Image Above: A rod at rest on the River Mersey.
Image below left: 2 Hook Flapper Rig
The tide has past exhausting itself amongst the flats and concrete elbows of the inner estuary. The deep, mud laden waters of the river pause as if contemplating their next move.
I lean on the promenade rail in the sun feeling the warmth drain from me in the chill breeze. A line is out from a rod propped on the handlebar grips of my by bicycle. I close one eye and line the rod tip up with the corner of one of the giant sheds of a shipyard on the far bank. The tip traces a diagonal route over the cladding, down to the river and back marking a gentle breath and exhalation as the tension of each passing wavelet is transmitted through the taught line to the rod.
The line is anchored into the riverbed by a spiked weight and a little above, two junctions carry short lengths to baited hooks that would ordinarily flap in the current, hence the name ‘flapper rig’. I tied the rig last night as part of the preparations that have found their way into the ritual of a fishing trip. Other preparations included a trip to the tackle shop to buy line and pick brains.
The owner is never fearful of handing out advice despite the audience of misplaced fishermen that hang about ready to argue for some other rig, rod or just something else. I tell him about the tide carrying my weights off when I cast. He tells me not to let any more line out once the weight hits the water and that slack line will just act like a spinnaker giving the tide more leverage over the weight. He tells me other things as well and the stories build until only fishing and fish matter and everything else is pushed into the gaps.
I buy mackerel from the fish counter in the supermarket and the sales assistant asks me if I am going fishing, I laugh and ask is it only fishermen looking for bait who shop here, he doesn’t answer.
I was away early this morning before the cars filled up the shopping streets hiding the takeaway cartons and cigarette butts that fill the gutters.
The river is moving again and I am reminded that I am fishing the shipping lane by the prow of a vessel that is folding back the water as it pushes on upstream.