It's strange how us anglers take some bits of tackle for granted. You know, the things that are always with you and work every time you need them to. So much so that they linger in our kit for years not causing one single problem. Then out of nowhere they go a bollock and you inevitably find yourself having real problems at the wrong time.
I knew we were in for a spot of the wet stuff Saturday and I also had begun to suspect my faithful 50'' fishing umbrella of seven years had some health issues. But as I was in denial over this fact and was convinced it still had a few more trips in it so I never bothered replacing it....
Ryton looked in fine fettle as I stood looking at the random patches of Tench fizz within a few rod lengths of the bank. As I watched the patches of bubbles they began to get joined up by spots of rain dimpling the water. First things first I'd get old reliable up for some shelter.
Ripping was the first sound that hit my ears as one of the arms pierced the top of the brolly, this was followed by a second one poking me about two inches under my left ear. Closer inspection revealed that the small bit of wire that held all the supports into the collar at the top of the brolly had somehow corroded over seven years of being stuffed back into my rod bag damp.
Initially I was set up close to the waters edge only feet from my rods but as the rain got heavier my unsupported brolly began to sag lower and lower leaving me practically curled in a ball around the pole.
The situation got ultimately worse when a gust of wind reversed the flapping umbrella in a rather comical style. I really would have laughed but as it went I made a grab for it and two of my fingers got trapped in the mass of wire; with the gusting wind pressuring the mess I was at serious risk of losing a digit.
I some how saved the shelter and moved the kit and caboodle to the top of the high bank into the lea of bush. This is where it got really Heath Robinson. The shelter could just about support itself albeit at a rather peculiar angle but the slightest breeze nearly flipped it so I began ramming spare bank sticks into the ground and tying them on with the only cord I had which turned out to be hook link material. Expensive hook link material!
The only thing that was now needed was tension and my weighty back pack slung under the arm supports pulled that on a treat.
From the front it looked ok but from behind it looked for all the world like just the top part of the umbrella lying flush the ground. All day passing kids called out "is there someone under there " and then my head would pop out like some kind of Troll from its hidey hole and bellow "yeeeeees"
All that aside this fishing was great and intermittently through the day pods of tench moved over my bait and after intitial indications a screaming run would smack the bobbin into the buzzer as a unsuspecting fish fled panicked by the prick of my hook.
The First fish was a solid 5.6lb
The next good fish was 5lb on the nose. And the third five of the Day was 5.3lb
I did land two others that looked between 2-4lb which I didn't bother to photo or weigh. Add to those the three free which came adrift during the fight and the multitude of pick ups and bleeps and it turned out to be a testing but very productive day for this Ryton tench troll.
The worst was still to come when I packed up. All the rest of the kit was packed away as quickly as it come out apart from, yes you guessed it, the brolly! Upon taking it down arms went in every conceivable direction just as the wind again picked up. Frankly I was in no mood to trifle with this unwieldy beast and soon enough I was on the verge of a proper mantrum. Just as I was about to get to that point we all know we can get to where we just destroy the offending article and lob it bush wards I stopped walked away took a minute then like some kind of puzzle it just folded neatly, with several arms sticking through the material at the top.
Note to self : Buy a new Umbrella you stingy bugger!