Caught by the River

Caught By The River Mole

31st January 2008

Hi Jeff

I’ve been making the most of my new found freedom since passing my driving test. Saturday was spent exploring country lanes and secluded still waters near my folks place outside Horsham. At long last I was able to investigate those flashes of water, glimpsed through trees as you’d speed past in the passenger side. With an ordnance survey map on my lap, I scanned those little blue blobs and took off to take a closer look. And I’ve found us a very pretty little pond, which will be glorious during the summer months. It can be fished, but has the appearance and feel of a place long abandoned. Reminded me a bit of Waggoner’s Wells.

I didn’t make the early start required to join Steve on the Medway Sunday morning. Instead, I made my way down to the River Mole in Cobham. It’s a beautiful stretch centred around a 16th Century mill and endowed with deep weir pools and crystal clear gravel runs. I worked nearby a few years back and never missed the opportunity to peer into the water at lunchtimes. I set off armed only with an Avon rod, centre pin and net. Whilst I explored the slacks at the edge of the weir, I was stunned by the sight of an Otter coming towards me, its head bobbing gracefully in and out of the water. It swam right under me along the edge of the bank, followed by a long trail of bubbles. For a notoriously shy creature, I couldn’t get over how close it had come to me.

I stalked my way down stream and entered a wood flanked by grand residences on the opposite bank. After being moved on by a haughty Surrey person, who took exception to me ruining the view from his conservatory, I tried my luck in a fast shallow run and was into a fish within 5 minutes. I jumped into the river, filled my boots with mud and icy water and finally netted my first chub of the season. My face must have been a picture. I imagined myself looking like Geoffrey Palmer in that episode of The Compleat Angler where he catches the huge common carp.

Trudging back across a field in my wet boots to the car, that back-to-school feeling came over me. I consoled myself with thoughts of what lay in wait on my next visit to the Mole. Let’s all get down there really soon.