Continuing on with the theme of old classic angling books, Within the Streams was found on EBay a few years back but strangely through the seller recognising my EBay name as a fellow professional photographer a dialogue started up which has now become a friendship and almost ended up in a few fishing trips, alas so far they have been aborted but we will go fishing one day…Nick!
Back to the book, first published in 1949 it covers a mix of a dozen or so coarse and game stories with a winter codling addition to complete a picture of a complete angler. The first chapter – Colliers and Carp at Dawn is a magical twenty pages that recalls the authors early days of angling and the realisation of the existence of carp, the coal miners who fished for them and the realities of working the mines and using carp fishing as an escape. This is not a flowery tale, it is a basic and raw story of strong men who at times have been broken by the pits and haunted by death. The principles of angling and its antidote to the daily grind hang heavy throughout this chapter, but it is excellent…
‘Mist, fish, the metallic call of the water birds and the prospect of a day with a rod was a splendid and never to be forgotten pleasure.
At dawn the miners would arrive.
Many of them came straight from the pits, unwashed and tired. They stretched out work-stiffened limbs, bent over the banks on their bellies and splashed the cool water into their eyes until it ran down their faces, making chalky channels in the grime. They loved the place too, and many of them were excellent fishermen.’