riving slowly down the hill, I catch glimpseso the estuary through the trees. Like somemagical gold and silver eece it reveals itsel only to those who know where and when tolook. I stop the car and get out to study thesecret map that I will ollow or the next ew hours. White sur breaks in clean gleaming lines along the sandbars o the outerreaches, channels o rich green and blue water cut throughdeposits o bright gold sand and you already know that thetide is beginning to push in. Just outside, a small group o gannets are working on sandeels, not climbing very highto dive, they quickly gain some altitude and then turn andspike. Tey are eeding close to the surace, caught suddenly by the morning sun, shining white, and then disappearinginto the warm rain o a summer shower. A rainbow arcs intothe sea.Te anticipation o the early morning shing never really lets me sleep properly the night beore. I wake several timesto check the time; I don’t want to miss the tide. My headstings a bit rom lack o sleep. As I take the rod rom the carmy eagerness increases, all other thoughts disappear as I getthe smell o the estuary. I slowly tie on a y, check the leader,check the reel seat, push the rod sections together, wave therod a ew times, and tap my jacket pockets or y box andtippet. It’s always like this no matter how many times I do it,no matter how well I’ve prepared, a ew moments hesitationbeore the start. I begin to walk.Te reedom rom the responsibilities and constant hopethat normally accompanies me when I am guiding a clientis gone now. I am ree rom the burden o the anticipationthat the shery will perorm, and I notice many things thatguiding prevents you rom seeing. Te rippling lonely cry o a curlew welcomes me rom across the shining silver andgrey mudats as I make my way into the heart o some o the greatest peace I can nd. No tramping o eet or jovialconversation, just my light single step along the bubblingshore. Past the wreck and remains o the old timber boat,past the tall yellow pole with the mysterious purpose, around
He may be a guide, but sometimes
just likesto get off on his own to relax and unwind.
It’s not all about the shing.