Fishing with the cotton club

Glory. Last week I fished the dry fly for the first time this year. Needless to say I got overexcited, so excited that I had to be told to calm down on the river bank because I was shaking so much (with the excitement) that I could not tie my fly on properly. It was still mayfly season on the Coln in Gloucestershire and this is where I was, courtesy of Mr Bill Cotton whose bit of river I was fishing.

Glory. Last week I fished the dry fly for the first time this year. Needless to say I got overexcited, so excited that I had to be told to calm down on the river bank because I was shaking so much (with the excitement) that I could not tie my fly on properly. It was still mayfly season on the Coln in Gloucestershire and this is where I was, courtesy of Mr Bill Cotton whose bit of river I was fishing.

We were also accompanied by my friend Charlotte, one of Mr Cotton's daughters who, and I can scarcely believe this, had never fished before despite her father having this top bit of river. Mr C was secretly very pleased that, at last, his daughter was in wellies with rod in hand (and not just any old rod either, he had loaned her his Sage). Whilst I was faffing about, taking deep breaths and releasing my sinkant and floatant from the depths of my fishing vest pockets, where they had seen out the winter, Charlotte played her first fish in. (For several hours she pretended she had hooked him herself, only breaking around tea time when she confessed that it had, indeed, been her father's fish.)

Despite being told that Grey Wulffs are very popular flies for this river, I insisted on choosing my own patterns: first a Detached Mayfly, then a Green Drakey thing. Despite this being mayfly season (which those of you who read my column two weeks ago will know this means that the fish eat like pigs and are relatively easy to catch), not that many fish were rising. I fished on, presenting my dry fly quite beautifully with my beloved 9ft Shakespeare travel rod. But I did not even raise a fish. My fishing buddy Pete meanwhile, cast to a rising fish that was in an almost impossible to reach spot, yet, on the first cast Pete hooked him. At this point, a deep paranoia started to set in, and a certain jealousy. I know I am quite good - splendid in fact - at fishing the dry fly, yet I was having no results. "Bob caught 18 fish here last week," Mr C helpfully told me. I started to think about how many fish I had actually caught this year and whether I was really any good at all.

About 1.30pm, mindful that Mrs C had promised us a picnic at 2pm, I decided to stop fishing and watch the others. I netted a few fish for Pete, obsessively wetting and cooling my hand before touching them and them cradling them back in the water until they were ready to swim off. Sadly, one brown trout was too deeply hooked to be released and had to be killed. He is now in the freezer.

At one point, and being a bit of a show off, Pete decided to cast to a bit of water in front of a rock, "I'll bet there's a fish there," said Pete. Sure enough there was, it took and I asked to play him in. This is all where a bit wrong, in the exchange of rods the trout dived into some weed mid-river and got stuck. Luckily, Mr C stepped in, divesting himself of shoes, socks and trousers to wade out and free the poor chap and see him on his way.

Then the picnic arrived, as did the first appearance of storm clouds. The latter initially eclipsed however, by the more attractive presence of potato salad, sausages, Pimms, water melon and an exceedingly good and meaty home made pork pie. As luck would have it, everything was safely eaten by the time the rain started falling. This also explained why the fish hadn't been very active (only four had been caught before lunch, not an exaggerated number at this time of year) - barometric changes can stop them feeding. The rain fell heavily for the next two hours. At about tea time we saw a B52 bomber heading for Kosovo out of nearby Fairford. It was a sobering moment.

Fishing resumed at 6pm. I nicked some Grey Wulffs and another pattern whose name no-one knew (we called them 'pretty mayflies') alternated between the two, and, over the next two hours hooked and landed six gloriously beautiful brown trout. They were all between one and a half and two pounds. I nearly stopped at the five mark, because I was getting repetitive casting injuries and my right hand was frozen into a claw like rod holding position. But I fished on nonetheless, playing my fish in firmly and swiftly, essential if you are to return them, which I did, safely and lovingly before calling it a day at 8pm with a cheese and tomato sandwich.

a.barbieri@independent.co.uk

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick