With apologies to the late James W. Best for appropriating his image (from his 1935 Forest Life in India)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

I Must Get Out More

Sometimes I go to Google Maps, zoom in on satellite view to Crowland Bridge on the wide River Welland in the heart of the Lincolnshire fens, switch to street view, then ride with the cameraman along the riverside road. Sometimes I go upstream, along what was once the golden stretch to draw for those elusive bream in the big matches of the 1960s and 70s – we're talking up to 1,500 entrants here – and try to work out where the famous 'Willows' swim was, the landmark far bank tree having long since been cut down. And sometimes I head downstream, towards Spalding, until the road leaves the river around Four Mile Bar. Up or down, the banks are deserted, as they have been for years, the days of big river match fishing, like the willow, being long gone now. But either way, first off I always zoom right in on the stone memorial to match fishing legend Ivan Marks, the undisputed 'King of the Welland,' placed by the bridge following his death in 2004 – as if somehow it might have changed since the last time I viewed it.