Living in the middle of the city it is sometimes easy to forget that Southampton has grown up around the estuaries of two gorgeous rivers, the Test and the Itchen (unless you happen to be stuck in a rush-hour bottleneck, crossing one of them).
Both of these chalk bedded rivers are famous for their trout and salmon fisheries and carefully managed natural surroundings.
A walk along either of these waterways is always a rewarding and relaxing experience but more often than not I find it even finer to row or paddle about in them.
Both our children can paddle a kayak reasonably competently and I am a member of St Deny’s Sailing and Rowing Club. It was a sunny day, so I took my daughter out in a kayak for a sunlit paddle up to Woodmill, which gave her an opportunity to practice her skills.
Walking back over Cobden Free Bridge we spotted a vast shoal of sullen Mullet cruising just under the glittering surface of the river. On occasional days you can see hundreds of these fish from the arch as well as swift, shimmering Sea Bass stalking their smaller, slower prey.
When I feel minded to, I have fished for and caught one or two of these tasty predators and taken the big enough ones for supper. I'm not a fisherman, I'm a rower who sometimes trails a line & lure and very rarely catches a fish to take home and eat.