From the water’s edge

March 2015 - Petty pointscoring

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It’s funny isn’t it? You think you know somebody and then you have a day like today. We’ve been fishing together now for ten years or more. It feels like twenty but ten is more like it. It’s got to the stage now where his wife pays me to take him out because it’s cheaper than paying for a carer; but that is not all. I let him buy the beer and in return, he lets me catch the most fish, mostly. Normal service he calls it, I just wallow in my smugness.

Then just as you are at you lowest, the truth is revealed. I have a streaming cold, the wind is howling down the cut at fifty miles an hour. In places it is hard to stand still enough to fish let alone spot any takes, but half and hour in, Pete has caught twelve perch to my one.

I try everything, crayfish, dropshot, 3”, 2”, shads and curlys. I even rig a hyper realistic imitation lobworm and twitch that around to no apparent purpose. More than anything I surreptitiously copy every move he makes and every lure he uses which is not hard, he is dibbling along the margin, a foot out with the pink 1” Veal’s shad.

We fish a mile down the canal to a favourite spot, one of the few that doesn’t appear to have been revealed in detail to all and sundry on facebook as yet, although in this day and age of unthinking, self-publicity, it won’t be long. Bang, probably should have struck there. Maybe I will persevere with the 3” yellow tailed hammer shad and save face by catching the biggest. There is always hope or so I thought back then.

We fish on. Half an hour later it is 20-2. That is not ‘twenty to’ opening time, it is 19 perch and one zander to my two barely post natal perch. Bang, b****Y PIKE. Nipped me off at the clip. Absolutely no pressure, it couldn’t possibly be hooked but its another clip wasted and a decent shad to boot.

Its a long hard morning where I am standing, especially when I realise that it is still only half past ten. How did he get so far in front inside two hours. He hasn’t even caught a fish for the last thirty minutes and I am missing them. The two bites I have had anyway.  

There is time, so I knuckle down and as we work our way back up the hill, occasionally, very occasionally I start to catch. One or two nice ones in there as well, maybe 10 oz. As big as any he has caught anyway.

Still he can’t catch and I have him on the run. He is clearly worried, but unbeknown to me has a cunning plan for just such a situation. I am concentrating as hard as I possibly can as the snot runs down my face and my watering eyes blur the world beyond recognition and suddenly right there in my own private hell, the voice of a kind stranger filters through.

“Are you Peter Allen?”

“No”, pointing across the lock, “he is.””Well can you tell him that his wallet is on the doorstep of the cottage at the bottom lock!”

Wallet? Oh my God, the beer money!!!!

“Pete, quick back to the car!!”


We roar off back down the hill, flat out a thirty miles an hour. My Suzuki can’t believe it, such an dignified behaviour for a hairdresser’s jeep, but half an hour later we have covered the intervening mile and are running up the bank straining our eyes for the wallet on the doorstep. Desperately Pete flings himself on it and clutches it to his bosom.

“That’s a hook wallet Pete!”

“I know, but it’s got my last few clips in it, anyway it’s too late to start fishing again, so I have beaten you fair and square.”

Fair and square!! I was only fifteen behind, I could have caught up with him inside a week, no problem. And that is what friends are for. I got him back in the end though, I let him buy the dinner as well and then left half of it. Hah!


artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.