I had a bit of a hiatus at the start of this season.

Normally, just like the rest of you I’m set to go at ‘sparrows’ on the glorious first, but this year, tardy doesn’t even come close.

Oh, and talking of sparrows, they were the reason I didn’t get away to a fine start. See, I’ve always wanted to do a children’s story and as the season edged closer, I was in the thick of editing and then selling my wee book about, yes, sparrows. Called ‘Spadge,’ it follows the escapades of a flock of sparrows and how their choices affect their wellbeing. Illustrations by a friend of mine are superb. Now before this drifts into a full blown commercial, here comes the full stop.

This year I finally got to wet a line in November! First stop was our local fishing shop to buy the obligatory license and replace yet another hat that had blown off into the lake or been lost somewhere. Think my last one was left in the campground at Mount Somers during the High Country opening last year.

I’d bought it in Calgary around 2016, wore it all over British Columbia and to think I lost it so close to home.

Matey, behind the counter asked me if I was after a Loyal Senior’s license and I said yes, then he told me it was $130! Loyalty is getting expensive. Decided to take the Canadian, Temple Forks Outfitters two piece I’ve always kept for ‘best’ rather than have it sitting doing nothing.

The forecast storm had blown through, so the lake would be high enough to quietly float into the shallows amongst the trees and bring a fish or two to the fly, or the fly into a tree. But hey, wait a moment, life caught up with me again and I had to ignore the adage about early birds and worms, so the vehicle and boat were NOT nosed out the gate at an indecent hour and pointed toward Lake Brunner. Nope! I grabbed an hour and went walkies across the boulders of the very lumpy Grey riverbed to a nice hole, where there’d been past success when whitebait were around. Given the fact the little blighters frequently run AFTER the season ends, I tied on a pattern that loosely represents this migratory galaxiid and was mildly surprised I didn’t need my glasses to complete that task.

A light wind was hitting my left cheek so casting across this, the line went out nicely and swung around to bring the fly down through the hole in the approved fashion and a hit was expected any moment. The moment turned into minutes and by the time the water had been worked through, no takes or touches were felt, nowt, nil, nada, zilch. You get the idea, but I was out there doing it, wetting a line and whetting my appetite for more piscatorial endeavours.

Staggering back across the boulder field towards the car I picked up a hand shovel in good condition, which might be useful for any of my future columns! At home a vehicle parked outside told me visitors had arrived while I was away, and my wife was most surprised to see me back so soon.

“We’ve got the strippers arriving shortly,” quoth she!

Her mother said to me on our wedding day, “it won’t be dull.”

Think she was right.

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