Des Tay­lor’s Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

The pres­sure is on to catch bar­bel for cus­tomers and film crews

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

ILOVE to catch fish, and big ones at that! In­deed John Wil­son said in a re­view of my book ‘Great Days’ that “Des cer­tainly has a pen­chant, more than any other an­gler I know, for land­ing mon­strous great fish”.

It was of course an hon­our to have that said about me by the great man him­self, my angling men­tor. But there’s a lot more to angling than just catch­ing big fish. Over the last few years I’ve en­joyed be­ing out there in the coun­try­side more than ever and no, I’m not just turn­ing into a sen­ti­men­tal old fool! It’s the feel­ing of be­ing sat­is­fied with my lot, re­al­is­ing how lucky I am to have the chance to spend so much time in the great outdoors.

Some­times, as I sit there dream­ing and think­ing, it’s a shame to get in­ter­rupted by a bite! Chances are I have caught a fish that size a hun­dred times or more be­fore. I might well have been think­ing of a mon­ster fish big­ger than I have caught be­fore, and that’s more en­joy­able than catch­ing just an­other fish for me.

On a dif­fer­ent note I see that a few grem­lins were at work a cou­ple of is­sues ago, say­ing that my 6lb eel was my sec­ond over that weight in my ca­reer when it was in fact my fourth, the best be­ing 7lb 3oz. This is how my lat­est week panned out...

THURS­DAY

Took Bob Palt and his wife Sue up to the Sev­ern at Coal­port for a day’s bar­bel fish­ing. On the way I ex­plained it was go­ing to be hard, as lots of leaves had blown into the wa­ter and the level was ris­ing from rain in Wales the day be­fore. Where I wanted to put them, the river was run­ning like a train and would have made fish­ing al­most im­pos­si­ble. But I knew a swim that would fish and held the chance of a de­cent fish in such con­di­tions.

I told them that we wouldn’t catch many fish on a ris­ing river and I re­mem­ber Sue say­ing ‘Okay but maybe we might get a big one’.

Af­ter bait­ing up with soaked Nash Krill pel­lets and boilies we cast in two rods – up­stream for Sue and down­stream for Bob. Af­ter an hour and not a touch the up­stream rod bent dou­ble and a bar­bel was on. Sue played the fish well and I knew as soon as I landed it that it was a very good one.

I car­ried the fish to the un­hook­ing mat and the scales and Sue said ‘Oh my God it’s a mon­ster!’

And so it was. Not all rivers throw up 18lb bar­bel or 10 dou­bles in a day. This was the real world, and a dou­ble is a rare fish for many an­glers. I lifted the fish in the weigh sling and recorded a weight of 10lb 1oz – I think Sue was shocked that she had caught a spec­i­men that most an­glers can only dream about. I was so pleased I was there to see her smile. We sat and re­flected on the catch and the fish­ing was slow, to say the least.

A few hours later we de­cided to call it a day, but as I packed the

gear away from the back of the swim Bob’s rod bent over and a good fish hur­tled down the river.

On the scales it went 9lb 6oz. That’s the way to fin­ish a day’s fish­ing! Isn’t it great when a plan comes to­gether?

MON­DAY

A film­ing day with the Nash team, back on the Sev­ern at Coal­port on the Row­ley and District AS wa­ter. Alan Blair and I en­joyed a day tar­get­ing bar­bel. It

was ac­tu­ally very tough, with the wa­ter re­ally low and clear, but in the end we caught five bar­bel and lost one.

It sounds like fish­ing for a liv­ing is an easy life, but when the bites are hard to get and so many peo­ple are there wait­ing for you to sup­ply the goods it can be a stress­ful time!

A cou­ple of moves of swims, a few rig ad­just­ments and we were into a few fish – job done. Carl and Alex did the film­ing while Paul Garner took the stills. It took from first light till last knock­ings to put the film to­gether, but with a mag­i­cal au­tumn back­drop, the play­ing of strong fight­ing bar­bel and some sound in­struc­tion and chat we all agreed it should make a nice piece.

TUES­DAY

Went to the Mon­u­ment to do some carp­ing with Mick Hop­kins but the air pres­sure dropped through the roof and no one caught on Mon­u­ment 1 or II! No carp were rolling or show­ing, yet there are 440 of them in here!

Mind you, soon the ‘mag­got sea­son’ starts on these wa­ters and I’m booked on for two days, so if it all goes to plan I’ll be fill­ing my boots! I re­mem­ber years ago us­ing mag­gots for the first time on Mon­u­ment 1 and I had nine win­ter carp in a day, most over 20lb to a best of 32lb.

Lots of an­glers think mag­gots are a small-fish bait but don’t be­lieve it. On their day they will catch carp any­where, and I have lost count of the num­ber of twen­ties I’ve had on mag­gots in the past!

Nash’s Alan Blair, me, and a

nice bar­bel.

A great day’s film­ing with the Nash team.

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