Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I rarely conform to the stereotype of the stoical, taciturn, lone angler. For me, fishing is a sociable activity and I'm blessed with a goodly number of excellent friends who are similarly afflicted with a passion for angling, which, on days like today, is an undoubted benefit. Once again perch were the target species, once again the fishing was hard, and as on my last trip, I blanked. I was joined in the "dry net department" by Pete and Paul, but David had two fish, including one extremely handsome stripy, which meant that the question "how did you guys get on today?" could be answered with "we caught a lovely perch", enabling my lack of proficiency on the day to be obscured by the cunning use of a personal pronoun.
There was an unmistakable chill in the air, but the weather was milder than it has been of late, and the plan was to fish for about three hours in a spot that has produced plenty of perch for Pete and I in the past, catch a few fish and then retire for a pub meal and convivial chat. In the event, the pub meal was more of a success than the fishing.
David and I chose to tuck ourselves in next to a couple of moored boats (having first befriended and gained the permission of their owners), while Paul and Pete concentrated on the area around a bridge, all classic text book perch habitat. However, it was our misfortune that only one perch had read the text book.
After about an hour David landed a singularly unremarkable roach, which although nothing in and of itself to get excited about, did at least show that there were still fish in the canal, and that at least one of them was in compliant mood.
An hour later and his float once again shot away, and this time his match rod took on a heartening battle curve, and shortly afterwards a lovely plump perch that must have weighed about a pound and a half was engulfed by the folds of his landing net. Said perch was duly admired, photographed and returned, and the fishing regained its uneventful and soporific character.
At 1 o'clock we drew stumps (or more accurately, banksticks) and retired to the waterside pub for a meal, pint and piscatorial post-mortem. You may be forgiven for supposing that following my second successive blank I would have been downcast or disconsolate, but if you did so, you'd be wrong. How can a morning spent fishing ever be the cause of dismay, especially when spent in good company and followed up with a hearty meal? And anyway, the whole trip was a success: "there's no I in team" and we caught. Such is the power of pronouns.