Friday, 22 June 2012

The Lake

'To dedicate yourself whole heartedly to something is hard. 
To dedicate yourself to almost certain failure may to most seem insane! 
I know the lake will punish me. But still I offer myself to it. 
For I am sure a secret wonder swims beneath it's surface' 

The lake. Huge, mysterious and ever present. It has been many years since I last trod it's unforgiving banks and turned my back upon it cursing as I walked away. Since then time has passed and things have changed, maybe it has too, I know I have! The hair besides my eyes that once was pure brown has begun to grey and my once flawless knees occasionally crunch in cold weather. 
Not only has my body aged but my attitude towards these difficult places has matured too. I feel the desperate days  where my need to see a float dip every five minutes are gone, instead replaced by a patient outlook. I am no longer concerned with nets brimming with fish; rather to set my eyes on one special fish from a special place seems more satisfying somehow.
Maybe this is why I have decided to come back, maybe this is why I feel this to be a special place to spend a summer night or two. Maybe it won't have changed one bit and I will rue the day I ever thought that thought. But to ruminate over all the possible outcomes seems pointless. So instead I will go and fish with the knowledge that the lake is made of water, and in water swims fish... special fish

Today I went back just to have a peep round. To see how the land lies, or should I say how the water flows. From the top of the hill which flanks this great lake, the vista was no less than resplendent. The land dipped before me in a swath of green and yellow grass before disappearing into a row of ancient oaks which have lined the water for hundreds of years, beyond them the lake sparkled temptingly in the evening sun. I had no rod in hand but still it called me towards it's banks. As I walked the narrow freshly cleared path, rabbits of all shapes and sizes bolted into the the safety of the long grass. In between avoiding burrows, I intermittently looked away from my path, attempting to get another look at this hiding temptress who nestles in land, coerced by someone who was capable of such a grand undertaking.

Someone once asked me of the lake and I remember answering that it was as beautiful as it was harsh. But as always before I find myself unable to listen to my own advice and have again been tricked by it's blinding beauty and like some like a sailor of Homers Odyssey, I need a mast to which to tie myself before she lures me to certain doom.

As I pass through the trees I speed up, needing to stare into the depths with hope to see just one of it's wonders. My feet lined up with the edge of the bank, I stare out over the massive sheet of rippling water and although it is undoubtedly massive, it does not seem that big to me. I think fishing in the the sea has given me some perspective on the matter. Unfazed by it's size my angler sense comes on and my eyes scan the surface for the slightest disruption. It doesn't take long for me to spot a shoal of game young skimmers bustling on the surface against the ripple, and if I know this place, I know what comes soon... Whoosh! Silver fingerling's fly in all directions as the jack pike slashes amongst the shoal.

This is the first decent evening in weeks and round the point of the lake the old rhododendron wood on the opposite bank buffets the slight evening breeze clean over the lake, leaving the surface still and calm. The lack of wind and falling sun illuminates millions of buzzing insects hovering over the water, like in a fly fisherman's winter fantasy. But no trout swim in these waters for it is the home of almost black tench, mahogany brown bream and carp with lineage older than the new world. The predators here add even more spice to the recipe of this lake. It is one of those places which harbours undisclosed secrets and in my opinion, and those of many other anglers, it has genuine potential to shock .

Plans are something to be avoided concerning this lake. It's too changeable and fickle for plans of stone. I have thought this over all winter whilst I shivered on freezing rivers and mulled it back again as I warmed at home. I do not wish to make bold declarations of specific species which will well hang me out to dry. Instead I have concluded to just fish in a way that could attract the attentions of a choice few species and fish with tackle that can deal with most. It contains six species at least which interest me all of which could grow large and all of which I have dreamt of since conceiving this madness months ago.

So now that I have patiently waited for that whistle to go as the clock struck twelve on the 16th of June, I will move towards it and wait calmly for the game to unfold and whatever the lake has in store for me, bad or good, I will accept it graciously. 


  1. Danny, your advice to me about this place, was...

    Don't go there.

    You're after tasting your own medicine!

  2. Now you have definitely not 'lost it' Danny. I vowed at the age of sixteen never ever to fish there again after relentless batterings, but like you I was drawn back with a different mindset and more length in the tooth.

    I sincerely hope you unlock a secret or two in the coming months.