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Ronan's report

Wednesday 10th August, 2011

I've made several sheep rescues in my time. The first while fishing a river where sheep are plentiful. Lots of them graze the banks of the wide and deep river where we often go Pike fishing. Some sheep can even be found to bob about in the reeds bald, bloated and generally stinking the place up.

That afternoon was early season, the water still quite chilly after a long drawn-out winter. We came across a lamb, only a month or two old, that had got its head stuck in the wire fence. All afternoon we endured the poor lamb's cries. It went on for a good couple of hours with no sign of the farmer on his Quad bike or in the Land Rover.

I couldn't stand it any longer, I kicked off my shoes and jacket and ungraciously entered the river. Not even my "temperature gauge" prepared me for the bracing full submersion, the cold water taking my breath away. I swam across to the far bank and by the time I dragged myself out the bloody thing had been so scared at the sight of me undressing/swimming that he freed himself quite easily.

The next rescue took place on the same stretch on another day but this time it was more dramatic. The thunder storm had been heading towards us for some time with wicked lightning strikes and intense thunder. The sheep had been so scared of the storm that she had fallen into the river and was in trouble; I could tell this from the gurgling Baah-blub-baaha-blubblub noises it was making.

Lee explained to me as we walked back to the van, how he had seen a Discovery documentary that advised kneeling into a ball if lighting should hit you.

As we made our way over to it a MASSIVE bolt of lightning touched down in the fields across from us, it was the loudest noise I've ever heard. At the sight and sound of this Lee assumed the position, kneeling in a puddle of mud with his arse in the air in the vague hope that the current would pass through his legs (via his arse) to ground. The man on Discovery suggested that this would ensure that the lightning bolt would miss the vital organs... This didn't work of course as his "lightning" reactions aren't anywhere near as fast as actual lightning. If it had struck him, he would have been dead before he dropped!

Anyways Lee got back to his feet and the sheep was coaxed to the bank and duly dragged out. Man they're heavy when wet!

A next came later that day, after the storm had cleared we came around the bend to find ANOTHER bloody sheep half drowned in the middle of the river. This one involved another strip dunking for me but this time a one handed back stroke (a swimming style, Not an advance toward the sheep!) was employed to tow it back to shore. We dragged it by its river swollen fleece up onto the bank and that was number three saved.

With Paul and Ronan both paid up members of the SRS (Sheep Rescue Service) the sheep of NZ can sleep tight knowing that we'll be there this season to look out for them...

Does this shit happen to all fly fishermen?


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