After sulking about fidgeting with tackle, I slowly came to terms with the fact that the season was over, and with the first hard frosts and onset of mid afternoon darkness, the urge to tie a whole new range of flies for the coming season grows a little stronger each day. It is this combined primeval sense of necessity and urgency that makes me more aware of the force of nature that drives birds to fly South. Its just one of the afflictions that we have to yield to, after all, I’ve only got a dozen or so boxes already crammed with flies of all types carefully hidden away in an old tackle bag – they’re my guilty pleasure, – or secret, very much I suppose like the surreptitious girlie mags of adolescence, but far more satisfying. I wouldn’t want my wife to discover them, my fly boxes that is, she’d begin an interrogation that Torquemada would be pleased with, firstly the gentle questioning as to why I wanted to sit tying more and more, but no matter how structured and precise my spluttering explanations, as I meekly confess to the demons that power my emotional and tactical need to tie even more flies, she’ll coldly and deliberately put effort into not understanding why I do it; (she has the audacity to call it ‘an avoidance tactic!), – the Inquisitor begins gently, ‘the paddocks need topping’ ‘the windows need cleaning’ ‘why dont you go and fix the attic door?’ ‘that workshop hasn’t been cleared out in a year – we’ll have visitors at Easter’ culminating with the most mind numbing of all at which I squeal inwardly and silently, ‘and there’s plenty of jobs that need doing in the garden’ – I’d rather stick needles under my fingernails whilst enduring a full evening, listening to my Racist, Thatcherite, Homophobic, Daily Mail acolyte of a Sister in Law !
If three score years and ten is the average alloted lifespan before shuffling off this mortal coil, then I’ve got no time to waste, and a lot of fishing and fly tying to fit in, – I look deeply into the dogs loving and intelligent brown eyes, ‘go and tell her that there’s a notice in the post office window of a handyman looking for jobs’. Ever the diplomat, she just looks away, something between disgust and wistfulness, and whilst not really wanting to take sides, as another female has that irritating subliminal capability to implant into my brain the sense that she’s also quite disappointed that we’re not going out in the garden or fields together. So no allies and no backup, I’ll have to argue this one on my own, I hit her with my best instantly conjured up riposte. ‘I’ve got to knot some Pheasant Tail feather fibres together to make legs for early season Hawthorn Flies….’, I began the sentence with my voice, bold and firm but it seemed to inexplicably lose energy, ending in a whimpering mutter to myself, ‘far more important’.
Over the next few postings I’ll post pictures of the new flies I’m tying for the coming season and the step by step pictures and notes. So do come by again, I’m off to fix the attic door, but rest assured there’ll be something new to read, because up there I’ve got some lovely old tackle, and about thirty years of fishing magazines and books. Native cunning wins again in the Guerilla warfare of being a married Trout fisherman.