Carl, River Test & Not seeing Isaak Walton

Carl and I had to travel down to Hampshire Thursday night, we spent Friday knocking about Winchester, Saturday fishing the Test and on Sunday morning traveled home in time for a family knees up.

The Thursday trip down was full of the excited chatter and general talking bollocks of 2 blokes who get on like a house on fire but don’t to see each other nearly enough. We got to our digs in time for crack open a couple of bottles of Rioja and talk some more bollocks.

On Friday morning I hit Carl with my plan …. Have a look at Ashlett Creek to see if there were any mullet knocking about and then tick off a long time “to do list” item – Visit Issak Walton’s grave at Winchester Cathedral. The mullet was a bust ….there was a few knocking about but they weren’t feeding just doing that frustrating daisy chaining routine, following each round the creek. We hit the road and drove to Winchester which is about a hour away. I’ve previously posted about my weakness for fishing books and Issak’s classic has long been a favourite and I’ve always promised myself a visit to his grave in Winchester, Carl took this in good grace….. he knows I’m a bit odd.

After finding Winchester’s last remaining parking place we wandered over to the cathedral and explained to the nice old dear on the door the purpose of our visit. She kindly showed us on a cathedral map where we would find Isaak and relieved us of £7 each. Diane and I always visit the great cathedrals of Spain on our visits and I enjoyed the architecture and vibe of whole place and was particularly taken with the Anthony Gormley sculpture in the crypt all the time making way towards the highlight of the visit The Fishermans Chapel.Rounding the corner to the inner sanctum we were met by a barrage of builders fences and NO ENTRANCE signs the bloody chapel was closed for renovations. We had a quick look at maybe circumventing the fences but quickly discovered that we were not visiting Isaak that day.

Carl went outside to take some more pictures while I went to tackle the old biddy on the door, asking why she hadn’t informed us of the closure, she replied that she’d “forgotten” but we had at least visited the rest of the cathedral and the tickets were valid for a return trip in the same calendar year – they weren’t valid for anything because I ripped them up and threw them up in the air, John Cleese style ….. In retrospect … Not my finest hour. My temper receding to a quiet fume we wandered round Winchester buying lunch and food for an evening feast. I bought a jacket in the local Moss Bros, the staff there were also regaled with my rant about the “robbers” at the cathedral.

We finished the day by driving out to Stockbridge where we were fishing the next day and I showed Carl the pet trout in High street and we fed them for 20 minutes as well as the tame eel! before spending too much money in the two fishing shops Robjents and Orvis.


On arrival at the Greyhound beat of the River Test carrier, it was evident that we were not going to have things all our own way. A quick reccie showed plenty of fish about, however they had clearly seen a angler or two over the summer and were in quite skittish mood. I tried my dammest over the course of the day to get Carl a fish on the bank, but the nearest we came was Carl losing a fish just under the nearside bank. I had 4 fish for the day which came to very underhand nymph tactics, not the done thing in the eyes of many a chalkstream angler, but when times are tough I’m prepared to get dirty. Carl bore his blank with good humour and we had another heavy night on the Rioja before the long trip north on Sunday. In hindsight it’s a long way to travel for four fish and not seeing Issak but a road trip is a road trip and I loved it.