Time was, back when I was a boy, that I fished as many times in August as in the rest of the year put together. The long, lazy school holidays, with the exception of the week when our parents carted us off to huddle together shivering on a Devonshire beach for seven days, were almost entirely spent fishing, and for my two brothers and me, these were usually the most productive sessions of our angling year. Not so, nowadays. A fortnight somewhere exotic, and two teenage children to ferry around, along with the busyness of standard church life (with a wedding to conduct most Saturdays for "good measure") and getting any time to fish in August becomes a feat requiring steely determination and military precision.
This year, the usual challenges were compounded by a stomach bug that hit at an inopportune moment and prevented my son and I from joining our church fishing club's August trip. Here are a couple of photos of what we missed .... bankside banter and fishy fellowship on a beautiful and very exclusive estate lake:
I did manage one trip with rod and line, a very brief venture to the canal with Pete to spin for perch, but to add insult to injury I blanked, while Pete banked half a dozen perch and lost a pike. I also accompanied Greg on a carp fishing trip as a spectator, but in keeping with the way the month was developing (or not developing) he also failed to catch.
Today, four days into September I was determined that my luck would change, although the solitary small perch that deigned to take my spinner hardly signified a major upturn in my piscatorial fortunes. Dave, my fishing partner for the day, (yes, you've guessed it) blanked. We fished both a small stretch of river and a couple of spots on the canal, and admittedly both had a few follows and the odd nip or pluck that didn't convert into a properly hooked perch. Dave also "dropped one off" as he swung it towards the bank, but it was barely any larger than his silver spinner. I frequently changed lures, but all to no avail.
My perch did, however, acquire a significance greater than its modest size warranted, as it was the first fish I've caught on my new custom built spinning rod. The rod, built by Don Morse of Rattlesnake Rods in Florida, USA, features the innovative new Microwave guides and is an absolute delight to use, more like waving a wand than wielding a fishing rod, and while its smart graphics, abbreviated cork handle and custom camo wrap incorporated into the blank may not make me an expert angler they certainly help me to look like one.
The last few weeks haven't been the most illustrious of my angling life, but the joy of it all is that fishing memories are selective, and when 2015 turns into 2016 it won't be August's travails that I recall, but rather the double figure pike that Pete and I were catching in January and February and the Thurnby Church Anglers trips when my son and I weren't missing through illness and when fish were landed aplenty. (also not forgetting my near British record gudgeon caught in the Spring!)
September looks set to be a better month, too, with a club trip to a new lake and a filming session with Stewart Bloor to look forward to. In fishing, as in life and faith, we look ahead with hope and anticipation .......... let's face it, as a rather cheesy 90's band once informed us: "things can only get better" ......