail nymphs rather than dry flies to my cast.

Sadly, each year, there seems to be an ever-decreasing amount of fly life beside our rivers and in the fields. When I was younger, any long car drive during the summer months resulted in so many insects splattered across the windscreen that the washer and wipers couldn’t cope and Dad had to wash the windscreen with a sponge to clear the smeared remains of thousands of corpses. It simply doesn’t happen today; during my one-hour trip to Damerham Fisheries, my car remained almost unmarked by insect collisions.

However, the fish were in great form. The fishery consists of a series of small lakes, connected by a dashing stream. The water is gin clear, which makes the fishing as exciting as still-water fishing can be. I could see each fish eyeing my imitation with disdain. The trick was to conjure an irresistible twitch. Most of the time, the fish made a mockery of me, but, just occasionally, the fool was in the water.