Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

June 2014 - Fading away

It’s only fishing. It’s only the thing that takes over your life whether you want it to or not. It’s as messy as sex, but colder and wetter and you are never too old to enjoy it. Fishing is not life and death, but it does help you get through one on your way to the other.

That must be why I left the bankside carrying such a hollow disappointment to the warmth and comfort of a hot meal and a cold pint. And yet for a moment it had all started so well.

The weather it is true, was foul, but that would keep the boaters lingering over their bacon butties and would surely tempt them to put another log on the fire and stay inside a bit longer. The canal thought so, it was a clean, green colour and looked much more promising than the sky which was heavy, low and over-bearing.

I chose a 3” black and copper hammer shad, threw a speculative cast into an interesting-looking corner on the far bank and started a slow steady retrieve. Five yards out I dropped it on the bottom just to make sure it was as deep as I could keep it and then started winding again. I repeated the move mid-channel and then in one steady movement brought it the rest of the way home. Nothing. Doubt. Too early for doubts, but just in case, should this be a 2” bait or something deeper creeping across the bottom? Maybe I should switch to the 1” kopyto and get some tiddlers under my belt. A fish in the hand and all that?

I re-cast into the same corner. I liked the look of it there and it has produced before. Carefully, thoroughly and with the utmost concentration, I went through the same process again but with the bait nearly back in the side, the rod jarred, just as though it had been hit, once, sharply, with a stick. That instant, positive confirmation that there was life at the end of my line saw the rod up and bending steeply into something heavy.

No sweat, All was calm and under control. I have done this a thousand times. The fish bored heavily around boiling silt and debris up in the water and as the rod unwound it came to the top. It was a perch, the biggest perch I had seen on my line for many a day and in an instant the calm and the control evaporated. I backed off the pressure on the rod and loosened my wrists ready for any twist or turn. The fish ran and ran, back out past the middle of the cut in a way that perch never really do and all the time, big heavy eruptions of boiling water rose to the surface. Pete was at my side now, ready with the net.

Two and a half he said. He could see it as well as me, but only I could feel the weight of it and I thought then and still do now that it hadn’t been two and a half pounds for quite a while. It porpoised in front of the net, old, and black, and proud, its fin erect like as a Mr Crabtree watercolour and sank from view. The rod relaxed, the line fell limp and it was gone, like an angler walking off into the fog. I didn’t even swear. I had no blood left, just a shell of an angler standing in the rain, staring at raindrops hitting the mysterious, green water and what might have been. It’s only  fishing, not life or death. But, just occasionally, it feels worse than that.

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

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