Narrowboaters see a lot of wildlife as we pass along the waterways. At three miles per hour we move slowly enough to get a good view, and when we moor up in the evening its even better. However I was reminded today of how much closer anglers get to wild creatures (not only fish!).
My friend Robert, who goes fishing at every spare moment, took me a out to a local lake where we fished all day. I think we had been settled in barely ten minutes when a family of moorhen chicks came to visit and seemed totally unphased by my presence as they pecked and poked around my fishing gear only inches from my feet. Later on, I was startled to look down at my feet to see a grass snake slither right in front of them and into the nearby undergrowth.
Thinking back over past fishing expeditions I can recall similar extremely close encounters with water voles, mice, kingfishers, weasels and mink. The lesson is, if you want to see wildlife up close, sit still and quiet by the waters edge for an hour or two and it will come to you. What's more, if you continue to sit still when the creature visits you, it'll just get on with its business as if you weren't there.
The surroundings today were lovely, but the fishing wasn't all that hot although we could see shoals of big carp sploshing about just out of reach. I caught a two pounder and Robert (being more expert) caught a ten pounder and lost a couple of even bigger ones.
We're back on Herbie at the weekend for a one week trip up the GU with our son Peter, and another week returning our own.