Treesmill had been fishing like a tarmac playground yet again. The great rafts of weed and huge larders of natural food ensured few were catching anything. Bream as ravenous as sharks and roach like piranhas didn’t help our cause and neither did a family of otters. You’ll no doubt recognise the tune. In fact only the hardy and the stupid were persevering with it. No comments as to which category I fall into! We seldom spotted carp and those lucky enough to do so usually call it a draw and went off to fish another water.
I’d spent a quietish night in the Thunder Hut, uninterrupted save for a visit by Roland, (the original shithouse rat), and his family and a four a.m. phone call from the Percolator asking if I’d caught anything. The day dawned bright and sunny with little or no wind. Perfect conditions, if you wanted to go to the beach. Not one to be put off easily despite the unpromising conditions, I spent the morning trying to stalk one out and I got close to succeeding – before I overbalanced and fell from a tree as I was about to flick my floater out. I arose from the waters under the snag tree covered in stinking black silt and festooned with discarded hook links, leads and half the top section of a pole – a little like a carp fishing version of Moby Dick.
Others might have been deterred by such a mishap but I am nothing if not bloody minded. I found a few fish puffing in the Back Bay just after midday. You’ll know how spooky they are in there – eighteen inches of water and if you as much as fart they disappear. With totally unwarranted optimism and more than a little desperation I decided to have a go for them. A fiendishly cunning plan was hatched. With Big T up a tree dropping floaters to lure them away from my plot, I managed to get two rods out. Pop ups on six ounce in lines with the lead, hook link and lead core buried in the silt. The rods were well back from the waters edge and the slack lines fell from the tip ring to the ground. I wasn’t going to get any drop backs with that setup! It doesn’t sound too difficult but it took me more than two hours crawling through mud, nettles, gorse and brambles before I had set the traps to my satisfaction. A few hundred freebies around the Stoney Bakers and I was ready to rock. I sat thirty yards back from the bank exhausted, covered in leeches, scratches and nettle stings and half bitten to death by the mozzies and horse flies. I couldn’t see what was going on from where I sat but Big T had remained up the tree opposite and was ready to give me an early warning on the mobile should anything occur. As late afternoon blended into early evening the mobile vibrated – I was frightened to have an audible alarm on. With mounting excitement Big T told me that three fish had moved over the baits and were feeding cautiously. I couldn’t see a thing and was frightened to move a muscle let alone reply. I think I might have nodded in the general direction of his tree. Although I couldn’t see the exact area where the baits were I could see large rings and waves emanating from the general vicinity. Every now and then I heard a b’dosh – is there any other sound that gets the juices flowing quite like that one? Ten minutes later and I got another vibration. “There’s about eight fish there mate, they’re ripping up the f***ing bottom. It’s going to go off at any second”. If I’d had any fags I would have started smoking again. I’d worked hard for this, not just in setting the traps today but during all the blank days and nights of the last few months. With any luck and a fair crack from the carp Gods, any moment now and all the frustrations, disappointments and broken dreams would be long forgotten. As the Guinness advert says – It all comes to those who wait.
Suddenly the stillness of a balmy mid summers eve was broken by the screeching of ………… brakes and the crunching of gravel as a bloody great Toyota four wheel drive with stereo blaring came crashing through the undergrowth and skidded to a halt six feet from my buzzers. There were bow waves everywhere as the fish vacated the area. The bass on the stereo was so violent it set my Delkims off. The door of the Toyota opened and slammed shut again as the driver, in full camou apparel, got out, walked up to my rods and turning to me said, “ Ok mate? Anything moving?”
“Yes my fine fellow”, I replied, “Thank you most awfully for enquiring as to my well being. It is most kind of you to consider me and yes, a few did move - just as you pulled into the swim. Might I be quite discourteous and suggest that you now do the same.”
Slowly I packed my gear away, quietly thanking the Great Carp God in the sky for this latest opportunity to exercise spiritual tolerance towards another of the ever growing number in his flock.
A reflective and rueful,