Ramblings Of A Lunatic?

He’s mad, some even say he’s bad, and he’s back with a rant at all and sundry. Lee Swords puts the world to rights in a season’s opener with a bit of a kick.

Has he been drinking? Nah! It’s my guess he’s just chomping at the bit to get out on the riverbank again…

The opening day of a new season! 

Ninety three days of temperate spring have passed and the anticipation of allowing oneself the freedoms to wet a line only serves to distill these last few moments of moderation into something of singular value and worthy of special enjoyment.

Abstinence has served to intensify the satisfaction of this moment, a once yearly ritual that marks the conclusion of restraint, an end to the self-denial of simple pleasures.

Without this enforced exile from the daily concerns of the river, instances such as this would come and go without meaning and the year would simply smear itself into one long indefinable haze of futility. To fully appreciate the true beauty of this fine sport a person cannot immerse themselves completely and without end for fear of losing the quintessential element that make this pastime so very unique and so very special.


Nature red in tooth and claw…

The Otter Trust has released otters in Suffolk, Norfolk, Northants, Rutland, Hampshire, Dorset, Bedfordshire, Essex, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire and the Upper Thames. Successful breeding is so widespread that the cubs can no longer be tracked as an otter baby boom takes place. Now that our rivers are cleaner, the future for the wild otter has never looked better.

So, the Otter Trust will be closing – due to unprecedented success. What an achievement!

A spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front has told the BBC that members of the organisation were responsible for the release of up to 6,000 mink from a fur farm in Hampshire.

Those responsible denied that the mink will destroy the local ecosystem: “As they are territorial animals, you’re not going to get packs of mink running around for long periods of time. They’re not going to wipe out entire species.”

Oh yeah?


Water Vole Recovery Project

The water vole is Britain’s fastest declining mammal.

It has lost a staggering 95% of its range. This is largely due to habitat destruction and the introduction of a voracious predator…

Say hello to the American mink…


The man moved over to his drinks cabinet. He surveyed the lines of bottles each one more rare and valued than the next, some with ages akin to his own. He considered his options and chose wisely, such occasions as this demand a fitting libation and so with a steady hand the cork is pulled away from the neck of the bottle and a measure that is neither slight in proportion nor spoiled with greediness is slowly and carefully poured over the roughly hewn ice and into the crystal tumbler.

Every action, be it directly or indirectly connected with the intricate ceremony that will ultimately end with the taking of the seasons first fish is carried out with absolute exactitude.

The heady perfume of the spirit coupled with the high pitched crackling made by the splintering of the ice as it swirls around the crystal tumbler only serve to further stimulate the senses and add to the mood of suspense.

The man begins the carefully scrutiny of his most prized possessions, the assorted paraphernalia is laid out upon the table of his study much like the tools of some skilled surgeon.

Each one of these treasures has been carefully wrapped and packed away and so must be gently removed from its velvet cocoon of protective wrappings before further inspection can take place, each item patiently studied with an erudite eye and caressed with deferential fingers before another piece can be chosen. Once unwrapped and laid out upon the table occasional motes of dust are found and gently swept away.

The man lingers momentarily when his hand falls upon his favourite reel. With careful regard he studies the simple working of his “pin”. Hand crafted by a master to an individual specific it is a piece of engineering that has no equal in today’s cloned technology and throwaway mass production pieces; this reel is more than the sum of its parts, it is a work of art. This tool of simple purpose has served him well down the many years they have been together, never once has it failed him and any losses they may have endured have found the root of their failings at the hand of the craftsman and not his trappings.

Fresh line is carefully wound upon the reel, for to endeavour saving oneself a few pennies by stretching out the life-span of something so fundamentally important to the whole experience of successfully catching a fish seems to be an exercise in lunacy. Only the very best line would “do” and the same rules and quality control would also be applied to the hooks that would at some point be affixed to the end of it!


He was given the power to kill by sword, famine and plague, and all Hell followed closely in his path.

The potential for maximising the profit margin was plain to see in black and white, costs could be cut from the approved method of disposal budget with a small percentage offset for the repayments of any fines incurred. These would be negligible against the real term gains made. The savings could then be passed on in part to the customer and still our investors can expect to see good returns on their money for many years to come.

The customers have many uncomfortable by-products that they need to lose, business is booming. Today’s is a society that revolves around disposability.

Heavy gauntlet covered hands pour the thick oily liquid into the drain, the smell is harsh on his throat, he doesn’t wear a mask. The Company haven’t provided him with one…

The poison that is being processed this evening is insidious in its nature; ice cold fingers of death are carried along with the rain water until it can find an outlet for its malevolence yet even upon final release there will be no apocalyptic foaming maelstrom of death or a river that is runs red with blood. Only an understated demonstration of the hushed efficiency of the assassin, the professional killer that moves silently within the shadows and acts without conscience.

