Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

July 2014 - Tidal torment

It’s a slightly creepy experience revisiting the days of your youth. Around every corner is a memory, good or bad that might have been better left deep in the vaults. Some things change, some things don’t. Everywhere was less down at heel, but then the station was still there and with it the bench I woke up on one frosty morning after a teenage night on the tiles. People appeared more affluent, even in what always was, this slightly posh area of south west London. One or two of the nightclubs appeared to have turned into corporate offices or department stores, but the pubs were still there even if their names had changed slightly.

Meandering right through the middle of the set, tying all those ghosts together was old father Thames. Still ‘getting cleaner’ they say but still not living up to its full potential. It’s been ‘cleaner than ever’ every year since I was at school, it ought to be bloody near drinkable by now.

What has changed is the face at the other end of the boat. Back then it was a mate from school, lucky enough to live on the river and have his own boat. Today it was my mate, Wadey. I’m proud to call him that, he’s one of the nicest, most generous people I have ever met. But he needn’t get carried away with such flattery, I’ll say anything necessary to get out in a boat like the one he has. 18 ft I should say, comfy chairs, big motor at the back, leccy one at the front, fish finder, live well, you name it.

Just in case we thought the traffic was bad in the midlands, they put on a special performance of the ‘go anywhere you like at 1 mph’ kind from the moment we made the mistake of turning off the M25 onto the M4. Still we made it and as we headed off up the river it was like nothing had changed. More parrots obviously, but still plenty of early morning oarsmen and that smell. The one that drifts down on the wind from the thrashing waters of the weir above.

We were ready for this but although I would not have predicted this all those years ago, our 3.5 gram jigheads and ultra-lite canal gear was still the right tool for the job. Even in the weir itself, 6 grams was only necessary to get distance on the cast. The mighty river doesn’t pull like he used to. Him and me both.

Wadey was in crankbait mode and started getting takes and fish almost straight away, leaving Pete and I with that horrible’ why didn’t we pack any of those’ kind of sinking feeling. But there is always something else that will do, 2” kopytos of course worked a bit , 2” curly tails worked a bit more and even the drop-shot worked in the deeper water of the weir itself. We had a great day, but all of our combined skills learned over about 130 years of fishing were no match for those wily four ounce Thames perch. I did manage a small zander as well which was nice, but even that was caught on film showing its utter contempt for the oldest member of the crew. No respect for their elders these youngsters.

Thanks again Wadey, you’re a gentleman and you are welcome to come up here and have another bash at some ditch jiggling any time you choose.

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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