Des Tay­lor’s Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

A 10-year-old lad proves to be a nat­u­ral while I am on ‘birth­day present’ duty!

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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’.


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.

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