Des Taylor’s Diary of a Countryman
A 10-year-old lad proves to be a natural while I am on ‘birthday present’ duty!
THIS week I had one of those magic moments – taking a lad fishing and seeing a fish put a smile on his face as big as the moon!
Today I took 10-year-old Charlie Whitehouse and his dad Dean fishing to the Rowley Anglers stretch of the Severn at Coalport.
The day was a birthday present from Charlie’s parents, and how they planned it was lovely. Usually I’ll meet a client at my house, they jump in my truck and I take them fishing, but not this time.
Dean told Charlie he was going for a normal day on the river. They loaded the gear into the car and off they went. On arrival they walked down to the swim they fancied and guess who was there waiting for them? Me, with the swim baited up and rods ready to cast!
Charlie peered through the undergrowth, saw me, and dad Dean said: “Oh my god, it’s Des Taylor from Angling Times!” to which I said: “Welcome young man, this is your birthday present and we are going to catch barbel and chub together.”
I think at first that Charlie was overawed by it all and was very quiet, but as the day went on he came out of his shell and showed what a wonderful young Black Country boy he is. He caught barbel and chub, and he definitely has ‘the touch’ when it comes to playing fish.
He held the rod high, stopped pumping when the fish ran and pumped and reeled in when it stopped for a rest – perfect! At one stage it rained heavily and the three of us sat under the umbrella eating sandwiches that his mum had made and drinking coffee from the flask. We watched a mink hunting a squirrel in a tree overhanging the water, but we’ll never know whether the mink got its meal because Charlie’s rod buckled over again and he was into another barbel! The smile said it all as he held the fish up for the camera, but it was no bigger than the smile on his proud dad’s face as he took photos.
Charlie caught his personal-best barbel and chub but that wasn’t what the day was about – it was all about showing the lad the pleasures that can be had enjoyed fishing on the river. Out in the wilds of Shropshire you can hear nothing except wildlife and the dog barking on the farm behind you as you watch the rod for that tell-tale tap on the tip before it buckles over and a hooked barbel heads downstream at a 100mph.
Even if Charlie does not become an angler for life he will remember this day for many years, but I have a feeling that he will become a member of our very exclusive club very soon. It was also a day when I could say to myself ‘a good job well done’.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Spent the weekend with a mate from London, fishing and talking
fishing, as well as sampling the best of Bewdley’s ale. Martin is a pleasure angler, and it doesn’t matter to him whether the next fish is a double-figure barbel or a 2lb chub. He just loves fishing and relaxing from his stressful job.
To be honest, isn’t that what fishing is about to most people?
It’s a way of escaping the troubles of the world, having a few hours in the fresh air and forgetting about everything else except the next bite.
I had been on a diet, but that went out of the window on Saturday night when Ray Cutler met Martin and me in the pub. We were like kids, talking fishy tales and getting slightly drunk. It has to be done every now and then.
Luckily we called an end to the night at about 8pm because we had to be up early to go fishing the next morning and we all fancied a clear head for a long day ahead on the river.
Took Paul Sanderson and Paul Whitehead fishing on the Severn near Bewdley, and what a great day it turned out to be! It had rained a few days before and there was 3ft of warm water in the river which was now slightly coloured and dropping – dream conditions for a barbel angler!
And so it worked out. They both caught fish but Paul Whitehead did something really special for the middle Severn with a 10lb 4oz barbel and a 6lb 2oz chub in two casts – both personal bests.
The river is fishing its head off at the moment, although lots of anglers are moaning that there are very few decent fish showing.
I’m sorry, but that is only the case because those anglers are not willing to change their attitude to bait and methods and try something different.
Paul Whitehead’s best barbel ever, at a healthy 10lb 4oz.
Charlie got the chub bug too.
Charlie and me with one of his birthday barbel.