"The first day of the trout season at Farmoor Reservoir, near Oxford, a 250acre concrete bowl fed by the Thames. A day when you experience all the weather variations nature can throw at you, you being the word because I am the only trout fisherman on two and a half miles of bank. The sun shone, it was cold, the wind blew, it rained sometimes and finally over the Cotswolds the sky was the colour of lead while I was in sunshine again.
Fishing a small black and red lure very slowly on the bottom I finally had a gentle pull. The fish did not fight like a rainbow so I was convinced that it was one of the native brown trout that are in the reservoir. When I saw the fish I was amazed to see it was a big perch and, when landed, it measured seventeen and a half inches from the nose to the fork of the tail and I couldn't get both of my hands round the shoulders of the fish. I don't know what it weighed but if I ever catch a bigger perch I will be delighted.
The black cloud from the Cotswolds finally arrived, heralded by a massive squall and snow blowing horizontally. All that was missing were 'The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse'. A failure in terms of trout caught but a great sight. Just why do big perch look bigger than they are?
Fishing the Kennet with John Andrews and finally getting amongst the roach. Lifting a small perch out of the water at Farmoor and seeing a hole appear under it. Clay pigeon shooting in a snow storm and seeing the shot make a tunnel through the blizzard, an effect that would have had Turner reaching for his watercolours. Clouds and any weather, fishing or not. Walking the two terriers, Ruffe and Minnow, with Sue. Good beer. Tea. The smell of printing ink. The gift of 'angler's optimism'. Fishing over Christmas. American detective novels".