Father’s Day 2018
Nine years since he passed away now, time seems to be moving along eve so quickly. Lying here thinking about my dad, the first picture is of a guy sitting a the piano, entertaining a house full of of people, laughing, singing and and having fun. A great pianist and wonderful entertainer, As a young boy, I’m in awe of his musical talent. My mind wanders!
I’m now around nine years old and sitting in the old car, an Austin Cambridge if I remember right. But we’re on our way fishing, destination, Avochie on the Deveron, around an hours driver from Peterhead. I can’t wait. Trout are our quarry and the excitements been building in me for a few days now. However, it’s May, and thunder clouds are building too. We arrive and the sky is dark and the heavens open. An hour late my father starts the car and says, I think we’ll go home, “No dad”, “please can we not stay another while”, hoping the rain would go off. OK he says, and another cigarette is lit. We wait, 20 minutes later it becomes lighter, a “silver lining” in the clouds, dad taps the song out on the dashboard and begins to sing the first line. The day ends with 22 trout and a couple of sea trout. Some of the best sport and a great memory. I wouldn’t be back to this place for 40 years, but when I did, the memory flooded back and it felt like yesterday!
I think of him more. I’m now on the banks of the river Deveron again, this time is September 1977, the car has changed and the drive is from Elgin. I have my 12’6” glass fibre rods, the blanks came from Terry in the towns Angling Centre. He put the handle on the blanks but I’ve whipped the eyes on myself, and have to say, I’m really proud of this. It was my first salmon rod and it still sits in my dads garage where he put it when I last used it.. The line is a cracked old floater, not sure what type and the reel a Shakespeare Condex. I’m on one of my favourite pools, “The Pounding”, a deep hole with a very narrow (10’ wide) stream, turning around 140 degrees over its 50 yard length. A pot, not the Best fly water, but never the less, as a young boy it had a huge appeal,,, plenty fish jumping!
My home made number 8 Hairy Mary (which looks nothing remotely like a hairy Mary) is sent into the neck of the pool. Around five yards of line cast at a good angle downstream mean no more more line, or indeed casting is required.
The old Ghillie had shown me how to fish this narrow stream a few years previous. “Move the rod tip from inside to outside of the stream loon”, “let the line snake”! Taking a step down each time I’m doing this I’m heading fast for the part of the pool I knew was good. My dad appears at the top of the high bank. “Never waste too much time Loon, “move quickly”, “the taking fish will see and become interested in your fly at least the cast before he takes it”!! Two steps later, as stream widens and I make my first real cast, seconds after throwing the line a little more square across the pool, I hear him shout, “here he comes”! From his vantage point he see the fish coming from the deep water! What must be only a split second later, but feels much longer, a heart stopping moment of excitement, the line tightens and a 15lb bar of September Silver is well attached. What a moment! Those are the ones we never forget. I’m so lucky to have had so many great times like this. The fish was duly landed and I remember, it was the first time my dad offered me a cigarette. I was 16 and Legally could smoke but until then, never in front of him. However, I’m sure he felt, well, he smokes anyway! I remember his words, Offering me the cigarette, “You’ll be wanting one of those”? I remember feeling embarrassed, yet somehow “grown up”! I took it from the packet and we sat on the riverbank smoking that cigarette discussing where we’d go next. The answer was easy for me. Happy days!
Lying in my bed on a Sunday morning I remember him fondly. Lucky to have had so many great times together. Memories that last a lifetime and more!
I’m sure the story will bring back great memories to anyone who
reads it too.
Happy Fathers Day Dad.