Where the Bright Waters Meet

Harry Plunket Greene - Where the Bright Waters Meet

Medlar Angling Classics £15.00
ISBN 978-1-899600-51-9

A classic evocation of chalk stream fishing, mostly about the Bourne, a small tributary of the Test. There is no need to say anything about this book, beyond the fact that Harry Plunket Greene tapped deep into the bright stream of memory - try this for size:

"I began on him with a shorter line this time, and he took the fly at the very first cast like a lamb. If he was a lamb as he took it he was a lion when he had it. Instead of running upstream, as I hoped and expected that he would do, he gave one swish with his tail and bolted down through the bridge, bending the rod double and dragging the point right under. It was done with such lightening speed that I had no time to remonstrate. I threw myself flat on my stomach and got the rod sideways under the bridge, and then the fight began. I was on one side of the bridge and he was half way to Southampton on the other. He got further and further downstream, going from one patch of weeds to the next, and digging and burrowing his nose into the middle of it, while I just hung on, helpless, waiting for the end. He quieted down after a bit, and finding that he could not rub the annoying thing out of his nose on the south side he determined to explore the north, and he began to swim up towards me. I must have been a ridiculous sight, spread-eagled on the rotting planks with splinters digging into my legs and ants and spiders crawling down my neck, vainly endeavouring to hold the rod over the side with one hand, to wind in line with the other, and to watch him over my shoulder at the same time. Fortunately I must have been invisible from below, but the moment he got under the bridge he saw the rod and tore past me up-stream with the reel screaming. But now we were on even terms and there was a clear stretch of water ahead, and I was able to play him to a finish. I was really proud of that fight, for, in addition to the cramped style which I was compelled to adopt, it took place in a stream ten feet wide, half-choked with weeds, and I got him on a 000 Iron-blue at the end of a 4x point. He weighed 3 3/4 pounds when I got him home, and I have always bitterly regretted that I did not get him set up, for, with the exception of an 11 3/4 pounder in the hall of Longford Castle, caught in the Avon by a member of the family on a "local lure" (the name of which neither fork nor spade would drag from me), he was the most beautiful river-trout in shape, colour and proportion I ever saw."

The 1924 first edition is creeping up in price now, because this remains an incredibly popular book, entirely because of the magic of Greene’s writing and I would expect to pay around £100 for a copy in fine condition. The volume I reviewed is the very nice Medlar Angling Classics reprint, which is available for rather less at fifteen quid.