You can´t be in two places at once. This is a shame because this evening there were two places I desperately wanted to be. One was the river bank, which will come as no surprise, and the other was in front of some screen showing Ireland playing Romania in the rugby world cup.

In the end I managed a bit of each. I had planned on watching the whole rugby match but could only do so on a computer and was frustrated by the streaming. One minute the players were flat out running, or tackling, or trying to kill each other and then the next they would all just freeze in every imaginable contortion until they would suddenly come to life again. Despite the frustrations of seeing a match unfold in this way I stuck it out until Ireland had a healthy lead and I felt they were safe to continue in my absence without the instruction that I provide.

Down on the river the water level had fallen since my last visit two or three weeks ago. Many of the shallower stretches had been vacated and the fish were holding out in the broader pools. The water was a little discoloured, probably from the activities of the fish themselves, and I managed to deceive a couple of nice fish in the nearside margin. As soon as they were hooked all hell broke loose and they were across the river into the trees in a matter of just a few seconds.

I think it is because the exercise of quietly pitching a little nymph into the path of a fish is such a gentle business that the sudden flight of a hooked fish seems almost violent. The water surface which is barely disturbed by the leader and the fly is suddenly ruptured. The fish inevitably run straight across the river and into the trees on the far side and it is a question of just holding on to them and preventing them from making a nuisance of themselves in the trailing branches and submerged structures.

It´s an odd thing. Over the years I have caught my fair share of these fish and yet there is, even now, something shocking about the speed and the power of this initial run.

I took a couple of photos of the first fish. One of photos was a “selfie” featuring the fish and myself but we were both covered in mud and neither of us would be satisfied with this unflattering image and so I promptly deleted it. We were not a pretty sight, either of us. The other photo, of a fine and spirited gypsy barbel, is a “keeper” and I have shown it below.

When I got back I was pleased to see that the Paddies had had a fine game and so they continue to make pleasing progress in the competition. Good luck to them.

Here is our muddy friend before he had a chance to swim off and give himself a good wash.

Here is our muddy friend before he had a chance to swim off and give himself a good wash.