I used to work with this guy a long time ago and he told me an interesting little story one time. He had left home when he was only sixteen and his old man had a word with him as he was setting forth into the big wide world. His Dad said “Son, you´re going to be on your own now and it will be up to you decide how you live your life. The only thing that I would ask of you is that you steer well clear of incest and morris dancing!”

Fair enough! I just remembered that story today as I was driving to the river and I regretted having had no similar words of guidance to offer Leo when he headed off to university in October. Mind you “steer clear of incest and morris dancing” – who could improve on that?

The fish would have nothing to do with me today and soon the optimism with which I always set out began to dissipate. The river was carrying a little colour and was pushing a little harder than I like it. There were a few carp around. They were hard to spot, sitting tight in against the bank, or in the shallows out of the main current. I tried creeping up on them but they were always one step ahead of me and, more often than not, they would turn tail and leave a bulge in the surface, or just show me the cloud of sediment that marked the place they had been lying.

We fishermen always feel a little disappointed when we blank. And it happens plenty often, at least to me. Of course we can reel off an almost endless list of reasons why. People have written books full of excuses for failure. If you´ve been fishing for a while you don´t need to consult them because experience will have given you plenty of your own. I might have trotted out the strong downstream wind today, or maybe the coloured water, or the heavy flow. Who cares? It doesn´t really matter.

Failure to catch is nothing to be ashamed of. It´s not like morris dancing.

I tied these things up especially!

I tied these things up especially!