Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Living the cliche

The world of angling is no stranger to clichés, but their persistence is due in no small part to the fact that most of them contain more than a grain of truth. Chief among angling aphorisms is the one that contends that "there's more to fishing than catching fish", and its veracity as a proverb was proven this evening. It wasn't that we didn't catch fish, we did (scores of them) but all were small, and they were hardly the point, anyway.

Tonight the significant factor was not the quality of the fish, but of the company, as my son, James, and I were joined by angling companions David, Pete (with his son Jacob) and Roger for a few hours of gentle evening fishing at one of our favourite venues.

James and I were the first to arrive, and James, who had opted to fish with an elasticated whip, had swung about ten fish into the bank before I had even made my first cast with my bristle tipped crucian float, fourteen foot match rod and vintage Allcocks Record Breaker centre pin reel. The fish were mostly rudd, some dazzlingly golden, although roach and perch also featured, and I was pleased to add a solitary gudgeon, a fish that ranks high in my piscatorial affections.
Shortly after arriving we were joined by David, whose intent was set on carp. He fixed up one rod with a method feeder, while the other was deployed floater fishing for the carp that were cruising lethargically just under the surface. He managed to get the carp slurping floaters, but the only one he hooked unfortunately managed to adroitly shed said hook, leaving just a couple of method caught roach (admittedly, at about three quarters of a pound apiece they proved the night's biggest fish) as his consolation.
The carp were proving resolutely obdurate, which was a shame as I was giving a first outing to the wonderful custom built carp rod that master craftsman Nuno Paulino had built for me, and which features on the cover of his book "Inspirations." (see my earlier blog about Nuno's work: ) The rod, which is decorated with Christian symbols, finished with wonderfully opulent burgundy whippings and even includes Da Vinci's Last Supper and other sacred art worked into the carbon blank, sat proudly on the rod rests, but the buzzer remained silent and the boilie hookbait untouched. A proper review of the rod in action will have to wait till another occasion, when the carp prove more compliant than today, but to have it out of its rod bag and inserted into the natural surroundings of the lake was a pleasure in itself.

James did connect with a carp, but having pulled the elastic out at breakneck speed, the underwater adversary proved too strong for the 2 pound hooklength, with the inevitable result ensuing. By now, I had caught plenty of fish (although not as many as James, who proved to be the evening's top rod), the best of which was the modestly sized perch pictured below, and so I passed my rod to James. It was the first time he'd ever used a centre pin, and the look on his face that said "I'm not sure I ever want to use a fixed spool reel again" was soon matched by him giving voice to the sentiment, as he went on to catch a few more fish, and to fall prey (as so many of us have done) to the magic and charm of the centre pin.

Roger, in the swim next door, was soon catching regularly, mostly roach and rudd, but with the odd perch also choosing to pull his handmade and exquisitely whipped reed waggler under the water's surface. Roger is also a devotee of the centre pin, and was using an ancient but smooth spinning and beautifully preserved Mordex as his reel of choice for the evening. Pete and Jacob were the last to join the party, but were also soon making the acquaintance of the lake's roach and rudd.

 As darkness threatened to draw in, floats became harder to see and the evening developed the hint of a chill, and so it was decided that it was time to "draw stumps." Nothing of any size had found its way to the bank, but the action had been brisk and the fish plenteous, but more importantly, the company and the pleasure of just "being there" had been its own reward.  Packing away our tackle back at home, the evening held one more surprise for us: a knock on the door, and there was Roger: "James seemed to really enjoy using the centre pin tonight, I wondered if he'd like one of my old pins." Pleased as punch, and very grateful, James is now the proud owner of a centre pin, a lovely gesture from Roger.  A picturesque lake and  time spent in the company of my son and the best fishing friends a man could hope for ...... I'll drink to that (in an appropriate mug, of course).


No comments:

Post a Comment