Pallenpool – the personification of angling on a winters day

Winters Splendour

A raft of reed and fallen branches provide for the perfect promontory from which to cast into the calm pool that forms behind this naturally made harbour. Here then is what is fast approaching my last chance to catch and admire a winters roach.’

I draw the curtain and take a look through the bedroom window, an even covering of early morning frost greets my sleepy head. The New Year’s eve bonfire smoulders and reluctant threads of smoke ascend through the cold air. I can also see our resident swans, they are sitting low to the bank and seem completely unmoved by the cold start to first day of the year.

Last nights bonfire

Whilst admiring the swans I recall the potato’s which we placed into the fire last night – I will retrieve the remaining two or three first off. Throwing myself into the wardrobe I fumble around through the rails of clothing that never gets worn – if only I could see myself, I must look ever so slightly possessed. I am trying to find what I threw in there last night, eventually all are found and placed in a relative and correct fashion about my person – I never check to see if i’m presentable by means of a mirror – I leave that critique to my most unflappable wife.

After the miraculous transformation, fully clothed I clatter down the stairs with both the collies hot on my heels, how on earth they avoid tumbling with their antics is a feat best left not considered it would undoubtedly be of some concern.

It is certainly cold, a Jack Frost nip lingers from the past night and I can feel his icy breath about me – no matter the day ahead looks promising and after breakfast the layers of clothing will be applied and I will try my hand at finding some roach. The river is still pushing through and all manner of flotsam is being swept along with it, there are signs however down water that a slack or two maybe approached and fished – I will have a closer look later.

True to life something always gets in the way of an incurable piscator and his want – I do not see the river again until around 2 o’clock – this fortunately gives me two hours of hope and half an hour of wing and a prayer into darkness – surely enough time to find and catch a roach.

My tackles already set up; invariably a rod or two is ready for the off, very handy when time becomes your keeper. The only item of tackle I have made sure to bring along is one of my good friends floats a very smart quill indeed, which should be perfect for what I hope will yield a fish and if fortune bestows – another.

I cast the float into the first found slack, shotted to perfection it drifts around bobbing and dipping as if by an order to dance – as time inevitably marches the float has not been taken under – for it to disappear would be a small mercy in enduring the coldness today has about it. The sun is dropping like a coin thrown into a fountain, its reflection off the ripple is all but blinding me and seeing the quill is proving difficult – very in fact.

I shift up the bank and view the float away from the sun this thankfully shields my eyes from the blinding rays. I can at least see the quill now. Having been at this pitch long enough I decide to venture further afield, the bank is holding an amount of water that makes walking through the spent reed and general detritus heavy going.

Rounding a bend I can see the river divides itself twofold – the flood relief channels – I take to following the farthest away of the two, its course will take me through the meadows wending its way to greet the river in about a 1/4 of a mile or so, this I hope will ensure an easier navigation underfoot – well that’s the thought.

Washes of golden streams

The sun holds the horizon the all pervading streams of gold bathe each and every scene before me in a gloriously false warmth. I pass the remains of the sunflower meadow that is providing sanctuary and food to a host of finches, last week I saw a woodcock here such a sight was he

Leaving the sunflower husks behind I walk the edge of the copse, and as I near the returning river I am confronted by a sight that could be a byzantine trove such is its beauty all sparkling and sacred. The day maybe cold but the heart warms to nature’s endless ways of leaving one speechless.


A breathless beauty

A raft of reed and fallen branches provide for the perfect promontory from which to cast into the calm pool that forms behind this naturally made harbour. Here then is what is fast approaching my last chance to catch and admire a winters roach. As quietly as the banks will allow I move close enough to the accumulation and then with a gentle flick my float is cast.

I have a vague idea of the waters normal run and depth here so taking into account the levels I adjust the float accordingly, the chill factor is telling – I concentrate and will my offering of flake to be taken, a bodily shiver passes around the flow of blood working hard to keep my life’s register as present (just).

A drop of dew forms on the tip of my nose confirming the bodily discomfort. I can just make out the orange sentinel before me, time is on the roach’s side and not mine. I am about to call it a day when my float dips, instantly the coldness is forgotten.

Roach & float perfection

I am more or less willing, pleading with the river to surrender a Redfin to me. And then my quiet prayers are answered, the quill is taken asunder and seconds later I have before me the most quintessential of all winter fishes the roach. Two hours of wonderment encapsulated in a fin and scale perfect roach.

Writing & Images Pallenpool – Winter 2022