Work has been a bit busy of late (and not only because it was Easter), and with my brain fit to explode with work stuff, and the airwaves full of General Election talk there was only one diagnosis-an evening at the lake was urgently needed for its "head clearing" and general sanity restoring qualities. It was time to bend some cane.
I left work early, and was at the lake shortly after half past four in the afternoon. An elderly gentleman was just vacating my favourite swim, so I chatted to him as he packed up and then moved into his swim as he left cheerily wishing me good luck and admiring my split cane stalking rod, which was about to get its first outing with me as its owner. The carp rod was matched with a Mitchell 300 and the butt rested on my whicker creel. Purists may moan (and are entitled to) about the fact that the rod was also placed on a Fox Micron bite alarm, but when fishing for "churners" with a closed bail arm I'm happy to sacrifice a bit of the vintage effect for the security of an audible alarm, particularly as I would be concentrating my active attention on my float rod. No-one wants to see a prized rod getting dragged into the pond by a tethered carp.
The float rod employed was another mint condition rod of venerable age, a match rod made by the now long since defunct Rodrill company of London, and it was teamed with an Allcocks Record Breaker centre pin reel. The float, with double maggot on an 18 and 4 pound mainline to 2 pound hooklink, was soon regularly dipping with a succession of small roach, rudd and perch like the one pictured above. The roach and rudd were welcome for their silvery or golden beauty, and the cream of the crop on the float was the larger, pugnacious looking perch in the picture below, which made a couple of spirited dashes for cover before succumbing to the folds of the net.
My friend Roger and his son Ben turned up to join the fun, and set up in a swim on the opposite side of the lake, and they, too, were soon catching roach and rudd, both floatfishing with maggots. Roger was giving a first outing to his latest acquisition, an antique Mordex Meteor centre pin that he had recently purchased and cleaned up. Another friend, David, also visited, although only to chat as he had an early morning start planned for his following day's fishing in Gloucestershire. The evening had a pleasant sociable air as we talked and enjoyed the surroundings. I was perfectly happy catching the smaller fish on the float line, and must confess to being somewhat surprised when the bite alarm signalled a run on the carp rod. The old split cane rod was soon bent into its fighting curve, and after a few minutes in which the carp fought doggedly, but with no real venom, a modestly sized common was in the net and on the mat- my first ever carp on a cane rod. Delighted doesn't even come close!
This capture proved only to be the prelude, however, to the evening's main action which occurred when Roger hooked a much angrier carp on his float gear. The fish gave Roger a merry runaround, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy, the stillness broken by the sound of the Mordex's ratchet emitting the "music" that every centre pin angler loves to hear, and it must have been the best part of ten minutes before the carp was drawn over the net, wielded by young Ben. Like mine, it wasn't a big carp but on light tackle it had proved a more than worthy adversary.
We elected to pack up after Roger's carp- it seemed like the right time to stop. The three of us had enjoyed a wonderful evening in lovely surroundings, and as we stored our tackle in our cars we wished David "tight lines" for his trip the following day. There was one last surprise. This was the first time I'd fished the lake at Beeby this year, and the owner, John, has always been very good to the Christian Anglers club that I run, and has allowed us exclusive booking on his lake a couple of times for our fish-ins and when I walked past the noticboard at the top end of the lake I was pleasantly surprised to see one of our promotional flyers on the board, alongside the fishery details and rules.
A rod, a reel, some good friends and a lake .......... it doesn't take much to make me happy.