any touches


This is one of those expressions that you get used to when you start fishing. It has equivalents in other leisure activities like ‘Did you pull?’ or ‘Did you score?’ It’s more specific to fishing than, say, “Any luck?” which could be applied to almost any aspect of a number varied activities from making a soufflé to dropping the engine back in an old Marina. No. “Any touches?” means only one thing – did you experience the feeling in your hand when a fish tried taking a mouthful of your fly?

Now this is one of those fishing things I had yet to definitely positively identify. I have caught some fish in spite of my best efforts, grayling mostly, and knew the almost immediate change from quiet to violent struggle and I had most definitely experienced the countless snags and pulls caused by rocks, branches and the God-knows-what-else that lies underfoot in some rivers that ensnare, if only briefly, the fly on the end of your line. I swear my optimism knew no bounds – every slight snag equated to the mystical ‘touch’ until after hauling up yet another fallen willow tree I had to admit I really did not know what ‘touch’ felt like.

Wha..? Oh now I do….. It just happened….. I was so busy talking to you I missed it. Hell - it was just as if a fish grabbed hold of the fly with its mouth but before I could do anything spat it out and left it as if it never happened.

So now you know what a ‘touch’ is. Moral of this short story? Don’t stand daydreaming about landing the big fish – you might just miss it.