With my newly re-connected fishing head firmly back on I pass through the clanky gate to the inviting green sanctuary that is Ouse.
The undergrowth seems to have grabbed and kept the days sun and I stroll headstrong through it's thermal pockets.
This evening I do consider my options, the entire beat is mine. Passing every pool and glide, weighing one's options as the blood sucking insects case me out.
There's a tinge of colour to the flow and the fish only give themselves away at surface level, chublets, dace and roach chasing the hatch.
Settling on the farthest swim from the gate I sit amongst dock and the huge mutant plantain, bright green filigree'd leaves surround.
The Davenport & Fordham MkIV & Speedia Deluxe combo is tackled up and seems just about right here, not overly long and with backbone if required.
My swim is quite featureless, straight and deep. I consider that it might be great for many things; trotting, laying on, predators; pike and perch will definitely live here.....but maybe not a classic barbel swim. However, you never know on the Ouse..and you have to try.
I arrived at this swim choice because the area downstream is gravelly and has lots of cover, thinking maybe I could tempt a barbel up to me with the fourteen boilies I have baited. Confidence is everything, so fourteen it must be, it's a magic number. Doesn't seem a lot of bait to prime a swim with, does it? The barbel are so few now that you are angling for single nomadic fish...less is more. I purposely take very little bait, if I took more it would be used, and more never works.
As the sun begins to lower itself I hear voices, loud voices. Someone is showing a friend the fishery..loudly. I become agitated, how dare they break the spell..how dare they both stroll straight into my swim..loudly. Eye contact is all that is needed to tell them to move along but I hear them for ten more minutes. What has happened to angling etiquette?..I feel like I'm turning into my father!
The tip judders, and then again and I raise it aloft...fish on.
No drama here a small, welcome chub. I can feel that this swim has the ingredients for big chub, but I take whatever comes gladly.
We're at that time now when the local wildlife begin to complete the days business.
The heron is flying from bough to bough, looking for a roost.
I see the kingfisher, frantically diving along the beat, searching for the last meal of the day.
A solitary magpie flies through the overhanging branches as chub rise for the relentless insects in the flow beneath. The magpie is not a harbinger of bad luck for me, I have much wierder superstitions!
Another tap, and then a click of the centrepin, I strike and another chub.
Netted, released and recast just before darkness, and so to what I call the quiet hour. As the light drops away, so does the sound...Silence and a marked drop in temperature.
The otter appears, in no hurry to pass through my swim. Steady and methodical is how he works. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love to see them, they have a right to be here..they have also eaten most of my beloved Ouse barbel.
I wait beneath the enveloping branches of this old willow, the rod tip now invisible, I leger by touch.
My eyes feel heavy. The heady whiff of citronella, darkness and concentration are taking their toll and I nod off.
Something pulls at my fingers, which are still holding my line. I wake, strike and miss...Go home to bed Gurn.