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An instructional articleon the widely-practised art of 'Falling In'
I hope this will serve as a valuable guide to the fishermen here, as well as perhaps being of interest to those who accompany them, or indeed those whose pursuits involve proximity to water, whether flowing or still.
Sooner or later, we all have to face the fact that our careers as fishermen are likely to result in the occasional immersion in the habitat of our quarry. With that in mind, I would like to put forward a few words regarding my own modest experiences of this. Over the years, I have come to regard 'falling in' as a minority art form, and have established a few rules-of-thumb that may well serve my fellows.
Sublety is all when it comes to effect. Remember, any fool can blindly throw themselves into the water. But it is the mark of the connoisseur to display a certain panache when demonstrating this art form.
The 'Classic Porpoise'
In order to fully appreciate the satisfaction of successfully performing this tricky move, it is desirable that an audience be present. Livestock may suffice, but the preferred witnesses should ideally be able to assist with the retrieval of lost articles of tackle on cessation of the inevitable merriment(although, sadly, one's dignity will be rendered irrecoverable)
This is the simplest manouvre, and can be performed downstream, upstream, or whilst crossing a moderately shallow flow of water. I would therefore recommend that beginners gain familiarity with this technique prior to attempting some of the more advanced measures.
One's tackle plays an important part in this technique, and it is imperative to ensure that either one's net, wading staff, or tailer is placed about the person in such a manner as to ensure that (at the appropriate moment, of course) it will insinuate itself between the legs in order to precipitate an initial, off-balance forwards movement. (In the absence of some, or all, of the listed equipment, one's dog will produce a satisfactory outcome).
For the purist, no attempt should be made at this point to regain balance, although the beginner may be excused his ignorance of the inevitable outcome. It is a matter for personal choice as to whether one includes a half-twist to either left or right, or a complete reversal of direction.
The 'Reverse Porpoise'
This is best practised whilst downstream wet-fly fishing. Preparation must be given careful consideration, remember. One's fly box should be in an unbuttoned pocket, along with both cigarettes and matches (if carried). The presence of a lit cigarette between the lips is permitted, but concentration upon the task in hand must be given full consideration. The angler should carefully fish his way downstream, paying close attention to eddies and likely spots of slack water whilst simultaneously paying none to what lies immediately below. It is a matter of debate as to which foot should be placed upon the undetected loose stone, but (as the end result is the same) it really matters not. Immediately subsequent to contact with this loose stone, the leg attached to whichever foot is employed should be brought smartly up and across. This will allow the current to obtain sufficient purchase to effectively spin the angler in such a manner that the retrieval of balance should be almost impossible. It is considered bad form to curse (although a small, startled, noise is permissable) and the classic finish is a graceful backwards entry to the water with arms out-stretched.
A fairly advanced technique, not for the faint-hearted. If one wishes to be considered as having reached the pinnacle of the art, then it is obligatory that the loss of all tackle (apart from the rod) must result as a consequence. Chest waders are an advantage (although not strictly necessary), and the technique is most often practiced whilst fishing salmon rivers following heavy, early-season spates.
Proceed with caution (freely laced with complacency) as a hitherto well-known pool is fished down. At some point on the downstream journey, one must descend gracefully (yet rapidly) in a perpendicular fashion into a hollow on the river bottom conveniently formed by the afore-mentioned spates. Again, personal choice dictates at which point downstream one will emerge, but experts contend that 'the further the travel, the more accomplished the artist'. (The author personally has never managed further than 30 yards. This is therefore considered to be the acceptable minimum)
Not strictly a purists method, as successful completion is quite straightforward, and achievable by fisherman and non-fisherman alike. One is required to begin the manouevre whilst on the bank some distance from the main body of water (this technique lends itself well to both flowing and stillwater, incidentally)
Approach the waters edge with a confident step (a grassy bank and a recent downpour will assist those less confident in achieving a successful outcome) At the precise moment one wishes to cease forward movement, either foot should be placed unerringly on approximately six square inches of mud. The desired result is a satisfactory impact and (as the name suggests) a 'ricochet' to assist in the transition from land to water. If extra visual impact is desired, one can begin the manouvre whilst some distance form the water. It is advisory, however, that the exercise is begun at the beginning of a gently sloping bank, or the outcome will be less than satisfactory.
I hope, in some way, that my humble words of advice may offer some small encouragement to my fellow fishermen in their strive for attainment of the perfect technique
How lucky we are to have such erudite and eloquent authors in our midst.
The next time I go fishing with my DH, I will certainly watch him very carefully to see if he can come near to performing such art