Thursday, 3 November 2011

A strangely satisfying day of mediocrity heralds a change in conditions.

A long journey ahead that night inclined me not to venture too far from home in search of piscatorial action on my day off. I wracked my mind for days for something I fancied and in the end settled for club waters outside the city limits. It was to be a day where everything was much of a muchness or the pinnacle of mediocrity if you would, where nothing special graced my net. No dark brown bream or shining bars of pound plus roach. Just snow white skimmers and tidily roach, which all seemed rather insipid on a dull day. So much so as I never bothered to photo a single one, for their scales had no shine in my eyes!
Even though I cannot deny I enjoyed myself, as the aim of fishing is to catch fish, and that I did. But other bigger things inadvertently satisfied my angling urge.

Rain !

The night before I'd stood in the dark watching Diwali fireworks explode and light the sky in luminous colours. In between the flashes and bangs I could see the stars shining like pin holes in the sky and I thought to myself that it would have to go some if this weather front was going to come in over night.
In the morning I woke to the wondrous sound of rain on my bedroom window. It was finally here like Santa Claus at Christmas. But instead of presents the rain brings those wondrous gifts of coloured rivers and confident fish.

I could have ran excitedly down to the river just like a kid at Christmas. But I know better! For that first rise after summer brings misery as much as joy in the form of hundreds of tiny hunks of weed, torn away in small rotten pieces which drive anglers mad pulling rods round as they hang up on the lines, so much they spend more time out the water than in.
Restrained I continued with my plan and sat in the rain catching and watching excitedly as rain drops fall and fill  up low lakes and swell slow rivers.

In the few days where I waited patiently meditating on how the river would be when I finally arrived I managed to attend Andy's wedding reception, do a days work and spend Saturday afternoon following the Earlsdon Morris men on their tour of Earlsdon. For the first two I was stone cold sober, on the third I was not!

My good friend Windy recently rejoined the ranks of the Earlsdon Morris men and had informed us all of the impending tour. I was very interested to go and see this spectacle as here in the UK we seem to let  just about all our traditions slip away unnoticed to the masses, whilst only a die hard few keep them alive. Upon seeing the enthusiasm of them all on this tour my heart warmed that so many people should care so much and have so much fun whilst practising this ancient tradition.

Windy seemed to be having a good time fuelled by barley based power.

A second group, the Bristol Morris men had travelled over to join them in the tour and take turns performing outside many of the pubs we stopped at along the way. On one journey between watering holes I noticed the best use of a bit of Golf equipment ever.

The tour encompassed most of the pubs in the larger Earlsdon area and the Earlsdon lot danced between every one with a parade of  eager followers trailing behind ready to assault the next pub.

By late afternoon I for one was comfortably toasted. Enough so that Jacky repeatedly asked if I felt sick on the drive back. When home I finished the day off by topping of my beer filled body with a liberal helping of red wine! Lucky for me Andy had agreed to pick me up for a trip down the trickle the following Sunday morning.

It's hard to tell water clarity in the dark, but the amber glow from a nearby street light showed the colour of the Avon was at least enough to hide the streamer weed under the foot bridge we stood on. Both of us had Barbel in mind and four dedicated rods were cast out in total darkness.

I have personally just about had it with the local bream population. As I reckon I may have caught just about every one at least once this last year. So I cast off all finesse and left my sensitive tips at home and went for a fish by design approach. Avon tops and bait runners would see me not striking at little taps here and there as I waited for the hoop job as a lovely Barbel grabbed my bait.

Luckily for me a couple of bream did manage to do a poor impression of a Barbel by clicking line slowly off my reels or I would have had to endure the blank as no Babs showed again.

Unlike most days where the bright sun would have ruined our chances. This one stayed nice and cloudy all morning. So we stuck it out with hope that a bite could materialize at any point. 
Until... Andy called over 'Dan, I am in real trouble here' in that way that you know someone ain't joking around!
It took a few moment for things to compute in my addled brain and even after he explained his problem I still didn't fully comprehend it until I saw exactly what had happened.
Whilst pushing a baiting needle through a boilie the needle had suddenly shot through the bait right into Andy's index finger, well under the skin. As I approached and saw it for myself the poor chap looked a little peaky to say the least. As with all blokes we to think we are qualified surgeons whilst toting a Swiss army knife, but after ten minutes of twisting pulling and slicing, the barb of the needle just seemed even more embedded.

With the situation getting no better and my suggestion to shove it through being the final attempt at riparian surgery a trip down the local hospital was the only remaining choice. Only problem was we had two and a half anglers worth of tackle and the only insured driver had a large implement sticking out of one hand. In the end Andy ventured off alone to flag down a taxi whilst I packed up his kit then waited behind my rods for him to return.
I thought I was going to get an big extension to my fishing session as the normal waiting time at a UK hospital is generally three hours. But shockingly he was back in under forty minutes, after being the only person to walk into the A&E department with a foreign object projecting from his body that Sunday morning and was seen immediately.

When receiving a phone call heralding his return Andy asked me if I had had anything in his absence. Thinking quickly I answered that he'd find out when he got back! As soon as I was off the blower I pulled out my weigh sling and unhooking mat out dipping them both in the river before giving my landing net a good dunking and placing my scales prominently on the wetted mat and waited for him to return.
Soon enough Andy ambled along the back sporting a comically bandaged finger. It took him a few seconds to clock the wetted mat and sling with scales strategically placed on them. I can't rightfully type his reply as my blog may need some certification if I did. I tried to hold out and be coy for as long as possible but he soon saw through my rouse when I broke out laughing.

With the excitement over we headed off with no signs of barbel again. But at least the river is getting coloured and that infernal weed is starting to die away at last.


  1. My finger hurts just looking at that imbedded needle.

  2. Top posting again Danny.

    I for one can just about recall your drive to and from Andy's wedding reception. I was the Nicky Grist to your Colin Mcrae.

    Easy right, tightens. Long left over crest - caution. and all from my Tom tom!

    Oh what fun in thick fog.

    And eff me what an oaf that boy is to prick his digit. :) Congratulations Andy!

  3. That bloody hurt!!! Good posting matey!!