Caught by the River

Oliver Kite – A Visit to Normandy

12th June 2011

Dear Jeff,
How lovely to see Ollie Kite “fever” hit CBTR to coincide with the Mayfly season – truly magical!

Robert Spaights excellent updated version of Ollie’s Nymph Fishing in Practice (Swan Hill Press 2000) is definitely the one to purchase and will cost you a good few pounds less – as another reader mentioned it has some excellent tributes, photo’s and little extras that give an insight to this intriguing chap. The itinery for Preben Torp Jacobsen’s visit to England in May 1965 is enough to make any trout fishers mouth water!

Ollie Kite’s Rice Recipe (perfect for a bank side feast):

Chop 2 onions, 2 cloves of garlic and 3 sticks of celery and fry gently in corn oil, adding 2 good dessertspoons of curry powder soon after cooking begins. In another pan, fry pieces of pork (6oz per person) and sprinkle with soya sauce before adding to onion mixture. Add Patna rice (1lb to four people) with enough water to swell and soften it. Add salt to taste. Stir to blend rice, vegetables and pork. Top with an omelette and garnish with sliced green pepper, cucumber and tomatoes.
This dish can also be made with sardines or shrimps instead of the pork – indeed with anything one happens to have.

Some lovely photos of Ollie fishing can be found here.
His 1969 book A Fisherman’s Diary (Andre Deutsch) is a splendid read and now quite scarce (£70+) – it includes a wonderful collection of his articles for the Shooting Times magazine. Long overdue for an updated re-print.

In true Ollie style I have a version of his “Kite’s Champagne” brewing at this very moment using elderflowers gathered last night after an evening fishing for the wildies on the Wiltshire Ebble. This recipe was given to me by angling legend Peter Wheat and was given to him by Charles Dickens Great Grandson Cedric Dickens – a real belter for this time of the year and a perfect accompaniment to the above rice recipe – enjoy!

Needs: 3 heads elderflower, 1.5 lbs white sugar, 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar, 1 gallon water.

Pick the elderflower heads when in full bloom (preferably from a favourite fishing haunt). Put into a container with the thin rind of the lemon (no white pith) and the juice, sugar and the vinegar. Add the cold water and stir.
Leave for 24 hours and strain into strong bottles. Those old fashioned screw-top quart bottles are perfect; but leave a big gap at the top!
After two weeks it will be ready to drink, but it will keep for quite a long time. However, it is not recommended to keep for longer than six months.
In my experience I would only add the following to the above: Use only three big heads of elderflower or six smaller ones (never pick roadside – river or lake is best!). Avoid any metal containers (ceramic or plastic only for mixing and brewing). Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Plastic water bottles are fine if you don’t have any posh glass ones. Best served chilled or, as Ollie does, chilled in the stream.
All good fishes,
Dickie Straker, Bridport, Dorset

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