The reason why I tend to fish chalkstreams is their clarity. I love the fact that they become a clear, moving, mirrored sheath through which I can view an entirely different underwater world. I think fishing intoxicates me because through the simple connection of fly, trout, line and rod the two worlds can collide with a splash and a tug. Suddenly the trout enters my dry landed realm and for a brief moment as we both gasp for breath we gaze, in awe and terrifed before each of us return to where we belong.
As a consequence, some of my most fulfilling relationships have been with fish.
On a river in the south somewhere there is a trout who I have lovingly called Albert. He lies tucked right in to the opposite bank, about six inches above his lie there is an overhanging, twiggy frond from some sort of tree or another. The current towards him is altered by an outlet of reeds. I have watched him feed on nymphs languidly. I have seen him with a deft fin-flick move others out of his way. I have heard him rise. I want him. I know him now.
His situation makes casting to him very difficult. You have to place your fly directly under the over hanging branch for the current to take it to him. Albert, like most men likes to have his food handed to him. I think I have only managed to direct this long, frighteningly precise cast twenty times over three years. He has only risen to my fly once and I choked. The adrenalin was too much and as he opened his mouth I struck too soon. As in all doomed relationships the timing just wasn't right.
However, I think I feel more for this fish more than any other and more than quite a lot of humans. I swear he knows it's me casting to him, the glint of white of his opening mouth reminds me of a welcoming, toothy grin. I smile back; knowing cheerily that some things just aren't meant to be.