As soon as the substance finds its release it begins to purge the river of life. The rivers’ demise shall eventually be complete if it can pass undetected long enough and so not wishing to give rise to suspicion or hastily implemented remedial action only the smallest of creatures will fall foul at this time.

The kaleidoscopic spectrum of life that is protected from the prying eyes of the speckled Trout and the hungry beaks of the Dippers newly hatched chicks, these are the creatures that will die first.

Unseen and unknown creatures that live out their lives within the polished gravels or under gathered rocks and between the ever swaying fronds of the streaming weeds, their lives will not be missed. These simple creations of existence are to the common man without worth or value, nothing more than a profusion of worms, grubs, leaches and larvae, simple life that a playful child may use to taunt and torment another.


In The Sh*t

Sometimes however less sanitary substances need to be disposed of for want of having to flood the streets with human waste…

A pump failure at the Seafield sewage treatment plant near Edinburgh has sent millions of gallons of untreated human excrement into the Forth river estuary. It was 40 hours before the public was notified.

The failure is linked to a ruthless cost-cutting exercise and asset-stripping operation mounted by Thames Water’s new owners, Australia’s Macquaries Bank… 


Polish is taken in upon the nap of the cloth and eased into the natural sinews of the bamboo, slowly and without haste a fine lustre is teased from the material. The deep patina giving some hint to the monetary value of the old rod, a value that is meaningless in real terms and pales into insignificance when judged against the many years of unfailing service that have been provided.

With his eye close to the rod he looks down the length and sees to his satisfaction she is still as straight and true as she was the first time he ran his fingers along her spine. Like a lover he gently caresses her form and contents himself with the thoughts that soon they will be together once more, bound as one and entwined in a fluid and effortless grace that gives lie to the many years of practice invested.


Animal welfare officers in Peterborough have launched an investigation following the discovery of several dozen butchered swan carcasses and the report of a ”sudden” decline in fish stocks.

Migrant workers have been accused of ‘raping and pillaging’ a river by preying illegally on fish and swans.

Anglers have complained of plummeting fish stocks, while the carcasses of swans have been found on the bank.

Witnesses claim fish are being caught out of season and using inhumane methods, such as long lines with multiple hooks which are left in the water overnight and cause a slow and painful death.


Once all preparation was complete the man retired himself to bed for it was to be an early rise, in fact he intended to beat everyone to the banks of his favourite river, including the sun!

The early bird may indeed be famed for catching the worm but it’s also a fish catching ruse of some worthy merit as well. However the fisherman’s mind was in a whirl and the thoughts of running a brightly tipped float through the tumbling currents and into the lair of the wily fish where almost enough to prevent him from slumber but eventually he did slip into a comfortable sleep, where he dreamt of large brassy sided chub heartily engulfing his bait before fighting doggedly to the net where upon he would find upon unfolding the tangled mesh of his landing net that he had captured a new river best ! A fine looking fish of over seven pounds and six ounces…

A truly magnificent creature indeed!

Running his float as close to spiteful snags of the overhanging far side brambles as he dare the fisherman expertly repaired the lay of his line so that his carefully presented bait would be swept deep into the undercut cavern below the far waterline, where he knew that the wily chub would be laying up. Success was simply a matter of fooling them into accepting this free gift as their breakfast.

Cast after cast the orange painted tip of the crow quill danced and weaved its way through the tumbling current but as with many starts to the season the fish were simply pre-occupied with  more natural fare and refused to fall for his most skilfully presented ruse.

Contented with the part he had played in the contest of wiles, the man decided that he would make just one more cast before removing himself from this most challenging battle of wit and enjoy the early summer sun taking sustenance at the local public house “The Izaak Walton” maybe after he had taken delivery of several fine ales he would be enlightened and return victorious.

The tip of the float halted momentarily before dipping below the surface, a bite!

The rod swept round before setting itself into a deep arc, the fish ran deep and doggedly. Thump, thump ,thump!

“A chub for sure and a good one at that I’ll wager” bellowed the man, a wide beaming grin spreading across his face.

The battle of strength was as testing as the battle of wits and at more than one point the man thought that the fish had bettered him as it made one relentless dash after the other in an attempt to ensnare the line in amongst the snags.

The skills of the fisherman however matched those of the fish and still a he had a little left over and so it was only a matter of time before the quarry fell exhausted into the folds of the net.

A fine looking fish…It looked all of seven pounds and may still a little more! What a magnificent creature!

The scales spun around and bounced somewhat before settling on seven pounds and four ounces!

A new river record!!

The fisherman flushed with pride at this fantastic achievement decided that the was only one option open to him…

One swift knock with the priest and the last rights were delivered, very soon the fish would be crafted and cased before being mounted upon the wall above the bar of the Izaak Walton!

A testament to the fine fishing that is to be had!


Copyright: Lee Swords