Hit the road Jake: New city, new luck (2)

Hit the road Jake: Neue Stadt, neues Glück (2) | Hammer Tackle

A look into the landing net, your knees shake, then a scream of joy across the river. Secretly I was hoping for a fish like that. Of course not a giant for the German quarry lake conditions, but that has never been my benchmark. On the mat I marvel at an old, beefy mirror carp, with leathery skin, a bulbous tail and eyes as dark as night... Without a doubt, a true veteran of the current. As a matter of routine, I let the self-timer snap a few times, then I release my guest back into his element.

I watch his calm fin beats in the shallow water a little wistfully, my thoughts wander. Feeling a little withdrawn, I put the mat and tripod away. After encounters with such characterful creatures, I always need a second to sort through the impressions and appreciate the awe I have for the animal. It's important to remember that carp are more than just goals or trophies. I'm enjoying the moment, but a buzzing in the back of my head makes me whirl around, irritated.

“What the fuck…?” I blurt out as my eyes meet my rod. The spool head almost rolls over; the rod has long since slipped out of the fuse. Now she's just hanging on to the bite alarm. I'm starting to feel like I'm in the wrong movie, but the drill that begins leaves no room for surprise. The submarine marches down the river with impressive power and cannot be stopped. The first escape was probably 50 meters, then I managed to stop the fish for the first time. To put it briefly, this drill was probably my fastest ever. In the end I emerged victorious and the next big mirror rolled in front of me.

At this point the session was already a complete success. But Peter seemed to be completely on my side. By the time I packed up the next morning, completely exhausted, I counted another five carp. I let most of them swim straight away; they were long fish around 12 kilos. Only the last visitor, a somewhat displaced fellow, I didn't just capture as an image in my head...

Everyone here would probably have continued. But I had the feeling that at this point, at least for the time being, my goal had been fulfilled.

The days became increasingly dark, gloomy and somehow a persistent tension took hold. New Covid measures brought social life to a standstill and as a newcomer to the city, life became colorless. Studying without face-to-face lectures, seriously? I didn't want that.

Loud shouts and slogans reach my ears. Someone bumps into me from the side, asks me what I'm doing here and hits my camera. Without answering, I step back and sit on a high wall. From here I have a rough overview of the crowds and am left alone. Leipzig's city center is transformed into a seething area. Although everything goes peacefully with a few exceptions, it constantly pumps adrenaline into my veins. With a camera in my hand, I'm definitely living a risky life here. Left and right are currently demonstrating for or against the new measures. Is that really all that matters? I seriously doubt that. The whole spectacle seems a bit aimless to me.

Nevertheless, I share the tension. I spent the first lockdown completely in nature and lived almost without restrictions. But this leaf turned when it fell from the tree in autumn. I'm no longer just that outlaw outlaw in the red Opel who is hardly affected by social issues and events. Now I'm part of it to a certain extent.

But I also don't want to close my eyes, no matter how much more comfortable and secure I feel in the wilderness of mountains, forests or by the water.

I see it as a certain duty to do my part. Be it with constant efforts to convey and carry on my love of nature, cooking, and generally my freedom-loving life. In the future, I also want to be active on other topics whose origins are much more rooted in the middle of society.

But enough of digressing, dear reader, let's return to the spell of the river meandering in front of my front door. Here I was faced with a completely different change. Frost!

The next session was a real challenge because just after dark the temperatures dropped below freezing. The brolly was set up as low as possible and I also threw a tarp over the entrance to protect myself as much as possible from the cold. The summer sleeping bag with a broken zipper can hardly do anything to counteract this.

A few frosty hours later I experienced a truly magical morning. Glaring sunlight fell through the low-hanging branches, everything glittered in a crystalline white, with every step the ground crackled like a freshly baked bread roll when you hold it warm in your hand and press it down.

I strolled around with a steaming tea, soaking up the moment and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

How many things are put into perspective here, away from all the hustle and bustle...

In the following days I made two more attempts and actually caught another carp. Still, carp fishing was no longer my focus. I dedicated myself to pike, chub and of course studying...

The year has been so eventful, I think it's okay to go into neutral for a while. At least for a short time. After all, I rarely have quiet phases, and when they do come, it's usually as a reprieve. Because knowing me, the next adventures are definitely just around the corner.

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