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Byline: Silver Wilkie

IT was my fourth visit to an unfamiliar stretch of river, the three previous trips having been unfishable due to extremely low water.

The fourth day, however, was different. The river was big and dropping ever so slightly.

The gravel shoals, which were high and dry during the previous visits, were well covered by extremely fastflowing water.

My friend, who had fished the river for decades, kindly volunteered to show me the wades and the taking spots.

We went halfway up an island and began to fish downstream, to the point where he said he always crossed the river to fish from a gravel island, covered by a few inches of water, downstream on the other side.

Before we set off, I queried if it would be safe enough to get back and he did not foresee any problems.

Crossing a river is the easy part because you wade diagonally downstream, with the current running from behind giving you a help.

Wading sticks we both carried made the trip easier.

As we forged our way across, the river was up to my midriff, the current making it break a few inches higher across my back.

We managed to cross with ease but what about wading back against the current? My friend was confident there would be no problem. Famous last words!

He led the way but when we came to wade into the deeper water against the current our confidence quickly evaporated. We were in danger of being swept off our feet.

Now, there's no point in being heroes, so we decided not to attempt the return wade. We made to cross from the island to the far bank with the intention of walking to the main road where my friend's wife would pick us up.

Crossing the narrow strip of water to get off the island, however, turned out to be an impossibility because the channel was too deep and, even if we'd made it, the bank was too steep to clamber up.

So we headed 100 yards upstream in shallow water to a densely wooded island, struggled through the jungle and got to the far bank to be faced with a barbed-wire fence, which, with chest waders, was too high to cross.

A difficult 50-yard walk to a stile across old straw bales, which had been stacked end to end, ensued. I pierced my waders as I got over.

An hour's walk in blazing sunshine followed. That was a nightmare, too. As we crossed fields, we disturbed horse flies and were severely bitten.

To make things worse, while this was happening, another of the rods phoned to say he had just caught three salmon.

After an exhausting hourand-a-half we met my friend's wife and were driven several miles back to the other side.

Who says fishing is a gentle art?
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Travel narrative
Date:Jul 6, 2012
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