A trip into The Moss

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Moss Creeper
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A trip into The Moss

Post by Moss Creeper » Fri May 05, 2017 11:35 am

The sunlight streams through the garden windows beckoning me to a trip out. I strap my rod and a small tackle bag to my trusty old Rudge Whitworth bicycle and we are off.
The Moss is the legacy of an historical huge mere that stretched from Preston in the north to Liverpool in the south. In the 1700s Dutch engineers were imported to drain it, leaving a flat lake bed of the richest black alluvial soil in the country, cris crossed by drains and sluices, pockmarked with many small ponds. One of these ponds was my target for the day. I had first fished it 50 years ago as a youth and had landed several good roach over a pound, this was my first return since then and I had hopes of a good catch.
Cycling along a disused railway towards 'my pond' the sky is huge over the flat landscape that stretches for miles in every direction, it would be really hot in the blazing sun but battling the unseasonal easterly wind keeps me cool. I stop to watch a kestrel stooping in the field, some small mouse or vole had met its end to feed the kestrels brood. Suddenly I hear a soft "Thunk" behind me, and I whip around to see a large ball of feathers being quickly swept away by the wind. I didn't catch sight of the hawk that had just hit a 'spadger' or sum such small bird so hard it had lost most of its feathers, I've seen similar feather balls when cars have collided with birds on the motorway, and feel wonder at the hawk precisely controlling such forces in the course of its daily round.
At my destination I walk briefly along the field edge towards the water, the hand of man is evident in the creation of this pond as unusualy, it is perfectly rectangular, with just a couple or three of stunted Alders at one end. The banks are heavily reeded, more so than I remember all those years ago. I try and and am eluded, in placing myself in the mind of that gangley youth I was then, the past seems indeed to be different country. What I feel sure is the same, is the feeling of anticipation and excitement as I tackle up my favourite cane rod and centrepin, coincidentally I had made both in the same year as my first visit, testament to the spare time and availability of tools to an old style engineering apprentice. They are not perfect, but are perfectly usable and as comfortable in use as conversing with an old friend.
Finding a likely looking swim, largely dictated by the ability to poke a rod through the reeds to reach the water, I throw in a handful of cloudbait and bread pellets followed by a size 14 hook and bread punched pellet suspended under a small porcupine quill fished on the 'the drop'. After an hour or more of nothing doing, and several slices of Mr. Warburtons finest, lighter, and quick 'recky' providing no other viable access to the water, I decide to switch bait and tactics. In goes regular sparse feeds of my favourite pinkies with two on a size 16 hookbait fished on the bottom to tempt who knows what species that may be lurking. The warblers are chattering away in the reeds all around me and I can hear two skylarks, one close the other further away filling the air with their gloriously liquid song. How is it possible that they can find the breath to both hover in the air and sing so continuously and loudly? they can't weigh more than an ounce if that, their energy is truly remarkable.
Three hours later, after fishing up and down the water column, close in and further out with my two baits and not even a flicker of interest it is time to go. There may not now be any fish in the water at all, there are many ponds I know of that look OK but don't seem to hold even a stickleback, perhaps modern farming methods such as chemical sprays have seen to them, but I have my memories of those fat roach, and I may return for a further try. Cycling along the disused railway I spy two hares huddled close to the ground in the winter wheat way over on the far side of a field. It seems paradoxical, but there were many more hares in the days when hare coursing was practiced here, I assume that is because they were conserved for the 'sport'. Back then, once whilst out and about, I was surrounded by bounding hares in their full 'March madness' so close one ran into my leg, all seeming totally oblivious to my presence. On the way home the wind was my friend and I fairly flew back and was soon enjoying a cuppa in the garden, and thinking on my days fishing. You could say that I had, had a blank as a fishless day is often called. Well you, could say that, but I would say, fishless yes, but blank, never!
"Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics, that it can never be fully learned." Izaak Walton.

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Re: A trip into The Moss

Post by AshbyCut » Fri May 05, 2017 12:13 pm

A wonderfully evocative read, Sir. :Hat:
"Beside the water I discovered (or maybe rediscovered) the quiet. The sort of quiet that allows one to be woven into the tapestry of nature instead of merely standing next to it." Estaban.


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Black Prince
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Re: A trip into The Moss

Post by Black Prince » Fri May 05, 2017 3:45 pm

I think you are right about the hares they were more plenty full back then I don't think the sprays do what's left of the hares much good I am sure some one told me that some were bred in wales for the coursing and brought down and let go I don't know how true it was nice story you wrote :Hat: mike

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